Chapter 1: Setting the scene
Jacob Tuttle was a simple man, he knew who he was and what he could do, he knew at an early age that he was not school smart, so he left at the age of 15 and enrolled in the Army. When he hit 24 he made Lieutenant, he knew that he was not going to advance any higher, but he also knew he wanted to stick it out for a while longer.
By the time that he turned 27, he realised that his time with the military had come to end and he put in his request to be let go and after the usual delay that paperwork endures, it was approved. Now for the first time in a long time, he had no idea what he wanted to do, the first thing he needed to do however was to buy a house, and thankfully, living on base for all those years, gave him quite the nest egg.
Jacob reached out to a real estate agent and together they began the search, nothing fancy by any means, but a few bedrooms, with an ample backyard were on the list and after a few weeks of looking, the house of Number 6 Privet Drive was his.
Jacob drove up the day after he got the keys, to work out exactly what he needed to make this house his home and that was where he met Vernon and Petunia Dursley and their very new baby, Dudley. Jacob liked to think he was a good judge of character, many years dealing with new officers and wet behind the ears Privates had helped fine tune it and while the Dursley’s presented a front of respectability, behind closed doors, Jacob had suspected that things were not as they seemed.
There was a lot of crying from the newborn, which Jacob knew they did, but even in public, the response was usually to present the child with food or something else, to keep him quiet. At home, Vernon was a very brief man, keeping things as consistent as he could.
When July moved into August, in the year 1980, Jacob finally moved in, with Petunia making herself known within the first 30 minutes of the moving truck turning up and while she initially dismissed him as no-one of important, his many years of serving in the military, gave her cause to think. Petunia had explained the new neighbour to her husband that very night and while they were thinking their thoughts were private, the warm summer nights had many people leaving their windows open and as the Dursleys were never quiet people when they were inside, Jacob could hear everything quite clearly.
“Vernon, you have to introduce yourself to our new neighbour”, Petunia insisted, while the program he had been watching had switched to commercial.
“Oh, and why is that Pet?” Vernon asked.
“He was in the Army, someone like that has got to be worth knowing, even if he has no job right now, being friends with a veteran can always be a good thing” Petunia supplied, knowing that Vernon always wanted to be in, with the right people.
“Ok, I will go and meet the man tomorrow, I too tired to worry about it now though, be sure to remind me will you” Vernon replied, the speed of his words increasing as the commercials ended.
Next door, Jacob had overheard everything and knew right away, that these people were definitely going to be a pain, but as he had invested a lot of his money into the house, he was going to have to make the best of it. One thing Petunia had mentioned did make Jacob think though, he had no job and while he was ok for now, he needed something to do, so out came the paper and Jacob started to look.
Over the next few days, Jacob had settled in, his routine still set in stone from his army days, a 5am wake up, was followed up by a good 90 minutes of exercise, thankfully, there was a park only a few streets away, that offered some variety. Breakfast was basic, no need to waste money on food that he was not a fan of and once he had eaten and then showered, the job hunt continued.
After a few weeks, Jacob had gone and introduced himself to most of the houses on his new street, with a lot of housewives making up the majority of those he had met at first. Speaking to one of the residents, he found out there was a new Gym nearby, who were looking for people, so after making himself presentable, he headed in, to see about a job.
The owner, Robert Amendola, knew right away that he was going to hire the man, he was fit, disciplined and knew how to use the bulk of the gear they offered. “Well, I think you are perfect for the position and would love it, if you could start as soon as possible” Robert said as he finished showing Jacob around.
“That would be perfect Sir, I was getting a little stir crazy at home and would be happy to start tomorrow” Jacob had replied, a smile covering his face.
“None of this Sir business, please, I work for a living” Robert had replied almost right away, Jacob knew at once, that he was going to like this man.
“Sure thing, Mr Amendola then” Jacob had replied, with only a few micro-seconds before Robert replied, “No, Robert or Rob is fine, I won’t stand on ceremony here”. Jacob threw his hand out, giving a nice firm handshake and then making his way out the door.
As the months passed, Jacob had evolved his routine, while he still woke up early and went for a run, the run did not return him home, instead it took him towards his place of work, Jove’s Gym, a place where he felt content. Rob was a straight forward man and the rest of the crew were much the same, with a lot of the regulars knowing that if you wanted to be pushed hard, Jacob was the man to ask.
“Morning Jacob, nice run in today?” Adam had asked, thankfully, Jacob knew it was Adam, he was the only one here at 6am.
“Yes Mr Oltermen, it was a little brisk, but what can you expect from an early November morning. Though once you get going and your body warms up, there is no denying how good a run can be” Jacob replied, while he went towards the towels.
“Come on now Jacob, how many times have I said to call me by my first name” Adam had replied, with some humour to his voice.
“Well, you are the customer, so as always, just once more. Of course, you might need to remind me again tomorrow” Jacob knew he would never do it, he was not a friend, just someone he knew from the gym and regardless of how friendly the man was, he was not a friend.
Jacob completed his routine, a quick and simple breakfast, before hitting the showers and making a start on his day. The day itself, proved to be quite routine, until three men walked into the gym, looking quite strange and lost as if they were in China and not Surrey.
“Can I help you sirs?” Jacob asked as he approached the men, the one at the front, seemed more relaxed than the other two.
“Oh yes, if you don’t mind, I am trying to find Privet Drive, but I am unable to find it.” the man with the messy black hair replied, his friend to his right scoffed.
“Come on James, I don’t know why you are even bothering, they have not spoken in ages and there is no way in the world that Petunia cares about anything to do with Lils or you or even us.” His face doing nothing to hide his disgust as he mentioned the name Petunia.
“Now Sirius, you know how upset Lily has been and while Harry has been a handful and keeping her busy, she still misses her sister, how can I not try” James looked back at the other man, a sigh escaping.
“Sorry, James was it?” Jacob had asked, hoping to get a little more intelligence about these three men and their little mission they were on.
“Yes, sorry, I never introduced myself, James Potter, the quiet one to my left is Remus Lupin and the loud one on the other side is Sirius Black.” James replied, with a simple gesture towards each man.
“Nice to meet you all, Jacob Tuttle at your service and in relation to your directional issues, I might be able to assist, I live next to a woman named Petunia on Privet Drive” Jacob had replied.
The three men, had immediately spun into a circle, conferring in whispers about this new development, while Jacob thought it was odd, he got the distinct impression that they were very close.
“I would be happy to show you the way, though I don’t have a car here, so you would have to walk it” Jacob noted, interrupting their little discussion.
“Jacob, it would be a huge help if you could, I have something to discuss with Petunia and the sooner I can do that, the sooner I can return home to my family” James responded.
“Well, give me a few moments to collect my things and I will show you the way” Jacob responded, his hand pushed forward, in a quick manner, ready to seal the deal as it were. James shook his hand and nodded his head, “Thank you, this is really appreciated”
Jacob had dashed out to the back, collected his jacket and then went to the boss, “Rob, I need to head out early, some folks here are in need for directions and they are heading my way, so going to help them out”
“Some folk you have waiting for you, I mean, one of them appears to be wearing a dress” Rob had replied, looking out at the three men.
“Yeah, but who knows with people these days, fashions can change in an instant” Jacob replied, his thoughts drifting to why someone would wear, what appeared to be a heavy dress.
“Well, who am I to judge, I spend most of my days in shorts, even in winter” Rob joked back, “No worries, head out and enjoy your weekend and I will see you back on Monday.” A wave of his hand had shooed Jacob out the door.
“Thanks boss, have a good weekend” by the time Jacob had finished speaking, he was out the door and headed back to the three strange men. By the time he got back to them, they appeared to be in an even more confused state, looking at the machines as if they were some sort of medieval torture device or something.
“Well, come on, it is a bit of a walk from here, but thankfully, it is also a nice one” Jacob spoke up as he approached them again.
“Oh, well, let’s get to it shall we, we have not a moment to lose” James replied, “Maybe on the way, you can explain some of the things here” He said, pointing at the equipment.
“Sure, thing James, be happy to” Jacob noted and with that, they were off. While the run from home to work would only take Jacob around 20 minutes, if he pushed himself, at a walking pace, it took almost four times that, and for some reason, it took even longer with the three men. After the first 10 minutes or so, James and Sirius had started to pant, like they had run a mile, Remus looked fine, but by the hour mark, all three of them looked like they were ready to pass out.
Along the walk, which seemed to be taking far longer than expected, Jacob had heard some strange conversation happening behind him, words like Muggles and You-Know-Who were used quite frequently. Being used to hearing people talk about their lives while doing their routine, Jacob had learnt not to ask anything, in fact he usually ignored the conversation entirely, but this one, what he could hear of it, kept him listening, albeit discreetly.
Once they turned onto Privet Drive, Jacob noted they looked dead on their feet, but Sirius had pulled a small bottle of liquid from inside his dress and downed it. Before Jacob had even thought to ask what, it was, Sirius looked in perfect condition and as Jacob turned to the other two, they were also looking perfect.
“What did you guys just drink?” Jacob asked, confusion in his voice. “Oh, nothing special, just an old family thing, use it when you need a boost to your day.” Sirius replied, a smirk on his face.
“You need to be careful of what you put into your bodies, you never know how something might make you feel after repeated use” Jacob replied back, the instructor in him shining through, “But if you think you are fine, then who am I to stop you.”
As number 4 came into view, Jacob stopped and turned back and let them know, “Well, here you go, number 4, I am right next door at number 6” Jacob noted as he pointed to the houses. “I should let you know, Petunia can be a little abrupt at times, more so if her little angel is upset” Jacob tried hard to avoid rolling his eyes when he mentioned Dudley, but the other saw it.
“Ah, a mother like that” Remus had said, speaking aloud for the first time, “Quite a common thing really, some mothers just think their children are perfect and will see nothing or no-one say anything against their view” Jacob nodded his head as Remus spoke, that was Petunia alright.
“In any case, this is where I leave you, I have to grab my car and head to the shops, gotta re-stock the cupboards, if I want to eat” Jacob said, joking as he began to turn around. Before he could complete his turn, he noted that all three of the men had some strange looks on their faces, as if they had no idea what he was saying.
“Of course,” James replied after a moment, “Please don’t let us keep you and thank you again for your help, it really was very nice of you” James put forth his hand, letting Jacob shake it in return. Jacob then made for his place, preparing to get his things together for his weekly shopping trip. Just as he made it to his car, an almighty shriek was heard from next door, Petunia could be heard clear as day.
“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE FREAKS, I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU OR MY SISTER AND NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR FREAK OFFSPRING” Her face was as red as a ripe tomato, fear and anger etched onto it as well. While the three men all ran out of the house, as if the hounds of Hades were on their heels, Dudley started to scream. “LOOK WHAT YOU DID, YOU MADE MY DUDDYKINS CRY, GET LOST FREAKS AND NEVER RETURN HERE AGAIN”
James looked sad, not for himself, but still sad, Sirius and Remus shook their heads, as if to say they knew this was how it would play out. The three of them had looked up to see Jacob there, each placing a very strained smile on their faces. Jacob waved, as if to say he was sorry, but he still climbed into the car, knowing he had things to do.
As the car moved out of the drive, he saw the three men standing at the edge of number 4’s driveway and by the time he passed them and looked in the rear-view mirror, they were gone. Jacob stopped at this, where could they have gone, it was not like someone could vanish into thin air, but no matter where he looked from the car, he could see nothing. Confused, he began to move forward again, thinking that the three men were quite strange, but they clearly had bonds between them, the world was far more complex than Jacob was used to.
While that evening, Jacob was treated to the Petunia encore of her early screaming, it thankfully did not last anywhere near as long as it had earlier, and it seemed Vernon agreed, he shouts far shorter. But as things are wont to do, life moved on, November soon became December and then the New Year rolled around and soon, Jacob had finished his first 12 months in his new home. He had only hoped the next 12 months, might bring some change, something new and exciting, if only he knew.
Chapter 2: November begins a new adventure
As life on Privet Drive moved ahead, Jacob had begun to understand that to be accepted around here, you had to enjoy the occasional gossip session, something that the housewives clearly loved to do. While Jacob was not a gossip by nature, he did like to gather information, or intelligence as he called it and the talks with his neighbours provided that perfect chance to do so.
As he expected the Dursley’s were the kind of family that had two different faces, those you saw in public and those that were only shown inside of their house and this was the real Dursley family. Dudley was proving to be a terror, screaming up and down the street, demanding sweets and other things all day long, Petunia only happy to give him whatever he wanted, Jacob knew this was going to be something that would cause the boy trouble later in life.
Vernon was someone who was even worse, while he presented a respectable face, his conversations at home, proved the man to be completely devoid of basic human emotions. The news was always showing stories of people struggling or immigrants coming to Britain and based on his thoughts, you would think Vernon Dursley was a Nazi, as it seemed unless you fit his exact profile of what should be normal, you were worthless and deserved whatever life gave you. Halloween proved that without a doubt, last year the children had approached number 4, dressed in their outfits and were all turned away by the man, this year, they knew not to bother.
This year, Jacob was ready for Halloween, as he began his day, he noted a strange cat sitting outside, looking across the street at number 4, clearly Darren and Sharon at number 7 got a new cat. Once Jacob made it back home after a long day at work, the cat was nowhere to be seen, but Jacob moved on, as he had things to get ready, the kids were going to be coming around soon. Each child that knocked on his door, was dressed in some form of classic costume, spaceman, cowboy, there were even a number of football players amongst the crowd and even a princess or two. When one of the parents of number 7 came through with their lot, Jacob asked about the cat, “Hey Sharon, I saw your new cat this morning, it looked quite comfy on your lawn” Jacob stated, a chuckle to his voice.
“We don’t have a cat Jacob, Darren is allergic to them” Sharon replied, a look of confusion on her face. “Oh, well, maybe it belongs to someone else, but there was a cat sitting on your front lawn this morning, you might want to check that it got no closer if Darren is allergic” Jacob responded, a look of concern on his face. Sharon merely nodded, before getting her lot ready for the next house.
As the last child left number 6 however, Jacob was conflicted, he knew that he enjoyed the holiday, kids were always so excited when they were given lollies and those smiles had Jacob thinking, he was ready for a family, of course, he knew he needed a partner first. As he put the last bowl into the sink, he looked out his window and saw that same cat from the morning, walking down the fence line. Clearly, someone had gotten a new cat, but while it was moving around now, it was still focused more on number 4 than anything else.
While Jacob thought it was odd, it only became stranger when the cat turned around and look right at him, as if it knew it was being watched. Jacob took a small step back, the feeling that he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar, playing through his mind. Shaking his head, he noted that he had to be exhausted, his imagination having some fun with him, he put the cat from his mind, turned off the lights and went upstairs to bed.
Outside, the cat looked around and seeing that no-one was looking, jumped down from the fence, making a landing on two feet instead of the expected four and in it’s place was an older woman, wearing a dress and a pointed hat. As she looked around, a long stick came from her sleeve and she began to wave it around, at her feet, the ground between the wall of number 4 and the fence began to bubble and eventually, a large hole appeared, well a deep hole at least. From her pocket she removed a large stone, about the size of a baseball, and then tapped it with her stick, the action caused it to glow blue, then green, then orange, before fading out again.
Another wave of the stick and the ball was then floating in the air, before it started to lower itself into the freshly made hole, once it was at the bottom, a final wave of the stick and hole filled itself in, looking as if nothing had happened. A quick look around and the lady jumped back up to the fence, her move defying her advanced years, but just as before, by the time she made it to the top, a cat was in its place. The cat now settled down, continuing to watch for any strange activity.
Hours later, at the end of Privet Drive, a strange man with a long white beard and in perhaps the most colourful dress ever seen, complete with pointed hat, had appeared out of nowhere, this had caused the cat to take notice. As the man began to walk forward, he took out a strange silver lighter from within his dress and clicked it, the nearest street lamp went out, the light whooshing towards the lighter and with each click of it, the next went in as well. As he approached the cat, he turned to it and looked down, smiling “I should have known you would be here, Minerva.”
The cat looked up at him and appeared to be upset at the man, but as before the cat began to change into the lady, hat and all “Albus, is it true? Are they really…?” Minerva began to ask, but appeared to be unable to complete her sentence, tears starting to fill her eyes. “Sadly yes, James and Lily have fallen to Voldemort, but young Harry has survived.” A warm smile appeared on his face, but Minerva missed that it did not appear in his eyes “Hagrid is bringing Harry here now, best to avoid the common methods of transportation in these uncertain times.”
Minerva had looked at Albus with nothing but confusion on her face now, “Is it wise to trust Hagrid with something this important?” Albus looked at Minerva and stated quite firmly “I would trust Hagrid with my life,” however Minerva was set in getting an answer from him. “I am aware of the faith and trust that you have for Hagrid, but he will not be able to protect him should something happen.” Minerva had started to raise her voice here, her concern for Harry evident and while Albus looked off to the distance, he responded “Perhaps, but you know better than most, Muggle means can sometimes be the easiest way to hide things.”
Just as he finished speaking, a large rumbling noise was growing louder and louder, before a light started to shine up in the sky and as the rumbling got louder, the light grew brighter and within moments, a man, easily twice the size of most men could be seen sitting atop a motorbike. “Hullo Prafesser Dumbledoor, Prafesser MaGonagul, little tike fell asleep just as we were passin over Bristol. Try nut to wake him.” Hagrid said, as he began to reach into the sash he wore around his neck and then began the most delicate task he had ever attempted, removing a small infant from within. “Thank you, Hagrid, your assistance has been quite welcome tonight, but I ask you now to leave, the smaller the number of people who know the exact house, the better.” Albus had stated as he took the small child from Hagrid’s larger arms.
“No wurries Prafesser, I will leave you to it. Just make sure to he is loved, please, he deserves that.” Hagrid said, heavy tears falling from his eyes, as he climbed back aboard the motorbike. As the bike took off, back into the night sky, Minerva turned back to Albus and questioned him “Are you sure about this Albus, I watched the family all day, they are the worst sort of Muggles possible. The small child and I use that term for his age, not the body size, demands everything and gets it, he will be a nightmare when he grows up and you want to leave Harry here, in this place.” Her face was red as she clearly believed her point. Albus however simply looked at her and stated, “You placed the stone, yes?” She nodded and prepared to reply before he continued, “Then this is the safest place for young Harry. Here he will grow up, away from the fame that will likely grow within the Wizarding world and when the time is right, he will return to us, ready to learn.”
Clearly, he expected her to agree and let Albus leave the boy, but Minerva was known for being stubborn “No Albus, I want no part in this, I will not let you place the boy here, it is not the right place for him.” She stood in front of him, her face proving she was not quite confident in her abilities to stop him. “I am sorry you feel that way Minerva, but Harry must remain here, it is for the Greater Good.” Before she had time to process that statement, Albus had withdrawn his own stick and gave it a wave, Minerva’s face went slack, her expression vacant. “You agreed with me Minerva, you watched me leave young Harry here and then you set off to complete whatever it is you needed to do next.” As Albus finished speaking, Minerva nodded to him, turned and walked away, only a few feet later, did she vanish into this air, leaving no trace of her behind.
Now alone, Albus turned and looked down at the sleeping child, no trace of the smile on his face remaining. “Now young Harry, you will remain here and when it is time, I will have you brought back to me, so you may complete your destiny, do try not to die before I need you to.” Albus looked up at the houses, seeing that they were alike and turned to what he believed to be number 4, but was number 6 and he bent down to place the child on the ground, placing a letter on top. “Goodbye Harry Potter, for now,” and with that, he withdrew the silver lighter from his dress and with a click, all the lights came back on and then he vanished, content that he achieved his goals for the night.
As dawn started to creep in, the only resident of Privet Drive to be moving was Jacob Tuttle of number 6, given his routine, he was up and dressed and ready to head out the door, just after 5am as always, however today, he stopped dead, as a small item was on his doorstep, with what appeared to be a letter sticking out of it. He bent down to pick up the item and letter, only to realise it was a child, the shock of the discovery had him almost drop it, but his recovery was excellent, and he saved himself from that disastrous mistake. Walking back inside, he placed the child down on the floor, near the heater and noticed that while the child was asleep, he had a great big scar on his head, in the form of a lightning bolt and it was red as if it was brand new, with the thought of who could do this to a child in his mind, he decided to open the letter and began to read.
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you, your sister Lily and her husband James were murdered in the early hours of October 31st. While the Wizarding World will mourn their loss, young Harry survived the attempt on this life and in the process vanished the evil that killed his parents.
While Voldemort was defeated and vanquished, his followers are still around and will likely seek revenge for their masters’ defeat and thus to my point. Young Harry while powerful, is still a child and as such, will succumb to their threats quite easily, however if you take him in, which you have done by opening this letter and let him live with you in your house, you will be able to protect him.
Most importantly however, you will be able to protect yourself, as there are people within their ranks that know you exist, so taking the child in, will provide you with protection and make you invisible to them. Should you do this, the bankers at Gringotts, will know and start to provide you will money, 250 British pounds a week, to help you raise Harry, this will be deposited into an account that will be set up in the name of the homeowner, upon your reading this letter. How you raise Harry is up to you, but it would be best if he were not aware of his heritage, powers or the Wizarding World at all, in fact, it would be best if he thought, he was unloved, as that would provide much more powerful protections for your family.
I understand that this is a lot to take in, but I hope you will do the right thing and keep the child with you, however should you attempt to remove him, I will know and simply return the child. Your opening of this letter has sealed a pact with you and Harry and to help you, I will ensure that the Wizarding World remains away from you.
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot.
Jacob sat down as he started to read the letter and by the end, was grateful he had, as he felt like he was ready to pass out. Not only was this child now an orphan, his parents murdered by this Voldemort fellow, there were wizards in the world and this Albus Dumbledore had decided on his own, that Petunia and her husband, were the right people to raise a child. Though if the undertones were correct, it seemed that he did not want Harry to know love, only to be raised, in what could only be described as a pig for slaughter. Knowing that he would need time to sort this out, he did the first thing he could think of and call in sick, explaining to Juliet that a family emergency had come up. Jacob knew he could not leave this child to the planned fate of this Dumbledore fellow, so he started to plan.
Chapter 3: A military man’s plans
As Jacob sat there, musing over the letter, he knew the name Harry Potter sounded familiar, but he could not place it and as he did not spend a lot of time with people who had their own kids, it had to be somewhere specific, like the gym where he had heard it. No matter where the name was from he knew that the first thing he had to do, was to run out and get some crucial items, as he had nothing to eat or drink for little Harry, clothes, those he could make do with if needed, but that would be a last resort. The problem was, he had no way of getting to the shops with Harry, either on foot or in a car, so he needed someone to watch the little tyke, but the question remained who.
Next door was up early, Vernon was bellowing his goodbyes as he went off to work, Petunia could be seen walking back inside and that is when Jacob had a thought, ask Petunia. Now normally, Jacob did all he could to avoid the Dursleys, only speaking to them if he had no choice, or if they approached him first, but this was something that had do be done. The thinking was that if Petunia looked after Harry, for as long as it took Jacob to run to the store, that would be enough to start protection, giving Albus Dumbledore no reason to investigate anything, so with that in mind, Jacob did what he needed to do, he went and knock on the door of number 4.
“Just a minute” Petunia shouted, clearly in the middle of getting her day going and only a few moments later, she had opened the door, shock on her face at who was there. “Oh, Jacob, how lovely to see you today. It is always nice when we get a chance to talk.”
Jacob just nodded his head, thinking that they hardly ever spoken, but it was easier to just let her think what she wanted to. “Petunia, I have a bit of a dilemma and was hoping I could ask a favour of you?”
“Of course, anything I can do to help.” A smile coming across her face, that proved to be more smug than happy. “Now tell me, what is it I can do for you?”
“Last night, well there was an accident, a family I know died and they had asked me to take care of their little one, in the event of a tragedy.” Jacob stated, a little tremor in his voice as he finished.
Petunia could hardly believe it, someone wanted a single man to raise a child, well this was surely gossip that would keep the ladies talking for months to come. “Oh, you poor man, losing friends is never easy, so of course, I would be delighted to help where I can, did you need some food cooked or something else.”
“Thank you, Petunia, right now, I need someone to watch little Harry, while I run to the shops to get some much-needed supplies, the food I eat is not something a growing child needs.” Jacob mentioned with a chuckle to his voice at his own joke.
“Of course, I have things already for a young child, my Dudley is growing so fast, he keeps needing new clothes and I have not the heart to get rid of anything.” Petunia mentioned, Jacob nodding along again.
“Oh, I need to get a lot of things, so if you could watch him for a few hours, give him some food if he gets hungry and such, that would be great. I would be happy to reimburse you for any expenses as well.”
“Oh posh, what kind of neighbour would I be if I charged you for helping you. Just bring the child over and you can get on your way”
“Thank you again, I will just go and get him and then will run off to the shops.” Jacob had stated, turning away towards the end and began the short walk back to his place. Petunia remained in the door the entire time, watching him as he moved.
Only a few minutes later, Jacob had returned, a bundle in his arms, and with some very precise moves, he placed the bundle, containing Harry, into Petunia’s waiting arms. As she took hold, Jacob once again offered his thanks, before rushing to his car, knowing he would need to be as quick as possible.
Hours later, Jacob had returned home, his car full of furniture and toys, food and clothes, he spent so much money in the baby shops, the lady working there offered to come and help him set everything up, especially when she learnt he was single.
Once all the items were inside, Jacob ran back to number 4 and with a gentle knock, waited for Petunia to appear, but the moment she did, he could tell something was wrong.
“What is it Petunia, is Harry ok?” Jacob asked, not being able to mask his fear and given the look on Petunia’s face, something was very wrong.
“Jacob, tell me, who were the parents of little Harry again?” Petunia asked, a clear suspicion in her mind.
“Oh, James and Lily were the parents.” Jacob stated back, before he could even take a breath, Petunia began to scream in whispers at him.
“You dare bring a freak into my house, I thought you were a respectable man, but clearly you have no morals. How did you get this boy, how is it you got the child of my sister?” Petunia demanded.
“Keep quiet will you, unless you want the world to know, pass me Harry and let me place him back at my house, then we can discuss everything. Ok?” Jacob replied, preparing himself for a fight if she refused.
“Fine, take the freak and then you can explain everything.” Petunia turned and went to the cupboard under the stairs and pulled out that same bundle and almost immediately the boy began to cry, and Jacob knew something was wrong.
“Why does Harry smell, did you not change his nappy?” Jacob knew that Petunia was going to refuse to answer him, her face locked into a mask of complete apathy for the child. One Harry was back in Jacob’s arms, he turned and walked back home, attempting to keep the child as protected in his arms, whilst trying to reassure him all was well.
About half and hour later, Harry was asleep, having been removed from his clothes, bathed and then swapped into a clean nappy, the final part proved to be a major challenge. Jacob went outside and headed back to number 4, hoping to make peace with whatever situation Petunia was imagining. A soft knock and Petunia opened not a moment later.
“Get in here, I don’t want this talk to happen with you standing on the street.” As she finished she moved out of the way, letting Jacob enter, but as soon as he went to enter the living room, she stopped him there. “No, just explain what is going on, you are not welcome in my house if you deal with freaks.”
Jacob had dealt with Petunia’s type before, people who assumed that they were better, using any excuse to look down upon others and thanks to working alongside someone who did the same thing in the Army, he knew just how to deal with her.
“First of all, shut up. You have no right to speak to me in that manner, knowing that you placed a child, who was clearly in need of attention inside of a cupboard. I was gone for almost four hours and in that time, the blankets that Harry was wrapped in, clearly had not been disturbed, which means at no point did you even attempt to try and take care of him. Then the moment I return, you demand things of me, which any normal person would know damn well, is not something that you do, but in order to answer your question, I found Harry on the front step of my house this morning.”
Petunia had stopped dead when he began to talk back, a hard tone to his voice, when she mentioned that he found the child on his front step, she knew that there was something more to be said.
“Once I brought Harry in, I discovered a letter, strangely enough it was address to you, upon reading it I discovered that Harry’s parents, James and Lily had been murdered overnight and that someone decided you were the best person to raise the boy. I knew right away that this person had clearly lost their marbles as everyone around here can see the damage you are doing to your own son.” Petunia began to respond when Jacob had stated that, she loved her Diddykins and wanted to tell the world how perfect he was.
“Don’t speak yet, I am not done, clearly as you called him a freak and basically locked him in the cupboard under the stairs, you would never provide the love or care that a child needs and given how you are with someone you claim to love, I would not expect you to change. This person who left Harry for you, clearly had no idea what he would be condemning him to, but I knew, so I decided to take him and raise him as my own son. This way, Harry gets a family and a house he can grow up in, safely and happy and you have nothing to do with raising, what did you call him, a freak? Given your response to seeing him today, can you say that I am wrong in that assessment?” Jacob questioned, slightly panting from the rant he had just ended.
Petunia knew that there was on way she would take a freak in, her sister being dead mattered little as she already considered her to be long dead, ever since she went to that school. “Fine, you are right, I would not ever have a freak in this house and now that I know what happened, you and I will never speak again.”
“Fine by me, the sooner I leave this house and go back to mine, the better I will feel about everything.” Jacob responded, a firm tone showing he was done with the conversation. He made his way towards the door, turning just as he opened it, Petunia was clearly still upset over what she considered a freak in her house, so with nothing more to say, he walked out and pulled the door shut. As Jacob began to walk back to number 6, he was thinking that he would need some help at some point, just then Sharon emerged from number 7, a quick conversation to himself, he made his way over.
“Sharon, just right person I needed to speak with.” Jacob said as he approached. Sharon looked a little shocked that she could help him, usually it was Jacob helping Darren with things from time to time.
“Oh, morning Jacob, how can I help you?” responded Sharon, confusion in her voice. “I hope nothing is wrong?”
“No nothing is wrong per say, I just need some help from someone who is a mother. Some family friends died last night and asked me to look after their little child and while I am happy to do it, I am sure I will do quite a few things wrong. Trial and error is not something that I am willing to do with a child.” A chuckle making its way out as he finished.
“I am so sorry to hear that Jacob and I would be happy to help you out, where is the little one?” Sharon responded right away, eager to help out.
“He is sleeping right now, but I am sure that I have placed him wrong on the bed, or something as equally confusing.” Jacob replied, hoping that Sharon could help right now.
“Well, as long as he is not lying on a pillow, he should be ok, would you like me to check now?” Sharon asked, wanting to make sure the baby was ok. “I have a few moments before I need to leave.”
“If you have the time, I don’t want to take you away from whatever it is you were doing.” Jacob responded, unsure what Sharon did to fill her day.
“Of course, let’s go and see what needs doing.”
What followed was perhaps the most intense 25 minutes Jacob had ever experienced and when you have seen combat, that is not something you can say lightly. Jacob was happy to know that he had placed Harry down right, but it was everything else he had to learn, and Sharon was determined to pass on, what he could only assume was everything she knew, in the time she had.
Sharon left not soon after, leaving Jacob to begin the chore of assembling the crib and other bits and pieces, before Harry awoke, but as he soon learnt, children very much stick to their own schedules.
Late that night, a knock at the front door had Jacob feeling dread, did those wards, whatever they were, take hold with the time that Harry was next door. As he approached, he could hear two voices, one belonged to a man, likely a few years younger than him and the other sounded more like someone grinding two rocks together. Once they left, Jacob sighed in relief thinking that life was going to become quite a ride from now on.
Chapter 4: A time skip, it’s astounding
As Jacob was getting ready to decorate the new Christmas tree, he thought back to the first 4 years that Harry was with him. It took a while for him to adapt to, what Jacob assumed he thought, a strange man, but in time, he did.
Around the age of 3, Harry had called him Dad for the first time and Jacob was as ecstatic, the smile he wore, for the rest of the day, was so wide that he still recalled just how tired his cheeks were the next day. When Harry turned 4, he arranged for a small party with some of the kids from around Privet Drive and while no-one from number 4 was invited, Harry really enjoyed it, the astronaut theme seemed to be a hit for all the kids as well. The only downside was hearing the young Dudley Dursley screaming next door that he wanted to go, his mother refusing, which must have been a shock to the young boy, because the next thing he said, as loudly as he could, was ‘Why did the freak get a party and he could not go’
By the time Harry turned 5, Jacob knew he could not keep bringing him into the Gym, while Rob and the other staff loved him, it was not a place for a boy to be, so Jacob placed him into a local kindergarten. Today though, Jacob knew it would not be a good day, as Harry needed to visit the dentist and while he was ok with Dr Yivik, he still did not like going. Sadly, Dr Yivik had moved back to Russia and as such a new dentist was needed, thankfully a few army friends had let him know of a man out near Crawley, who was also retired from the service. So, with the appointment made and the time approaching, Jacob jumped into the car and went to get Harry, his son.
When Harry climbed into the car, he could see that his dad was looking worried. “What is it dad? You look worried.” Harry stated, all the while putting on his seat belt. Jacob looked back around, watching Harry struggle with the belt, finally getting it sorted though.
“Nothing is wrong, we just have a little drive ahead of us, you have you dentist appointment today remember.” Jacob stated, watching Harry’s face change from concern to outright fear.
“But you said that Dr Y, was leaving the country, how can we go to the dentist if he is not here.” Harry responded, a plea that he his dad was joking in his voice.
“Yes, Dr Yivik has moved back home, but there are other dentists around and we are going to use a new dentist. This man served in the military as well as I did, so he was suggested to me, by another friend.”
“But I don’t need to go, I brush my teeth, almost every day” Harry responded, pleading that he was ok.
“What do you mean, almost every day, you should do it every day.” Jacob replied, looking back at Harry.
“Well sometimes, I forget,” Harry replied, “But I always brush harder the next time.” Jacob had a bit of a chuckle, Harry always tried to put more effort into things that were easy, if he felt he needed to. It was a habit he could not get Harry to break, but he tried.
“Well, we shall see what this new dentist reckons, ok?” Jacob told Harry, as he began to pull out into traffic.
After a lengthy, but uneventful drive, they arrived out the front of the Granger Dentistry, a simple looking building, but with a really large window. Jacob pulled the car into an open parking spot, checking to see if he needed to pay for parking.
“Hey dad, how about, you go and tell them, that I am ok.” Harry said, trying one last time to get out from going.
“Sorry kiddo, that is not the way things work. I will be with you though, so no need to worry.” Jacob responded, undoing his belt and getting out of the car.
As they approached the door, they could see a woman coming from the other direction, a little girl holding her hand, both had some bushy brown hair, the girls much wilder than the mothers. As they happened to get to the door at the same time, Jacob held it open, letting them, then Harry enter before he did.
“Thank you, not very often you see someone willing to hold open a door, especially if you don’t know the person.” The mother replied.
“Please, it was my pleasure. I was always taught that the day we forget our manners, is the day the world ends.” Jacob responded, thinking back to when his grandfather had sat him down and given him all sorts of, what he called ‘Life Lessons’.
“That is a very noble way of looking at things, whoever told you that must have been a kind person.” As she finished speaking, she had walked behind the receptionist’s desk, giving Jacob a shock. “Oh, where are my manners, I am Dr Helen Granger, and this is my daughter Hermione.” She shook Jacob’s hand. Jacob noticed the ring on her hand and asked the question, he suspected he knew the answer to.
“Your husband is the Dr Granger we are seeing today right?” Helen Granger, gave her head a quick nod, “Excellent, he was suggested to me by a former army buddy. Oh, where are my manners, I am Jacob Tuttle, and this is my son Harry.” Jacob said, with a gesture of his hand towards Harry.
“Welcome and I am glad you chose to come to our practice, of course as it is your first time, we need some paperwork filled out,” Helen mentioned, while compiling an ever-growing stack of papers on a clipboard.
“Yes, paperwork, everyone loves that.” Jacob responded, taking a pen from the jar on the counter, along with the now completed set of papers. “Harry, while I am doing this, perhaps you would like to play with Hermione, that is of course, if she wants to.”
Hermione had already settled herself down with a book and when her name was mentioned, lowered it enough for her eyes to peek over the top. Harry looked at what she was reading and decided to read with her.
“Hello, I am Harry,” he said as he walked to the bench Hermione was sitting on.
“Hello Harry, my name is Hermione. I don’t really like to play, so if you don’t mind,” Hermione began, only to be cut-off by Harry.
“No worries, I like to read as well, I spend a lot of time with my dad at his work, not a lot of things to play with there. I spend most of my time reading, sadly, I often am only stuck with reading magazines people have brought in.” Harry finished stating, a small smile on his face, thinking back to some of the stranger magazines he had read.
“Well, I don’t know if that could be considered reading, you should always have an informative book on hand if you want to read.” Hermione replied, lowering her book to her lap, giving Harry a proper look over. “If you want, you can read along with me now, though I should tell you, I do read quite fast.”
Harry’s face broke out into the widest smile that Jacob had ever seen, thanks to the Dursley’s, a lot of comments had been bandied about regarding Harry and friends were something he did not have a lot of at school, or around the neighbourhood.
“Well, colour me impressed,” Helen said, a lock of pleasant shock on her face, “Hermione almost never shares her books, to her, they are as important as teddy bears are to other kids.” The two children sitting there, had made her wish she had a camera nearby.
“Harry sitting there as well is a bit of a shock also, he has trouble making friends, thanks to some of the people that live in our neighbourhood, so this is new for me to see as well.” Jacob responded, taking a moment away from the stack of papers, admiring what he was seeing.
After developing some form of cramp in his hand for all the paperwork he had filled out, Jacob took the forms back to Helen and went to get Harry ready for his check-up. However, as he approached Harry, he could see that he was so lost within the pages of the book, dragging him away would be like, well pulling teeth. He turned back towards the counter instead and asked Helen if a change was ok.
“Helen, sorry Dr Granger, would you mind if I went first, I want to give them more time together, I mean my paperwork is all sorted.”
“Not a worry Jacob, I will go and see if my husband is ready for you, I will be a moment.” Helen replied, taking another look at the two children sitting on the bench, before turning and walking to the back.
A few moments later, Helen had returned and after getting Jacob’s attention, she motioned him to come back. Jacob went up to Harry to let him know what was going on.
“Harry, I am going first alright, so I want you to sit here and read some more with Hermione ok.” Harry barely looked up at him but nodded his head anyway. Jacob assumed that, that was the best he was going to get and stood up and started to walk back.
As he walked through the dentistry, he could not notice how quaint it was, more like a converted house, than a building built for a medical business. The walk though was quite short and soon enough, he was introduced to the other Dr Granger.
“Hi, Jacob, I am Dr Polixenes Granger, but people just call me Pol and yes, our family has a thing for Shakespearean names. Hop up onto the chair and we will have a quick look and see what is happening.” Jacob was thrown, how Pol could get all of what he said, out in a single breath was impressive.
“Sure thing Doc, my teeth and in your hands.” Jacob said as he sat down on the seat, swinging his legs around and trying to get comfy. Not a moment later, the chair began to lower and tilt, his head now lower than his feet.
“Well, I will do all I can to treat them right. Let’s have a look at these and see what is going on,” Pol stated as the giant light overhead came on. A few moments of seeing stars had Jacob thinking he was back in boot camp, the old instructors loved to shine bright lights in their faces out of nowhere. Thankfully though, Pol kept speaking to him, while he was working away.
“Your teeth are looking good so far, I am guessing the Army took care of them when you joined, and force of habit kept them for you since, right?” Pol asked, tapping some of the teeth at the back of Jacob’s mouth.
“Yes, though, I don’t floss as much as I used to.” Jacob replied, once the metal tools had been removed.
“I can see that, you have a slight plaque build up on a few teeth, which we can get cleared up via a scrapping. Though, we usually have to put a local in place, to make things easier on you and us.” Pol replied, while getting the tools sorted. Jacob just shrugged his shoulders, expecting something to be done during this visit.
“No worries, I honestly thought it might be the case, so have at it Doc.” Jacob replied, trying to get comfy again on the chair. As Pol came and added the numbing agent to Jacob’s gum, he asked the question, that Jacob gets more than anything.
“So, Harry is your son, but you are not married. How did that happen?” Pol asked, beginning to start the scrap.
“Well, Harry is not my son,” but before he could even complete his sentence, there was a crash by the door, Harry was standing there, a small model of teeth around his feet in pieces. Jacob immediately tried to sit up, but he was loopy from the anaesthetic and his head being lower than the rest of him.
Pol jumped out of the way, trying to pull the man up, seeing what he was attempting to do, but by the time Jacob was on his feet proper, Harry was nowhere near the door, a small scream from reception had both Jacob and Pol running in that direction.
“Gone……. They are just gone.” Helen was repeating herself, Harry and Hermione were both not present in the room. Hermione’s book sitting on the bench near where they were sitting, her bag on the floor in front.
“Helen, love, what do you mean gone. Where is Hermione?” Pol asked, fear showing on his face.
Helen took a moment to see who was speaking, before she turned to Pol and Jacob and replied “Harry came running back from out back, he looked like he was crying. Hermione jumped up and asked him what was wrong and the moment she reached out and touched his hand, they just vanished. What happened?” By the end she was pleading with Pol for an answer or anything, her child gone into nothing.
“I am afraid I can explain what happened, but it might be best if we can find the kids first.” Jacob replied, looking at the faces of Pol and Helen, trying to project a calm demeanour, all the while, drool escaped his numbed mouth.
Chapter 5: Fellow soldiers in for the long haul
“What do you mean, you can explain?” Helen screamed, her mind thinking that he was so calm, while everything was strange, and she was used to strange. “Where is my baby?”
Pol looked at Jacob, expecting some answers, knowing though that with a numb face and missing child, he was likely in a worse spot that he and his wife. “Helen, let us get Jacob sitting down, he has novocain in his system right now, so being this mobile is likely not going to help anyone.”
Helen looked at her husband, then closer at Jacob and she could clearly see the effects, the moment her brain processed this, she forced Jacob into a chair.
“Now you sit and talk and you Polixenes Granger, keep quiet. I want to know where my baby is.” Helen demanded, her face showing nothing but determination, as if she were ready to tackle a mother lion.
“Well, sometimes, Harry has strange things happen to him, when he is scared or angry. Even being upset can cause these reactions.” Jacob began, hoping to not sound crazy to the two dentists. However, if he were looking up at their faces, he would have seen looks of understanding, instead of the expected scepticism.
“What do you mean, strange things Jacob and how does this related to them vanishing into nothing?” Helen asked, her voice much quieter than before.
“Well, strange things,” Jacob began, wondering where to being, “I can tell you, that this is not the first time this has happened. Though I suppose that is of little comfort to you.” He said at the end, noticing their faces for the first time since he sat down.
“This has happened before, what is your son?” Pol asked, noticing the look of anger flash across Jacob’s face that the last comment, but thinking that this might help his family out more.
“Yes, when Harry was a little older than two, he was sitting downstairs watching some television one morning, but we had plans to head out that day. After asking him to have a bath a few times, he just kept watching the tv, so eventually, I just turned off the tv, turned around and picked him up and carried him into the bathroom.” Jacob responded, clearly expecting the dentists in front of him to understand that sometimes kids just did not listen.
“Well, I got the bath running and started to get him ready, when out of nowhere he screams, that he does not want a bath and then poof, nothing. Now, let me tell you, I freaked out, Harry was in my arms one moment then nowhere and I was lost as to what happened.” Jacob noted, explain his fears, which helped the Grangers calm down a bit.
“Next thing I know, the tv is back on, the cartoons blaring back through the house. I ran downstairs and there is Harry, naked as can be, watching Scooby-Doo.” Jacob finished speaking, his face feeling a little more normal, though still somewhat numb.
“Ok, so it has happened before, but that does not explain where they are now.” Helen responded, thinking that Jacob knew more than he was letting on, but her worry right now was for her child.
“Well, it has happened more than once and each time, Harry was found in the house, usually in front of the tv. So, I think, if I call home and he answers, that is where we will find them.” Jacob replied, hoping that this would help calm the mother down.
“Here is the phone, start dialling.” Helen stated as she passed the phone to Jacob. As soon as he picked up the handset, he began dialling his number and after a few rings, it was picked up.
“Harry, is that you?” Jacob asked right away, not caring about the usual phone etiquette.
“Yes Dad, its me.” Harry responded, still crying. Jacob’s heart ached at knowing he had caused this pain for his son.
“Is Hermione with you? Is she safe?” He replied, looking at the Grangers as he did.
“Yes, she is here, she is crying though, I think I scared her.” Harry responded, more sobs coming through the line.
“Ok Harry, stay where you are, we are coming there ok. Just stay put and I will be there as soon as I am able. You need to keep Hermione safe ok, her parents are coming with me. Alright?” Jacob stated, wishing with all his might, that Harry listened.
“Yes dad, we will stay here.” Harry replied, “I will look after Hermione as well.” Jacob released a breath, knowing that Harry would do whatever he could to help the young girl.
“Ok, we are on our way.” He placed the handset back down onto its base, looking at Helen and Pol, giving them a nod. Helen, almost immediately, burst into tears, her child was safe, in an unknown space, but safe. Pol threw his arm’s around her as she cried.
“Well, guess we are going for a drive then. You said you were from Surrey, right?” Pol asked, thinking back to the paperwork he had taken a quick look at before. Jacob just looked at him and nodded, before beginning to stand up. As he did, he went for his car keys, but Pol took them off him almost right away.
“Sorry Jacob, but even with the little that we gave you, there is no way, either of us would let you drive away from here for at least another hour.” Pol stated, a conviction in his voice that Helen rarely heard.
“Yes, of course, how silly of me. Would someone mind driving my car then, the sooner we set off the better.” Jacob responded, leaning against the counter as he needed something steady to lean against. Helen muffled her tears, while Pol ran and turned off all the equipment he used and within moments, he was back and ready to go.
Together the three of them got into Jacob’s car, with Pol behind the wheel and they quickly made their way to Surrey. Only 50 minutes later, but what felt like days, the car finally turned onto Privet Drive, with number six only a short distance away. As soon as Pol pulled into the drive, Helen was out of the seat and racing to the door, Jacob and Pol were right behind her, Jacob demanding the keys from Pol as they got to the door.
As soon as the door was opened, the three adults barrelled through, only to find the kids sitting in front of the tv, with a biscuit in hand, watching some show. Both kids turned around almost at once, upon hearing the noise, only to appear to have vanished again, with Helen and Jacob feeling great weights thrown at their legs. It took a second for all to realise, that they were ok, and all was well, even Pol, upon picking up Hermione from the ground, blasted out a smile, whatever was going to happen was ok, he had his little girl back.
After some very tight hugs were exchanged, Jacob asked the Grangers to sit down and he would explain what had happened, well more to the point why it had happened. As Jacob sat in his chair, the Grangers took over the couch, but Harry and Hermione sat side by side on the floor, not wanting to be separated.
“So I explained before, that Harry has done this before,” Jacob began, getting a small nod from both Helen and Pol, “Well, there is a reason for that. Harry is a wizard.” Jacob ended his statement, expecting some very loud reactions, but instead he saw looks of understanding.
Pol was the fist one to speak up, “When you say wizard, do you mean a wand waving and magic hat wearing kind right?” Helen, looking closely at Jacob, her face displaying a look of hope.
“Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Why is it though, that you are not running from the hills, I would have thought this might be more shocking.” Jacob replied, trying to determine what was going on through the adult Granger minds.
“Well, Helen and I have experienced similar strange things from Hermione” The child in question looked up at Jacob and gave a small nod, indicating the truth of the statement. “Honestly, we were starting to worry that there was something wrong with Hermione, but if she is a wizard as well, you can imagine our relief knowing we are not alone in this situation.” Pol ended, only to have his six-year-old correct him.
“Daddy, I would be a witch, only boys can be wizards. Girls are witches.” Hermione said, speaking loudly, so all could hear her. “But does that mean I can do magic?” She asked.
Jacob looked at her, then to Harry, before looking back at the Grangers. “Yes, there is a school that you will go to, when you are older, where they will teach you all about magic and how to use it.” Hermione’s face lit up at the thought of learning magic, but as soon as she thought how great it would be, she turned to Harry, her face looking downcast.
“But will Harry come with me? We are not the same age, so will we not learn at the same time?” All the parents could see that they had become friends in the time they were alone.
“Yes, Harry will be going to magic school as well, though which one is not something I have decided yet, there are a few issues that will need to be sorted before that decision is made.” Harry looked at him, as if it to ask, what he was talking about.
“There is something I have kept from Harry for a while now and I was planning on telling him when he was older, but I guess tonight will be the night instead.” Jacob said, looking at Harry. “Of course, I had not imagined an audience when I did this.” Jacob said, trying to chuckle. “Harry, first came to me November of 1981, well I should say, I found him then, as when I went to go to work one morning, he was lying on my doorstep. Wrapped in a blanket and a letter contained within.”
Pol and Helen looked shocked that someone could do that to a baby, how could someone be so cruel. Not only was it child endangerment, it was also November and while not as cold as December, nights still could get close to freezing. Hermione, however did not think her thoughts, she broadcast them for all to hear, while still clutching Harry’s arm as tightly as she could.
“Someone left Harry at your door, how could they? Who in the world would be so irra… irrisp.. careless as to do that?” Her eyes bored at Jacob, expected him to give her the answer. Helen, however spoke to her first.
“Calm yourself Hermione, Jacob will tell the story in time.” Her tone was light, but stern and Jacob looked from Helen to Hermione, seeing the child sit still, clearly not the first time she had acted this way.
“Continuing on,” Jacob said, smiling down at Hermione, “Once I brought Harry inside, I discovered the letter and in it, there were some half-truths, buried under empty platitudes. Harry’s birth parents were James and Lily, it seems that some dark wizard named Voldemort had killed them, leaving Harry alone.” At this point Jacob looked at his son, as Harry was his son, only to see tears falling from his face.
He got of the chair and picked Harry up, giving him the tightest hug, he could possibly give, hoping to help calm him down. Still with Harry in his arms, he sat back down, placing Harry on his lap as he did, letting Hermione go and sit with her mum and dad.
“As I read the letter, I realised that whoever left Harry on my door, made a mistake, they had meant to leave him at number 4.” As soon as Jacob said that, Harry gasped, his eyes wide with fear.
“You are not going to send me there are you dad?” Harry asked, hoping that he was going to stay here.
“No Harry, you are not leaving here, you are my son and there is nothing that I would not do to keep you safe.” Giving Harry another squeeze, he could see the fear drain from his face, happy that he was stating put. Pol thought that something had to be wrong with next door, for both Jacob and Harry to react that way.
“Sorry Jacob, but can you tell me, what is wrong with number 4? I know not all the people we have as neighbours can be perfect, but surely they can’t be that bad.”
Jacob had to laugh at that statement, but what only began as a light chuckle, soon it was a fully belly laugh, with Harry joining in for a while as well.
“Sorry Pol, not laughing at you,” Jacob began saying, while trying to get his breath back. “Number 4 Privet Drive is filled with some of the most horrendous people that I have ever had to deal with, and let’s not forget, I have been shot at by the Vietcong. Vernon Dursley is perhaps, the most useless person I have seen, he drives a normal car, but the way he carries on about it, you would think it was the Queen’s personal car. Each day he comes home, the first thing he does, is bellows out, how hard a day he had, so all can hear him, but he does it in a way, where he tries to make it seem like he does not care about his day.”
Pol and Helen looked at Jacob, looks on their faces stating that it could not be true, but Jacob was not finished.
“Petunia, the wife and somehow, Harry’s biological aunt, lives for gossip, she spends so much time starring out the window and over the fences, that Harry thinks her neck has stretched like a Giraffe. Whenever a few of the ladies from the area come over for tea, she begins to tell them all the gossip that she knows, while also throwing in hints about how Vernon is doing at his job and how they are always asking him to take a promotion.”
“Now, I am not one for boasting, but I can see how you might be proud of your partners achievements, but it seems each week, Vernon refuses a promotion, because and I quote ‘he wants to work for a living’. The problem is, there are a few people he works with that come to the gym I work at and they clearly have a different opinion of him.”
At this point, Harry spoke up, wanting to add his bit. “Mr Dursley is also mean, one day, I was playing out the front and my ball rolled across towards his car when he came home. I went over to ask for it and he took the ball inside, telling me ‘freaks did not deserve normal toys’. A few days later I saw Dudley playing with it, he did not give it back to me either.”
Hermione jumped down from her place on Pol’s lap and pulled Harry down from Jacobs and gave him a big hug. “Well Harry, I guess you and I will just have to play together and we can also share books. Ok?” Harry just returned the hug and gave a nod, refusing to speak.
“Thank you, Hermione, I am sure you and Harry will be best friends forever,” Jacob said, “Dudley, however is the worst of the Dursleys. Whatever he wants, he gets, and it does not have to be a present. Countless times, he has been seen by other parents taking toys from other kids. Of course, if he is caught, he hands it back and states he is ‘only playing’ the problem is, most of the time he gets away with it.”
“Whenever parents find out and go to the Dursleys to ask for the toy back, they are instantly threatened, told how precious and sweet their Dudley is and all sorts of other nonsense.” Jacob finished, a frown on his face. Helen and Pol, just simple could not believe it, people were mixed of course, you had good days and bad days, but it seems the Dursleys, just did not care about anyone or anything, except themselves.
“Well, if Petunia is Harry’s Aunt, how is it he is with you?” Pol asked, trying to understand how this all came together.
“In the letter, it explained that if Harry lived with Petunia, some sort of force field would be made active and would keep any bad guys away. Now I may not be a massive science fiction fan, but I know shields don’t just wrap around an object, they usually extend out, like a dome.”
Hermione was clinging to Harry still, nodding along, showing she knew what was being talked about, Helen meanwhile, just looked confused. Pol understood what Jacob was saying but had to confirm none the less. “So, once this field was active, it would extend out past the boundaries of the property and cover some of, if not all of your house. Is that what you think?”
“Exactly, my thinking was, that once active, if I made Harry’s room the one closest to number 4, the field would surely cover him, even staying here. The problem was making sure it activated, for that I had Petunia look after him, the very morning I found him and then went baby shopping.”
Pol just started to laugh, “That would be perfect, she activates this field and then never deals with the child again.” Helen, at least followed along with that part of the conversation. However, Jacob had a little more to add.
“Once I returned home, I went to get Harry back, as I had been gone almost 4 hours, I had hoped it was enough time. Once Petunia opened the door, I could tell she was not happy, she immediately began to ask where I got the boy from and who his parents were. As soon as I said the names, she began to freak out, screaming about freaks and other such nonsense. I asked her to bring me Harry and I would explain what I could, however I would have never imagined what happened next.”
“When she turned to go and get him, she went to the cupboard under the stairs and removed him from there, he was crying the moment he was picked up. The blanket he was in, remained tightly wrapped around him and there was a smell. She had not changed the dirty nappy he had one, simply placed him into the cupboard and left him there. Once I took him from their I took him home, changed him and got him back to sleep, I then went over and gave her a piece of my mind.”
Helen was furious, how could anyone treat a child that way, let alone anyone from their own family that way, it was just barbaric. Pol had much the same reaction, except he stood up and began pacing, thoughts of what he would do, if he got that woman into his chair.
Hermione however, simply let go of Harry, stood up, pulled Harry up, before pushing him onto the couch and then jumping on him, giving him, what Harry later described as the best hug ever.
“So now you know how Harry came to live with me,” and as Jacob turned to Harry, “even though, you are not my son biologically, you are my son Harry. Nothing will ever change that, not today, not tomorrow, nor even when you have kids of your own.” Jacob let go of a big breath and mentioned he was thirsty, offering the kids some water, he asked what the Grangers would like, Pol, not normally one for drinking, asked for a whiskey, if possible, Helen asked for the same.
Returning back to the room, Jacob handed out the drinks, taking his own whiskey and sitting back down. After a few moments of silence, he asked the question he knew he had to ask. “So, Pol, Helen, how is it, with all this talk of magic and force fields, you are not freaking out, or at least attempting to call the Police on me?”
Helen and Pol shared a look, with Pol taking a deep breath before speaking, “Well, honestly, it is because everything you have said has convinced us that Hermione has magic as well.”
Chapter 6: A plan comes together
“What do you mean I might have magic,” Hermione screamed. Harry winced as she did this, he ear was right by her mouth. Helen noticed this and reprimanded her daughter.
“Hermione Jean Granger, you apologise to Harry right now. What did you think would happen if you screamed right next to his ear?” The moment Helen finished speaking, Hermione whipped her head back around to Harry, only to see in looking away.
“I am so sorry Harry; I didn’t mean to do it.” Hermione said, pleading to Harry, thankfully Harry knew she did not mean it.
“I am ok Hermione; you can yell very loud though.” Harry said, giving his ear a bit of a rub. Hermione pulled him back into a hug. “Sorry Mum, sorry Dad and sorry Mr Turtle.” She said, looking at each of the adults.
Jacob just chuckled, “It is Tuttle, but that is ok Hermione.” Turning to Pol, he asked, “What do you mean that Hermione might have magic?”
Pol looked to Helen, before turning back and beginning their tale. “Well, much like Harry, Hermione has often been at the centre of some strange incidents, a lot of them were when she was younger, but a few have happened since then as well. The first time something strange happened, was not long after her Nanna arrived, she had brought her cookies, that she bakes, and Hermione was enjoying them. After a few, we took the container and moved them away and told Hermione that, she had eaten enough, but she did not like that.”
“She began to cry and was holding her arms out towards them, you know as kids do when they want something and out of nowhere, it started to float back towards her. Once it was in range, she reached in and took one, before it fell to the floor and broke.” Pol took a moment to look at his daughter, she had clearly no memory of this event.
“You were very young princess, so it is not a surprise that you don’t remember it. But it was only a few months later that the same thing happened with Mr Fuzzy.” Pol explained how Hermione had thrown her favourite bear from her cot and when she began to cry, Helen arrived, only to see the bear floating back towards her.
“There have been a few other things over the years, usually when she is upset about something. I will be honest at first, well we did freak out, nothing could prepare you for seeing things floating around your child. I made some subtle enquires to some paediatricians that I know, see if anyone had reported other similar instances before, but no such luck. I think a few of them thought that I was simply pulling their leg or something, but as time went on, the instances of magic, I suppose we need to call it now, slowed down and now there is nothing really.” Pol finished, looking at Hermione, a look of love on his face.
“You need to know Hermione, that we love you so much and with magic or without, you will always be our daughter and you will always be my princess.” Hermione let go of Harry and bolted towards her father, attempting to squeeze the life from him.
“Thank you, daddy, and thank you mummy, I love you.” Hermione said, tears forming in her eyes. Jacob watched on, thinking that this family was special. Eventually though, he cleared his throat, eager to raise a point.
“Well, I don’t know about you all, but all this has made me a little hungry, so what do you say we order in some food.” Just as he finished, Harry and Helen’s stomachs both growled, clearly showing they were in agreement. Hermione, still clinging to Pol, burst out with giggles. Helen decide a verbal answer would be best though.
“Yes, I think that might be best. If you have a menu, we can see what your local place offers.” Jacob nodded at the request and went to collect the menu, Harry quickly got up and followed him into the other room.
“Dad, I know you said that I was not your son, but I am glad you are my dad.” Harry said whilst trying to match Hermione in sheer pressure. Jacob simply pulled his arms around Harry and gave him a strong hug back.
“I am proud to have you as my son Harry, never forget that.” Jacob replied, giving a final squeeze before letting go. “Come on, let’s get these menus.”
Later, after the food had arrived and all had eaten, there was talk about what it meant going forward, would they stay in contact and given the special nature that the children possessed, would they want to. Helen stood up from the dining room table, to go and check on Harry and Hermione, who were both sleeping on the couch, she gestured to the men, getting them to come and have a look. After all, made sure to remember the moment, they turned back and sat back down at the table, to have an important talk.
“So, what happens now?” Helen asked, thinking that she would do whatever she could, to keep the two kids together. “We live quite a distance apart, so keeping in contact, at least in person might be a challenge.”
Pol and Jacob looked at each other, a silent agreement passing between them. “Well, I have to be honest,” Jacob said, “We can’t move from here. Those wards that this professor has put up, I think moving will alert him that something is not right, and I want to make sure that he never finds out.”
Pol nodded, “Yes, the man seems to have a strange idea of what children need and given that he is a headmaster of a school for kids, that is disturbing to say the least. If moving for you guys is out of the question and moving for us, is not something we could consider doing easily, I guess we will need to come up with a plan that keeps the kids connected.”
Jacob was nodding his head along, but before he could respond, Helen spoke up, “I have a perfect solution, during the week, we can let them call each other if they want to, I am sure they would do it, then every second weekend, we could arrange to meet up somewhere.” Pol looked at Helen, imagining the phone bill, but the expression Helen wore, meant that he could not raise that as a point of concern, unless he wanted to sleep on the couch himself, clearly, Jacob had the same thought and as an unmarried man, voiced it, without thinking ahead.
“I don’t know about calling each other every day, the phone bill would be expensive.” Not a moment after he finished speaking, Helen was on him.
“Well, I am sure the kids would love it, but if money is your only concern, then I am sure you can explain to them, that they can’t speak to each other, whenever they want.” Jacob flinched back, while hearing someone speak to him in that tone was nothing new, thanks Army, it was strange to feel like he was only a few feet tall, in his own house.
“I….Well…. argh! You are right Helen, Harry would surely hate me, but while I earn a decent wage at my job, I just could not cover a massive phone bill each month.” Jacob replied, trying to appease the upset mother, Helen it seemed had thought ahead on that.
“Yes, I am sure we would struggle with that as well, so how about a compromise. One day, Harry could call Hermione and then the next day, we could swap, with Hermione calling here. That way, we are only paying for two or three calls a week and if we make sure we swap the days, it will keep things evened out.”
Pol just looked at Helen, clearly this was the administrator coming in, while she was good with the tools of her practice, she was a savant in the office.
“Yes, that might work, then if we arrange for a catch up over every second weekend, that will help ease the burden. We could do small things, like a trip to the zoo, or even the ever so basic, but always welcome, dinner at the others house.” Pol supplied.
Over the next 40 minutes, the parents worked out a schedule, with Helen taking some paper and writing it up, though she was unable to colour code it, as Jacob had nothing to colour code it with. Soon though, the Grangers knew they had to head home, as it was quite late, Jacob offered to drive them back, but thinking about the almost 2-hour round trip, they refused and just called for a cab. Waking the kids up, was something they did not want to do, but it needed to be done.
Jacob walked out to get Harry up, with Pol doing the same for Hermione and after a few attempts and some light prodding both kids were awake, if still a little sleepy. The cab arrived only moments later, and Helen went out to greet the driver, while Pol picked up a still dozing Hermione.
“I can honestly say that I never expected the day to go this way at all,” Pol said to Jacob, “But I am glad it did, knowing what Hermione has, well it makes things so much easier and seeing her get a friend from it, makes it even better.”
Jacob agreed, adding that the next few years were going to be a lot of fun. Helen walked back in, gave Jacob a small wave and began to lead Pol out, Hermione though wanted to say goodbye to her new friend.
“Bye Harry,” she said, still dozing, “I am glad you are my friend.” Harry responded in kind, even more asleep than Hermione was.
“I am glad you are my friend too, bye Mione.” Harry said, just as he fell back asleep completely. Pol and Helen looked closely at Hermione, who was adamant that no-one ever shorten her name, simply smiled, before drifting off again.
Jacob saw Pol, Helen and Hermione get into the cab, before he took Harry upstairs, going forward things would change.
As the days became weeks, which in turn became months, it turns out little had changed in their lives, except for the fact that now had standing Saturday plans with the Grangers. However, when it came time for Harry to be enrolled in school, he refused to go to the same one as Dudley and instead, wanted to go to the one Hermione went to.
Jacob had spoken to Pol and Helen about this, noting that they were also given the same demand and while it was not going to be easy, they had agreed to enrol both kids at the same school, about halfway between their respective houses. Needless to say, Harry was quite happy with this and time continued to march onwards.
Harry and Hermione simply became closer, if that were possible, each would get the same book to read and spend their time on the phone, each night talking about it. Jacob once joked that it was amazing, they could spend all day at school together and still spend over an hour each night on the phone, Harry decided his dad was not as funny as he thought he was.
Towards the end of their second year in school, Pol had pulled Jacob up for a massive favour as they picked the kids up from school.
“Hey Jacob, just who I was hoping to run into here,” he said with a laugh, knowing that it was impossible not to see each other. “I have a really big favour to ask of you.” Jacob knew he would be happy to help out, whatever it was, so he let Pol continue. “Well, Helen and I have been invited to a conference in Germany, to learn about some new practices that have been developed and were wondering if you might be able to look after Hermione for a week or so?” Before Jacob could even think of a response, Hermione had squealed with so much joy, Jacob and Pol both thought that any nearby glass would have been shattered.
“Oh, please say yes,” Hermione began, “I really would love to stay with Harry.” Jacob chuckled and could not resist having some fun with the girl.
“What about me? Do I not rate a mention in this?” Jacob said, Pol caught the glint in his eye and knew he was joking, however Harry did not see this and jumped in.
“Dad, Hermione is my friend, not yours. Please don’t make fun of her.” Jacob was shocked, he knew Harry cared for his friend, but seeing him stand up for her, was something he had not seen before.
“Please calm down Harry, I was only joking. Hermione is more than welcome to stay with us, I am sure we can find some activities to keep the two of you busy when you are not in school.” Jacob said, seeing both faces change from ones of apprehension to almost pure joy as he spoke.
“Excellent,” Pol responded, “I will let Helen know tonight and we can begin to get things sorted.” As Pol finished, Hermione gave Harry a hug, before heading towards her dad’s car. Pol noted this and then followed suit.
Later that night, plans were made over the phone and as soon as it went down, Harry began jumping around, as if he was infused with sugar. Jacob noted the response, making sure he could use it in the future. As the time of Hermione’s stay edged closer and closer, Harry found himself unable to think about anything else, the number of times he checked over things and had Jacob do the same was well into double digits. Jacob could do nothing but laugh, he knew the excitement in having friends around for a visit, so he let Harry be.
When the day arrived, both kids were so excited, Jacob had trouble getting them to sleep, but eventually they did, and Harry proceeded to have, what he thought, were the best 10 days of his life. Hermione was in two minds though, she loved staying there, but was unsure about the gym where Harry and Jacob spent the time between school and dinner, mostly because it smelt. Jacob had explained that due to Harry being young, he could not leave him home alone, so Harry would do his homework while Jacob was at work, then by the time he got home, the time was for him to do with as he pleased.
For Harry’s 9th birthday, there was a lot of planning done, between the parents and Hermione on how best to celebrate the special day, Harry had ensured in years past that no-one make a big deal out of it, but this year they decided a day in London was on offer. When the day came, Harry could not believe it, he enjoyed going to London, but it was so far out of the way, they very rarely did, so when he found out they were spending the day there, his excitement rivalled that of Hermione’s first stay over.
“Harry, come on, or we shall be late meeting with the Grangers,” Jacob yelled back up the stairs, expecting Harry to be down and ready to go, ages ago. “If you don’t hurry up, I will leave you here.”
Harry knew he needed to hurry, so he grabbed his new wallet and raced down the stairs, taking the last few at a jump. Ever so graceful though, Harry landed like a cat and proceeded to turn the corner and then crashed into Jacob.
“Ow… Dad, what are you doing waiting at the bottom of the stairs.” Harry said, rubbing his head, where it had bounced off his dad.
“What am I doing, I am waiting for you, lazy bones. But what were you doing, I have told you before, not to jump down the stairs.” Jacob knew that no matter how many times he told Harry, there was something about him that made him make some crazy moves.
“Well, you said we were in a hurry, so I figured the best way to get down was to jump.” Harry replied, his face set, as if expecting his dad to just accept the answer. Jacob noticed this and responded the only way he could, a light tap, around the back of the head.
“Just because you work out at the gym, does not make you Superman,” Jacob responded, watching Harry now rub the back of his head, Harry had to correct him though.
“I would rather be Batman Dad, he has all the cool toys.” Harry’s response was nothing new, Jacob had discovered him reading a Batman comic a few months back and since then, Harry had become enamoured with the caped crusader. The new Batman wallet he had in his hands, proving that fact quite easily.
“Well, if you become Batman, then you may of course, start to leap from buildings and flying around the city, until then, you need to use all steps on a set of stairs. Ok?”
Harry accepted his Dad’s rule, but both of them knew that the conversation would be repeated in a few weeks’ time, it always did. As they finally headed out the door, Sharon and Darren were loading up their car for their summer get away, noticing they pair, Jacob gave a wave.
Sharon however simply yelled across the street, “Happy Birthday Harry,” Darren gave his head a shake at the volume Sharon produced, but smiled towards Harry as well. Harry replied his thanks, before getting in the car. Over the drive, that same excitable energy that Harry showed that first time Hermione stayed over, came out again, making Jacob chuckle. Harry noticed this and had to know what was going on.
“Why are you laughing dad? Is it a new sign on the road?” Harry asked, looking out the windows for the source of his dad’s amusement. Jacob however just responded, as flat as he could, “Nope, it is you. You are almost vibrating in your seat with excitement. You did the same thing the very first time Hermione stayed with us.”
Harry stopped looking at his Dad and began to blush, clearly embarrassed at his actions, or perhaps it was at his dad’s recollection of the past. He simply turned back to look out the window before his dad could say anything further. As they arrived into London, they made their way toward the meeting place, Wyndham’s Theatre and as they pulled into the nearby parking structure, Harry noticed the Grangers were waiting at the front of the theatre.
As soon as the car stopped, Harry was out of his seat and began walking towards the stairs, only to stop when his dad called out to him. “Harry, hold up,” clearly not wanting to wait, but knowing better than to ignore his dad, Harry just turned around and waited, bouncing on the spot. Soon though, Jacob was with him and both headed down to the street and then towards the Grangers and as soon as Harry and Hermione saw each other, the resulting move could only be described as teleporting as both kids were soon hugging, the gap vanishing in an instant.
Harry was so happy his friend was celebrating his birthday with him, while he did not like a big party, thanks to the efforts of number 4 over the years, just being with Hermione was enough for him. Together they led the Grangers onwards to the first of their destinations, well Hermione did, pulling Harry along by the hand.
As the day progressed, both kids were starting to tire, but Hermione knew that the final surprise would make Harry quite happy, they were going to see the new Batman movie. Before that though, they were heading out to dinner and as they made their way towards the location, they encountered a woman, with what was easily her daughter, coming from out of an alley way. Harry was shocked at the fact that both the older and younger, were both wearing robes, Hermione was even more surprised, but the greatest shock of all came from the elder of the two people, when she addressed Harry directly.
“Oh my, Mr Potter, I did not see you there.” To say Harry was surprised, was an understatement, somehow, she knew who he was, even though he had never met the lady before. Before anyone could respond, the little girl approached and introduced herself as well.
“Hello Harry, my name is Luna, Luna Lovegood,” with her introduction done, she turned back to her mother and asked a question, while harmless in most contexts, scared Jacob. “Do we have time to spend with Harry today on his birthday?”
Jacob noted that something was off when the lady address Harry directly, but when the little girl announced it was Harry’s birthday, alarm bells started to sound. “I am sorry, but who are you and how do you know it is Harry’s birthday?” Jacob asked, slowly moving to stand in front of Harry.
“Please, pardon me, I forgot my manners,” the lady responded, “My name is Pandora Lovegood, and this is my daughter Luna. As for how we know it is Harry’s birthday, well, I was there the day Harry was born and I would know that hair anywhere, plus those eyes are unmistakably his mothers. Plus, I am sad to say, there is not a person within the magical world, who does not know it is Harry’s birthday today, the life of someone in the spotlight is hard to keep secret.”
While all the adults listened to the story, Harry simply stopped when he had been given a description of his mother, she had green eyes, the same as him. When was old enough to understand Petunia was his aunt, he first started to picture his mother, looking like her and while it helped him think of his mother as a person, it also made him sick, so the news that she had his eyes, helped change the look away from Petunia.
“Oh,” Jacob said, unsure how to respond to the comments made by Pandora, “Could you explain why everyone in the magical world knows it is his birthday today?” Pandora, clearly had no issues in talking to these unknown people.
“Please, it would be no problem at all, you see, Harry is famous for stopping a terrible wizard when he was younger.” Jacob knew the story of how Harry came to be with him, but the rest was new. “When he defeated the evil that we do not name, he became a legend to the magical community, people started to wonder what had happened to him after then, but each year people celebrate his birthday and the day he defeated the dark lord, as if they were Yule.”
Luna chose this moment to speak up, adding her input to the story, “Yes, the story of Harry Potter is quite famous now. There are even books that detail the adventures that he has been having since he left the magical world, my friend Ginny adores her books and believes she will marry Harry Potter someday.” Pandora looked down at her daughter and smiled.
“Yes, my little moonbeam is correct, there is so much known about Mr Potter here, it is quite frightening, though I suspect nothing is as accurate as most people believe.” Pol and Helen were clearly quite shocked at what was happening, Hermione however was in two minds, her first instinct was to keep holding onto Harry’s hand and drag him away from this, but with the thought of new books to read, about her best friend no less, left her conflicted.
Harry seemed to realise what Hermione was thinking, as he turned to look at her, a look of fear on his face. The thought that people would be writing about him, had him feeling nothing but dread and the look Hermione had on her face, just confirmed it.
Jacob responded the only way he knew how, he asked for more information. “Pandora, where might someone get these books from? I am sure Harry would be interested to know what people are saying about him.” Pandora looked at the man standing in front of Harry and responded in the only way she could, shock.
“Oh, you are a muggle. Oh, dearie me, here I am telling you all about the magical world and you are not meant to know. I am afraid I will need to call in some help to fix this issue.” Jacob however spoke quickly to stop her.
“Pandora, you misunderstand, I know Harry is a wizard and have known for years now, I am just not sure where to get the books from.” Pandora’s face softened as she realised, she had not broken the statue of secrecy.
“Well, that makes things easier, in order to get the books, you just need to go to The Leaky Cauldron, which you can find a few shops ahead and that will take you to Diagon Alley, though before you do that, you may want to make sure that Mr Potter is not seen, you would draw a crowd very easily.” As she finished speaking a local clock made a chime noise, everyone turned to look at it and everyone reacted differently. For Pandora, she simply smiled, took Luna’s hand, apologised to everyone and set off in the direction of the Leaky Cauldron.
Jacob, Harry and the Grangers however realised, they would be late for their reservation and they crossed the street and began to head towards the restaurant. Due to the pace they had to keep making it there on time, no one spoke and by the time their meals had been eaten, they headed straight for the cinema and they went straight in and once Batman appeared on screen, Harry forgot about everything else.
It was a few weeks later, when Jacob remembered the conversation with the witch known as Pandora, he took Harry to work as always, but decided to speak with him about things on the way. Harry noted he was not upset about meeting her, but wondered what people would think of him, if he turned up to school and knew nothing about magic. Jacob had to remain calm and seeing the look of fear on his son’s face, proved to be quite the challenge.
Jacob decided to start passing on some of the things his grandfather had taught him, when he was younger, Harry thought some were strange and others brilliant. The one idea he loved, was to only worry about what you can do, spending time worrying about what someone else is doing or planning to do, will only take away your own time. Harry also asked if he could start to work out in the gym and do karate or such, as he thought, if he were fit, he would be able to adapt better to more situations. Jacob agreed and with the help of Rob and the others at the gym, the came up with a plan for Harry to followed. With the life lessons from his Dad’s grandfather and his newly established fitness program, Harry started to define who he was and time kept marching on.
Chapter 7: The Wizarding World Hermione Granger
Harry had not long celebrated his 10th birthday and when school got back together, he started to plan with his dad, what they could do for Hermione’s upcoming birthday. Jacob noted that Hermione always loved getting books, but Harry wanted to do something more for her, but he decided that he wanted to do more, thinking on it, he knew that he needed more help and his dad was not the one to help him.
After speaking with Hermione on the phone one night, he said that his dad needed to speak with her dad, so she yelled out for Pol, who came to the phone only moments later. Harry explained that he was actually the one who wanted to talk and that it was about Hermione’s birthday, Pol understood that it was meant to be a secret and agreed to play along. Harry asked if there was a special place that Hermione liked to go to, perhaps somewhere that they rarely got to go. Pol answered that there was, but it was not an easy place to get into, however he would make the call and see what could be done.
A few days later, Pol let Harry know that Michel’s was booked for them, and that they would be having dinner the night of Hermione’s birthday. Harry was very excited, he hoped Hermione would be as well, the choice now was to worry about when she would be told, and that was a hard decision to make. Eventually they decided upon telling her on the day, in order to help sell the illusion that nothing too special was going to happen, Harry had floated the idea to play a bit of a prank on her, having Harry go home from school early, only to instead get dressed up and meet Hermione at her house, then telling her of the plans. As one might expect, it did not go over all that well.
“Dad, Harry went home sick today, I am not in the mood for your riddles, I just want to sit down and read my new books. Can I do that? Please?” Hermione said, stomping away from the car and into the house, not even waiting for Pol to turn the engine off. Pol had tried to play up the fact that Harry was ill, the intent being to make Hermione truly surprised when he showed up. Hermione, of course, did not see it that way, she decided that her birthday would not be as special, because her best friend would not be there to celebrate it.
“Polixenes Granger, don’t you tease your daughter today,” Helen shouted out the back window, she was aware of the plan, but did not think it was a good one. “It is her day and she can do what she wants with it.” As she finished speaking Hermione came through the back door, sadness on her face, Helen quickly moved over to her, placing an arm around her shoulder. “It is ok Hermione, your father is attempting to be funny and as we both know, he is not funny. Oh, before I forget, there is a letter on your bed, some very strange paper its made from and no stamp, so likely a friend just dropped it off.”
Hermione smiled at her mum, giving her a nod, before she started to move upstairs. As she was beginning to empty her bag of the various books she had, she heard a car pulling up, knowing that it was likely some member of the dental group that her parents belonged to, as it usually was, she did not worry about it. It was a few minutes later that she was called downstairs by her mother, putting down the strange letter she had just begun to open, she made her way down. Once she turned into the kitchen, she saw Harry standing there in a suit.
“Harry! What are you doing here, I thought you were sick, please tell me that you are not pushing yourself to be here for my birthday. You need to go home and rest,” Hermione said, not even taking notice of Harry being in a suit and tie, but before Harry could even respond, Hermione turned on her mother. “Mum, do we have anywhere for Harry to lie down in quiet, he needs to rest, before he makes himself feel worse.”
Helen could not help herself and started to laugh, there Harry was in a new suit, with a tie on, flowers in his hands and Hermione could only care about his wellbeing. Hermione looked at her mother, as if she was going crazy, laughing at a time like this, but with her mother laughing and not moving, she turned to Harry to get some support, only for it to click into place what he was wearing.
“Harry, you are in a suit. Why are you in a suit?” Hermione questioned, still not clicking what was going on. Harry just took a step towards Hermione, presented the flowers to her and said three simple words.
“Happy Birthday, Mione.” That simple act snapped Hermione’s attention to the flowers, before her face dawned into realisation that he was not sick.
“Harry James Potter, did you skip school to play a prank on me, on my birthday?” Harry recoiled, knowing that it was possible for this to be her reaction, while he had hoped for joy, Hermione did not like pranks in general and hated them being targeted at her. Thankfully, her next words calmed his nerves. “Thank you, thank you so much.” While she threw her arms around him and proceeded to try and hug him to death.
“Hermione, I can’t breathe, you are squeezing to tight.” Harry said, exaggerating his need for air, while Hermione simply pulled tighter. This made her stop and think for a moment, Harry was in a suit and it was new, why was it new?
“Harry, why do you have a suit on and is it a new suit?” Hermione asked, finally letting lose her hug, though simply refusing to let go.
“Well, that is more of the surprise, I was able to get some help in getting us a reservation at Michel’s for your birthday dinner. The suit is new, because I wanted to look nice for the night and with all the working out at the gym and the karate, my old one simply did not fit.” Harry finished, the arm he had holding the flowers was free to pat Hermione on the back.
“Well, it looks very good on you and thank you for the flowers,” Hermione responded, only to realise, she had nothing to wear for dinner and knowing that it was a fancy place they were going to, turned to her mother, a look of panic on her face. Thankfully Helen was happy with this part of the plan and decided to let Hermione know.
“Well, your father and I were on the planning committee for this, so I went out over the weekend, when you were out with Harry and Jacob and got you a new dress for tonight.” Hermione’s face changed from panic to radiating joy that could have been seen from space. However, a strange sound came from out back, all the faces in the kitchen went to look out the window. There they saw the strangest sight, an older woman was wearing a robe and a pointed hat and was waving a stick around, at once everyone knew that this was a witch.
Helen took the flowers from Harry and shooed both kids into the lounge room, while Pol and Jacob went to greet the strange lady. Just as she was about to knock on the door, Pol opened it and before he could speak, she did.
“Hello, Mr Granger, my name is Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School and I am hear to speak with your daughter about the letter we sent today.” Pol and Jacob just looked at each other, knowing that life was about become quite a lot more complicated than ever. Pol looked back to the lady and invited her in. Helen took over at this point and directed everyone to the lounge room, were Hermione and Harry were seated.
“Mrs McGonagall, was it,” Helen began, “Might you please explain, why you are here and more specifically, how you got here?” Minerva replied, the same way she always did, this being one of hundreds of visits she had done before.
“It is Professor McGonagall, and I would be happy to explain, you see, I was able to arrive in your backyard, by way of a method call Apparition, it is just one of the ways that a Witch, such as myself can travel.” This was where she would pause, letting her words sink in and the resulting explosion of disbelief to erupt, however that never happened.
“Oh, I am assuming that you are in one place, before you begin and then using this method of travel, are able to take yourself into a new location.” Hermione responded, look at Harry at the end. “That must be what you have done before Harry, wow, just think, all the places we could go, if you could master it.
Minerva had never had this reaction before, the entire family seemed to be accepting of magic, far quicker than any other muggle in history. It was at this point she began to look at everyone in the room, starting with Hermione, then she panned over to who was clearly the girls mother, the matching hair a dead giveaway and then what she assumed was the father, the same eyes and facial structure, but she could not place the connection with the other adult male. However, once she looked up the younger male, she gave herself a start, not understanding how it was possible, but clearly seeing the face of Harry Potter looking at her.
“My word, Mr Potter, what are you doing here? How did you get here? Where is your family?” Minerva began to ask a lot of questions, the look of shock evident on her face. Harry and Hermione looked at each other, clearly this woman knew who he was, but was not expecting him here.
Jacob felt it best to start clearing up some of the issues that were likely floating around the ladies’ head, before anything else happened. “Can you please explain to me Professor McGonagall, how you know who Harry is?” Having gone through this a few years back with another witch, they expected the same answer, but they needed clarification.
“Yes, of course, I was there when young Mr Potter was left with the Dursley’s and even had the pleasure of seeing him in the hospital, not long after he was born.” Minerva explained, not thinking of the possible reaction from the people in the room.
“You mean, you were one of the people that attempted to leave Harry with that horrible family and you can say that, with a smile on your face.” Hermione blasted out, cause the Professor to scoot back in the chair she was sitting in, not used to hearing such anger from one so young.
“Well, I was watching the Dursley’s all day, after what happened and then Professor Dumbledore arrived and he… wait,” Minerva had finally processed the statement Hermione had said, “What do you mean by attempted? I saw Professor Dumbledore place Mr Potter down myself, Number 4 Privet Drive. I had some concerns about the placement, due to how the family acted, but the Headmaster assured me it was the best place for Mr Potter.” Faces across the room all grew thoughtful at the words being said. Harry was the first to respond.
“Well, something is not right at all, with your story, because I was found on the step of Number 6 Privet Drive, where my dad found me the next morning. He found a letter by this Dumbledore and while it was addressed to next door, it was Number 6 that I was at.” Minerva could not believe it, she clearly could remember watching the Headmaster placing Harry down on the step, casting a warming charm and then the two of them leaving, with Minerva heading back to Hogwarts, but the story from Mr Potter, refuted it completely.
“No, I am aware of what happened, I was there. I recall that I was watching the house all day, I spent a lot of on the fence between number 4 and 6, I did move across the road at one point,” It was at this point that Jacob had to interrupt.
“I am sorry, did you say you were on the fence? As in sitting on the fence?” Minerva nodded to this, before realising what he was alluding to, her face went pale at the thought. “So, does that mean you were the cat that I was playing with?” Jacob finished, the Grangers and Harry all looked at him, as if he was going a little crazy, which given the topic of conversation, would have been something else.
“Yes, I am known as an Animagus, I have the ability to turn into a Tabby Cat.” She explained, but this still set of more questions for Jacob.
“Ok, so you can turn into a cat, you watched the Dursley’s all day, decided that they would not be the type of family that would support a child with magic, expressed your concerns with this Headmaster, but then still decided it was ok to leave Harry there, even witnessing that happening, even though it didn’t.”
Minerva began nodding her head along to each point that Jacob was making, even the last point, which sealed the deal for Jacob.
“Well, I hate to burst the bubble you have made for yourself, but Harry has spent a grand total of 4 hours with the Dursley’s and that happened almost 2 hours after I found him, read the letter that was included and planned what needed to happen.” Jacob was looking at the woman, as if to dare her to refute again, however, Minerva had only one question right now.
“I am sorry, but who are you? I can see the resemblance between the Grangers and of course, I know who Mr Potter is, but I am unable to work out who you are.” Jacob responded the only way he could.
“I am Harry’s dad, Jacob Tuttle.” This alone confused Minerva more and everyone else could see her fighting with something, her face started to begin getting redder and redder as if she was trying to think of something with all of her might. Pol thought to provide an answer though, he considered it a little extreme, but the reaction he got was nothing he could have expected.
“It sounds like, you have a different memory of events, you and Jacob both agree you were watching the house all day, in your cat form, which I can’t believe is a thing. You agree that you were apprehensive of leaving Harry with that family and yet you clearly recall doing so, even though we all know it did not happen that way.” The moment Pol finished speaking, Minerva McGonagall started to rage.
“Ok, something quite strange is going on, I have a theory, but I really need to know the full truth, so with your permission, I would like to call a friend who can help me, she may also be able to help explain somethings about the situation with Mr Potter going forward.” Helen and Pol looked at each other, giving a look that could only mean a conversation was happening with their eyes, before they turned back to the rest of the room.
“Yes, please do that,” Helen began, “While that happens, Pol will go and cancel our reservation, because I suspect that we need to get to the bottom of this as soon as is humanly possible.” Minerva nodded her head, before she flicked her wand away, a small silver cat shot out from it, before it turned back around and sat down in front of the witch.
“Amelia, I need your help, it is quite urgent, let me know by reply and I shall come and collect you.” As soon as she finished speaking, the ghost cat shot from the room, vanishing through the door and made out for the night. Pol, who had headed into the kitchen, had missed this, but the rest were speechless, however upon his return, fell to his but, when a ghost blood hound appeared in the room and started speaking as a human woman.
“Minerva, yes please, I am at the manor, so you are welcome to come over right now” As soon as the message played, the dog vanished, like smoke in the wind. Hermione was the first to react, her excitement of something new shining for all to see. However, before she could question anything the professor rose from her spot and spoke as she did.
“If you would all excuse me for a little bit, I will go and collect Amelia and bring her here, then we can attempt to sort out this mystery.” The adults all just agreed, and Pol climbed up off the floor and walked Minerva to the back door and watched her pop away into nothing. Walking back into the lounge room, he asked the question that was bothering him the most.
“How is it, that she knew where we were and that we would be home?” Helen and Jacob both considered the point, before Hermione supplied an answer.
“It is possible that the letter I started to open, before Mum called me down, was from that school, I will go and get it and we can have a read of it.” Hermione finished, before making a run for the stairs and in what had to be a record time, was back down with the letter in hand. She sat back down and pulled the two pages from within the heavy envelope and started to read.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Ms. Granger,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
After she finished, she asked if the second page should be read, noticing her parents shaking their heads, she placed everything down on the side table.
“Ok, this explains nothing.” Pol began, before Helen picked up the train of thought.
“There is nothing to indicate how they knew our address, even though it is labelled as such, nor is there anyway that they could know we were home.” Helen stood and went to get some pen and paper, a list of questions forming to be asked when the professor returned.
“I think, that they might have some spell on it,” Jacob said, “Like, once Hermione opened it, it told them that someone had opened it and that was there time to appear.” As he finished his thought, both kids smiled at the thought of the spells they could do, all the adults however, started to question just what else the wizards and witches could be doing.
“How as well, did they know our address and that Hermione was a witch?” Pol added, Helen kept on writing the questions down. “We of course knew, thanks to Jacob and the letter, but is someone watching the house?”
Just as more and more questions were raised, a pop noise was heard from the backyard, both Jacob and Pol rose to go find the source, only to see Minerva return, with another woman, dressed almost the same. Just as before, Minerva went to knock on the door, with Pol opening before she could.
“Welcome back Professor McGonagall and who is it, that you have brought with you?” Pol asked, hoping that this latest person would be able to answer the myriad of questions they had complied.
“Thank you, Mr Granger, this is Amelia Bones, the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.” As she finished explaining, she turned to Amelia and provided the relevant introductions. “Amelia, this is Mr Granger,” Pol jumped in to supply his first name, “And this is Jacob Turtle.” Jacob responded by correcting the quite common error with his surname.
After hands were shaken, all went back towards the lounge room and sat down, the explanations beginning again. When Jacob explained how he found Harry on his doorstep, Amelia immediately started to cast spells upon Minerva, only a few seconds later responding in utter frustration.
“Merlin’s baggy Y-Fronts, you have multiple signs of obliviation on you Minerva and all of them contain the same magical signature. While I can’t tell you who that belongs to, given the nature of the conversation, we can suspect Albus Dumbledore in this.” It was at this point, that Amelia felt she needed to address Jacob about something she knew was not going to be a happy topic.
“I am sorry to bring this up Mr Tuttle, but as Harry was assigned guardianship to the Dursley’s, he will need to be returned there.” The moment she finished her statement, the expected eruptions occurred, Harry began to shout he would never, Hermione much the same, Pol and Helen started to question Amelia’s sanity, given what she was told about the family in question, but Jacob just sat there smiling. Amelia noticed this more than anything, being told the son he had been raising would be removed from his care, did not get the reaction she had expected, his next words however, simply shocked her.
“Well, you are welcome to try, but then you will be kidnapping a child from his rightful guardian.” Amelia sought to correct the train of thought though.
“I am sorry, but as you are only a muggle, the guardianship, needs to go to the assigned family, as Harry is a wizard.” Jacob just laughed, shocking everyone.
“You misunderstand me Mrs Bones, in both the magical world and the normal world, I am the guardian for Harry. If you doubt me, you are welcome to check with the Goblins.” The faces of Amelia and Minerva lost all colour at this point, there was clearly more happening here than was explained.
Chapter 8: A trip to the past
Jacob was sitting down, thinking how well this was going, not only was he confusing someone who worked for Dumbledore, he was also proving that the entire magical world had not a single piece of information on Harry, because if they had, someone would have tried to get him years ago. Looking closely at Amelia and Minerva, he could not believe how pale two women could go and so quickly.
“I am sorry, Mr Tuttle,” Amelia began, finally seeming to have restarted her brain. “But what do you mean, check with the goblins?” Minerva was still trying to comprehend things it seemed, she was not paying any attention to the conversation by this point.
“I don’t think I can make the statement any clearer, Mrs Bones,” Jacob responded, trying to understand how she could not grasp the statement of talk to the Goblins, “Since November 1st, 1981 I have been Harry’s guardian in both worlds, the goblins oversaw all the paperwork, which was signed by, his then guardian, Sirius Black.”
If Jacob thought the suggestion of speaking to the Goblins was enough to make them both pale, the mention of Sirius Black had Minerva fall to a dead faint, thankfully she remained in her chair, and Amelia looked no better. Pol decided to try and find out more, for his and Helen’s sakes really, but also for the women who seemed to be out of it.
“Jacob, who is Sirius Black and why does the name cause both of these witches to react like that?” Harry looked at Pol, thinking the same thing, well at least the first part.
Jacob looked around the room and noted the faces of those that lived in the normal world, each wanting to know what was going on.
“It is quite a simple tale, Sirius Black was Harry’s Godfather and,” but before he could continue, Amelia had to jump in.
“Mr Tuttle, are you telling me, that you had contact with Sirius Black after the Potter’s were killed and Harry left on your door step?” Jacob just nodded to the witch, who seemed to be regaining some form of balance again, she finally noticed that Minerva had fainted in the chair and with a quick flick of her wand, had her awake again.
“Perhaps, it is best if you tell us everything, it would help explain a lot of things and maybe answer some more questions that have risen since that fateful night.” Amelia stated, leaving no room for Jacob to try and avoid talking about it.
“Very well, it is a lengthy tale, so get comfy.”
Jacob had finally sat down in his chair, trying to adjust to the infant boy that now seemed to live with him, while he knew it was the right thing to do in the short term, he had no idea if he could raise a boy on his own, especially that he spent a lot of his day at work. While he was thinking about how he could proceed in the morning, there was a knock at the door.
His first thought was that this Albus Dumbledore had discovered that Harry was not within these wards, whatever they were and had come to remove the boy. But as he went towards the door, he considered the fact that there were two voices, both not caring if other people heard them. A quick look through the window near the door, resulted in only seeing one man, even though two voices were clearly heard.
Jacob, slowly went to the door and began to open it, the action of this caused both voices to stop speaking and their attention fixed on the now opening door.
“Hello, can I help you?” Jacob asked, keeping the door only half open. The response he got back was something he could never have imagined.
“No, but I wager that we can help you. You may not remember me, but you helped myself and my friends find next door a few months back.” The man stated, a sad smile adorned his face, though he was trying to be cheerful for some reason. “Oh, I forgot to introduce myself, my name is Sirius Black and with me is Barchoke, who is not human, but a goblin.” Said goblin just looked at Jacob, as if he was trying to sum up the man, it made Jacob feel uneasy, but he did remember meeting Sirius early in the year.
“Yes, I remember you, you were the strange man who decided a walk around Surrey in the middle of Summer, in a full black dress, was a clever idea.” Jacob said, thinking back to that strange day.
Sirius just smiled properly, recalling the event himself, before his face slipped back into the sad smile he had on before.
“Yes, myself, Remus and James,” Sirius was barely able to get the final voice out, before he broke down in tears. “James, he is,” but before he could finish, Jacob did.
“Dead, I know, I read a letter. Please, won’t you both please come in, something tells me, that there is more to the story than I know.” Jacob opened up the door fully and with a wave of his hand, ushered the two in. Sirius made it to the couch, before he collapsed, Barchoke made for Jacob’s chair, getting himself comfy and one he was, he began to speak.
“Mr Tuttle, as Mr Black noted, my name is Barchoke and I am a goblin, more accurately, I am the head goblin for the accounts of Black, Potter and Bletchley and it is the first two accounts that I need to speak with you about. As you can imagine, some strange events have happened in the past 2 days,” with a quick look at the clock, he corrected his statement, “well, the last 24 hours at least.”
“Early morning on October 31st, the self-titled, Lord Voldemort actively hunted down and killed James and Lily Potter, in their ‘safe house’, before he attempted to murder young Harry. However, for some reason, the attempt to kill Harry failed and the spell appears to have backfired on him, causing him to be banished.”
Jacob just nodded along, this seemed to just be more detail to the letter that he found with Harry, Barchoke was not done though and kept speaking.
“When the spells were detected, Albus Dumbledore sent the groundskeeper of Hogwarts, to go and collect Harry. Not long after Mr Hagrid brought Mr Potter from the house, Sirius, that is Mr Black here, had arrived and attempted to claim the boy, as was his right as godfather. However, Mr Hagrid, refused to hand him over, stating that he had orders from Dumbledore to take the boy to him. Sirius offered up his enchanted motorcycle, to aid Mr Hagrid in this endeavour and once Mr Hagrid was gone, Sirius decided to go hunting.”
At this point Sirius had calmed himself enough to tell his side of the story.
“What Barchoke has not said yet, is that the place that James, Lily and Harry were hiding, was under a spell, that was designed to remove all knowledge of a location from the minds of everyone, unless they were given the secret. That could happen either by being told, or by reading the location from some parchment. If you know the secret, you are not able to tell anyone else about it, the magic will not let you.”
Jacob followed along, the story made sense so far and urged them to continue, Sirius continued on speaking.
“For this secret, there was a lot of discussion about who would be the secret keeper, and, in the end, James and I thought it would be great if our, friend, Peter Pettigrew would be the keeper, whilst publicly, I would be considered it.”
Jacob nodded and spoke up, “A double blind so to speak, whilst everyone is looking at you, Mr Pettigrew is able to move around safe and sound.” Sirius nodded, but his face grew dark as he continued to speak.
“So, while we thought, it was quite the clever twist, it never occurred to us that Peter was working for Voldemort. You see, in school, James, Remus, Peter and me were quite close, we even called ourselves the ‘Marauders’ and we were as thick as thieves, brothers to one another and all that. So, when I felt something was not right, I went to find Peter, only to find his place empty, which caused me to make haste to Godric’s Hollow and there I found Hagrid.”
“What I did next, I admit was not smart, but I saw red and started to hunt for Peter, I knew that he had to have given the secret willingly, because, it is not possible to draw it out via torture or other such means. But after almost 12 hours, I felt that I was not close to finding him and my thoughts turned back to Harry, the only information that I had, was that Dumbledore had him. So, while I thought him safe for now, I figured it best to get some legal matters sorted before I go and continue to find Peter.”
“Which brings us to why Mr Black and I are here,” Barchoke began. “When it discovered that an account had been setup for the care of Mr Potter, something I did not authorise, we started to investigate and found another goblin had worked with Dumbledore to arrange it, but when the location was read out, Mr Black became quite angry. Privet Drive was all that was said and needless to say, I am now out a fancy chair, though Mr Black will be charged for its replacement.” Barchoke said the last bit, with a smile on his face, one that Jacob hoped, meant he was happy, because it still looked evil.
“Once I had managed to calm him down, we investigated further and discovered that it was not number 4, as first thought, but number 6. We arrived in this street around one hour ago and were able to confirm that Harry was indeed in this house and that brings us to now.”
Jacob sat back and considered all the facts that he had been given, it was something he was quite good at doing, taking lots of information, and distilling it down to the essentials only. Once he had his train of thought, he began to speak.
“Ok, so let me see if I have all of this correct. James and Lily Potter are dead, their only child Harry somehow survived and banished the evil wizard Voldemort. Then a school groundskeeper, Mr Hagrid, went and collected the child, on the orders of the same schools’ headmaster, Albus Dumbledore and when confronted with the godfather of the child, Mr Hagrid refused to hand him over and was then provided with a means for taking Harry away from the house. Sirius then decided to start hunting down the man who betrayed the family and after more than 12 hours of searching, thought to seek legal help from goblins, who are bankers. It was during this meeting that you discovered some less than honest arrangements between Dumbledore and another goblin, which lead you to investigate, which brought you to me. Do I have all of this right?” Both Sirius and Barchoke nodded, which had Jacob stand up and after a quick walk to the kitchen, he returned with the letter written by Dumbledore.
Handing the letter over to Sirius, he started to think more about what was really going on, things were not making sense, but just as he started to question, Sirius passed the letter to Barchoke and began shouting.
“Of all the low down, what in Merlin’s name is he thinking. Well, strike that, clearly, he is not thinking, there is no way in the word that Petunia would ever care for Lily’s boy, but its these lines where he states that he suggests that Harry not be given things that really makes me angry. The worst part is, I can feel some compulsions on this letter, meaning that whoever opened it, would have now been triggered to act this way.”
Jacob gave Sirius a very large shoosh motion and pointed up, indicating a sleeping Harry, Sirius immediately stopped and looked down in shame. Barchoke read over the letter again, all the while his hand waving over the top of the parchment.
“I think, Mr Black, you can calm down. Whatever compulsion was on the parchment would have only been triggered upon opening, by the intended person, in this case Petunia Dursley. With Mr Tuttle opening it, it did not activate and thus all is well, at least as far as that matter is concerned. I do also have concerns over the wards that have been laid, even now I can feel them active around number 4 and most of this house, but I wonder how?” Jacob explained his leaving Harry with Petunia while he shopped, Barchoke merely smiled that evil grin again and then began to speak up.
“However, I do agree with you, that the demands of Dumbledore are quite strange and given the irregularities at the bank, have raised more questions than anything else. But for the moment, we have more pressing concerns, as you recall Mr Black, a notice has been sent out to all Wizengamot members for tomorrow morning and given the past 24 hours, I would imagine that Mr Potter is at the centre of the proposed topics.”
Sirius nodded, but his focus was clearly elsewhere and after a few moments, he seemed to pull himself back and then slapped both his knees, before starting to speak.
“Ok, I have a plan, I still intend to go and find Pettigrew, that traitor needs to pay for what he has done, once I find him, I will return for Harry. However, with what Dumbledore as stated in the letter and the actions in the bank, I suspect he will try something with the Potter will, so I think the best course of action is to grant custody over to you Jacob.”
To say Jacob was surprised, was one way to think of things, to say he was absolutely confused would be more accurate, a man he barely knew had decided that guardianship of his godson, would be given to him. The thought alone was strange enough, but he had to know why.
“Mr Black, Sirius, why me?”
“Honestly, you are the last person that Dumbledore might look for Harry and I believe you to be an honest man. You helped out three men, two of which were strangely dressed, for no other reason than you could, today alone you have given a lot of support to Harry, even when no-one asked you to.”
Jacob just sat there, unsure of what to say, being given this level of trust by someone was a big deal, even more when they were ostensibly strangers.
“My goal is to have found Pettigrew within a few weeks at the most, I can’t imagine he has left Britain, then once I find him and get him locked up, we can swap guardianship back.” At this point, Barchoke withdrew a very long piece of parchment and of all things, a quill and placed them on the small table. Sirius stood up and signed and then gestured to Jacob.
“I assure you Jacob, all financial matters will be covered by the Potter estate and if you somehow require additional funds, once I get back, I can cover you from the Black estate.” Jacob could not say what made him do it, a thought of helping out a child in need, or perhaps something else, but he picked up the quill and signed. As soon as he finished, the parchment glowed and then vanished.
“Excellent, the changing of guardians has been accepted by Gringotts and the Ministry, congratulations Mr Tuttle. I will do what I can to cover you from the magic side, ensure that Dumbledore has no idea of what happened tonight. But now that you are responsible for Mr Potter, you need to make a decision, do you wish to execute the will now, or wait until Sirius resolves his problem?”
Jacob considered waiting, but as he had no idea how long it would take, he decided to execute the will. Barchoke nodded in agreement and noted that it would all be done when he returned, he then rose from the chair, before wishing both men a goodnight and simply vanished into nothing. Sirius took a moment and then spoke.
“Please, look after Harry, he is all that remains of two people that I loved more than anything, one was my brother and Lily, well as long as she was not mad at me, was quite loveable as well. I will find the traitor as soon as I can and be back for Harry, but should the worst happen, at least I know he will be looked after.”
A final smile and nod and he too then vanished into nothing; a small pop noise was all that indicated something had changed.
All the people in the room, sat still, not a sound was made as Jacob finished his tale, but Pol broke the tension, by offering a drink to all. He returned a few moments later, with milk for the kids and something stronger for the adults and this seemed to be what people needed for conversation to start again, Amelia was the first to speak.
“That is impossible, Sirius Black himself betrayed the Potters, he killed 12 muggles and Peter Pettigrew, when he was found. The Aurors at the time noted that he repeated that it was all his fault, he was sentenced to prison for his actions. But if he signed over guardianship from the position of Godfather, then he could not have been responsible.”
Minerva just nodded her head, the shocks of the night seemed to be to much for the witch, she downed her first drink in one go, before getting a refill and doing the same. This though, seemed to give her a boost and she asked the question that was likely on everyone’s mind.
“Why did Albus do all of this? What could he possibly gain from his actions that night?” No one was able to provide an answer, except Jacob who voiced his concerns.
“Well Minerva, I think he has a plan and needed Harry to be with that family, growing up without love or support, so that he would be a desperate child. One thing desperate people do is seek out people who will support them, doing things outside of their normal sense of self, if it means pleasing the person who gives them comfort.”
No one was looking happy at this train of thought, but Jacob did not stop.
“If my theory is correct, Dumbledore wanted Harry raised in a way that, when he goes to Hogwarts, he would be quite impressionable. Given no exposure to magic his life and no love either, the entire world would seem like it was made for him, here would be a place where he could be himself, whatever identity that is and find peace.”
“What that is for, I honestly don’t know, however given the nature of those Boy Who Lived books I have heard about and the strange fanaticism that people seem to have with Harry, even though he has not stepped foot into that world since that night, there can be only one answer. A martyr.”
Pol and Helen both gasped in shock, Harry simply looked sad that someone who knew his parents was in prison, Hermione was angry that someone would think to treat her best friend this way, but Minerva and Amelia reacted the most strongly.
“That is quite a master plan Dumbledore would have, if true, Mr Tuttle,” Minerva began, “However I am unable to see Albus being quite so evil.” While she had said the words, her eyes seemed to show doubt, Amelia did not agree with Minerva at all.
“Sorry Minnie, but I have to agree with Mr Tuttle, each action on their own could be nothing, but when you add them together, the larger picture they paint is not a good one. Of course, knowing Albus, he likely has plans that cover every possible outcome.”
Jacob laughed, which caused everyone to look at him a little strangely, wondering what could have caused him to lose it.
“Oh Amelia, I like you, that is funny.” Amelia looked even more confused at this reaction, Jacob noticed this and just had to explain. “If Albus Dumbledore is such a great planner, then prey tell me, how did he place Harry down at the wrong house, how did he not notice that the child does not live with his Aunt, nor that the sealing of the Will he forced through matter not, as it was already executed and more. Whatever plans he has, are fitting into a very limited vision and changing things he could not possibly consider, seem to be keeping him in the dark, so I will keep that going now.”
Amelia nodded along as Jacob spoke, but eventually she too began to laugh, which turned out to be the trigger for everyone else. But while people were laughing Jacob knocked them for a six with his next statement.
“In order to keep him in the dark longer and away from Harry, it is simple, Harry Potter will not be going to Hogwarts.”
Chapter 9: The best laid plans
To say that the statement that Harry Potter would not be going to Hogwarts, went over well, varied depending on how magical you were. Amelia and Minerva both could not believe it, their faces reflecting their shock, whereas Pol and Helen just nodded, agreeing with the statement. Harry and Hermione however just sat there, wondering what would happen to their friendship if Hermione went to Hogwarts and Harry did not.
“I am sorry, but can you please explain that statement to me?” Minerva began, “It sounded like you said Harry, would not be going to Hogwarts.” Jacob just nodded.
“That is exactly what I said, why in the word would I let my son go to a school, where the headmaster clearly has plans for him, that he has kept secret from the government.” Amelia nodded to this point, not wanting to agree, but conceding the point.
“And since you did not want Harry left with the Dursley’s and Dumbledore removed the memory of the event from your mind, he is hiding his plans from the staff at the school as well. So why in the world, would you expect me to let my son go into a place where that man has complete control?”
Minerva too had to nod at that point, as much as she did not want to admit it, but Jacob was right, Albus had plans for Harry and placing the boy into the school would be playing right into his hands.
Hermione however decided to address the far more important concern for her and Harry, namely the splitting of them up, if she went to Hogwarts and he did not.
“What would happen if I did not go to Hogwarts either?” The question surprised Minerva, but only got smiles from her parents. Helen answered the unspoken question that Hermione was really asking.
“Well, if you did not want to go to Hogwarts, I am sure that we can send you to whatever school Harry finds himself going to.” Hermione’s face lit up at this thought, but it was only a moment later that Amelia had to point out a flaw there.
“Sadly, that is not possible, if Hermione refuses to attend Hogwarts, the law states that her memories of this conversation, magic and everything to do with the magical world, are to be removed. This would also be done to any member of her family that is aware of the world as well.”
To say this news went over well, would be a mistake, Hermione simply burst into tears and ran from the room, Helen and Harry chased after her almost right away, however Pol turned on the witch, anger on his face.
“You are telling me, that if Hermione refuses to attend a single school, she would lose all her memories of magic, which means her best friend. There is no other option and you tell us after what the most complicated and stressful 3 hours of our lives has been. Not only that but you deliver the news with no tact for whom you were speaking to.”
Amelia had heard the responses before, but the final statement from Pol seemed to shake her, she was used to dealing with politicians and criminals, not 11-year-old girls. The moment she thought how she would feel if someone had spoken to her niece like that, she felt ashamed.
“You are correct Mr Granger, please excuse my words, while they are not inaccurate, I could have phrased them better. I am so used to dealing with adults and politicians, that I spoke without thinking of the target of my words.” Pol could see she was sorry for how she spoke, but it still did not solve the problem that was raised. Pol sat down next to Jacob, thinking of ways he could try and solve this latest issue.
Upstairs, an entirely different conversation was taking place, Hermione was on her bed crying, her mother attempting to sooth her and Harry was pacing outside the door.
“There, there Hermione, it will be ok. We have faced each challenge as a family and we will do so with this.” Helen began, pulling her daughter up into her arms. Hermione was crying, attempting to reply through the sobs.
“But, mum, I can’t lose Harry, he is my best friend. Losing him would hurt more than anything, we have been through a lot together and not knowing him would be the worst.” Hermione managed to say, though, her sobs covered most of the words. Helen could do nothing for her daughter right now, except pull her close.
Outside the door, Harry continued to walk back and forth, trying to work out how the day started out so well, only to end with Hermione crying in her room. The single thing he could think of, was that he would not be responsible for Hermione losing her memories, no matter what, so with that in mind, he stopped pacing and walked down stairs.
When he got there, he could see the adults, his dad included, were all just sitting there, taking small sips of their drinks and looking into the distance. Harry got close to his dad and put forth his idea.
“Dad, you say you don’t want me to go to Hogwarts, because of the headmaster, but I really want to go. Not only will I get to continue to learn about magic, but it would keep Hermione and her parents safe.” Jacob looked at Harry, internally sighing at the response, he knew Harry would ask to still go, if it meant helping Hermione, those two seemed to do everything for each other.
“Harry, it is not that simple, if the headmaster can wipe someone’s memories, what is to stop him from removing your memories of me?” Jacob replied, watching Harry’s face as he worked out what he had said.
“Imagine, that you come home for Christmas and I am at the station to see you, but you have no idea who I am, and when I try to explain, what would you do?” Harry looked down, knowing what he would do, scream for help, as he was taught.
“I know what you mean Dad, but I can’t let Hermione forget about me, it would be the same for me and her as it would be for the two of us. What if Mrs Bones helped out? She works for the government, right?”
Jacob looked over to Amelia, but before he had the chance to ask, she responded, “Of course Harry, I will do all I can to make sure you can go to Hogwarts.” She smiled back at Harry, whose face seemed to split apart, his smile was so wide.
“Thanks,” was all he got out, before he ran back upstairs, Jacob gave a slight chuckle at this. Turning back to Amelia, he had to lay down some rules about how they would proceed.
“Ok then, it seems I have been overridden and, in that case, I believe it would be in Harry’s best interests if you and I Mrs Bones, could get together to work out what we need to do, in order to keep Harry safe.” Amelia simply smiled, knowing she would do all in her power to ensure that Harry Potter went to Hogwarts, but that he was as safe as he could be in doing so. Minerva decided to raise a question, that for some reason, seemed to have slipped the minds of everyone.
“That is good news and please do let me know if I am able to assist in anyway, however I do feel we got off track, from my initial reason for attending. Mr Granger, would I be ok in taking acceptance for Hermione from tonight’s events?” Minerva said, addressing Pol, who had been quiet for some time. He nodded his head, which caused Minerva to smile.
“Excellent, seeing as you are already aware of the wizarding world, do you still require someone to come and take you through to Diagon Alley, prior to the Summer of next year?” Pol just replied with a simple no, Minerva stood up and removed another envelope from somewhere and handed that to Pol, before wishing everyone a goodnight. “I must be away, I have been gone far longer than I had expected, if you need anything, please let Amelia know and she will reach out to me.”
With her final words spoken, Minerva walked out the back and vanished with a pop, which caused Pol to speak. “I will never understand how you do that, just vanish into nothing.” Jacob, nodded along, not really thinking about anything, but before anyone could think about anything new, Amelia began to speak.
“I must depart as well, my niece is home on her own and while she is used to it, I would like to get back to her before she goes to bed for the night. Jacob, I will send you an owl in the next few days, so we can arrange a time to sort out what we must.” Amelia stood up, shook both men’s hands and then walked outside and she too vanished with a pop. Pol just looked back to Jacob and shook his head.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Harry was waiting by the door, Hermione was still talking with her mum about things, and while he was ok to wait as long as he needed, he knew the news would make Hermione feel better, so when the conversation quieted down, he knocked on the door.
“Hermione, can I come in? I have good news.” Harry said, leaning against the door, but while he heard no answer, someone opened the door on him, which caused him to fall to the floor. Grumbling, he got up off the floor and looked for Hermione, who was still on her bed, her knees pulled to her chest.
“So, I spoke with my dad,” Harry began, watching Hermione for any reaction, “He is going to work with Mrs Bones, to see what protections they can get, so I can go to Hogwarts with you.” Helen would swear for years to come, that whatever her daughter was feeling before Harry came in, was banished so fast, one would think it was magic, as the moment he finished speaking, she clambered off the bed and dash into Harry, giving him, one of her patented hugs.
“Oh Harry, do you mean it? You and I can go to Hogwarts and learn magic together?” Hermione’s words were quiet, as if she did not quite believe him.
“Yep, Mrs Bones said she would do whatever she could, then Professor McGonagall said she would help to.” Hermione’s smile got just as wide as Harry’s had been earlier and unbeknownst to them, Helen had ducked out of the room, only to return a few moments later with her Polaroid. The sound of the camera going off, with the resulting flash, cause the kids to jump apart, but Helen was happy, she got her photo.
“Come on you two,” she began, “Time to head back downstairs and see what has happened since we came up.” Helen waited for the two kids to start walking towards the door, before she too turned and head for the stairs, all the while a smirk showing on her face.
Downstairs, both kids jumped on the couch and sat next to each other, while Helen went for her chair, noticing the lack of witches in the room, Pol quickly explained that both Minerva and Amelia had left for the night. Helen was about to offer a cuppa, but stopped herself, noting both kids had fallen asleep on the couch, clearly exhausted, she smiled and then spoke to Jacob.
“I think you should be getting on home, Harry looks dead tired. So many bits of news came to light tonight and I think with the emotional rollercoaster they have been on, it was just a bit much for them.” Jacob nodded and chuckled, agreeing completely. He stood up and then went to pick up Harry, while Pol did the same for Hermione, a quick and quiet goodbye and soon Jacob was driving back home to Surrey, while Harry was asleep on the backseat.
While they were driving home, up at a castle in Scotland, Minerva McGonagall was being called to speak with the headmaster, something she knew would happen, given how long she was away for. Approaching his office, she calmed herself, thinking that she could not forget anything that had happened and with that a single thought appeared in her mind. Quickly she created a vial and placed her wand to her head, drawing out the memory of the evenings events, she placed it in there, before she called for an elf to place it in her private study.
She approached the entrance to the headmaster’s office, a large stone gargoyle and upon providing the current password, she was allowed to pass. As she approached the door, she brought up her Occlumency shields, this allowed her time to take a breath, before she knocked and entered upon being asked.
“Ah, Minerva, welcome back. How went the visit to our latest muggleborn admission?” Albus asked, his eyes peering up over this half moon glasses. Various pieces of parchment were littered around the desk, in some form of organised chaos.
“It went fine Albus, the young lady in question is quite bright and asked a lot of questions. It seemed that each question I answered gave her more to think about.” Minerva responded, attempting to keep her tone light, but firm.
Albus just nodded, glancing back down to the paperwork he was working on, prior to Minerva’s arrival, a request from the International Confederation of Wizards to attend a panel for something over the Christmas holidays. Albus sorted the papers, withdrew a quill and signed one, before asking for Fawkes to take it with him, that task done, he turned back to Minerva.
“Oh, that does sound like she will be a delightful addition to the school, finding someone who loves to learn is a reward for any teacher.” He said, before looking Minerva in the eyes, as they made contact, he was surprised to find her mental shields in place. Minerva felt the passive probe, but thought best to make no mention of it, lest Albus look further.
“Yes, I suspect she will exceed in all her classes when she joins us next year. However, if you will excuse me Albus, I spent more time there, than I had initially planned, so I am running behind on things tonight. I still have a detention to supervise for a few Ravenclaws.” Minerva replied, providing a reason to leave, hoping Albus would just accept it, however it seems that it was not to be.
“Well, I am sure you can spend a few more minutes, the start of the new school year means we get to spend very little time together, I had hoped to learn more about the muggles, seeing what has changed in their world. It has been sometime since I was able to step foot into that world.” He replied, still keeping his probe going as Minerva was not reacting to it at all, something he thought was strange as she had done so in the past.
“I was not able to spend a great deal of time exploring the house, like I said for every question answered, another two seem to appear in its place.” Minerva replied and then with a short nod of her head, she began to turn away. “Well Albus, I will leave you for now and see you tomorrow morning at breakfast.”
Albus did not stop her, he knew she was hiding something from him, but was not sure what it could be, time would work in his favour, as there was always one way to obtain information from someone.
“Of course, Minerva, please enjoy the rest of your evening.” A smile graced his face and Minerva noticed it did not reach his eyes, her shields tightened as she knew then, that he was suspicious of her, but before he could press the issue, she walked out the door.
As she began the walk back to her room, she thought it best to let Amelia know that Albus was sure something was amiss, her plan to meet up soon was scuttled before it could even be arranged. As she got to her door, she noticed the portraits were keeping a close eye on her, something she had never noticed before, but with how Albus seemed to know just about everything that happened in the castle, would not surprise her if they were spying for him.
As she sat down at her private desk a quick letter was written to Amelia and then she turned her thoughts onto Harry Potter, the conversation of the evening was heavy, but the more she thought about it, the happy she was, not only was the boy healthy and happy, but he was loved, something she knew would not happen with the Dursleys. She set about her school tasks and put the boy from her thoughts, getting back into her role as the schools’ deputy.
Chapter 10: You, Me and a bottle of wine
A few days after Hermione’s birthday, Harry was attending his final karate class for the term, which if he passed his test, would see him gain his first purple belt, something he was incredibly excited for and horribly nervous about at the same time. He had been on his green belt longer than planned, due to a cold that kept him from class for a few weeks, but his sensei was proud of his achievements, and had said so to Jacob.
Whilst Harry was there, Jacob was working on the budget for the month, hoping to find some extra money to take Harry on a little holiday over the Christmas break, something they tried to do every few years. Whilst he was neck deep in numbers, a loud screech noise came from out the back, Jacob snapped his neck up and noticed a large brown owl sitting on the window ledge, tapping to be let in.
He began to move towards it, at first, his reaction was to get the water bottle and spray the bird, hoping it would leave, but as he got closer to it, he saw a scroll wrapped around one of the owls’ legs, thinking as it was strange, it was likely magical in nature, he opened the window and reached for the scroll. The owl seemed to know that he was being cautious and remained where it was, once the scrolls was removed, the owl gave a slight hoot and click of its beak, before it turned around and flew away.
Jacob stood there, watching the owl depart for a few moments, before he felt the chilly wind blow in, he shut the window quick smart and then went back to his desk to see what was in the scroll. When he began to open it, he honestly had no idea what it could be, however to his surprise, it was an invitation to meet Amelia Bones at a restaurant in central London next Friday night. She indicated that she wanted to begin the process of learning more about him and Harry and due to the watch that she suspected Dumbledore had on the house, thought it best not to come to him.
Jacob was shocked to see that there was no way for him to reply to the request, so he considered his Friday plans made, a quick phone call to the Grangers to see if Harry could spend the night after school and he was sorted. When Harry’s lesson was due to end, he packed up his papers and jumped into the car, his mind still on the fact that they used owls in the magical world. The thought perplexed him so and so focused on the strangeness of it, he did not even realise he had arrived at the Dojo, but when he looked up, he saw Harry standing inside, a large smile on his face and a purple belt around his mid-section.
“Dad, I did it.” Harry yelled as Jacob walked in, “I passed and got my first Purple Belt.” His enthusiasm was plain to see, but Jacob gave him a quick shoosh motion, which caused Harry to blush in embarrassment.
“Congratulations Harry, I am proud of you for getting it and even more so, for sticking to the lessons, even after you were sick.” Harry just smiled at his dad, the feeling of getting his first purple belt was so strong, he could not stand still.
“Do you think we could have something to celebrate, maybe something special? I was thinking some Chinese, it has been a while since we have had it.” Harry said, whilst picking up his bag, still bouncing around. Jacob just nodded when Harry looked at him, the thought of not cooking was welcome, but he suspected that the request would have been for Pizza.
As they walked away from the dojo and back to the car, Jacob began to explain what had just happened in the morning, before he came here. Harry was surprised at the use of a nocturnal bird to use as a messenger, but just as Jacob had, he chalked it up to the magical world being strange. When he was told he would be spending Friday night with Hermione and the Grangers, he gave a quick yell of joy, before starting to plan on what to take.
The week had passed easily enough, and Friday was soon here, Jacob was packing a bag for Harry, with the plan to give it to whichever Granger dropped Hermione off that morning. Harry was bouncing down the steps, well jumping honestly, but Jacob could not find it in him to tell him off, though he did direct a stern looking expression the boys’ way.
After an uneventful drive, they arrived at Harry’s school and Jacob noticed Helen was on drop off duty today, a quick wave, he made his way over with the bag. Helen saw it and understood what was being asked, she simply reached her hand out as Jacob got close and took the bag.
“I will take that Jacob, but tell me, has Harry been getting crazier and crazier as the week went by, Hermione has, that is for sure.” Helen said, giggling as she finished her statement, Hermione however had heard it and had to respond.
“Mother, I have not been crazy at all this week, I just can’t wait for Harry to spend the night. It is usually only on school holidays that we get to do that, so its special.” She replied, her expression telling her mum to stop talking now. Jacob just laughed at the young girl’s response, parental embarrassment was truly something to enjoy.
A quick hug and pat on the head and both kids walked through the gate and both Helen and Jacob went back to their respective cars. Another quiet drive to the gym, had Jacob arrive with a few minutes before his normal start time, he grabbed his gear and headed in, giving a wave to the Friday morning regulars. The morning passed with ease, but when lunch came around, the news of his plans that night came out.
“Hey Jacob,” Robert said as he approached the little break room they had, “Any plans for the weekend, I am hoping you say no, because I need someone to come in early tomorrow morning.” Robert finished, adding his best puppy dog look to his face, he knew he did not have to, as Jacob was always happy to work an extra shift or two, however the response caused his face to drop.
“Sorry Rob can’t do it. Heading out to London tonight for dinner and not sure what time I will be back, would hate to commit now and then not be able to make it.” In all the time that Robert and Jacob knew each other, this was the first time that Robert could recall Jacob having Friday night plans.
“Oh, you and Harry heading out for the night?” was the reply, hoping to get more details. But the shocks kept coming it seemed.
“Actually no, Harry is spending the night with the Grangers, I am having dinner with a nice lady, which I know is not something I do often.” Jacob replied, placing his food down, before taking a drink from his water bottle.
“Often, I think never would be the better word to use there Jacob,” Robert replied, the strangeness of Jacob having a date, caused him to be more direct than normal. He saw Jacob flinch at his response and began to apologise for it, “I mean, in all the time I have known you, I can’t recall a single instance of when you went on a date. Each time I have known you to go out, you had Harry with you, so romance was likely never the reason.”
Jacob just nodded, understanding that Robert meant nothing by what he had said, but the surprise shocked him, was being single for so long a sad thing? Clearly Robert had thought so, as he was honestly shocked at Jacob was having dinner with a woman alone.
“No worries Rob, I know its not something I normally, but I can say that this lady is just magical.” Jacob chuckled at his own joke and Robert just played along.
“Oh, a witch is she, got you under her spell. That would be one way for you to change your behaviour.” Robert said, just watching the smile on Jacob’s face get larger, both thought of a distinct reason as to why. “Well, I say good on you, hopefully this ends up being something good for you and Harry, while I am sure the lady likes a fit bloke as much as my wife does, two blokes on their own, surprised the house has not burnt down from your cooking.”
Jacob just laughed, before shaking his head. Robert gave him a solid pat on the shoulder, before he left the room, letting Jacob finish his lunch, but as Jacob left the room, it seems word had spread, which resulted in some congratulations on the date and one lady giving him a death stare.
But the day moved on and soon Jacob left, it was odd not having to leave to collect Harry from school, so he finished up a little earlier than normal, heading out to get ready for the evening. While he knew it was a meeting about Harry and getting him protected, the name of the restaurant was known to people as being on the high end, so he felt the need to dress up for the night. Suitably dressed, Jacob called a taxi to take him into town, the cost was worth it, as he felt like having a bit of a night on the town, as he was rarely without Harry at home.
Jacob had arrived at the restaurant only a few minutes ahead of the planned meeting time and made himself known to the hostess, who was happy to direct him to the bar for a drink. Seeing that he had a few minutes at least, unless Amelia was running late, he decided to grab a beer and just relax, but no sooner had the beer touched his lips, was he patted on the shoulder, turning around his face dropped. Amelia Bones had arrived, and she was stunning, she was wearing a black dress, which hugged her body quite well, which showed that she was quite the woman, but it was her face that caught his eyes, her eyes were sparkling, and she wore a nervous smile, as if she was unsure how she looked, Jacob set her fears at rest straight away.
“Mrs Bones, you look incredible,” he said smiling and trying to avoid glancing down at her chest, which was much larger than he guessed from what she wore the other night. “Words honestly, do not do you justice.”
Amelia just started to breath again, she was unsure if what she was wearing would fit in the muggle world and after hearing Jacob say how she looked, she was happy, but her face also got a little warm as she blushed at the compliment.
“Thank you, Mr Tuttle, but I should point out, I am not married, so it would only be Ms Bones, but I insist you call me Amelia.” Her reply had Jacob beginning to smile, while he had not thought that the two of them together would become a couple, given that she not married, gave him a brief moment to imagine.
“Well, then I insist you call me Jacob,” replied, offering her the seat next to him. “What can I get you to drink?” Amelia picked up the little menu that was on the bar and ordered a basic cocktail, having little experience with muggle drinks, she was not sure what was good.
As the two began to settle down, the hostess came up to inform them, that their table was ready, so drinks in hand, they headed toward the back of the restaurant, as Amelia had requested a table away from as many people as possible. Jacob could not help but glance down to her rear as she walked ahead of him, her bum was perfect, and it proved that witches’ outfits did not work for him. He also noted a few jealous looks from some men as they walked past, but before he could think about them further, they arrived at their table.
“Please, allow me to get your chair,” Jacob said as Amelia placed her drink down, Jacob simply stood behind her and moved her chair out, allowing her to sit. Once seated, he moved to his own and sat down as well.
“Thank you, Jacob, it is quite rare when I am treated like a lady, most of the people I work with just treat me as their boss or the angry lady.” Amelia chuckled at the thought, Jacob just replied back with a simple response.
“Well, that would be there loss, as you are quite the lady.” While Jacob had not planned it, he noticed Amelia’s face blush bright red, he took it as a win and gave her a small smile. At this point the waiter arrived and they ordered their food and once the waiter had left, Amelia broached the topic for their get together, Harry Potter.
Over the course of the next hour or so, Amelia and Jacob outlined the basic plan for Harry and his attending Hogwarts and while Jacob was still not sure about Harry going there, he felt more comfortable with Amelia on his side. Amelia was happy that she had provided some assurances to Jacob, knowing that without them Harry would likely not attend Hogwarts, which would cause no end of problems for many people. With that very heavy topic out of the way, the conversation turned lighter, with Jacob asking more about Amelia.
“So, Amelia, tell me, what does the Director’s job entail?” He asked, thinking it was a clever way to learn more about the woman and the magical world, Amelia smiled as she replied.
“It really depends on the day, though lately, I find myself fighting over budgets, trying to do what I can to keep the force together. It seems each time the budget is presented, we are given less money each time.” She sighed as she finished her statement, proving the topic was one she was troubled by, even when not in the office.
“However, when I am not worried about that, mostly it’s just a matter of staying on top of active cases, ensuring that my people are working within the law and not taking matters into their own hands. There are times when I am required to prosecute someone in court, but I will usually leave matters like that, up to the right people.”
Jacob listened, learning more about the machine that was the Ministry of Magic in a few sentences, then he had learnt in the past 9 years.
“Ok, so if I were to put it simply, you are trying to keep things moving along, while finding your resources cut each year?” Jacob replied, Amelia just nodded at the succinct summary.
“What about you Jacob, what keeps you busy when Harry is at school?” She replied, after taking a drink from her lovely cocktail.
“Mainly, I work in a gym, initially it was a way to stay fit, but I really came to love the work. The people I work with are wonderful and we get quite a number of regular people, that you get to know them. Working with people is great too, because you can see them improve as their time at the gym goes on.”
Amelia just nodded, not really understanding what a gym was, she thought it best to ask, unless she was mistaken.
“Jacob, can you tell me, just what is a gym?” Jacob looked at Amelia with a look of understanding on his face, as little as he knew about the magical world, it seemed Amelia knew only a little about the normal world.
“A gym, is a place where people go to keep up their fitness levels, get into shape or a number of other reasons. Some people will go there and just run on the treadmills for an hour or so, others come in to build up their muscles and for others it is a way to stay connected to their friends in a social and healthy way. Think of it like this, the more active you are, the better shape you are in, which means you can run longer and such, a gym is a place where people can keep their fitness levels up, without needing to own all the very expensive machinery themselves.”
Amelia nodded, as she finally understood, finishing off her drink, she signalled the waiter to bring another and Jacob did the same as he was near the end of his. For all that she knew of the muggle world, Amelia was impressed by the drinks and food they had in this particular place, not only was it delicious, but the company she had made it even better.
“That sounds like a lot of work, staying fit, I wonder how it would work for people like me. But enough about work, tell me, why is there no Mrs Tuttle?” Amelia asked, a small smile on her face. Jacob nodded at the no more work embargo she had proposed, but was taken back by the next question, so much so, he started to choke on his drink.
“Sorry, down the wrong hole. There is no Mrs Tuttle, because I honestly never thought about it, I joined the army when I was younger, spent almost 12 years in it before I left. A few months later, Harry found his way into my life and since then, I have not stopped to think that I was missing something. But what about you, why is there no Mr Bones?” He replied, curious as to why a woman like her was single.
“My story is much the same as yours, out of school, I joined the Aurors, as we were in a war, I wanted to do all I could to help. Just before Harry defeated You-Know-Who, my brother and his wife were killed, leaving their 13-month-old baby alone. So, I took Susan in and raised her like my own and it was around that time, that I was promoted to department head, which in turn cut away all my free time and what I did have, I dedicated to Susan.”
Jacob just smiled and then spoke, “What a pair we make hey, both of us found kids given to us and then just kept on moving forward, keeping them at the front of everything.”
Amelia smiled back, agreeing with the assessment. As the night drew on, the conversation kept flowing, more details about each of them was given, the alcohol kept them talking more than normal and before long, they were approached by the hostess.
“I am sorry to interrupt, you both looked like you were having a wonderful time, but we are closing up now.” Jacob looked around and Amelia did the same, noticing that they were the last two people in the place, at least the last two who were not paid to be there. Jacob stood up, using the chair to support himself as the alcohol was making the world a little shaky, he went around and offered his arm to Amelia, who accepted it and together they went and paid, before heading outside.
Jacob took a moment to look at his watch, noticing it was just after midnight, but as neither he or Amelia seemed on wanting the night to end, he said nothing, and they just continued to walk. After a few blocks, they came upon a small park, which Amelia used as her going home point.
“I have to say Jacob, this has been an incredible evening, one that I hope we can do again soon, but I should get home, I have Susan there still.” Amelia had said, but her eyes showed she did not want to leave, Jacob asked how she had planned on getting home, he knew he would take a taxi, but he was not sure how she would do it.
“Oh, I will be taking a Portkey,” she said, pulling out a bangle from her pocket and slipping it on, “This one allows me or up to another 4 people to travel to a set location, for this time, it will take me to the foyer of my house.”
Jacob just looked at the bangle, thinking that it was nothing special, but given how magical people could just pop in and out on their own, he thought using a device was even stranger.
“Why do you just not pop yourself around, I would think it would be easier, I mean, what if you lost the bangle?” he replied, holding onto Amelia’s hand, as if to inspect the bangle.
“When we do that, we need to be focused, if we are not, we might leave a piece or two of ourselves behind, which is not something you want to do. So, figuring I would have a drink or two,” Jacob chuckled at that, “I thought it best to be prepared.”
Jacob just looked at Amelia as she spoke, not really understand how someone could leave something behind, but he accepted it would be something he may never understand.
“Ok then, well I guess this is good night for now, I to do not wish for the night to end, but as responsible adults, our kids must take point.” Jacob said chuckling, however as he noticed Amelia nodding along, he started to lean towards her, slowly.
Amelia had gotten her wand out and moved it towards her bangle, while Jacob was speaking, she was just nodding along as he spoke, but then she saw him leaning in and without thinking, she too begun to lean towards him. The pair were separated by only the smallest space and just before they kissed, Amelia’s wand touched her bangle triggering the portkey and, in a swirl, they were gone.
Chapter 11: Behind enemy lines
In one moment, Jacob had gone from scared, but hopeful man, to scared and frightened boy as he was picked up from the ground, the feeling of a giant hook grabbing him behind his navel and then began to spin around, like he was on the world’s fastest carousel. But just as he was getting to the point of being sick, the spinning stopped, and he found himself falling to the ground inside of a nice house, well it was nice before he threw up all over it.
“Oh no, Jacob, are you alright?” Amelia began, herself falling to her knees, partly from the alcohol and partly due to concern for Jacob. For all the talking they had done before, Jacob could only groan, the desire to throw up again was present and he thought it he began to speak it would happen. Amelia just began to pat his back, using it to keep herself steady at the same time.
Just as Jacob began to feel a little normal, a small creature appeared in front of him, it had large floppy ears and even larger eyes and was dressed in what he thought was a pillowcase. Before he could think any more, it began to speak.
“Oh, Lady Boneses, youse be back and youse has brought a man,” While she spoke, the creature began to look at said man, a look of disgust on its face, “and it makes a big smelly mess on the floor.” With a snap of its fingers, the vomit and associated smell had been removed, like it had never happened, it then popped away, before coming back a moment later with a glass of water. It passed it to Jacob, who managed to grunt out a form of thanks, before it popped away again.
Taking a few small sips of the water, Jacob felt himself ready to at least try to stand up, Amelia saw the motion and began to help, pulling herself up at the same time. Once they were both upright, Amelia turned Jacob towards her and began to apologise for bringing him along.
“Oh Jacob, I am so sorry for this, I had not meant to bring you along, I had not meant to touch the portkey at all, but I guess we both got a little lost in the moment and then it happened.” Jacob just nodded; still not sure he could speak in great detail.
“I would offer you a lift back, but the portkey was only set up to come here and I would hate to try to take you side-along.” Amelia said as she began to move Jacob towards a couch, though she felt that she could also use a seat.
“Thanks,” he managed to get out as he fell into the sofa, “What was that though, it was very unpleasant.” A grimace appearing on his face at the thought of all that spinning.
“That was a portkey and yes, it is an acquired taste, but like I said before, less likely to lose pieces of oneself, when using it.” Amelia said, her head resting on the back of the sofa.
“Yes, you only have to worry about losing ones’ lunch instead,” Jacob replied, “I hate to impose, but would it be possible for me to stay the night. If you can’t take me home now and I have no idea where we are, the morning would be the best time to work out how to get home.”
“Sure, I will get Ruoy to get some blankets, you can stay on the couch. I would offer you the guest bedroom, but with Susan not aware that you are hear, I don’t want her scared for no reason.” Amelia responded, but before Jacob could asked who Ruoy was, that creature appeared in front of them.
“Ruoy, can you please get some blankets and a pillow for Jacob here, he will be sleeping on the other sofa for the night.” As soon as she finished speaking the creature vanished again, with a pop, only to return a few moments later, laden down with bedding. Jacob just looked at the creature quite strangely, seeing the look Amelia explain.
“Ruoy is a house elf, she is bound to serve the house of Bones. In exchange for her service, she is given magic from us, which house elves use as a source, in which to keep themselves alive. It is a symbiotic bonding.” As she finished explaining, Ruoy had made up the other sofa, turning it into a bed for the night. Amelia helped Jacob up and over, before she big him a good night, she gave him a small kiss on his cheek, and she left the room. Jacob watched her leave, before he stripped down to his boxers and then crawled into the tiny bed and fell asleep almost right away.
When morning came, Jacob found himself waking up and felt like he was inside of a sardine can, but after swinging his legs of the couch and stretching as much as he could, he started to actually wake up, but it was as he back cracked, that he heard an ‘eep’ and saw a red shadow running from the doorway.
“That might have been Amelia’s niece, way to make an impression Jacob,” he said to himself, but before he could think upon anything further, the need to answer natures call demanded to be answered. Jacob left the room, walking around the lower floor of, what was an incredibly large house, before he soon found a bathroom. After making use of the facilities, he made his way back to the room with his clothes, only to turn a corner and walk straight into Amelia, he began to apologise right away, but Amelia just stood there.
As Jacob had not put on any clothes, he was walking around in his boxers, a normal thing for him to do at home, but he had forgotten he was not in his house. He looked at Amelia and noticed she was wide eyed and just staring at him, he was about to speak when we suddenly moved her hand out, as if to check to see if it was real.
Amelia was shocked, never before had she seen a man with a body like this, if this is what a gym could do, then she was all for it, but she had to be sure, so she reached out and with the tips of her fingers, she began to press down on his chest, as she did, she felt the skin and then pressed firmly against what felt like stone, it was that firm.
Jacob enjoyed the attention, but felt it was best to get dressed, a small cough had snapped Amelia’s hand down before she turned away, stammering out an apology.
“Oh, please forgive me Jacob, I had heard you were up, but I never thought that you,” her words failed her at this point, Jacob decided to save her from herself.
“Please, I should be the one to apologise, I began walking around here, like I would if I was home, I completely forgot about the fact that this was not my house. Not to mention there were two women here, who might not take kindly to a half-naked man walking around. I will just run back and get dressed, back in a moment.”
Jacob saw Amelia nod, before he made a quick dash for his clothes, he got dressed as quickly as he could and when he went searching for Amelia again, when he found the room she was in, he heard her speaking to her niece through the closed door.
“I am sorry Aunty, I came downstairs for some food and heard snoring, so I went to check it out and I saw him there, all bunched up on the couch. I did watch him for only a moment, but then he work up and I ran.” The young girl said, a blush on her cheeks, Amelia understood why the blush, she had her own as well.
“Not to worry Susan, I understand, I never thought a human body could be so firm.” Amelia said, before she realised who she was speaking to, but before she could speak any more, Susan questioned her words.
“What do you mean by firm Aunty?” Amelia’s face paled at the thought of having to explain, but she was saved when Jacob walked through the door. His actions played up the fact that he had not overheard anything, but Amelia suspected he was doing that to avoid causing any more embarrassment.
“Oh, there you are Amelia, your house if very large, trying to get around it is a might challenging. Oh, and who might this be?” Jacob said, addressing the question to the young girl, who rather than reply, merely ‘eeped’ again and quickly left the room.
“Well, I have to be honest, that is not the reaction I expected,” Jacob said, “but I suppose, not everyone can be a fan.” He chuckled at the end, leaving Amelia with a chance to drop the subject, something she took.
“That was my niece, Susan, I am guessing she forgot something, she may come back down before I take you home. In the meantime, can I interest you in some breakfast?” Amelia enquired, seeing Jacob nod, Ruoy popped in with a plate of food, which took Jacob by surprise. He sat down next to Amelia and began to eat, whilst Amelia picked up her paper and continued to read it.
“Jacob, I want to apologise for my actions earlier,” Amelia said, placing her paper down on the table and looking directly at Jacob, “It was not my intention to do that, I was looking for you, as I suspected you might be a touch lost.” Jacob’s face blushed, thinking back to her action, but nodded his thanks.
“Please, again I must apologise to you, had I not been walking around your house half naked, it would have never happened.” Jacob replied, pushing his plate away, which vanished right away. “Besides, I can’t be upset at your reaction, any man would be quite happy to have a beautiful woman interested in him.”
Amelia blushed at his last words, before she pushed the naughty thoughts she had down, “You have a fine body, but please, enough of that talk, before we begin something we are not ready for.”
Jacob just nodded, knowing that it was not like him to act so forward and he suspected that Amelia was much the same. Seeing her face still slightly red, he knew she appreciated the thoughts she was likely having, similar to the ones he was having, but he brought up the topic of getting home.
“I must say your house is lovely, the hostess even more so, but I feel I must get back to my house. Would you be able to direct me to the nearest train or bus station?” Jacob asked, happy to see a slight blush to her face, as he complimented her.
“We need not worry about anything so slow, I will be able to take you to your place directly, or at least somewhere close by, given our suspicions. I will go and let Susan know I am taking you and will be right back.” Amelia stood and left the room, leaving Jacob alone, before he left, he wanted to thank Ruoy, so he said the name allowed, hoping he could call the little elf. A moment later, it appeared near him, still giving him a shock.
“Oh, thank you for coming Ruoy, I appreciate it and I wanted to tell you that I am really grateful of your help last night and this morning with breakfast. So, thank you.” Ruoy just stood on the spot, not used to being singled out for thanks.
“Mister thanks Ruoy, mister not be needing to doose that, Ruoy be doing what needs doing, that is all.” The elf responded, shock evident in his voice, Jacob decided not to press the issue and the elf vanished, leaving Jacob alone again.
Only a few minutes later, Amelia had walked back into the room, dressed in proper clothes, at least for her, before asking if he was ready to go, a quick nod and the pair of them walked out to the foyer, before Amelia took his hand in hers. She did not need to hold his hand this way, but she wanted to do it, so she did and after a quick explanation that this would feel even stranger than the portkey, they were off.
Moments later, they appeared in the nearby park, Jacob gasping for air as they appeared, clearly the definition of stranger meant something different to magical folks as it was quite a lot worse. Amelia said nothing, giving him the time to gather himself, she took the time to look around at the park they had appeared in.
“This is a nice park that you have near your place, do you come here all that often?” she asked, wanting to keep Jacob as close as possible, for as long as possible, Jacob however could not get over the methods of getting around.
“I try, Harry and I will usually do a run out this way every second weekend, or so, but when it gets cooler, we just stick to the gym.” Jacob replied, he led Amelia over to a bench and sat down. “I don’t think I will quite get used to magical means of transport, are they also discomforting?”
“Some are, Floo travel is much like travelling by Portkey, the Knight Bus though is quite tame by comparison, though I suspect you might not like that either. There is flying on a broom, but that is only really good for short distances, other wise you may end up with a pain in your bum.” She laughed at the end, knowing a few people who had encountered that problem first hand.
“Yes, I suspect they would all not be for me. I think I will need to get home and rest up a little more, before I go and get Harry, a shower would be nice as well, I likely smell of vomit a little.” Jacob said, turning to look towards the park exit. Amelia followed the direction he was looking at, a sad smile appearing on her face.
“Yes, I need to get back to Susan,” she began, “I do hope we can spend some more time together soon, I had a lot of fun. Perhaps I can take you to Diagon Alley at some point, give you a first-hand look.” Jacob turned back to look at Amelia as she spoke and nodded his head, but neither of them wanted to let go of the others hand, but eventually Amelia did just that.
“I really enjoyed my night Jacob, thank you.” As she finished speaking, she leaned in and captured his lips in a kiss, which after causing his brain to shutdown for a brief moment, but he rebooted quickly and began responding in kind. After a minute or two, they separated, before Amelia stood up and after a quick look around, vanished without a trace.
Jacob remained on the bench for another minute or so, before he headed back home, smiling the entire way. He ended up passing Mrs Figg who was letting a number of her cats out, he gave a brief wave and continued on, ignoring the shocked look on the cat ladies face. After a few more minutes of walking, he got to number 6 and let himself in, a quick drink of water, he then headed upstairs to get cleaned up and after a nice hot shower, he jumped into the car, to go and get his son.
Harry was loving spending the time with the Grangers, whenever he did, he always made sure to keep his morning run happening, sometimes Pol would join him for a small part of it, Hermione it seemed, preferred to sleep in. After completing the run today, he got back, just in time to see Helen serving some breakfast, and thankfully, due to the adult Grangers being dentists, the food was quite healthy, something which Harry was grateful for.
“Good Morning, Mrs Granger,” Harry said as he sat down at the bench, “Thank you for the meal, it looks quite nice.” Helen simply smiled and patted Harry on the head, something which made him frown, this caused her to laugh.
“Oh Harry, thank you and do lighten up, your hair is not likely to ever settle down, so why bother, besides you still have to have a shower this morning, you might have kept an even pace, but you still have a pungent smell.” Helen said as she poured herself a coffee, this was her favourite time of day, because, unless Pol joined Harry for a run, she would always have the house to herself, but the smell of coffee would always draw the others down.
Not 5 minutes later, Pol came down the stairs, Harry could have sworn, he saw Mr Granger sniffing the air, it seems coffee did summon him as the first words from his mouth were about the drink.
“Ah, coffee, nectar of the gods.” He quickly poured himself a cup, adding his dash of milk and then sat down to enjoy it. Around 20 minutes later, Hermione came down the stairs, her hair even crazier than normal, she took smelt the coffee and poured herself a cup, something she was only allowed to do, since her birthday.
Helen and Harry both shook their heads at this, the reactions were expected, but still caused them both to laugh, Harry finished his food and then headed towards the bathroom to get ready. Once he was showered and dressed, he headed back downstairs, to find Pol reading the Paper and Helen and Hermione missing, a quick look to Pol, had Pol explaining.
“They have gone upstairs for some girls only chat, something that I am sure we will never learn about, at least through words, actions are another matter, that is for sure.” Harry had no idea what that meant, but he thought it best to ask Hermione later. The morning passed without issue and as lunch was approaching, they heard a car pull into the drive, Harry looked out the window to see his Dad’s car there, Harry quickly let everyone know.
A knock at the door had Pol answering it, coming back in with Jacob right behind him, Pol himself suspected something had happened last night, given the smile that Jacob was wearing, Harry it seemed had no idea.
“Jacob,” Helen said as she moved to interrogate him, “That smile tells me that something happened overnight, what was it?” At this point Helen was quite close and Jacob decided to have a little fun, he placed his hand on her shoulder, leaned into her ear and whispered.
“A gentleman never kisses and tells.” As he finished speaking, he stepped around Helen, who had basically shutdown when he whispered in her ear, but as Jacob was getting a hug from his son, Pol was laughing, and Helen finally caught up to what happened.
“Oh, you are a rascal sometimes, you know that Jacob. But I will let you be for now, once the kids are not around, I will get my details.” Helen’s face showed that she believed it would happen, Jacob just laughed and began to ask Harry how his night was. Once Harry had explained, Jacob insisted that they needed to get home, someone had chores to do still, Harry’s face dropped, but as he was given pocket money from doing them, he resigned himself to working a little. Hermione gave Harry another big hug, before she went to complete her own chores, Harry followed her upstairs to get his bags, which left the adults alone.
“So, tell me,” Helen began, “did you manage to get a plan sorted for the kids, making sure that they will be safe when they go to school?” Pol sat up a little straighter when Helen had asked her question, Jacob replied back a moment later.
“Yes, we have a plan and Amelia will let me know how her end goes in a week or so, if she gets everything sorted, then we will be ok, but until then, there is little else we can do.” As Jacob finished, Harry came back downstairs. “Once I get confirmation, I will give you all the details.”
Helen and Pol accepted the explanation, knowing that there was more that was needed, but for now they just had to wait. They both walked Jacob and Harry out to the car and watched them drive away, hoping that whatever plan they had, would keep their daughter safe.
Chapter 12: Plots, plans and parties
In the days that passed after Amelia had left Jacob in the park, she got straight into the plans they had decided upon, she began investigating a lot of groups and people, in order to ensure she was prepared for the meeting she knew had to happen. Whilst she was doing all this, thoughts about her actions in the park kept coming back to the front of her mind. She had felt something for him, but she was worried about what it would mean, she believed herself to be out of the dating game, due to her position at the ministry, no man would want to be seen causing her problems at work, she had never considered a muggle before.
Once she was confident she had all the information that she could obtain, without alerting anybody to the plans she had, she had reached out to the Ministers office to make an appointment for a good couple of hours, as she expected a lot of explanations to be required, if the plans she had made with Jacob were to come true.
So, getting all her paperwork in order, she readied herself and then made her way towards the office of Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic. The latest secretary was waiting outside the office and when she saw Amelia arrive, she tapped her wand to a stone, to allow the Minister a few moments to get ready. When the same stone lit back up, she sent Amelia through, a notation written down of the time of her arrival, into a special book was the only record of this meeting. She waited for the door to shut, before she tapped another stone, sealing the room for as long as the Minister required it to be, letting them conduct whatever business in complete privacy.
“Ah, Amelia, welcome,” Cornelius said as he stood up to greet her, “I hope you have been well.” A quick handshake and he waved his arm towards a seat, indicating she should sit. He walked back around to his chair and also sat, pulling his wand out as he did and with a quick gesture, a tea set floated towards them.
“Thank you, Minister.” Amelia said, putting her tea together the way she preferred. “I know you are busy and we have a lot to talk about today, so let me get to it, shall I?” She saw the man nod and then began her tale.
She explained to him that Harry Potter was not placed with a wizarding family, as everyone had been told, in fact he was with a muggle. Cornelius gasped here, but Amelia did not stop, she explained how the muggle, whom she had met on multiple occasions, was raising the boy with love and values, that everyone would be proud of.
She continued to explain that he was the rightful guardian of the boy, due to the godfather signing over his rights, when Cornelius looked for clarification, she gave the name, Sirius Black. If Cornelius had thought that the Boy-Who-Lived, living with a muggle was a shock, the fact that the man who betrayed him was the godfather, left him completely speechless. Amelia though was not done, she explained how the will was probated, prior to Dumbledore ‘sealing’ it and it was in fact that same wizard who had left the boy on a doorstep overnight.
She explained that Dumbledore had accidently left Harry on the wrong doorstep, which is how he came to be with the muggle in question and when she asked about the family Dumbledore had intended for the boy to be left with, the resulting description would make even some convicted Death Eaters seem like nice people.
Cornelius could hardly believe what he was being told, all these shocks at once were a little much for the man, he got up from his seat and collected a bottle of firewhiskey, even though it was barely past noon. As he took a drink, he quickly refilled and took another, his confidence back, he sat back down and asked the questions, he knew he needed to ask, but also dreaded to ask.
“What do we do now Amelia, our entire world thought the boy looked after and Sirius Black guilty.” While the shots had given him some strength, his hands were still shaking at the news he had been given. Amelia smiled back, her reaction was much the same, when she discovered it all.
“Well Cornelius I have a plan, or I should say that Mr Tuttle, the man who has been raising Harry Potter for the past 9 years, has a plan and it is a very good plan.” As she finished speaking, she could see the face, of the Minster start to brighten, a way out it seemed was in his grasp.
“Don’t keep me waiting now, what is this plan.” Cornelius said, almost begging to be told, Amelia just replied back.
“We create a new department within my own, that looks after all Muggleborn, Muggle-raised and orphan children of the wizarding world. Given how we already have the ability to monitor accidental magic usage, as well as underage magic, we already have records of most of the children who would be covered under this plan.”
Cornelius could not believe it, a simple plan to be sure, but one that he could support, but there was still much to discover as he found out.
“However, Cornelius there are a few things we would need to do, in order to set this department up properly. For one, this does not require input or the approval from the Wizengamot, as it would be an extension of an existing department and as long as the budget we have is not compromised, they would have no reason to object.” Cornelius had to raise a question here, her last statement knew would be cause for concern.
“Yes, but Amelia, are you not the one who petitions for an increase in the budget each year, what happens when you ask for it again, they will want to know why?” Amelia smiled back.
“Yes, my budget, something that you and I have fought over a lot, you seem happy to lower the amount of money for the Auror’s and hit wizards, along with the Improper use of Magic and the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts offices, while the budgets for departments that have had no changes in the past hundred years or more get increased.” Amelia knew she needed to be resolute here, she could not fold, or all would be for nothing.
“I know that you take advice for Lucius Malfoy, a man who was a Death Eater,” Cornelius had to object here, “note I said was, be he under the Imperius curse or not, he was a Death Eater. What he says to you, in this office is something only you and he know about but given that ever since he started to visit you and donate to your office, things have been changing around here.”
Cornelius looked down at his desk, he was getting worried now, while he knew Lucius to be suspected as a Death Eater, he never suspected the visits and donations to have any other meaning, apart from what was stated at the time. He looked back to Amelia and saw her face was resolute, almost set in stone and when she noticed that she had his attention again, she continued to speak.
“You and I both know that money that was allocated for other departments, has gone missing over the years, lesser amounts of money will always go missing from here or there, but we have both been complicit in not chasing up why for the larger sums, at least until the other day. I went back through the past 10 years of budgets and while a lot can be easily accounted for, there are substantial amounts of money that never made it to their intended departments.”
Amelia knew she had to keep pressing her advantage, Cornelius was a man of complacency and drastic changes to that, would see him loose his cool, which would cause problems down the line.
“I have spoken with the Goblins and they have confirmed that my facts are true, money that was marked for certain departments had gone missing, but they were also able to tell me where it ended up. Would it shock you to know, that some department heads and civilians received it instead? Lucius Malfoy for one, received three sizeable transfers in the past 5 years, Walden McNair a member of our own Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, Vincent Crabe Sr, Gregory Goyle Sr, Nott, Travers and a few more, have all received money, that was meant to go towards Ministry departments.”
Cornelius just sat there, unable to process what he had been told, a lot of money had been given to people, instead of helping the Ministry in keeping the wizarding world safe and functioning the way it should be, but it seems Amelia had more to say.
“Cornelius, what can you tell me about each of those names I just gave you?” Cornelius had to think upon it, while he knew a few personally, some he had even dined with on occasion, he could not see a single connection, until Amelia pointed it out.
“They were all Death Eaters, each of them under the Imperius curse it seems and they all avoided time in Azkaban, after money was given to then Minister Bagnold.” Amelia had to smile at this, she knew she had him.
“Amelia, that can’t be true, I know some of those people, quite well, they could not be involved in something like this. The records must be wrong.” Was all that he could say, to accept the facts that Amelia had provided meant that he was being used.
“They are not wrong Cornelius, the only thing I have yet to do, is bring in the man who authorised the transfer from our accounts department, who might I add, is another former ‘imperiusised’ Death Eater. Don’t you see, they are still doing what they can to undermine the Ministry, but instead of doing it via murder, torture and other macabre methods, they are using money.”
Amelia saw Cornelius finally accept the truth, his face had sagged in recognition of the truth and he sat still for a few minutes, just starring at nothing. Amelia took a drink from her cup of tea, thinking that the first part went over well, but now things were going to get more difficult. She let Cornelius rest a moment, before she began to speak again, knowing this may break the man, but it needed to be done.
“So, Cornelius, we now know where the money is going, so when the next budget is due over the holiday period, I suggest we give my department a lot more money and lower the funds for other. We can explain it by stating that each department needs a boost now and again. As everyone knows that I watch my budget, very closely, no-one would dare take money from me. Now with that out of the way, we need to move on the next part of the plan, because arresting the men we know to be Death Eaters does nothing to remove the problem, that comes from Hogwarts.”
For all the shocks that Cornelius had been given already, this was just the one that broke the Thestral’s back.
“What do you mean the problem is at Hogwarts. That is one of the finest schools of Magic in the world, if not the finest.” He was puffing himself up now, he loved his time at the school and knew just how well it was received around the world.
“Yes, we all know what Albus Dumbledore states, however the results are do not back up his words. Whenever we get new recruits for the Auror program, we have re-teach them potions, as well as basic defence against the dark arts and more. But that is not my point, we don’t know where You Know who came from, but we know where his most devout followers came from, even the ones that we let go, without a trial, they all passed through Hogwarts. Now you might say that the teachers can’t be held responsible for what the students do once they leave, but I ask you, how likely is it that you would wake up tomorrow and desire to start killing people?”
Cornelius started to look at Amelia with recognition in his eyes, one or two people might be able to slip by, but not as many as followed the Dark Lord.
“What do we do Amelia? Albus Dumbledore is well respected in the community, to say that the school is producing Death Eaters, would see the both of us lynched, if not worse.” Amelia however had a response for that as well.
“Simple Cornelius, we explain what we want to happen. Since the time that Albus took over as headmaster, there has been an increase of violent behaviour across the country. The school has not been able to hold onto a single teach for the Defence Against the Dark Arts course in almost 35 years and for some reason, he backed Severus Snape in court, then let go the much admired, if somewhat pompous Horace Slughorn as the Potions Professor and replaced him with Snape, while also promoting the man, barely out of school himself, to be the head of Slytherin house.”
“What this means is that either Albus Dumbledore is not in the right state of mind, something that we should expect from all members of government and even more so, people that we allow to raise our children for us. But if he is in control of his faculties, then he has plans that require things to be that poor, which is the option both myself and Mr Tuttle suspect.”
Cornelius simply could not believe it, Albus was the man who he respected, someone who had been requested to take the Minster position, multiple times and still refused, instead opting to remain as the headmaster, but if what Amelia was saying was true, he had plans for the school.
“What can we do, we have no control over the school, it has been its own entity since it was founded, we can’t go in and change things.” Amelia had an answer for this too.
“We don’t need to, we have a department of Education, who oversees the exams for the OWLS and NEWTs, but we use them very little throughout the rest of the year. What we should propose is that all teachers, regardless of who they are, or how long they have been at the school, take a test, to prove not only that they have suitable knowledge for the course they teach, but also can be counted upon to provide the right type of guidance and support for children.”
“The muggles have their teachers go through years of teaching, before they are allowed in a classroom, even then, their first times are always as support, with a qualified teacher there as well. They are then monitored, to ensure that they are both performing as we expect, but also maintaining a standard of professionalism. Teachers that fail the testing, can take time to get themselves back up to standard, or retire and find another job, I am suggesting we adopt something similar.”
Cornelius could agree with this, he suggested that they announce it publicly first, to allow the public to know that they were putting the kids before anything else.
“Amelia, what if we announced that plan to the Daily Prophet first, that way, we can gain some traction before anyone can object. No one would want to be seen as taking away the assurance that our children are getting the right education, to ensure they can grow up to be the best they can be.”
Amelia knew that Cornelius had figured it out, by taking things public, those who worked best in the shadows like Lucius Malfoy, or Albus Dumbledore, would be neutered before they even knew what was happening.
“That is an excellent idea, Cornelius. It seems we have more to discuss, but I think for now we should break. I would like to bring you to a muggle place, where you can meet Mr Tuttle, he has a mind that can see things others can’t and I think you would like him.” Cornelius nodded, asking her to set it up and let him know, with that Amelia stood and let herself out, both adults knowing they had a lot to think over.
While that meeting was taking place, back in Surrey another meeting was happening, the annual gym Halloween Party planning, for some reason, one of American members suggested it a few years back and it had since become a yearly event.
Jacob and Rob were the only two who did not join in the planning, due to their management roles at the gym, but they were aware of the plans. This year, the committee had decided to embrace the theme of Magic, with drinkable potions and such, as well as edible spells, where they came up with this, Jacob had no idea, but he did find the entire thing funny.
As the date, October 27th got closer, he started to get more details of the event, with it being open to the kids this year, but it was also required that all staff dress up for the night. Jacob has stupidly asked why it was not on the 31st and someone pointed out that the 27th was a Saturday night, so better to work it for when people would be able to attend.
A week before the party, he got another owl from Amelia, asking for him to come and meet her for lunch, to which she would also be bringing her boss along, to sort through any extra questions that might have come up in the past few weeks, Jacob was happy to spend more time with Amelia, though he was unsure what to make of this boss, as far as he could recall, the only person higher than her, was the leader of the magical people.
Still on the 26th, he headed to London for a lunch meeting and found himself waiting at the same restaurant as last time, though he decided to forgo the beer this time. Barely waiting a few minutes, Amelia had arrived, with her boss, who looked extremely nervous, as if it was the first time he had spent outside of the magical world. Jacob went to shake Amelia’s hand, but she pushed it away and gave him a hug instead, Cornelius decided to just shake the hand that was offered though.
While they were waiting for their table, they had a quick moment to introduce the two males properly and after Cornelius was able to get a little drink, his nerves seemed to settle down. Eventually they were called forward and taken to the same table as last time, not that Cornelius knew that, but after sitting down, they ordered and got down to business.
Cornelius was impressed that this muggle knew so much, he did not know how he knew it, but with the information he had, plus what Amelia had obtained, the plan now seemed more likely to succeed. He did have a few questions though, if only to help settle the concerns he had for Mr Potter.
“So, tell me Mr Tuttle, how is it that you got custody of Harry, that is something Amelia has not explained.” Cornelius said, trying to look nice and calm, as if the answer did not matter at all, Jacob saw the face and knew that the man was desperate to know.
“Well, Mr Fudge, I was chosen as Harry’s guardian by the former godfather, Sirius Black, who needed someone, not associated with your world, too look after him. While it was indicated that it would only be a few weeks, or a couple of months at most, as time went on, I heard nothing back stating otherwise and by that point I started to think of him as my son and just raised him that way.”
Jacob had not given him anything, outside of the fact that he was legally Harry’s guardian, but Cornelius had thought he got the golden goose, he smiled and moved onto another topic he wanted to know.
“Can you explain to me then, how is it that you know Amelia, I doubt there are many chances for your world and mine to overlap.” Amelia threw Cornelius a look that promised a lot of pain, when they returned to the office, but Jacob did not see it and began to recount how they met. Cornelius was surprised at the knowledge that a muggleborn was best friends with the Boy-Who-Lived, but given how he was muggle raised, it made more sense than him being friends with a pureblood.
The lunch moved on, more questions being asked by all parties and by the time they had left, all felt more comfortable with the plans they had, Cornelius apologised first and noted he needed to head back. Amelia let him go off on his own, giving herself a few minutes with Jacob, before she too had to leave. Jacob was grateful that she remained, he wanted to ask her to the Halloween party, partly because he thought she might enjoy the theme, but also because he wanted to spend more time with her.
“I think that went well, Cornelius seemed to agree to a lot of what you had said Jacob,” Amelia said, “I hope that he takes it all to heart though, we don’t need him changing his mind on this now.” Jacob just nodded his head, knowing what she was implying should he change his mind.
“I hope so too, I wanted to ask you something further Amelia. Tomorrow night, my work is hosting a Halloween party, it is something that one of our members suggested a few years back and each year they seem to get more and more elaborate. I was hoping that you might like to come with me, as my guest?” Jacob managed to get the final words out, whilst his face was looking more to the ground than at Amelia, needless to say, she was delighted at spending more time with him, so she readily agreed.
“I should point out though, that this year, they have asked everyone to dress up, in a costume and that, would you be ok with that? They have a theme if it helps.” Jacob added quickly, hoping to get her to ask what it was, it worked.
“I am not sure that I know enough about muggles to dress up as something, but if you let me know what I can use, I am sure I can work something out.” She responded, hoping to get something she knew, if she had to ask Arthur Weasley, she knew nothing would happen for the rest of the day.
“The theme is one you are perhaps more qualified to understand than I will ever be, it is Magic. They want people to come dressed up as Wizards, Witches and other magical creatures. I was going to go as Merlin, but then I thought he would be a popular choice, so I thought, how about a basic robe and then I can just be a normal wizard.”
Amelia was shocked at this, she could go to a party, really as herself, but no-one, apart from Jacob and Harry if he went, would know that she was a witch. She agreed to come and would dress up as a proper witch, they made plans to meet near the park, before Jacob would drive them to the location and with a quick kiss on the cheek, Amelia walked to the same alley that Cornelius had and vanished.
Jacob went back to his own job, thinking that this party, just might be fun for a change.
Chapter 13: Shopping down a magical alley
The party went off without any issues, Jacob’s colleagues had thought Amelia played a witch quite well, something that caused Harry to laugh a lot, when he heard about it. Christmas was soon upon them and Jacob announced that on Boxing Day, they would be heading over to France then down to Spain until after the New Year, Harry was not that enthusiastic about the trip, but when he heard that the Grangers would also be doing the same trip, he instantly had to know all about the plans.
The holiday was one that everyone enjoyed, the kids seemed to lose themselves in the history of all the places they had visited, and even with Hermione wanting to spend more time in the Library than was normal, they all had a wonderful time. School started back up and life settled down, however it was towards the end of March that Jacob was asked by Pol if he wanted to go shopping with Helen and Hermione at Diagon Alley. The plan was, that it would give him a chance to explore, without putting Harry at risk, Pol would watch Harry for the day and then later on they would swap stories over dinner.
Jacob sent a letter to Amelia, to make sure all his knowledge was current, to his relief it was, so with plans settled, the Grangers met up with Jacob and Harry, before Pol lead Harry away in his car, with the two of them going to play Golf. Jacob and Helen had to force Hermione to follow them, as she was worried that Harry would not enjoy himself playing the game, Jacob however pointed out something she had not considered, what if he had liked it and wanted to play it more, this caused Hermione to pout.
They had soon arrived at the entry way to the alley, thankful for Amelia’s explanation about how to get there, but being there and being ready were two completely different things. Still, Jacob decided to push forward, nobody gained anything by standing still and with Hermione following along, Helen had no choice but to push on in and what they saw when they adjusted to the darker space was nothing short of strange, a feeling that would repeat throughout the day.
If one had travelled back in time, The Leaky Cauldron, would be a pub they might find 150 years ago, there was nothing modern inside, in fact the most modern looking thing seemed to be the drinkware. While the three of them were standing in the doorway, looking around at everything, the barkeep had noticed them and walked over to help.
“Hello there, can I help you?” he asked, taking a quick look at the three people. While both adults were still looking around in shock, Hermione responded.
“That would be wonderful, my name is Hermione and I got a letter from Hogwarts.” At hearing that she had a letter, the barkeeps face lit up, here was another young one heading off to school soon.
“Oh wonderful, my name is Tom and I run this little establishment. Once your folks have gotten themselves ready, I will help you through to the alley.” Tom said, giving a quick look back at the adults, who were slowly coming around.
“Thank you, Tom, if you could bring me through, I am sure they will follow right away.” Hermione said, and began to follow Tom, who had set off for a door at the back of the pub after she finished speaking. True to her words, the moment they had started to move, they adults began to follow, as if on autopilot. Tom stepped out the door, into a small little courtyard, a few bins stacked in a corner and once everyone was there, he pulled a wand out and started to tap the bricks, and soon the wall of bricks shifted away, leaving the entrance to Diagon Alley before them.
“Good shopping today and if you have time, stop by on your way out for a drink or something to eat. If you have any questions as well, feel free to come on back and ask me.” With a final wave, Tom had stepped back inside, leaving Jacob, Helen and Hermione alone.
“Well, here we are,” Jacob said, taking a large deep breath, “The first thing that we best do, is go to the bank, I know I need to get some money out and I suspect you will need to change money over.” Jacob finished, giving a quick look to Helen, who had reached out and grabbed Hermione’s hand, quite tightly.
“You are right, I am not sure how much we will need, so if we can keep an eye out for prices as we go, that will help me work out how much I need.” Helen herself pulled Hermione back a little, as the young girl had begun to walk forward, so entranced by all the sites. But when her mother pulled her hand back, she snapped out of it, only to turn towards her and exclaim her frustration at her hand being held. Jacob just laughed at the action of the two Granger ladies, but knowing that they had a lot to do, he once again, put one foot forward and they began the walk towards the bank.
As they approached the bank, the size of it stood out, it simply dwarfed anything else in the alley, its large white marble pillars were as wide as most doors and there were many on each side of a set of doors that were easily 12 feet high. Jacob knew it was excessive, given the size of Goblins, but he could see that Helen and Hermione were starting to panic a little.
“It’s ok, just take a breath, Goblins are not massive creatures.” He said, pulling the ladies to a stop at the bottom of the stairs. “When we get in there, I will ask to see the Potter account manager and then we shall go from there, ok?”
When Jacob received a pair of nods back, he started to walk up the steps, as he got closer, he noticed two burly looking goblins, standing either side of the door. Above it was a warning, telling people not to steal from them, Jacob thought, that some normal banks could learn from this.
As they passed through the doors, the shock kicked in again, not only was the bank as large as they expected, it was quite opulent, with large crystal chandeliers hanging from the roof, gold was used as highlights in almost everything. The floor itself seemed to be speckled with it so much, Jacob was not sure if it was that was actually gold with tile mixed in, or the other way around.
Jacob noticed a small line of people, also dressed in regular clothes and figured this was where they would be doing the swap, while Jacob wanted to speak with Barchoke, he was not sure how to get to him, so he jumped into the existing line, with Helen and Hermione falling in behind him. Soon enough, after a nice wait, it was their turn to speak with the goblin.
“What can I help you with?” The goblin said, without even looking up at the next bunch of humans he had to serve.
“Hello there, I was hoping you might be able to help me get in touch with Barchoke, he is who I have normally been dealing with, though it has been with written correspondence.” Jacob said, the moment he mentioned the name Barchoke, the other goblins head shot up, its eyes wide open, showing the shock it was experiencing for all too see.
After a brief moment, the goblin composed himself before clarifying a few things. “Oh, you say you are after Barchoke, can you explain to me how you know that name and what you expect to happen next?”
Jacob was not sure how to react to this goblin, he clearly knew the name, the reaction alone proved that, but then to have the goblin question him, as if he was making it all up, was just a little much. However, what he knew of the goblin race, was that they were proud and insulting one, was never a clever idea.
“Sure thing, Barchoke is the goblin I have been working with for almost 10 years now, if you bring him out here, or bring me to him, I can let you get back to your business.” A smiled adorned Jacob’s face, knowing that he would soon be seeing the requested goblin.
Sure enough, only a few seconds later, the goblin waved his hand and a piece of paper flew away, towards the back of the bank, he then gestured to Jacob and the ladies to sit down to the side. As they sat down, Helen had to ask what was going on.
“Jacob, can you explain to me, what is going on. I thought we were in the line to exchange money?” Hermione was looking at Jacob quite intensely, with almost the exact same look on her face as Helen had.
“Yes, normally, I would imagine that would be the line we would be in, if we were only going to exchange money today, but as I need to speak with Barchoke, I figured that would be the best line for ‘muggles’ like you and me, to be in. The goblin clearly had no idea that someone without magic would know that name and I suspect it threw him for a bit, but now we just have to wait for someone to come and get us, I suppose.”
“But how do you know this Barchoke? I can’t imagine you pop into the bank every weekend?”
Jacob just gave a small chuckle, “No you are right, this is the first time I have ever stepped foot into the bank. Barchoke was the goblin who came to the house all those years back and helped with the paperwork for Harry to stay with me. Over the years, we have sent a lot of mail back and forth, keeping the account active, trying to make sure Harry has money when he turns 18.”
Helen was impressed that Jacob was thinking so far ahead, normally, men could not be convinced to plan that far, but in all the years that she had known Jacob, he did prove to be ever the mystery at times.
Hermione had a few questions she wanted answered, so she began to ask, but just as the first few words came from her mouth, another goblin appeared.
“If you will come with me, Barchoke will see you now.” Without even waiting for a response, the goblin turned around and began to walk away, back towards the rear of the bank. Jacob, Helen and Hermione quickly got up to follow, having to step around a witch and wizard who walked into the bank, a pair of scowls appeared upon their faces, when they noticed them.
Not paying any mind, Jacob just kept up with the goblin who opened another large door at the back of the main hall, showing a smaller corridor, which seemed more appropriately sized for goblins. Turning either left or right, had nothing but doors as far as they could see, before the corridors turned, leading onto somewhere else. The goblin made sure all three of them were through the door, before he closed it and then lead them off to the right, taking that turn, which showed them a few more doors.
At the end of the corridor, there was a large cart, easily big enough for four adults to sit in, with a strange little seat on the back, which was small enough for a goblin to sit in comfortably. But they did not get to close to them as the final door on the left, was their target and as they got there, the goblin gave three sharp knocks, before he was given permission to enter.
As they stepped through the door, they noticed a very large desk was at the back of the room, with paperwork and other items stacked all over it and all around it. A series of chairs were parked in front, with more against the rear wall, close to the door. While they were looking around, a gruff voice could be heard behind some of the paperwork.
“Thank you, Planker, you may leave now.” With that dismissal, the goblin that lead them to the room left, leaving the humans alone with the yet unseen goblin. “Sit down now, we have much to discuss in person Jacob, though I must say, I was not expecting you to come in until Mr Potter’s birthday.”
“It is good to see you, or at least hear you Barchoke, I am sure you are buried under the paperwork somewhere.” Jacob said, a short but hard laugh came from the other side of the desk, and with a quick snapping noise, all the paperwork sorted itself, into some kind of order, leaving a nice open space for both sides of the desk to view the other.
“You always were one for a laugh Jacob, I appreciate that about you.” Jacob just smiled back, he had come to understand how Barchoke liked to think over the years, but this was their first time speaking in person since they first met.
“Where are my manners, Barchoke, I would like you to meet Helen and Hermione Granger, Hermione is Harry’s age and will also be going to Hogwarts this coming year. Helen and her husband Pol are good friends, who Harry and I met under some frankly funny circumstances.”
Barchoke simply waved at both ladies, the desk was too large to attempt to handshake over, Hermione gave an enthusiastic wave back, which caused Barchoke to smile.
“A pleasure to meet you both, I am sure whatever business you have with Gringotts today, we can get it sorted here as well.” Helen slumped her shoulders a little bit, a sense of relief filling her mind at the thought, that they would get things done. “I think, perhaps that we should get the Granger business done first, as that will take less time than the Potter business will, if that is ok with everyone else.”
With no one voicing any objections, Helen raised her business, they were looking to convert some of their money for the money used within the wizarding world, but they were not sure how much they would need. Barchoke decided to explain how it would work first, before they completed any transactions.
“Worry not, Mrs Granger, the transaction is as simple as it would be at your own bank. Normally, you would just walk into the bank, join the line that you were in and speak with the goblin there. The wizarding world uses Galleons, Sickles and Knuts. There are 17 Sickles to a Galleon and 29 Knuts to a Sickle. Or 498 Knuts to a Galleon, the Knuts are bronze, the Sickles silver and the Galleons are gold, each coin is made here in Gringotts and can be used at any store in the magical world, some countries however, have their own specific currency.”
“At today’s exchange rate, 5 pounds and 12 pence will get you one Galleon, but while the listed value appears to be less, the item value would be around the same. So, what would cost you 25 British pounds, will cost you around 5 or 6 galleons here.” Helen was making a few quick notes as Barchoke spoke, knowing she would need to explain this to Pol when she got home.
“Finally, we charge a fee of 5 sickles for exchanging money, regardless of the amount exchanged, so if you wanted to get one galleon, the fee would be the same if you were getting 500 galleons. Does this make sense?”
Helen nodded, her hand moving at quite the pace to get all the information down. Jacob himself was vaguely aware of the way the currency rates changed, but getting the complete breakdown was good.
“Now with that information, how much were you looking to get today? If you are doing a complete shop, plus a few extras, I would think 50 Galleons would be enough, you can always exchange more at a later date, if you need or want to do more shopping. Because you are in here, I can also waive the fee, saving you a little money.”
Helen thought that was a good amount of money to shop with, so she handed over the amount of money needed and a moment later was handed a pouch, filled with coins.
“Now then, that business is done, let us turn to the Potter and Black accounts.” It was now Jacob’s turn to be shocked, he knew the Potter account, but had no idea about the Black account.
“Sorry Barchoke, what you do mean Potter and Black, I was under the impression that that the only account was the Potter one. I know now that Sirius was thrown into prison, but we know he is innocent and should not be there.”
Barchoke nodded his head, he knew as well at the lack of trial for the human who made him laugh, but it was not the prison issue that was cause for concern.
“Well Jacob, when Mr Black was in here, prior to our visit of you on that night, years ago. He made out a will, stating that young Mr Potter was the heir to the Black estate, title, money, property and so on, would all be given to Harry, should anything happen to Mr Black. What Mr Black failed to take into account was him being thrown into prison, for the Black estate has some strange rules attached to it, mostly due to line of succession and such. As the then head of the Black family had remained indisposed for over 5 years, the line of succession took effect and moved onto the nominated heir, in this case Mr Potter.”
“However, as you were given guardianship over Mr Potter, until he comes of age, that meant all the decision were yours to make as well. I knew that should word get out that a ‘muggle’ was in charge of the Black estate, a family known to hate all things muggle, there would be a lot more investigation into you and as such Mr Potter would be found out. So, I simply started to add the Black estate issues to our correspondence, and you started to direct that estate, which saw the family magic register you as the proxy for Mr Potter and things kept moving forward.”
Jacob was shocked, he had been dealing with two estates, when he thought it was only one, the amount of money he saw made him think that the Potter wealth was in the realm of a small country, but knowing that it was for two different accounts, made him relax a little.
“Oh Barchoke, that makes me happy, to know that the statements were for the two combined estates, rather than just the Potter one, as you know that is a lot of money.” Barchoke simply looked at Jacob, trying to work out what he was going on about.
“I am sorry Jacob, you seem to be confused, the statements that you got, were only for the Potter account, the questions I asked allowed me to keep the Black estate active, but no statement has ever been issued for the Black estate, they wanted no-one to know how much money they had.”
At this point Jacob lost all colour in his face, the statements were only for the Potter estate, not for both combined, which meant Harry had a lot of money when he became an adult.
“Might I trouble you for some water,” Jacob managed to ask, his hands shaking as he accepted the glass that Barchoke soon handed him, “The amount of money is quite insane, yes?”
Barchoke simply nodded back, “Yes, thanks to your wise investments, the Potter estate has grown quite a lot over the years, which has increased the amount of capital that we can invest, so year on year, the growth has been quite substantial, though we are still limited to what we are able to do, until Mr Potter comes in himself.”
Jacob just took some sips of the water he now held, while trying to process all the information. Hermione had to know what the amount was.
“Mr Barchoke, can you tell me how much you are talking about?” Helen turned to Hermione to scold her for asking such a rude question, but Barchoke simply began to laugh and this was not a short one, after a few seconds, it turned into a deep laugh, which caused the two ladies to stare back at him, Jacob was still sipping water.
“Oh, young Miss Granger, never fear to ask a question, only fear to live in the absence of knowledge. The Potter estate is currently valued at around 340 million galleons once you take into account all the property and antiques.” Hermione did a quick calculation in her head and simply blurted out the amount, which caused Helen to also be shocked.
“One point seven billion pounds?”
“It would be a little under that, with the exchange rate, but yes little one, that would be the rough value of everything. Perhaps now you can understand why Jacob here, is having a tough time accepting it.”
At hearing his name, Jacob looked up from his glass and gave a weak smile, which caused Barchoke to chuckle even more.
“Yes, as much fun as this is, we have business we need to do, so Jacob, I need to get your signature on a number of forms, in order to get things ready for Harry’s schooling, his tuition has already been paid, so no worries there, but we need to get a few things ready for when he comes in.”
Barchoke simply waved his hand and a stack of forms appeared in front of Jacob, who set down his water and began to read. As he was reading and signing, Hermione asked Barchoke a few questions about the bank.
“Mr Barchoke,” but before she could continue, he corrected her.
“Just Barchoke, or if it is a formal occasion, then it would be Accounts Manager Barchoke, little one.”
Ever the one to learn, Hermione began again, “Barchoke, how long as Gringotts been run by Goblins?”
“Ah, the history of our bank is a long and bloody one, over countless generations there have been many wars that raged between Wizards and Goblins. For the most part, they stem from Wizards who believe we are better as slaves, much like a house-elf and not free as we are. There was one lengthy fight in the 15th century, which caused many on both sides to fall in battle, but the bank itself has stood for many years now.”
“In fact, it was in 1752, when a rebellion kicked off again, with wizards once again trying to get us to bend to their demands. However, the minister at the time, an Albert Boot completely messed up the wizarding side, forgetting that the money they depended upon was made by goblins, that he was forced to resign in shame. His successor, Basil Flack however, only lasted two months, before he two was sacked, sadly in his attempts to gain control over us and the bank, he made some horrible choices, which forced the Goblin peoples to seek an alliance with the werewolves of Britain. With our two forces combined, the wizarding population demanded that Flack be fired, and his replacement Hephaestus Gore simply cancelled the war, siting a number of reasons publicly.”
“Wow,” replied Hermione, she never expected such a history, “Does that mean, that wizards were fighting goblins at the same time, they used them as a bank? That does not seem smart.”
Barchoke mealy laughed again, he liked this witch.
“Yes, that is exactly what happened, the last rebellion occurred around the ending of the 18th century, was fought over the use of wands. Some wizards believed that we should be allowed the use of a wand. Which is a funny thing, as goblins are able to do more magic without a wand, than most wizards and witches are able to do, with one.”
Helen was shocked at just how backwards the magical world appeared to be at times but was happy that the goblins did not have to worry about things today.
“It has been quite a while since anyone attempted to ignite a rebellion, on either side, though during the most recent war, Voldemort attempted to get the goblins to side with him. But our council knew him to be quite fake in his proposal for equal rights, so it was denied, which sadly, led to a number of goblin deaths.”
Hermione looked sad at that, the man who had taken Harry’s birth parents, also killed goblins, because they would not join him. However, before any more could be spoke, Jacob spoke up again, letting everyone know he was done.
“You know Barchoke, I expect you kept some of that paperwork back for the day that I did come in, because that seemed to be a lot more than was normal, even adding in another estate.”
“You caught me out Jacob, like I said, I did not expect you until July at the earliest, so I snuck some extra forms in there, to allow for some more investments to take place, before you come back in.”
Jacob put down the quill, signing his name on the last line, which caused all the forms to pop away, giving a bit of a start to Helen and Hermione. Jacob just gave his hand a bit of a shake, to help get the blood moving again before he stood to crack his back.
“Of course, with that done, I wanted to get some money as well, so we can get some books and things for Harry, make it easier when we come back later.” Barchoke just opened a draw and pulled out another bag, similar to the one that Helen was still holding.
“This bag is tied directly to the main Potter vault, whilst you are not allowed to enter it, you as the guardian for the Potter estate, are allowed to withdraw money from it as needed. There is a limit of 10,000 Galleons for the bag to hold at any one time, though I would hope you never need that many at once.”
Jacob just shook his head, trying to imagine needing that much money on hand, he reached out and took the bag, the moment he did, it started to jingle as if full of money. After giving it a quick shake, Jacob put it in his lap, before asking if there was anything else, they needed to cover. With a no from Barchoke, they got up to leave, but Barchoke had one final thing to do.
“Before you go, I would like to give you a copy of this book, this is the history of the goblins, not the watered-down thing you will find other humans reading. This is a special book, so make sure you keep it safe, I am sure it will be of interest to Mr Potter, as well as yourself Miss Granger.”
Hermione held onto the book, grasping it, as if it were life itself, which to Hermione would not be far from the truth. Jacob gave Barchoke a shake of his hand, which Helen also offered and then Barchoke summoned Planker, to walk them back to the main floor.
As they left the bank, Jacob noticed the same couple from earlier, speaking to a goblin at a desk, over in the corner, he made a note of the two people, both with blonde hair, as the man noticed Jacob and gave another sneer.
Once the excitement of the bank was completed, it was time to shop, Helen pulled out the list from her bag and noted that Robes were listed first, so with that in mind, the headed for a shop that sold them. Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions was the first stop out of the bank, thankfully it was just to the left of the bank. As they approached, they saw a pair of Indian girls walking out, one of which was talking a mile a minute, the other looked to be exhausted, clearly, they were very different girls.
Once they had entered the shop, a young woman came to greet them, while another was serving an older teen, the boy seemed resigned to his fate, as if death was waiting for him, but just as Jacob was about to turn around, the boy’s mother came from the rear of the shop, loaded up with more clothes than Jacob thought even he owned. The boy looked around and saw Jacob watching him, and when they noticed each other, Jacob gave a small shrug and the boys head just dropped more, both men knew it was pointless to resist.
While all that was happening, Hermione was already on a stand, getting measured for her robes, thankfully as she was only needing the standard black Hogwarts robes, it took almost no time at all to be measured. Within 45 minutes, they left the store, with Jacob carrying the bundle of robes for them and with the advice of the saleswitch in their ear, they headed to Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment to pick up the trunk and as they were just after the standard trunk, the total time in the store could be counted in single digits.
Their day of shopping moved forward, most stores were walk-in and out, thanks to the list and the fact that the staff recognised a first year and were able to get the right things sorted. After they had the bulk of the list ticked off, they stopped by Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour for a treat, before heading to their last two stores, the book shop and the wand store. Hermione was not sure which she was more excited for, the fact that there was an entire range of books she had not read yet, was something genuinely exciting, but with a wand, she would be able to do magic.
Helen and Jacob knew that if they went to the bookshop next, they would never have time to get the wand, it was something that Jacob knew he would have to do when Harry came to the alley. In the end they head to the far end of the alley and into Ollivander’s Wand Shop, which had apparently been in business since 382 B.C, as they entered the store, Jacob placed the trunk down near the chair and sat down, his role here fulfilled. Just as he sat down, he noticed a man coming from the back of the shop, towards the counter.
“Welcome, how may I help you today?” the old man said, wheezing as if he was out of breath from running a marathon. “My name is Mr. Ollivander and if I am correct, you would be muggleborn?”
Hermione nodded, the man gave her a chill for some strange reason, he accepted the nod and then pulled out a tape measure. He gave his own wand a quick wave and the tape measure came to life, starting to measure all over Hermione, even between her nostrils, when this happened, she gave a little giggle, which made Ollivander smile.
“Perfect, now that we have that done and you are more relaxed, let us begin. Tell me, Miss?” he left it hanging as no-one else had introduced themselves yet.
“Granger, Hermione Granger, sir.” She replied, with a little bit of respect in her voice, the man smiled back and just continued on.
“Tell me then, Miss Granger, which arm is your wand arm?” Hermione just held her right out and seeing that, Ollivander turned around and headed into one of the many rows of shelving. Jacob was impressed at not only the number of long boxes stacked everywhere, but that they were not falling into massive heaps on the floor, he thought magic might be helping here.
Ollivander was only gone a few minutes, but when he returned, he had a small mountain of boxes in his arms, when he placed them down on the counter, Helen asked why so many?
“Oh, simple Mrs Granger, the wand chooses the witch, and while I have an idea of what wand will work for your daughter, we won’t know if I am right until she holds it, so I have a sample of the ones I think would work best.” With that, he picked up a box and removed the wand from it, but before he handed it to Hermione, he indicated what would happen.
“All you need to do Miss Granger, is give the wand a wave, if it works well for you, we should see a bit of a show, if not, something else may happen. It has been known to happen on the first time, but it could also take many more, so don’t worry if nothing happens.”
With that said, he handed the wand to Hermione, who held it for a moment, before giving it a small wave, right away, a wind picked up from nowhere, the lights grew dimmer around the room as one seemed to appear over her head and after a few moments, it all faded away, leaving a very surprised girl standing still, a smile over her face.
“Well, what do you know, a perfect match, right at the start. 10¾ inches in length, made of vine wood, with dragon heartstring as its core.” A quick wave of his wand and all the remaining boxes just flew back to the shelves. He then took the box that the wand had come from and gave it to Hermione, who placed the wand back inside of it. Once it was back in the box, he placed it in a bag and completed the sale, however he did point out that there could be no magic performed, until they at least got on the train, something he forgot to mention until someone from the Ministry informed him earlier in the new year.
With the wand now in a bag, that Hermione carried proudly, they left the store and headed to their final destination, the book shop. What was surprising though, was that Hermione did not seem to notice their destination, her mind appeared to be fixated on her new wand. When they got to the front of the store, Helen had to give Hermione a solid nudge, to get her to notice and if she could smile any wider, she would have.
When they got in there, Helen handed the list to the clerk, who went about collecting the books for them, Jacob asked if he could get two of each book, the clerk looked at him strangely, but gave a quick nod and moved off to collect them. Helen turned around to look for her daughter, to no surprise at all, Hermione was nowhere to be found, Helen looked at Jacob and the two of them chuckled and started to look for the wayward witch.
Jacob was also taking his time to look at the books that they had on the shelf, there were some that dealt with subjects like Botany and Zoology, though they appeared to have magical names. He felt they would be interesting and things he could relate too as well, so he picked up a few of each and kept on looking. Eventually he found Hermione, who was sitting on the floor, in front of a section of books, all dedicated to his son, Harry Potter.
“Hey Hermione, you are aware that this is not a library, right?” Jacob said, gaining the young girls attention, she just nodded and kept on reading. He left her too it for a moment, before he asked the question, he suspected he knew the answer to already. “So, what made you sit down and begin to read?”
“These books are filled with so much information about the night that James and Lily were killed, one even states how Harry survived, but the two of them actually contradict each other as well, so I am not sure what is going on.” She pointed to a second book on the ground, that she had also begun to read, before swapping to the current one.
“Well, how about we pick them both up, I would like to know what they say as well, perhaps we can ask if they have any more books. I recall that lady mentioning it sometime ago, that there were books about Harry.” Hermione agreed and picked herself and the books of the ground, passing the books to Jacob as she went to pick up one more.
Helen was coming around into that same isle, to see Hermione loading Jacob up with books, not knowing what was going on, she began to scold the girl, thinking all the books were the ones she wanted.
“Hermione, I think you don’t need all of those books, we are on a budget and you can only get one or two extra books. You also know better.” The girl in question turned to her mother, her face showing that she was upset and angry, Helen was not sure why, as she would usually just get sad when she was told no books.
“I will have you know mother, that these are the books about Harry, the history books at least, they talk about what happened leading up to that night. I am now sure what the rest of the books are, but not a single one of them are mine.” With that said, she turned around and walked past Jacob and into another isle, Helen could only just watch as her daughter walked away.
“She is right Helen, a bunch of these books are related to subjects that I thought I could follow along with, so I grabbed them, the top three are all about history and cover that night. So, I suggested we grab them, so we can learn what the story is.” Helen just looked down, feeling ashamed at how she spoke to her daughter, she realised that just because Hermione had been a little excited in book stores in the past, it would not be the same here.
She went to go find her, while Jacob went to the counter to ask about more books containing Harry, only to find that the clerk was not there, however there were two distinct piles of books, the ones off the reading list. His arms were used to holding the weight, but he decided to place the ones he was holding down and venture off to find more.
Towards the back corner, he came across a book that dealt with the subject of Occlumency, something he thought sounded interesting and while he was not sure if he could achieve what it stated was possible, the meditation exercises they detailed could be interesting, so he grabbed two of them. Walking down another isle, he came across Hermione and the clerk, who was showing her all the Harry Potter adventure books, to which she was smiling at, the clerk must have seen young girls smile at them all the time, but Jacob knew, this was her up-to-no-good smile.
As she picked them up, the clerk wandered off, only to be replaced by Helen, she apologised right away for how she spoke before and Hermione gave her a quick one arm hug. She then immediately began to explain all the books that detailed the many adventures of Harry Potter, the result of which also got Helen to smile, Jacob decided that his son was on his own at that point.
With Jacob once again laid down by books, they went to the counter and paid for them all, Hermione’s went into her trunk and the rest, which turned out to be nearly 50, went into a special bag that would last for 2 hours, letting them carry the books around, as if they were lighter than normal. Once they double checked everything was acquired, they headed out towards the Leaky Cauldron and passed straight through, re-joining the normal world and technology. Soon after they were headed back towards the Granger residence, exhausted from a day of shopping and banking, but happy.
While the Granger ladies were shopping, the single Granger male was showing Harry Potter, how golf was played. At the end of the 18 holes, Harry proved to be gifted in the sport, ending six under, while Pol only managed one under. They had a quiet bite to eat in the club room, before heading back to the Granger house, neither of them aware just what would happen when Hermione returned home.
A few weeks after the shopping trip, to which Hermione and Helen, still were giving Harry grief about, those adventure stories were quite funny, well to anyone not called Harry Potter. He honestly thought they were a load of tripe, who could expect a six-year-old child to defeat a dragon. It was late on a Thursday night, Harry was sitting on the couch reading one of the schoolbooks he would be taking to Hogwarts, Jacob was finishing off some paperwork at the kitchen table, when a loud pecking sound could be heard throughout the house.
Jacob looked to the rear window, seeing the expected owl there, tapping away, Harry had popped his head up from where he was, looking for the source of the noise, seeing the large owl there, he shook his head, thinking wizards were crazy for using owls for post. Jacob had opened up the window and the owl hopped inside, sticking its leg out, waiting for the letter to be removed. Jacob asked if a reply was needed, the owl shook its head, to indicate no and before Jacob could offer some water, the owl turned around, jumped out the window and launched itself into the sky. Jacob watched it fly off for a moment, before he closed the window and went and sat back down.
Looking at the letter, he knew it was Amelia’s handwriting on the front of the envelope, which gave him a moment to smile, before he opened it. The letter indicated that they were going to begin their plan on the first day of the Easter school holidays, Dumbledore was expected to attend a series of meetings overseas, giving them plenty of time to get the word out, without interference.
Jacob thought that this was a solid plan, unsure of the specifics of how they would launch their plans though, given that he was not privy to how the wizards did that sort of thing normally, he thought to ask Amelia the next time they spoke. At the bottom of the letter, it actually indicated a time for the two of them to meet up, Jacob was happy to do so, as Harry was attending a camp for a few days that week, so he made a note of the time and set the letter down, thinking of how much he was looking forward to meeting up with the witch in question.
Amelia was soon standing on Platform 9 ¾ waiting for the train to arrive, she had no specific reason to be there, Susan was not starting school until the Fall, but she wanted to make sure all was ok. The train soon arrived and parents, which had been standing off to the side in groups, soon spread the length of the platform, all looking for their children who were coming home for the break. She spotted a few children of people she knew, but out of the corner of her eye, she quickly noticed a girl with what could only be described as fluorescent green hair, except it had streaks of purple running down the middle.
The girl stumbled over nothing as she began to walk towards a wizard who seemed to embrace the girl without issue, but after a few moments he could be seen stating something to the child. As soon as he finished speaking, her hair changed from the eye watering colours, to a normal shade of black, though it did not lengthen at all. Noting down her appearance, she made sure to chase up the childs name, as someone with the abilities of a Metamorphmagus, would come in very handy in the Auror department.
Once the last few kids had vacated the train, Amelia headed back to the ministry, knowing it was time to put the plans in motion. It had taken her and Cornelius a few months of solid work, to get everything planned out, making sure that no rules were being broken, there was no need for any Wizengamot involvement and more specifically, all the messages, statements and anything that had to be printed, always pointed out the benefit to the children over anything else.
She got her little notepad in order and headed to see Cornelius, giving him the heads up that they were good to go. When she got to the office, she noted that the light on the secretaries’ desk, that indicated that someone was meeting with Cornelius, was on. She took a seat, waiting for her turn, expecting that whoever it was, would only be a few minutes longer, her assumption proved correct as the light turned off and the door opened a moment later. Out of the door walked a woman dressed in so much pink, one might confuse her with the muggle treat of fairy floss, she gave Cornelius a shake of his hand and a smile, that did not seem legit at all and then moved on towards the hallway. She gave Amelia a stare that simply said, I will be in charge soon, but Amelia choose to ignore it, she stood and walked into the office.
“Amelia, I do apologise for the delay, I was meeting with Delores, as someone to take up the position of the new team we are establishing. She seemed enthusiastic for the job.” Cornelius had said, whilst taking a seat behind his desk. Amelia for her part, knew the witch in question, by name and reputation alone, she had never met her in person before.
“Well, given the reputation she has, I say no to that line of thought right now. She is known in some circles to support the ideal of You-Know-Who, as well as thinking anyone that was not a pureblood, should be labelled as such. Putting someone with that kind of idealism, in charge of a team that looks after children, especially muggleborn children, would be a foolish thing to do indeed.”
Cornelius just sat there, shocked at how forcefully Amelia had spoken, in all the years he knew the witch, he had never heard her speak so passionately against a person before.
“Well, if you believe that strongly about it, I will not put her in the role. But we must get someone today, I assume that you are ready to go?” Amelia nodded, holding the final copies of the statement that was to be sent to the Daily Prophet for tomorrows edition. They would first indicate the educational reforms, then they would announce a new department that would oversee all muggleborn children, working with the muggle parents to help the children adjust to the wizarding world. That the department would also cover orphans, would not be announced, but indicated on the official paperwork, letting them take protect a certain child, ensuring that a certain headmaster would have no chance to interfere.
“I am just waiting on word from Minerva that Albus has left, you know he has an ear everywhere and we want him long gone, before we send the paperwork of, speaking of, how did Delores find out about the job?” However, she did not get any answer, as soon as she finished speaking, as if it were done on purpose, a small tabby cat pounced into the room, its ghostly form jumping up onto the desk, before a voice came from it.
“He has gone.” Three word was all it had said, before it faded away, Amelia and Cornelius, had both been watching it when it arrived, they turned to each other and smiled. Cornelius waved his wand and three pieced of paper flew out, heading off to three different people, the first only went to his secretary, the other two went in different directions. One went upstairs to the Wizard Examination Office, to its head Griselda Marchbanks, the other down to the head of the Unspeakables.
About 15 minutes later, Griselda had walked into the office, sitting down in the first available chair, Amelia provided her with a glass of water, to which the elderly witch smiled in thanks at. While she was enjoying some water, another figure entered the room, though unless you were watching the door, you would have been hard pressed to see him come in.
He stood off to the side, with Cornelius to his right and Amelia and Griselda to his left, he was also leaning against the cupboard that Cornelius was using to hide his firewhiskey. With all the people there, Cornelius explained what was going to happen, indicating the roles that each department would undertake, the WEA being the most active, at least to the public. While all agreed that most of the teachers would not have any problems, there were a few that would likely be fired, or put on some heavy probation.
Once Griselda had her part explained, she stood up to leave, which took her a few moments to get going, but she eventually did so and once the door was shut, Cornelius turned to the Unspeakable, to explain that departments role. The man in the grey robe, lowered his hood, so they could speak freely, to which Cornelius was a little surprised, he rarely saw the man without his hood up.
“Well, Cornelius you and Amelia seem to have grand plans, so prey, tell me what you expect of my department, you are aware of course, that we might decide to reject what you are proposing.” Amelia knew the man’s reputation as being a hardliner, more so when it came to being forced into things, he did not believe in.
“Well Saul, you know that we want to give Hogwarts an overhaul, we are of course going to focus on the teachers, but there are other things we need to look at. For example, why have they not been able to hold onto a single teacher in the Defence Against the Dark Arts class, in almost 30 years. There are of course other things that are happening as well, but we can’t speak of them, even to you. What I would like you and your team to do, is go to Hogwarts, tonight and begin inspecting the wards.”
Amelia took over at this point as well, adding her request in, “If you can have a look for a curse tied to the DADA role, that would also be good. Ideally, I would want a ward in place, that alerts us and the Heads of each house, when there is any incident in the corridors, given how much bullying has gone on at the school, stamping it out is one of big goals.”
“However, this is the most important part, you are not to be seen, nor are you to make any changes during the Easter break. We simply want all the information, so we can make sure we get the most critical issues sorted during the summer months.”
Saul was not a man easily surprised, but their goals did just that. He of course had wanted to do this for a while, but each time he offered his services to Dumbledore, he was met with a firm no, politely of course, but a no, none the less.
“This is something I have wanted to do, but tell me, what does Albus think of this?” Cornelius and Amelia both had a smile, with Cornelius explaining.
“Albus has currently left the country, he is headed to an ICW meeting that is going to take around 8 days to run its course. No one is allowed to leave during this time, especially the man who chairs the meetings.” As soon as he finished explaining, Saul Croaker smiled one of the largest smiles he had ever done.
“Well, with that, I should get my team ready, I will head to the school tonight and we shall begin our inspection. I assume the staff do not know we are coming.” Receiving two head shakes, he began to stand, but Amelia had one final request.
“One thing I would like you to do, if possible, is place a monitoring charm in the classroom that Severus Snape uses for Potions. We would like to have some records of how he conducts his classes, given the significant drop in people studying potions to NEWT level, both healer and auror applicants have dropped dramatically.” Saul gave a simple nod and then headed for the door.
With the room now containing the two of them, they gave a quick rundown of the proposed budget for the next quarter, which saw a significant boost to the DMLE, allowing for them to grow overall, as well as getting that new team established.
Amelia soon stood, promising that by tomorrow morning, she would have someone hired to run the new team, Cornelius gave her hand a quick shake and they soon went about their tasks. Amelia made her way back towards her office, collecting two of her auror’s along the way.
“Shacklebolt, Robards, come with me, I need you both for something.” The two men quickly stood and followed their bosses boss, into her office. She sat down at her desk, motioning for the two men to take a seat.
“Tomorrow morning, a new initiative will be announced for Hogwarts, basically, we are going to make sure that the teachers are qualified to teach. Knowing something does not automatically make you capable of teaching it to others.”
Both men smiled, knowing how difficult it was to find people for their department lately, but before they could think upon the topic further, Amelia spoke up again.
“Once we announce that, we will also be establishing a new team within our department. This team will oversee all muggleborns, until such time as they graduate from Hogwarts. All orphans or children with one magical parent, who lose that parent will also be covered under this new team, basically we are doing what the muggles do, having a dedicated ministry group, looking after children, who have no-one to look after them. This news will also be in the paper, but not front page, but it will be there.”
“What I need from you, are the names of people you know, that would be suited to work in this team, ideally muggleborn would be the best, but anyone raised in both worlds, would also be ideal. Purebloods are going to be acceptable as well, as long as they meet the requirements of the role, I recently found out Delores Umbridge attempted to get the job of leading the team.”
Both men gave a quick shiver at that thought, they only knew her via reputation, and it was not a pleasant one and neither had the desire to confirm it in person. Amelia gave the men a moment to force images out of their heads, before she continued.
“While it is likely that the team will only start out with a single person, I expect it to grow quite by a large margin over the coming years. This is something I need you to do and it has to be down without letting other people know. At least until the news is released to the public.” Both men gave a firm nod and they began to rise from the chairs they were sitting in, Amelia felt relieved that this phase of their plan was almost over.
When the two men had left the office, she checked for messages that might have arrived, while she was out of the office, finding nothing that needed a reply right away, she collected her cloak and then let her secretary know she was heading out. After making her way to the entrance of the Ministry, she flooed to her house, knowing people would be aware of where she was going, however once she arrived home, she turned around and walked out the front door and towards the edge of the properties wards.
Once she had passed them, she turned on the spot and apparated to another location, this was a location that she and one other knew about. The house she walked towards overlooked the sea, and from a distance, looked like a strong breeze would knock it over. As she got to the house, she passed the boundary line and the house changed from an old looking house, to a more modern looking house and as she got closer, she saw a face poking through the window.
The face quickly vanished and moments later the front door opened, letting Amelia enter and just after she did, the door closed, leaving Amelia in the dark entryway. Before she could do anything, she found herself frozen on the spot, thankfully she expected this and did not panic.
“Who are you and why are you here?” A voice asked from the darkness behind her, this again was expected, the protocol that was decided upon, given the nature of the work that was going on. Amelia’s head was freed from the spell, letting her answer the question asked.
“I am me and I am here for our guest.” The passphrase was kept simple, because most people would attempt to be clever or specific, she had given it correctly and the person behind released the spell completely.
“Amelia, I was not expecting you today. Is there something wrong?” As the voice finished speaking, the person walked around in front of Amelia.
“Well Andromeda, we released the paperwork to the Prophet, so I figured it was best to come and let you know that we were moving ahead.” Amelia gave the witch a firm hug before they split and walked into the living room.
“I was wondering if it would happen soon, I take it Dumbledore is not around at the moment?” Amelia merely nodded, as she took a seat on the sofa that was in the room.
“Thankfully, Minnie let me know the moment he left, Cornelius agreed now was our best chance and the papers went out, now all we need to do is wait.”
Andromeda smiled, her face turned a little thoughtful, her work here was a secret and only she and Amelia knew what was happening.
“I suppose that if plans are moving ahead, we might be ending our project soon? Not that it has been a bother, but I do miss Ted.” Amelia placed her hand upon Andromeda’s knee, giving a firm squeeze to show she understood. With a simple smile, the gratitude that Amelia felt for what her was expressed, which in turn caused Andromeda to smile back.
“How is our guest today? I would hope recovery is still on track?” Amelia asked, turning the topic to the reason that they were both here.
“Yes, the potion course completed a few days ago, thankfully the food intake has increased as well, but it seems to be levelling out. Given that he is under the Draught of the Living Death, we can only assume that the physical is ok, once he gets moving, we may find additional problems.”
“Of course, long term exposure to those things, means that even if physically he was in perfect shape, the mind might be gone passed all sense of reality.”
Amelia turned to look through the door that lead to another room, where the guest was recovering. It was a risky move on her part, getting Sirius Black released from Azkaban, without anyone approving it, nor even being aware of it. The warden at the prison was thankfully on her side, so having him arrange an inspection of another level, while she removed Sirius, was not too difficult, leaving the simulacrum behind even easier.
“When do you think we can bring him around? I know there is a lot to be done and we need all the time we can get.” Andromeda withheld her thoughts, her face showing that she was thinking quite hard over the topic.
“Given that physically he is ok, we could bring him around today, but like I said, there is no telling just how badly his mind is. We have around 4 months before Harry heads off to school and I think if we aim for a Holiday reunion, that would be best for all.”
“If you have time, we can bring him around today and if he does not wish to listen, we can simply place him back under, but we can only do this a few times at most, as the body would need to remove all traces of the potion, else it will simply kill him.”
Amelia thought about this, bringing him out of his induced sleep, well it would be helpful for all, giving them more information than they had was also a possibility. But it was also about giving more grief to Dumbledore at the right time, something that Sirius Black could do, almost without trying, if the stories were true of his days at Hogwarts.
“Let’s do it, like you said, if he does not come around well, we can place him back under and then try again in a few weeks.” With the word given, Andromeda stood and walked out to another room, returning a few moments with a vial containing a dark purple liquid. Amelia stood and followed her into the room containing Sirius, giving a flick of her wand to seal it shut.
Andromeda simply uncorked the vial, opened the man’s mouth and poured it in, a wave of her wand, had his body swallowing it. A few minutes later the man began to stir and soon enough his eyes were opening, both witches stood at the back, giving him time to adjust to his surroundings, before they began to approach.
“What? Where am I?” The words were spoken almost in a whisper, the voice crackled from the lack of use, but the four words broadcast a sense of hope that Amelia and Andromeda could both feel.
“Sirius Black, you are not currently in Azkaban,” Amelia began, her words caused Sirius’s eyes to open wider and focus on where the voice was coming from. “You are in a private residence, where you have spent the past 4 months, being healed from your time there, at least physically.”
Andromeda was not standing ideally by during this, her wand was out, and she was performing some diagnostic spells, as Amelia spoke. When she got the other witches attention, she gave a short nod, to indicate all was well for the moment.
“Do you understand what I am saying Sirius?” Amelia asked, as Sirius seemed to drift at the end of her opening statement.
“Yes, but why am I out? What has happened? And where is Harry?” The questions were all spoken with force, but when he asked his final question, he started to raise his voice.
“Sirius Black, you will calm down or you will be stunned.” Andromeda had not considered that he would listen, but the threat of being stunned, even from a friend, was not something to enjoy as it always left the feeling of being submerged in thick mud when you came back around. The threat seemed to calm him down, at least from that line of conversation, hearing the voice of his favourite cousin, snapped his attention to her.
“Dromeda? Is that you? Why are you here?” More questions left the man’s mouth, clearly, he was after more information again, but this time, he asked nice and calmly, which both witches appreciated. Amelia felt it was best to explain what had been going on.
“Well Sirius, let me tell you, it has been a very strange few months and it all started when a muggleborn witch was given her letter.”
Just a FYI, there will be a three week break, I have it written, I just want to be a little mean. But it will let me gain some more ground on chapters 29 and up.
Chapter 15: The start of the last summer of freedom
Albus Dumbledore was in a most foul mood, he had been stuck in the castle for the past few months, ever since he returned from the ICW meeting, on his desk he found his usual supply of letters and papers, but the moment he sat down, Severus Snape had come bursting through the door.
Even thinking back to that conversation, still had him considering getting a headache relief potion, the potions master was good at his craft and a useful spy, but he could complain like a herd of children at times. The fact that the ministry had launched a campaign to ‘improve educational standards’ and that he knew nothing about it, was not something he wanted to learn from Snape.
Now that the Hogwarts Express was heading back down to London, he finally had time to investigate what was going on and how he could stop it from being deployed, without actually doing so publicly. However, he need not have worried as there was a quiet knock on the door, and after granting entrance, he was surprised to see not only Griselda Marchbanks there, but Cornelius Fudge as well, behind them was a small team of people.
“Cornelius and Griselda, to what do I owe this pleasure?” He asked, knowing full well, what they were likely here for. He had not even had a chance to think of how he could approach the topic when he went to the Ministry and now it had come to him.
“Afternoon Albus,” Cornelius began, “I felt it was best that we get up here today, to explain the process we are going to follow for the staff inspections. Once you have been informed, we can start today, with those teachers who are leaving this evening for their holidays.”
Confirming his fears, Albus knew that he would have to let them proceed, stopping them at this point would not do anything and interviews always had ways of being changed later.
“Of course, would you like to start with myself, or would you prefer to start elsewhere?” Hoping they started with him, Albus began to reshuffle his mind, getting some memories ready to help sell whatever he needed to, however Madam Marchbanks had other ideas.
“No thank you Albus, today we plan to speak with 3 professors, given that you are as much of a fixture in the castle these days, as the gargoyle that guards your office, we can speak with you later.”
Internally, Albus began to seethe, he had no idea who they were going to speak with, but his face portrayed a gentle smile, the one that he would always present to people, whenever he was caught unaware.
“Of course, it would give me the chance to catch up on some paperwork. Might I enquire to whom you are speaking with today?”
“We hope to speak with Babbling, McGonagall and Vector, due to their planned absences and other commitments. We will arrange times with the others during the break.” Albus just smiled back, thankful that they were not starting with Severus.
“Well, I shall not hold you up from your tasks, if you need anything from me, be sure to let me know and I will do what I am able.” As Albus finished speaking, the crowd started to disperse from his office, leaving him alone with his thoughts.
How did this happen, he knew just what was happening inside of the Ministry at all times, even if some department heads did not bow to him, as they should. Knowing that he could do little to stop the teams from carrying out their inspections, he wondered if it was time to speak with Amelia Bones, about this new department that would oversea all muggleborns and beyond, something that he could not allow.
Deciding that, it would make the best use of this time, he sent a quick note to Minerva, to let him know he would be away from the castle and stepped into the floo. Coming to the Ministry was always a strange feeling for Albus, people would stop and move out of his way, as they should, but he always laughed at how they would go out of their way to accommodate, the most bizarre requests from him, as if it was a matter of life or death. As he approached the security desk, he made himself known and advised that he was here to speak with Madam Bones, a note from the guard on duty, let her know she was going to have company and the guard waved Albus through.
As Albus arrived to the DMLE Offices, he headed to the desk of Amelia’s secretary, giving her his most warming smile, she acknowledged his presence, but did nothing else, her wand sent a memo under the door, letting her boss know that she had a guest. A few moments later, Amelia opened her door and welcomed Albus in.
As Albus conjured up a chair and sat down, Amelia just returned to her regular chair and got comfy, she suspected what Albus was here for and planned to make sure he left here without confirmation, one way or the other.
Albus waited to be addressed, as was expected, but Amelia just kept dealing with the papers on her desk, after a moment, he coughed to gain her attention and then he began to speak.
“So, Amelia,” the moment he said her first name, as if they were friends, she became slightly rigid, hating the sense of familiarity that he used, seeing this and choosing not to care, he kept speaking, “I would like to know how this new department came to be and if possible, could you explain why I was not informed.”
Understanding that Albus was pretty much demanding the information at this point but stating it in a way that made people think it was a simple request, Amelia gave herself some time, before she answered.
“Of course, Albus,” she had never called him that before and the look of confusion on his face at the tone of familiarity, was quite amusing to her, “Simply put, we had nothing to deal with the growing number of muggleborns that were coming into our world, without any support and making things more confusing, the parents could not contact anyone, should they have concerns. A magical guardian, if you will, was crucial for all people, including those left orphan, or abandoned by their parents.”
“As the DMLE already had the systems in place to detect accidental and underage magic, along with the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts office, it was easy enough to get another team set-up to deal with those.”
Albus could not refute that logic, but still he pushed forward, thinking that there had to be more to this and he would know all about it.
“Very well, but why was this not discussed with the Wizengamot, surely you would not have been opposed to advice from the members of the esteemed body. Given that the funding of all departments needs to be approved by the members of the Wizengamot, I would have thought bringing it to their knowledge, would have been the right thing to do.”
Amelia just smiled back at Albus, she already knew the types of tricks the man would use, she had been exposed to them in the past, but she was one of the few who never understood the reverence that the man was given by the populous.
“Well Albus,” her continuing use of his name had him frown a little, something she caught, “Again, as it was an addition to an existing department, we did not need any form of approval from the Wizengamot and as the budget we have was not going to be modified, outside of expected movements, we did not need any form of approval. I am at a loss as to why you are questioning this, I would have thought it was very much something you would get behind.”
Putting Albus on the backfoot was never something that many people did, but after finishing her statement, Amelia could see that she had clearly done that. Albus knew it as well, he could now no longer attempt to ask questions, without seeming to be against it.
“Of course, my dear, I am all for supporting muggleborns in joining our world properly, just finding out about it, after I returned from the ICW and from the Daily Prophet no less, felt a little dishonest to me.”
Amelia smirked, she had him now and with that she could get him out of her office and get back to work, rather than attempting to appease the man.
“I am sorry you feel that way Albus,” again he frowned at the use of his name, “Everything we did was above board, all relevant departments were notified in the early days and we worked together to ensure all was going to work. Now I must ask you to leave, as I have a small mountain of paperwork to get through.”
Albus just smiled back and gave a quick nod, before climbing from his seat, which vanished once he was done standing and then he left the room, he began to think and formulate just how he could work this into his plan. Amelia Bones had been a constant thorn in his side, while she was good at her job, the fact that she never really gave Albus the due he so rightfully deserved, irritated him. If he only knew, she felt she was giving him the due he so richly deserved.
Albus made quick work back to the castle, to begin formulating and once he passed the guards station again, Amelia got another note from the security wizard, letting her know that he had left. Smiling, Amelia knew that a few people would be happy that the man did not get what he wanted, but with his focus now on this, they had hoped it would not be on a young wizard and that would give them more time to move around.
That young wizard in question was starting to get antsy, he half expected his letter to arrive yesterday, given what he was told by Amelia, but nothing arrived. When he had spoken with Hermione the night before, she told him it would be unlikely to arrive today, given how hers arrived the day of her birthday, so he might have to wait another few days. To say that he was not happy about this, well that would be an understatement, expecting to be waiting a few more days, had the young man stomping around the house.
“Harry, stop stomping, there is nothing you can do to make a letter just appear by doing that,” Jacob shouted from the kitchen, “Besides, even if it arrives today, you won’t be home to read it, as we are heading out, remember.”
Hearing that had Harry stop moving, only to then turn around and sprint up the stairs, which in turn caused the stomping noise to echo through the house again. Jacob just chuckled to himself at this, but as he was about to start washing up the breakfast dishes, a loud scream came in through the window from next door. A thought of ignoring the scream passed through his mind, each time he had interacted with the Dursleys had him wishing for a bath in very strong chemicals afterwards, but he was never one to let a potential dangerous event happen, if he could help stop it, so he quickly ran out the front door and across to number 4.
The front door was closed still, but Vernon’s car was gone, something Jacob was grateful for, banging on the door, a few moments passed before it was opened by Dudley, Jacob gave the boy a look, which had him step aside and point towards the kitchen. As soon as Jacob saw Petunia, he looked for the danger, but he could not see it, all he could see was her face, devoid of any colour as she stared at an envelope on the counter, a large wax seal on the back.
Petunia noticed Jacob and colour began to return to her face, but as the colour returned, so did her scream, this time it was directed at him.
“How dare you get your freaky mail delivered to my house. It is not enough that we live next door to you, but you have things sent here from that freak school.” Jacob just started to think of the days plans, heading out to an old manor house for a re-enacting of old school life, was only the start of the day, Petunia however noticed that he was not paying attention.
“You listen to me when I am talking to you,” she began, “we want nothing to do with the boy or that world, so take this and make sure it never happens again.” Jacob took the letter and before he turned to leave, told Petunia in simple terms that if he ever heard her scream like she was about to die, he would not come to aid her, he would maybe call the police, but that would be it. Petunia did not like this, she began to scream and yell for him to get out, something for which he was grateful and eager to do.
As Jacob left the house, he noticed Darren standing in front of his house, looking across at number 4, seeing Jacob he gave his head a quick nod. Jacob thought a bit of gossip, or neighbourly chatter, was just what was needed.
“You heard that right Darren,” a quick nod from the man was all Jacob got back, “Turns out Petunia could not stand having a letter meant for Harry arrive at her place.” Jacob just shook his head at the end, giving Darren a chance to respond if he wanted to, something he did.
“Really, all that shrieking for a misdelivered letter, seems a tad of an overreaction.” Jacob just nodded but felt correcting an assumption that people had about Harry would be best.
“I know, makes it worse that Harry is her nephew, I mean you would think that a simple letter turning up would be ok, but what can I say, she hates Harry.”
Darren could not believe what was said, he quickly made his way across the road and asked what Jacob had meant.
“Oh, Petunia is Harry’s Aunt, when his Parents died, he was still just a baby, his Godfather could not keep him at the time, some form of work he had to do, would not allow it, so he was brought here, but Petunia refused, you might recall the screaming match she began the day Harry was brought here.” Darren nodded slowly, thinking back to that day.
“As I was a friend of the family, Harry’s godfather saw me and saw a chance to leave Harry with someone who would care for him and of course I accepted, who would not want to look after such an awesome kid, though the smelly diapers were a harsh adjustment. Each time Petunia saw Harry all she could do was scream and shout, but as she refused to take guardianship of Harry, that was all she was able to do. Thankfully, I am happy with that, could you imagine being raised in a house with that much bigotry?”
“I reckon you are right, I always wondered what the problem was with Harry, I always thought he was a nice boy, but the word around town was that he was always up to no good. Given how often I also hear about the Dursley boy, being a bully to other kids, it honestly does not surprise me that that entire house is just as bad.”
Jacob just nodded his head, hoping that this would stop those rumours he had heard, because of Petunia’s screeching, it was possible. Thinking about the time and the letter he was holding, Jacob wished Darren a good day and quickly headed back inside, only to find Harry sitting at the bottom of the steps.
“Hey Dad, what was with that screaming? Sounded like one of those monster from the old movies you watch from time to time.” Jacob just smiled back, thinking how quickly Harry would not care about the why, as soon as he saw that letter.
“Well, turns out that the banshee over there, got a fright when this letter arrived at their house. It seems it was delivered there in error,” but that was all that Jacob managed to say as Harry saw the name on the letter and started to jump up and down on the spot. “I wonder if we have time to open it now, what do you say Harry?”
The look that Harry directed back clearly stated that his dad was a little daft, of course there was time, but when Harry was handed the letter, he turned it over to see who it was addressed to and dropped it. Jacob quickly picked up the letter and had a look at the front, something he had not done yet, only to find out why Harry dropped it, the letter was address to Harry, but the address was specific and also disconcerting.
Mr H Potter,
The Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive,
Jacob could only stare at it, while he knew that the Wizards were not aware that Harry no longer lived there, it was told to him by Amelia that owls would not need a physical address, they would deliver to the actual person. But the fact that this was delivered to next-door was only a minor concern, given how it was address to the cupboard under the stairs. Jacob looked to Harry, only to see confusion in his face, making a decision to not open the letter for now, Jacob wanted to speak with Amelia first.
“Harry, I have to say, I think we should hold off on the letter for now, something about how it was addressed and delivered, is a little worrying. How about we pop it in a draw here and then we come back to it later, for now though, we need to get a move on.”
Harry nodded back, “I wonder what they were thinking, sending a letter to someone who lived in a cupboard. Would they not have thought that odd?” Harry did not want a response, so he headed back upstairs to grab his stuff, while Jacob put the letter in the draw in the hallway, before heading into the kitchen to finish off the dishes that were still waiting there. Once done, Harry and Jacob were in the car and heading to the outskirts of London, where they would meet up with the Grangers, before they headed to the first destination for the day.
The day was a long one and when they finally returned home, neither male had remembered the letter that was waiting in the draw for them, but the next morning they remembered it, as more screaming was heard coming from next door.
It was a week later, the day before Harry’s 11th birthday that Jacob was able to send a letter off to Amelia, as he was heading out to post it, he noticed the Dursley family run from their house, jump in the car and take off as if the devil himself was chasing them. The entire thing looked like a Benny Hill skit, with Vernon more bouncing to the car than running, it made Jacob stop dead, but after the car had vanished from view, he began to move again.
The next day, Amelia herself had turned up, something that she had been loathed to do as it might tip their hand that Dumbledore would discover people knew about Harry, but it turned out that, a man by the name of Rubeus Hagrid was discovered doing magic out on a small island, where the Dursley family was discovered to be hiding. Because there were no other magical people in the area, the random nature of the events caught someone’s eye in her department and they let her know, the moment that she arrived into work, she only stayed long enough as her secretary advised that a muggle letter was on her desk and she had wanted to read it, taking a seat that was offered, Amelia began her tale.
“Jacob, it turns out that there was no way for Dumbledore to be watching your house, as last night Rubeus Hagrid was discovered on a small island performing magic, something he is not allowed to do and the only other people on the island with him, were the Dursleys.”
Amelia had to stop there, as Jacob burst out into laughter at this, the thought of the Dursleys fleeing their house in fear, only to have a wizard track them down in the dead of night and cast magic at them, was just to much for the man. Once he started to recover himself, he gestured for Amelia to continue, and she did.
“Of course, I quickly sent out a team this morning to discover what was going on, and would you know what we found, the Dursley family stranded on the same island, with Mr Hagrid speeding off in their boat. After my team was able to convince the Dursleys they were only going to help, which resulted in another boat being called back from land, they were able to get back to their car and my team then went to shore and tracked Mr Hagrid down.”
“He was found in the Leaky Cauldron and after a quick discussion about him doing magic again, something he was banned from doing, he advised that he was sent there by Dumbledore to collect Harry and take him shopping.”
Jacob just looked back at Amelia, shocked that they would think Harry was there with the family, it turns out it was far worse than they had imagined.
“It seems that Dumbledore cast a spell on Harry when he left him on your step, the spell was designed to activate when Petunia Dursley picked up the child, which happened when you asked her to watch him. The spell was then tied to Petunia and gave Dumbledore a means to track her location, something that should not have been possible.” Knowing the next few questions that Jacob was likely to have, Amelia pressed on.
“It turns out, that Hagrid was given a small little box, which contained two sets of blood, whilst I am waiting for a full report on it, initial results show the blood comes from a woman and a baby, but also contained within was another liquid, which has some of our best people stumped, so the only conclusion that they have been able to come up with, is that the liquid is actually an alchemical potion. It was then asked why Mr Hagrid was in the Alley, if he did not find Harry, turns out he was sent to collect a parcel from a vault, so we let him collect it and would you believe it, we found a philosophers’ stone.”
Not being up on his magical stones, the look that Jacob gave Amelia had he explain its origins and what it was capable of doing. Jacob was a little more than shocked at this, a stone that could turn lead into gold and grant people incredibly long lives, that was perhaps the most insane thing he had ever heard, but Amelia was not done.
“So once Mr Hagrid had retrieved the stone, we retrieved it from him and then removed the knowledge of that and our earlier interview from his mind. In it’s place we allowed him to believe he collected Harry and completed the tasks that Dumbledore expected him to do.”
“So, if all that happened, what about the stone, how can he return without it?”
“Well, we have replica stones that we use for training, they are not able to do anything of course, but they look and feel the same, or at least as close as we have been able to guess them to be. As the creator, Nicholas Flamel has never let his stone leave his sight before.”
“Hang on, if he has never let his stone, which grants him life, leave his sight before, then how did it come to rest inside a vault at the bank? Does that not strike you as an odd thing?”
Amelia stopped short at that, why did they have fake stones, they were not a common thing, in all of the recorded history, only one person has been known to have one and how did that stone come to be in Gringotts, or even more importantly, the country.
“You know Jacob, I am not sure, but I suspect more of Dumbledore’s little plots. Though what it is for, I can’t say.”
“Well, keeping something as world changing as the stone, in a bank, sounds like bait. It was something that we would do all the time in our exercises.”
“When you are at the gym, you have bait?”
“No Amelia, war exercises. Simulated battles to test response and effectiveness, amongst other things. If we wanted to get an enemy or group of enemies to a set location, we would plant intel that something they needed would be easily obtained there. Then, after we put out the intel, we would set a trap, letting them come close and taking them out.”
Amelia was shocked at this, not only the thought that muggles would subject themselves to fake wars, but the thought that someone, ie Dumbledore, would create a fake stone, make a big deal about it coming from its ‘secure’ location and bringing it to Hogwarts.
“The thought that, you might be correct is disturbing, but what would be the end goal?”
Jacob did not respond right away, he took the time to think, something that Amelia rarely saw him do, she started to feel warm, whilst watching the man and just as she was beginning to lose herself, he replied.
“Given that his has happened, the day that Harry was meant to be taken to the alley and the year he is starting school, I can think of only two scenarios and neither are good. The first is that Dumbledore is using the stone as bait for Voldemort, given that the Goblins believe him to be alive, it is likely that Dumbledore does as well, having Harry present when it is collected, would plant an idea of adventure and mystery in his head. Once at the school, it would be likely that more clues, or intel, would be given out, leading Harry to a set location, at a set time for the trap to be sprung.”
“The other option is that Dumbledore has decided to begin using the stone for his own needs, not as bait, but for extending his life, or making gold. We non-wizard folk have a saying, two in fact, the first is that ‘Money makes the world go round’ and ‘The golden rule is, whoever has the gold makes the rules’. It is possible that he has larger scale plans, than just Harry and needs resources to being pulling them off.”
Amelia was shocked at both options, whilst the second was slightly less dangerous, given the threat the Vol… Volde… him, presented, the risk to life and the Statute of Secrecy, would be high. But the idea that Dumbledore might need a lot of gold for something, was perhaps even more frightening, feeling overwhelmed, Amelia leaned back in the chair and pinched the bridge of her nose.
Jacob looked at her reaction and considered doing the same, but it was at that precise moment that Harry appeared in the kitchen, noticing Mrs Bones, he went and said hi, though the response he got was garbled at best.
Looking towards his Dad, Harry could see a similar look that Mrs Bones had, so rather than saying anything, he started to make himself some breakfast. Hearing the routine of a bowl of cereal being poured, had Jacob snapping out of his own thoughts and he quickly told Harry to stop, he then stood up and gave his son a massive hug.
“Happy Birthday Harry, you are now 11, how do you feel?” Jacob released Harry, watching his expression for something, Harry just gave a big smile back.
“Well, now I am 11, I can get my own wand for school, do you think we can go today?” The excitement on Harry’s face was intense, Jacob just nodded his head, but before he could say anything further, Harry gave a great big shout and ran out of the room. Moments later Jacob heard that phone being used, of course Harry was going to be calling Hermione.
Amelia had recovered a little and heard the tale end of the excitement, Jacob noticed she was lucid again and offered her a cup of coffee, something she took with a little more gusto.
“Thank you, Jacob, I feel that each time we speak of Dumbledore, I have more and more reasons to distrust the man.” Jacob just smiled back, once he learnt who the man was, he knew not to trust him. “Would you mind if I came with you and Harry to the Alley today, I have been needing to take my niece to collect her final items and it would be nice to take a day for me, so to speak.”
“I have no issues, I am sure Harry won’t mind and I am sure neither will Hermione, given that she is likely to request to come along as well. Let me go and check to see what they are talking about.” But as he went to leave the room, Harry came back in and informed them both of the plan.
“So, Mrs Granger said Hermione can come with us, if we go and get her and then we can all head out for dinner tonight for my birthday. Is that ok Dad?”
“Sure Harry, we were always going to be having dinner with the Grangers tonight,” Jacob then asked if he was ok with Amelia and her niece coming to the Alley with them as well. Harry had no issues with that but was surprised that his Dad wanted to invite Amelia and her niece to dinner. Amelia smiled back and accepted, it was rare that she got a chance to just be a normal witch, so she was more than happy to join them.
With the plans set, Amelia made bid her farewells and promised to meet them at the Leaky Cauldron in a few hours, she then walked out the back door and vanished. Harry and Jacob got themselves ready for the day, before heading to get Hermione.
Chapter 16: What a day!
Picking up Hermione was a simple thing, they were used to the drive and nothing surprising happened, but when they parked the car and headed into the Leaky Cauldron, things changed drastically. As soon as the barkeep, noticed the girl and man, he headed over to offer them some help getting through to the alley, but once he noticed the other child, he stopped dead in his tracks.
“Bless my soul, it’s Harry Potter.” The simple statement caused the entire pub to become silent, but while no one made a sound, people began to move. Almost as one, the entire collection of wizards and witches made a beeline for Harry, offering to shake his hand, Tom, who was standing in front was first.
“Welcome back Mr Potter, thank you for what you did.” As soon as he finished, he was pushed aside by a witch.
“Doris Crockford, Mr Potter, I can’t believe I am meeting you at last.” She was moved aside and another took her place.
“Welcome, welcome, my I am shaking your hand far to much, it’s just… Welcome.” This seemed like it was never going to end, people were repeatedly getting in line and so occupied they were with getting to meet Harry, no-one noticed the Floo activate and Madam Bones emerge, along with her niece.
As soon as Amelia noticed what was happening, she pointed her wand up and let loose a loud bang, which drew everyone’s attention to her. In the ensuing silence, she told everyone to back off, a firmness in her voice had the entire crowd disperse at once.
“Thanks Mrs Bones,” Harry began, “They just kept on coming and nothing I could do seemed to stop them.”
Amelia looked at Harry and smiled, she then noticed Jacob and Hermione on the other side of the room, it seems in the hurry to greet Harry, the crowd had forced the other two away. Smiling over to Jacob had him and Hermione, come and join them.
“Honestly, haven’t these people heard of personal space.” Hermione was clearly upset at the actions of these grown-ups, Harry began to laugh at her reaction. She quickly turned on him, her face showing her anger at being laughed at, Harry quickly stopped, but that just caused Jacob to begin.
Susan Bones could not believe that she was standing near the Boy-Who-Lived, while she was unsure of what to say, there was no doubt in her mind that Harry would not speak with her, how wrong she was. As Harry looked away from Hermione and her scowl, he noticed Susan and began to talk with her.
“Hi, I’m Harry and you must be Susan, it is nice to meet you. Your Aunt has been a massive help.” Susan, who was normally a little chatterbox, was dead silent, her face though was slowly getting redder and redder as Harry spoke with her. Amelia turned and noticed her niece; the lack of reaction was quite uncommon for the young witch.
“You must excuse her Harry, she is not used to meeting famous people. I think we should just press on and hope she comes alive as the afternoon wears on.” Harry just nodded, turned back to Hermione and then began to speak to her. Susan was mortified, how could her Aunty say something like that, she attempted to scowl at her, but her face was still bright red, only a few shades lighter than her hair, the attempt forced her Aunt to laugh.
Jacob thought the entire thing was hilarious, but while that was funny, there was nothing he could think, other than how mental it all was, when people noticed Harry. The afternoon might begin to take a lot longer than planned, noticing the time, he pushed Harry towards the back of the pub, which got the whole group moving.
As Amelia opened up the Alley for them, Harry’s face dropped, the Alley was far grander than what Hermione had described, but he did recall her stating, he had to see it to believe it. While Harry was standing there, attempting to take it all in, Amelia advised to Jacob that she and Susan would get their shopping going and would meet them in the bookstore a little later.
As the two redheads left, Harry finally noticed other things and began to rush off, just like Hermione had, Jacob yet again had to hold back an enthusiastic child, which caused Hermione to laugh.
“Easy Harry, we need to go to the bank first, there are a few things you need to sign, then once that is sorted, we can hit the shops.”
Harry just nodded and started to walk at a more sedate pace, something that he was struggling to do, but after a little bit, they got to the bank and Jacob joined the same line he had last time. When he approached the teller, he made the customary greeting, which brought the teller to a stop, but when he quickly noticed who was speaking, or more specifically who was with him, he understood.
“Thank you for your words, I will inform Barchoke that you are here for him, please wait over there.” Gesturing to the same location as last time, Jacob pulled Harry away from the counter, and then moved him over to the waiting area. As Jacob looked around, Harry and Hermione were in a quiet conversation in the corner, both keeping their heads down as they spoke.
Jacob smiled at this and then began to look at other things, one someone that caught his eye was the same blonde-haired man he saw earlier in the year. This time though, it appeared to be his son he had with him, rather than his wife, the man must have sensed that Jacob was looking, turned to him and sneered. The man then noticed Hermione and his face, if possible, become ever fuller of disgust than before, but like last time, a Goblin runner appeared and invited Jacob, Harry and Hermione to follow him, as Jacob looked back to the blonde man, he noticed he was already leaving the bank.
Soon, the three humans were back in the office of Barchoke, well two were back and for Harry, it was his first time, Barchoke had a small mountain of paperwork on his desk again, but it was all for this meeting, he had cleared his day for it, to ensure they got it all sorted.
“Welcome back Jacob, it is good to be seeing you again, I hope that life has proven to be exciting since we last met.” As soon as Barchoke began to speak, the gravelly voice caused Harry to snap his neck to look at the man… Goblin, as Harry was too busy inspecting the office before then. Barchoke noticed this and gave a small chuckle, then smiling at Harry.
“Well met Mr Potter, it is very nice to meet you in person for the first time. Welcome to Gringotts and welcome back to the magical world.” Harry just beamed a bright smile back, he was really liking this world a lot, Hermione, it seemed was not a storyteller, as she had merely described the Goblin species as small creatures with small eyes that shone with a look you would find in a lion or some other predator.
“Thank you, Mr Barchoke,” Harry began, but Barchoke just held his hand up, showing the sign for stop.
“No need to thank me, welcoming you back means that we can really get into building up your money again. Something we have been limited to do until now.” Barchoke waved his hand and a quill appeared and moved towards Harry and just sat there, waiting for Harry to pick it up.
Harry looked at both Barchoke, then his Dad, who simply shrugged back and tilted his head towards the pile of paperwork, which caused Harry to sigh and then he began to sign where indicated.
“Excellent Mr Potter, your father and I have sorted a lot of this out when he was here last time and some through the mail since then, but without your signature, there was little we could do.”
“Why did you have to leave it all for now, could you not have sent some to me in the mail earlier, this is going to take me awhile to get through.” Harry supplied, moving onto another sheet to be signed.
“Sadly, not Mr Potter, for we needed to wait until you were 11, before we could begin, something which only happened today.”
Accepting his fate, Harry just kept on signing, while the stack was large, a lot of the pages were for multiple page documents, so when all was signed, a bunch of pages would vanish. Hermione in the meantime, removed the book that Barchoke had provided her last time, for her bag and offered it back to the Goblin.
“Thank you for lending me the book Barchoke, it was so worth reading. I can’t believe the history of your people, not only the wars with Wizards and Witches, but Dwarves, Mermaids and even Yokai, it is just incredible.”
Barchoke took the book back and thanked Hermione for taking such great care of the book. Soon though no-one spoke, the room descend into quiet, except for the constant scratching of a quill as Harry would randomly sign a page.
A little while later, Harry dropped the quill as the final pieces of paperwork vanished.
“Yes, done. Who knew my hand would get so sore signing my name that many times.” Barchoke and Jacob laughed at the statement, but before anything more could be said, Planker came in to speak with Barchoke. As soon as the Goblin finished speaking, Barchoke started to curse in his native tongue and while the humans could not understand what he was saying, his tone indicated extreme anger.
Calming down a little, Barchoke informed Planker of what to do and the Goblin made a hasty retreat from the room. Barchoke turned towards his guests and began to explain what was going on.
“So, it seems that Dumbledore came in with a key for Mr Potter’s trust vault and requested to take 7,500 Galleons. As we have discussed in the past Jacob, we let him take the money from the other vault, but there is no reason for that man to even have Mr Potter’s key, let alone use it and withdraw that much money.”
“That is quite a lot of money to remove, I wonder what he is planning to do with it. Hopefully, he just needs to buy some more of those robes, I am told he enjoys to wear.” Jacob tried to make a joke out of the situation for the kids sake, but looking at their faces, he could see they were not buying it. Jacob offered to explain later, as they had many more things to do before dinner tonight.
Barchoke handed Jacob a few final bits of parchment, which Jacob them tucked away in his jacket pocket, Barchoke then handed a small pouch to Harry, which contained a small amount of Galleons for him to use.
“Thank you Barchoke, Whilst Dumbledore is still proving to be up to whatever scheme he has, knowing that you are keeping on top of things, well it helps my mind settle.” Jacob offered his hand to the Goblin, who rose from his chair to shake it.
“Never fear Jacob, we are well aware of the reputation that the man has in some circles and he would need to be quite a lot smarter to pull the wool over our eyes.”
A final shake of hands had Planker summoned back, to lead the three humans back out to the main floor, before they were allowed to leave the private corridors and enter the main hall again, Planker seemed to be waiting for something and a few moments later a small orb appeared near them, which Planker took as good news and lead them out.
“That was a monitoring orb, which let us know that Dumbledore has left the alley.” The simple sentence gave all the humans a chance to sigh in relief, which caused the Goblin to smile. “I will leave you here.” And with that, Planker was gone again and the three, walked out back into the Alley.
Like with Hermione the first thing on the shopping list said robes, but Jacob directed Harry to the store where they could get a trunk first, which they did, then it was onto robes. In the store, Jacob left Harry alone, whilst he and Hermione went to look for a present for Harry, it was here that Harry met a new student of Hogwarts as well.
“Are you going to Hogwarts as well,” the blonde boy began, but before Harry could reply, he continued on, “I am going as well. My father’s next door buying my books and mother’s up the street looking at wands. Then I’m going to drag them off to look at racing brooms, I don’t see why the first-years can’t have their own. I think I’ll bully father into getting me one and I’ll smuggle it in somehow.”
Somehow, while he spoke, the boy managed to say everything whilst sounding completely bored and yet, somehow, superior like everything was beneath him. Before Harry could ask his name, the boy started to speak again.
“So, tell me, your parents, they were our kind, right?”
“You mean magical?”
“Of course, what else would there be?”
“Yes, they were both magical, they died a while ago though,” Harry had started to explain, but for some reason, he felt no need to expand on that, the boy gave him an odd vibe.
“Well, as long as they were a witch and wizard then, that is all that matters. Could you imagine being a mudblood, what a shame that would be.”
As soon he finished speaking, Harry was going to ask what he was talking about, but the boys mother apparently had returned and heard the last little bit of his speech.
“DRACO MALFOY, HOW DARE YOU USE THAT WORD,” It seemed that his mother was quite upset with the boy, whose face had lost all colour as soon as he heard this mother, but Harry was quick to learn just how wrong he was, as she continued to speak in a much more quite voice, “You have been told to never use that word in public, the wrong type will hear it and use it against you. Best to make sure they think you are a friend and…”
It was at this point that she noticed Harry starring at her, rather than say anything further, she dropped a few coins on the counter and told the saleswitch to owl the finished robes to them. She quickly took her son by the arm and lead him out the door, as soon as the door closed, the saleswitch sagged in relief.
“Sorry about that, some people are just not quite right in the head, I mean using that word is bad enough, but teaching it to a child, that is just horrible parenting.” Harry still had no idea what the word meant, but it seemed to set people off, so he thought it best not to ask the saleswitch. While he was getting the final measurements taken, he noticed that Hermione was standing outside, holding something in her arms, but he could not see as her back was to him. Jacob had just walked in and told Harry they were ready to move on if he was, the saleswitch said all was finished, so a quick payment later and they left the store with Harry’s new robes.
“Harry, Happy Birthday.” Hermione almost screamed out as soon as she saw him, in her arms was a large bird cage, contained within was the whitest owl he had ever seen, in fact, Harry was shocked that it was an owl.
“Thank you, Hermione, but you did not need to get my anything more.” Harry began, only to be interrupted by Hermione, “While that might be true, this is more from my Parents and your Dad than me, but I was the one who found her.”
The owl simply looked at Harry through the cage, Harry felt a connection to the creature, the likes of which he had not experienced before. Hermione passed the cage to Harry, who lifted it up, so the owl was level with his face, neither Hermione nor Jacob said anything, whilst Harry was transfixed by the bird. After a few minutes though, Jacob cleared his throat to get Harry’s attention again, which caused the boy to become embarrassed, which in turn caused Jacob to chuckle.
“Come on, we still have your wand to get,” Harry perked up at this, “Then your cauldron, potion supplies and finally books. So, let’s get to it.”
Hermione took the lead and soon they were standing inside the wand store, Jacob took a seat in the same space as last time, the trunk sitting in front of him, just like last time and whilst Hermione and he, were waiting for the old man to appear, Harry was just looking around at the thousand upon thousands of boxes around the place.
“I was wondering when I would see you Mr Potter,” A voice came from out of nowhere, causing Harry to jump and spin around to face it, Hermione and Jacob also got a little startled, but they were expecting the voice. “It seems only yesterday, that your mother and father were in here buying their first wand.”
Ollivander quickly began to recount their wands to Harry, who took all the information in like a sponge, all the while a tape measure was flying around the boy. Harry held his right arm up when asked what arm he used and as soon as he did, the man vanished into the stacks of shelves, returning a moment later with an armful of boxes.
Taking the first wand from the box, he handed it to Harry, who just stood there, not sure of what to do, the man quickly realised and offered instruction. “Well, go on, give it a wave.”
It seemed to be a bad decision as the moment Harry did a vase exploded, which caused Ollivander to jump out and take the wand from his hand, only to then replace it with another. Harry waved this one as well, which in turn caused boxes of cards to start shooting from the wall where the wand was pointed, yet again Ollivander snatched the wand away.
For the next hour, Harry was trying wand after wand, which resulted in a random result each time, occasionally, Jacob or Hermione had to jump out of the way of something, but mostly they laughed. It was after what felt like the 100th wand, that Ollivander stopped and looked out into the distance, he quickly vanished to the back of the store, to return with only a single box.
“Maybe, try this one Mr Potter.” Harry took the wand from the box and the moment he held it, he felt a warmth spreading through his arms, a light shone above him and a small wind started to circle him. Hermione remembered this from her time in the store and began to squeal in delight, which caused Harry to smile.
“Excellent, you were quite the tricky customer Mr Potter, but I am glad we were able to get you sorted in the end. The core of your wand is Phoenix feather, 11 inches and made of Holly, nice and supple.”
Harry just smiled back, but it was a short-lived smile as Ollivander explained that the feather of his wand, was supplied by a single Phoenix, which supplied only one other feather. Which resided in the wand that caused the death of his parents and gave him that scar, the thought of that quickly brought the mood down. Jacob quickly stood and paid for the wand, which had Ollivander place it into a box and hand it back to Harry, with the action now completed they all left the store.
After making a stop to get a cauldron and potion supplies, they then headed for the book store, which resulted in Hermione starting to vibrate more and more, like a kid on a sugar high, the closer they got. As soon as they stepped inside, Hermione made off like a bullet, while Harry was just standing in the doorway, but as Jacob pushed him further inside, Harry began to look around.
Soon Amelia and Susan appeared, both carrying bags, likely filled to the brim with books, but now shrunk to be smaller. As soon as Susan saw Harry again, she started to blush, but this time Harry failed to notice, he however started to follow where Hermione went. Jacob noticed the blush, Harry’s lack of reaction and turned to the girl and spoke.
“Don’t worry Susan, Harry is much like Hermione in that they both love books a little too much at times. Once he comes back, I can introduce you again, if you like.” Susan just gave a small nod to him, which caused Jacob to respond with a very bright smile, which in turn caused Amelia to smile.
Soon the two wayward magicals were found, both holding a large pile of books each, Harry had more though, as he needed to get all his school books that Jacob had not picked up earlier. As soon as both could not carry any more, Jacob directed them to the front of the store and paid for the books, and then placed them into the trunk.
With that task completed, they were done and Jacob looked as his watch, which was a good thing as they had a little over an hour to leave the Alley and make their way towards the restaurant where they were having dinner. Explaining this to all, had them head out to the Leaky Cauldron, then out into regular London, which caused Susan to slow down, she was not as used to the Muggle world as her Aunt was. Seeing the apprehension on the girl, Hermione linked arms with the poor girl and together they began to walk ahead, causing the others to play catch up. Amelia had called for Rouy and had the elf collect her and Susan’s bags, which neither Harry or Hermione noticed and soon they were all in the car, heading to their next destination, Susan was sitting in the middle between Harry and Hermione, giving her a chance to feel protected more, but at the same time, blushing like crazy that she was touching Harry.
They soon arrived at the restaurant, only to see the Grangers sitting inside, Hermione made a mad dash for the door, only to stop a few feet from it. She then turned around, walked back and collected Susan and walked back to the door with the poor witch in tow, by the time the rest of the party had made it to the door, Hermione was already sitting down and explaining everything to her Parents.
As the night wore on, Susan was finally starting to open up more, which caused Hermione to smile wider and wider and Harry just kept on talking, ignoring the reaction of the girl. Amelia, who was sitting next to Jacob, reached her hand under the table, took Jacob’s into hers and gave it a small squeeze, something that Helen was able to spot.
Soon though, the kids were starting to fall asleep and as the non-magical adults had quite a drive ahead of them, it was called a night. Pol went and paid for all the meals, something Jacob tried to argue, but Pol waved him off, whilst that was happening, Helen had a quick word to Amelia, the result of which caused the Witch to blush.
“I think you and Jacob would make a fine couple, it is clear to see the man likes you as much as you like him.” Amelia’s blush caught the younger ladies attention, which in turn caused them to grin, Harry was oblivious to it all.
Soon Amelia and Susan were gone, having ducked in behind the restaurant, Harry and Jacob were back in their car and heading home, with Harry exclaiming, this was the best birthday ever.
Chapter 17: September 1st
Jacob was a little apprehensive the night before Harry was set to leave for school, and while he tried to sleep, the thought of what might happen was too strong. Harry it seemed had no issue with his lack of sleep the level of excitement was just so high, Jacob had trouble getting a solid answer from the boy.
Amelia had made plans the week before to stop by with Susan and the four of them would travel to King’s Cross Station, she believed that the odds of people causing a problem for Harry was high, so taking Susan with her, which was something she always wanted to do, having someone to guard her, should Amelia need to step up, was a comfort for the witch. When the two witches arrived a little after 8am, through the rear window they could see one boy dashing around the house, trying to make sure everything he wanted, was packed away, but the trunk he was packing stuff into, was practically bursting at the seams.
The older man was sitting at the table, laughing at the reaction of his son and noticed Amelia standing at the back door, just as she was about to knock. Gesturing to them both to come in, Amelia entered first, with Susan right behind her, only to see Harry come to a crashing halt as he saw them, and crashing was accurate, as he bumped into the table, which pushed into his dad, causing Jacob to tip the almost full cup of coffee on himself.
Jacob jumped up and shouted, the cup was fresh, so it was scolding hot, Amelia whipped out her wand, in hopes of helping the man, Susan was attempting to stop herself from laughing and Harry was just standing there in shock. Before Amelia could get off a spell, Jacob had removed his shirt, in an attempt to stop the burn, this caused Amelia to stop dead, Susan to being blushing like crazy and Harry to start speaking, if only to claim embarrassment.
Jacob was about to apologise and head upstairs to clean up and get changed, only to be interrupted by an owl, which was pecking at the window, seemingly to be the only to notice as Harry was trying to hide his face and both witches were staring at him, he headed over to let the owl in. The owl in question hopped over to Amelia and stuck out its leg, waiting for Amelia to notice and remove the mail, seeing no reaction, Jacob cleared his throat.
“Oh, sorry Jacob, let me get the letter.” She started to turn around to remove the letter, but her face was drawn back to Jacob and his lack of a shirt, seeing this Jacob made a quick exit out of the room. Seeing his dad dash out was the last straw for Harry, his embarrassment long forgotten, he burst out into a massive laugh.
“Oh, that was funny as, embarrassing, but still so funny. I can’t wait to tell Hermione.” Susan finally stopped blushing to agree with him. Amelia meanwhile was reading the letter from the owl, she nodded to Susan and informed that she needed to leave, she asked Harry where she could find Jacob and after getting the direction, she headed out of the room and up the stairs. Harry turned to Susan and started to talk, something Susan was unsure about.
“So, Susan, do you know what house you will be in at Hogwarts? Based on what people said of my parents, I would think either Gryffindor or Ravenclaw for me.” Susan took a moment before she responded.
“Almost all of my family has been in Hufflepuff, so I would like to go there, but I guess I need to wait until we get sorted to find out.”
“Do you know how we get sorted? None of the books I have read say how it happens.”
“I tried to get Aunty to let me know how it happens, but she remained tight-lipped. My friend Hannah tried to ask her folks, but they refused to say as well. I guess they want us to be surprised.”
Harry was a little thoughtful, before he spoke. “I suppose the method is more of a shock than anything else, if it was dangerous or something, I am sure people would have warned us prior.”
Susan just nodded, the two of them fell into a quiet silence, whilst waiting for the adults to return, a few minutes had passed before Amelia came barrelling back down the stairs, kissed Susan on the cheek, wished her well at school and then went outside and vanished, leaving both kids speechless and very curious.
~ A few minutes earlier~
Amelia walked up the stairs and located the room Harry said was Jacob’s, she knocked on the door, but got no response. She waited a few moments and knocked again, hearing nothing a second time, she slowly opened the door and began to enter the room.
Looking around, she could see that it was clearly a man’s room, there was barely any sort of colour in the room, but her investigation would have to wait as she heard the door open again, only to see Jacob walking in, with only a towel around his waist and one drying his hair. As Jacob was unable to see Amelia, he threw both towels to the ground and went to get some clothes, Amelia for all her determination was rendered speechless and beyond.
Jacob was bending down to collect some boxers from his draw and when he stood up, he noticed Amelia starring right at him in the mirrors reflection and she saw all of him. Quickly he spun around, which caused a certain appendage to swing around, drawing Amelia’s eye, and Jacob seeing where she was looking, quickly brought his underwear to cover himself.
“Jacob, I am sorry.” Was all that Amelia said, before she quickly made a break for the door, dropping the letter as she left and before Jacob could even get both legs into his clothes, he heard the snapping sound that comes from a magical person vanishing.
Picking up the letter, he began to read it and could see why Amelia was up here in the first place, it seemed that someone was attempting to get a meeting of their Wizengamot sorted this morning as the train was leaving for the school, in an attempt to undo the work that Amelia, Cornelius and to a lesser extent, he had achieved.
Jacob finished getting dressed and headed back downstairs, only to see the two youngsters starring at him, with looks of confusion on their faces. Jacob tried to look at them, but the face of Amelia starring at, it, kept appearing in his mind, causing him to blush, which the kids noticed.
“So, Dad, what did you do to Mrs Bones to have her run out of here in such a rush?” Harry asked, Susan picked up on the line of questioning, not giving Jacob a chance to stop them.
“In all my life, I have never seen Aunty so flustered before, so something must have happened upstairs.”
That was it for Harry, he burst into laughter again, Susan followed right after and Jacob gave himself a moment to sigh before he sat down. Deciding not to worry the kids about the letter, he thought it was best to head out to London a little early, so informing Harry of this caused the boy to stop laughing and then start running around the house again, which in turn caused Susan to laugh even more.
After a nice quiet drive in, Jacob parked the car near King’s Cross Station, at least one of the entrances, he ran up and collected two trollies for the kids to place their trunks on. Harry had Hedwig’s cage on top of his trunk, but the owl was flying off to Hogwarts, instead of taking the train.
As they were there just before 9, Jacob offered to get the kids a drink, while he got a cup of tea at a nearby coffee house, both kids agreed, though Susan was unsure of what to order. Harry suggested a Lemonade for the girl, to which she accepted and found to enjoy it, Harry just got himself a Coke, knowing that it would be his last for many months.
As they were sitting down and enjoying their drinks, Harry noticed Pol walking through the station with an empty trolley, after letting Jacob know, the three of them were looking around for the Grangers as a whole, but it turns out they needn’t have worried as out of nowhere, Hermione tackled Harry to the ground in a massive hug.
“Harry, can you believe it? Today is the day we are going to… Hogwarts.” While she was quite loud as she began to speak to Harry, still laying on top of him, while they were both on the ground, she barely whispered the last word. Helen smiled at the antics of her daughter, but gave a firm clear cough, indicating that it was time to get up off the ground.
“Yes Hermione, I am so excited that the day is finally here, can you imagine what we will learn. Susan and I were talking about the classes on the way in, I am excited for Charms the most.” Hermione looked at Susan for her answer, the young witch did not respond right away, but added that Charms was what she wanted to learn the most as well.
“Oh, for me it has to be Transfiguration, I mean turning one thing into another would be amazing, but I read there are also wizards and witches, who can also turn themselves into animals. How incredible would that be.”
All the children smiled at that thought, however all the adults, shuddered a little at that, but life with a magical kid was never going to be super easy. As they were finishing up their drinks, Pol transferred Hermione’s trunk to the same trolley with Susan’s on it, as there was no need to have all the trunks on their own, Hedwig’s cage meant Harry needed his own, even if the owl was making her own way north. As the clock ticked past 10:30, they started to make their way towards the platform they needed to be at, Susan was leading the way here, as her Aunty had made sure she always knew where it was.
As the group, which strangely enough, drew no funny looks, reached the expected location, a loud voice started echoing across the concourse.
“Packed with Muggles of course, come on, Platform 9 and ¾ this way.” The group stopped dead and started to stare at the woman, who held the hand of a young girl and then behind them, was a procession of boys, all with the same red hair as the two females. When they got close to the barrier, they stopped and rather than checking to see if there was anyone else around them, as Amelia had informed them they should do, they started to scan the crowd, looking for someone.
Harry put his head down as soon as he noticed this, he was never a fan of people looking for him, the wizarding world proved that quite easily and he got the same feeling from this witch and her kids. Jacob stood in front of Harry and gestured for him to move on ahead, Susan quickly pushed in front and soon they were right in front of the barrier, which sadly the adults could not pass.
Jacob gave Harry a nice big hug, letting him know all would be alright, looking over he saw the Grangers in the same, thinking Susan might feel left out, he opened up an arm and invited the young witch and while she was a little hesitant at first, she quickly accepted it and was in the hug. While the two groups were embracing, the elderly witch turned to look at them, seeing a girl with brown hair and then a red head girl, she quickly turned away, continuing to search the crowd for people.
Jacob finally let go and gave both the kids he was hugging a nudge, which made them both smile and got Susan to push through the wall, her face proved she was quite scared about it. Harry followed soon after and then Hermione a moment later and with the three of them through, Jacob, Helen and Pol were now alone.
As they were about to leave, the clock was fast approaching 11am, the three of them heard the woman state to her group that it was time to get going. The youngest child asked if she would get the chance to meet Harry Potter, which proved they were looking for Harry, though the adults were not entirely sure why. As the kids all pushed through, the elderly witch gave the three adults a quick smile, before she too walked through, leaving Jacob to stare at Pol and Helen and wonder what was going on.
Whilst all the adventure of boarding a train was happening, Amelia was trying to discover who had called for the meeting, Cornelius had no idea either and while both knew Dumbledore was likely behind it, someone else had made the call, but the problem was, neither knew who it was.
As the 10:30 start time began, both made their way to the Wizengamot chambers, talking with other members who were also joining in. As they sat in their respective seats, Dumbledore made his entrance and sat in the Chief Warlock’s chair, a look of contentment on his face. Inside though, Dumbledore was still angry that people would dare make massive changes to his world, without his input and today, he was sure that people would roll back these changes.
“Members, if you could all take your seats, we can begin.” He shouted; his voice amplified by the Sonorous charm. The members who were chatting around the place, quickly found their seats and when the last person sat down, Dumbledore banged his gavel down and called the session to order.
“Thank you for joining us today, Witches and Wizards, as you know a summons was issued this morning to discuss the changes that were put into effect last April. Could the member of the chamber who submitted the request, please step forward and speak now?”
All heads began to swivel around the place, each person trying to locate the first person to stand, Amelia and Cornelius were not as obvious in their attempts, but they were looking just as hard. Shocking everyone was the standing of Arthur Weasley, a man known to be a staunch support of Muggles and Muggleborns. The shock that he would be attempting to undo work that would further protect the Muggleborns, was extreme.
“Thank you, Chief Warlock, members of the Wizengamot, I stand before you today as a father, most of you know that I have a few children that attend Hogwarts,” the crowd laughed a little at this, “Over the years, I have even had two graduate from the school and achieve some very rewarding jobs, thanks to the education that they received at the school.”
“When I first heard about the teacher report cards, my first thought was that this was a good thing, making sure that our teachers, who look after our children for most of the year, were qualified to do just that, sounded like a great idea. But as reports have started to come out, I began to wonder if the people inspecting the teachers were being fair and just about it all”
Amelia was shocked, the meeting had nothing to do with the muggleborn support team, but the teacher investigations, as she looked around the room, she could see some of the members were looking at the people from the WEA who were in attendance, as if to agree with the results, even though the reports were private, the fact that Arthur Weasley had them, was a sign that someone talked.
“I will not stand here and point fingers at each group, to say that one is right or wrong, but I ask, who is watching the watchers. We have sent wizards and witches in, to assess teachers, firstly outside of their classrooms, meaning without students present. The results of which mean that we cannot truly get a response of how any teacher actually performs their tasks, but secondly and I think most importantly, we are assessing them on many different values, that are not based on their assigned duties.”
As Arthur finished his remarks and sat down, Dumbledore began a small, but dignified applause for the man, which caused a few others to follow suit. Cornelius however was confused; Amelia though was ropeable. She stood to address the concerns that were raised by Arthur, surprised at the forethought that Jacob had, he indicated something like this was bound to happen at some point.
“Thank you for that Arthur, members of the Wizengamot, the points raised by Arthur Weasley are sound, however the points he has raised are out of context. I must first ask you Arthur, where did you get the reports from? The reports were not presented to anyone, except the Minister, the head of the WEA, Griselda Marchbanks, Headmaster Dumbledore and me, not even the teachers saw the report, only the recommendations.”
“Given that I know for a fact I did not offer them to you, nor had Cornelius and,” Amelia gave a quick look into the crowd to see Griselda shake her head no, “Neither has Griselda, so I ask where you got them from.”
Arthur’s face remained impassive and while everyone could draw the conclusion, that it was Albus, there was no verbal or even physical indicator, in face Arthur remained standing very still. Figuring she would not get any response from the man, she pressed on, making the assumption everyone else was already thinking.
“So, your source was the Headmaster, very well, we shall make a note of this and find out why he chose to break the law later.” The members who had not figured it out looked agape at that news, the members of the darker families however, looked a little happy at the news.
“The recommendations were sent out to each professor only yesterday and I know for a fact that three professors were informed that they need to step up their efforts are teaching and supporting the students, else they would not last out the new school year.”
“As these sessions are closed, I can inform you that two of the teachers were Cuthbert Binns and Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank, both were proven to be a little dry in how they presented their topics, though for Professor Grubbly-Plank, we might be able to accept that a lack of appendages might play a part in her case.” This got a small chuckle from some members, though most were wondering who the third case was in reference to.
“I can see members wish to know, who the final teacher is, I can tell you that it is none other than,” Amelia could not speak at that point as Dumbledore slammed down his gavel, with such force that it actually splintered along the handle.
“Director Bones, I would ask you stop disclosing the names of people, who have spent their lives attempting to enrich the minds of our youth.” Dumbledore’s words might have sounded sweet but there was no denying the foul taste they were attempting to part into the minds of those who listened.
“Chief Warlock, I would have you remember that whilst you lead this body, you are not in charge of the WEA, nor the DMLE, nor are you allowed to stop anyone from speaking, unless in a trial, which this is not. Be quiet, or I shall call for you to be removed from the room and someone else appointed to chair the meeting.”
Dumbledore scowled back at Amelia, something which made the witch smile, because she knew that she had the upper hand, at least for now. Other members saw this as well and wondered what the Chief Warlock was up to.
“As I was saying, the final professor is Severus Snape,” Amelia got the last letter of the name out, only to have shouts of anger directed at her, most of them stating that he is a great teacher, but others seemed to agree with her. “We have been monitoring Snape for the final months of the school term,” this new caused Albus to look up in shock again, “and have found countless violations, not only against the teachers code of conduct, but also our very laws.”
“Severus Snape has ignored multiple safety procedures when instructing his classes, in fact none of the students have been using any form of protective spells before they begin to brew any potion. The classes that contain the Slytherin students are favoured above the others, with members of opposing houses being constantly belittled and threated.”
People’s faces dropped at hearing that a teacher, someone responsible for their children, would stoop as low as threatening a child. Amelia it seems was not done yet though, as she began to show proof of these claims.
“Here is a single example of Snape grabbing a Ravenclaw student, whose potion began to bubble, ahead of schedule, you can clearly hear the man threaten the child with expulsion and more, if they and I quote, ‘don’t stop being a useless dunderhead.’ However, if we look back before the cauldron started to bubble over, you can clearly see Snape watching it, as if he was expecting it to happen and just before it starts to bubble, you can see a small pallet land in from the Slytherin side of the room.”
People were shocked at this, not only was Snape letting people attempt to sabotage the potions of others, he was waiting for it to happen, then swooping down on the victims, taking points and then threatening them and more, but Amelia was far from done.
“After monitoring Snape for a few months, we were able to understand his basic method of teaching, throw out a few insults, take some points, point to the board for the instructions and then pace around and threaten all the students he does not like”
Dumbledore it seemed had heard enough, as he began to bang his gavel again, which caused the voices throughout the chamber to lower and then he spoke.
“I assure members of this body that Professor Snape,” he said, emphasising the man’s title, “Is a valued and trusted member of the teaching staff. A few minor edge cases should not be used to attempt, what is clearly a very public lynching.”
Amelia smirked as Dumbledore finished, she let him speak, hoping he would protect his little pet Death Eater, as she was smirking, Dumbledore glanced over and saw it, he scowled at her, which only caused her smirk to turn into a smile.
“Sorry, but before we go any further, I must ask that the Chief Warlock, step down for the remainder of this session, as he has a clear conflict of interest, in the topic at hand.” A few members started to agree verbally, but it was only when Augusta Longbottom called for a vote that things started to move. It seemed that a lot of people wanted Dumbledore to be removed and in an almost unanimous decision, he was told to step down.
A relatively neutral wizard by the name of Miles Ogden was asked to step up and he did so, though he was not eager to do it. Amelia waited until Dumbledore had sat down in the visitors section before she spoke up again.
“Excuse me, Chief Warlock Ogden, I must ask that you have Mr Dumbledore removed from the chamber, as this is a closed session, there are to be no members of the public present.” Yet again, some members of the chamber broke up in quiet and not so quiet whispers, while some sniggered at the man being removed entirely.
Dumbledore just looked at Amelia, a scowl upon his face like most had never seen, it began to open the eyes of a lot of people to just what Dumbledore might not be the kind grandfather he tried to portray. Ogden quickly called for order and then asked Dumbledore to remove himself from the chamber, he refused.
“I am sad to think that members of this most revered body can be asked to leave, without just cause.” While he spoke, he attempted to win over people with his patented grandfather look, however the current Chief Warlock overrode him, almost right away.
“I don’t care what you think Dumbledore, you are not required to be here anymore, as you have been asked to leave, you can either do so by your own effort, or we can have some Aurors come down and remove you by force. They are the only two options you have present.”
“I am sad to say you are wrong their Miles.”
“It is Chief Warlock Ogden, not Miles. I have not given you leave to address me in any other form than what is required. You had your chance to leave, Madam Bones, please have some Aurors escort Mr Dumbledore out”
Standing up quickly, Dumbledore played a final card, he knew it would keep him inside for this session, he was quite wrong.
“Before you cut me off, I was going to tell you, that I hold proxy for the Potter seat, so I can simply take my seat there.” A smug smile showed on his face, he started to walk over to the seat, which had been vacant for almost 13 years, ever since the last Potter went into hiding. Amelia had some questions about this, so while he relocated himself she asked.
“Why then, Mr Dumbledore, did you place yourself in the visitors’ gallery, instead of the seat, you claim to have? This would have saved everyone here a lot of time.”
“It was not something I wanted known, as I have never had a need to sit in the seat before, it limited the speculation about who might be the proxy.”
Amelia smiled back at the man, who thought he had won the round, but she quickly turned to Ogden and nodded her head in the direction of the Potter seat, attempting to get Ogden to pay attention to it, she need not have worried as all eyes were on Dumbledore.
Just as Dumbledore sat down in the chair, there was an almighty crack and a blinding flash of light and as quick as it all happened, it died away. What everyone saw was Dumbledore being thrown across the room, like a ball of parchment being banished across a room, he quickly started to come down again.
Members across from the Potter seat could hardly believe their eyes, as Dumbledore soared through the air, but their shock quickly turned to fear as he was unconscious at the time and coming directly for them. No one seemed to think with their wands, most just scurried out of the way, in fact not a single person was attempting to stop the man’s flight, but as quickly as he went up, he soon landed in an almighty heap.
“Could someone call for a Medi-Witch or Wizard please, have them head to the holding cells,” Amelia began. As she did, she quickly summoned two Aurors who appeared, looked at their boss, then turned around and looked at the wizard, currently collapsed across a few rows of seats. “Take him to a cell, do not speak with him, should he wake before a Medi appears and be sure to remove all his personal effects, clothes included.”
The two Aurors quickly had the man removed from the chamber and as the doors closed, Ogden called for order once more. When the room finally settled, Ogden asked for Amelia to finish presenting her evidence.
“As I was going to say, before we were all diverted from our purpose of being here, Snape’s actions have been reported countless times. We approached the few recent additions to the Aurors and had them provide their accounts of Snape’s behaviour and a few even submitted memories of the events. Most telling was that over half, which I will let you know means 18 new Aurors, also provided memories of informing their head of house, or on occasion Dumbledore himself, of the behaviour, only for no action to be taken.”
With all the evidence in front of them, it was clear that unless Snape cleaned his act up and most could see the only way it happened would be with a personality transplant, he would be out of a job by years end, if not sooner.
People clearly had no issues with the plan, now that the only person who seemed to want it removed, was himself removed. With nothing else to discuss and no-one else supporting the removal, Ogden called the session to an end. Amelia quickly rose from her spot and sought out Arthur Weasley, she wanted to know what he was told to do.
“Arthur, a word please?”
The man had not heard her and kept on walking, she quickly caught up and spun him around, he seemed to be in a bit of a daze. Seeing Amelia, he snapped out of it, only to ask what was going on.
“I would like to ask you that same thing Arthur. You and I have had many conversations about the new Muggleborn protection program, as well as the teacher inspections, so perhaps you can tell me, why you thought it was good to attempt to get one of them thrown out?”
“Wait, I did that. The last thing I can remember was having breakfast and then nothing until just now.”
Amelia looked at the man, who honestly had no potential in him, to be devious, he was really just a kid in a grown body some days. She called over an Auror and had him take Arthur to St Mungo’s and have him looked over as something was clearly wrong, with that taken care of, she wanted to speak with Jacob to let him know what had happened, she let her staff know she would be out for a bit and she made her way to the exit.
As the train was making its way up through the English countryside, Harry and Hermione were sitting with Susan in a compartment, with the new additions of Hannah Abbott and Daphne Greengrass. Harry felt a little outmatched here, so when the door opened and a shy looking boy asked if anyone had seen his toad, Harry quickly offered to help him search for it. Harry excused himself and stepped out, which caused the four young witches to burst into giggles.
“I think he might have been a little shocked to be surrounded by girls,” Hermione began, “Usually it is just myself and him.”
“Oh, you knew Harry, from before the train?” Hannah had asked, though the look on the face of Daphne proved she too wanted to know.
“Yeah, we met years ago, how we met is a long story, but we have been best friends ever since.”
“Wow, you have to tell me the story someday,” Hannah replied, “I want to know what the Boy-Who-Lived was like growing up.” As soon as she said the name, Hermione, and Susan both flinched, Daphne noticed this and questioned it.
“I take it that Harry does not like the name that the Wizarding World has stuck him with?”
Hermione shook her head, but Susan was the one to respond.
“I have only really known Harry for a few weeks, and I can tell you, in that time, whenever the name comes up, he tends to lock up and freeze. I asked him about it once, I said, ‘why don’t you like the name, it makes you famous’ and do you know what he said?”
Hermione knew the answer, but she watched the faces of the other two witches, both of whom shook their heads.
“He said, while everyone states that he lived, he is only reminded that he parents did not.”
Daphne had her face lose a fair amount of colour, but Hannah looked ready to cry. Each time she spoke of the boy as she was growing up, she never once thought that getting that name, cost Harry everything.
“Oh, you are right, how did I never think of it.” Hannah managed to get out, but before Hermione managed to respond, the door was yanked open and a red-haired boy was standing there, with his trunk.
“Do you mind, everywhere else is…” He never finished speaking, as he glanced around the compartment, he noticed that it was full of girls. “I was told Harry Potter was in this one, where is he?”
Hermione and Susan both recalled the boy from earlier and Susan was the first to respond.
“As you can see, there are only us girls here, now leave and close the door behind you on your way out.”
Without even saying a word, he quickly stepped back out and closed the door, with a bang and before the girls could begin to discuss this, the door was once again pulled open with force. A blonde-haired boy was present, with two other boys standing behind him.
“Word has it, that Harry Potter is here.” Again, the boy stopped, noticed the lack of any other males and before he could retreat, Daphne spoke up.
“It is nice to see that the Malfoy’s still have no manners. It is very rude to barge into someone else’s compartment without knocking first. How would your mother feel about you doing that?” As she mentioned the boys’ mother, his face drew to a ghostly white, without a single noticeable action from anyone, he quickly fainted, falling backwards into the two boys.
As they began to drag him away, Susan, who was closest to the door, stood to close it, only for a hand to stop it before she could. All of the girls let go a large sigh each, only for Harry to stick his head in the gap.
“What’s going on, why are you all sighing?” Seeing who it was, the mood changed pretty quickly, which only stood to confuse Harry a little more. “Well, we found Neville’s toad, oh that is the boy’s name from before and I asked if he wanted to join us in here for the rest of the trip.”
As if summoned, the shy boy appeared behind Harry, complete with his trunk, and with all working together, it was quickly placed away. As Harry sat down next to Hermione, he asked what the girls was upset about before, they quickly explained about the two visitors, both of which confused Harry.
Rather than dwell upon it, the six kids quickly got to talking about a range of topics, the conversation covered things like what they did for fun before today, with Harry and Hermione being the odd ones out, having attended school. The sweet trolley came by about half way through the trip, but no-one got anything, apart from some Gilly Water, as the afternoon wore on, all six kids felt they were becoming good friends with each other and when the subject of houses came up, they felt if they were split, it would not be a nice thing.
“I am sure I will get Hufflepuff,” Neville said, “I don’t think I can make it anywhere else.” Susan and Hannah turned to look at him, shocked that someone would not want to make it into their preferred house.
“Well, if you make it into Hufflepuff, you will be with Susan and myself,” Hannah stated, “Besides, there is nothing wrong with being a badger.” Neville just looked down a little and nodded slowly, Daphne soon pointed out her preference.
“I can say for a fact that I will get Slytherin, all of my family has been there for as far back as I can remember. If, for some reason I don’t get placed there, I would assume Ravenclaw would be my next option.”
“For Hermione and me, I think either Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, would work. We both love to read and we have been the best of friends for ever, which is loyalty.” Harry was smiling at the end, but no-one else was agreeing with him.
“Sorry Harry, but you will be in Gryffindor, like your folks.” Hannah replied, her statement got a response of agreement from Daphne as well.
“How do you figure that Hannah?” Hermione had asked, her thoughts of a genetic predisposition taking form in her mind, Harry was thinking the same.
“Well, both his parents were in the house, in fact all Potter’s have been in the house of the lions for as long as anyone can recall. To go elsewhere would be unheard of.”
Harry could not believe it, they said he was going to be in a house, simply because his parents were. For Daphne, it might work out that way, as she was raised by them, but he had no memories of his parents, well except for a flash of green light.
“Sorry Hannah, but that makes no sense. I don’t remember my parents at all, so how would you assume I would get into the same house as them. Daphne could get her house, because she was raised by her family, which likely has a set mindset, but I don’t have that.”
Thinking on it, everyone could agree with the logic, but it was Hermione who spoke up next. “Well, it matters very little, because until we get sorted, we just have no clue where we shall end up.”
As she finished speaking, an announcement came over the trains speaker, stating that they were almost there and that all students needed to change. Harry, having grown up without any fear of body image and without worrying about the reactions of other folks, quickly jumped up and grabbed his trunk down. Hermione knew what was about to happen and quickly tried to stop the boy.
No-one else had any idea what was happening, until Harry had his jumper and shirt off and then began to undo his trousers before Hermione finally got him to stop. Turning around, he could see Neville was gobsmacked and all the girls were blushing a lot.
“Harry Potter, there are ladies present, you can’t just strip down wherever you want. I know your father has talked to you about this before.” Hermione began, but she started forcing the girls out of the compartment as well. “You and Neville can change now, then we will change and you can wait outside.”
As the girls pushed out the door, Hermione saw the long looks that Daphne and Susan were sending Harry’s way, Hannah was just beet red still.
A few minutes later, Harry and Neville stepped out and let the girls take over and a little bit later, all six of them were back sitting down and waiting for the train to arrive at the station.
As it did, they were told to leave their trunks and then they quickly left the train and went down towards some boats, following a massive man. It was Susan who mentioned that the man’s name was Hagrid, Hermione gave a quick glance to Harry, who understood the name.
The boats sailed across the water, with four people to one each, a pair of twins had split up and taken the open seat on each both. Much to the annoyance of a red head boy further back as he finally spotted Harry and much to the relief of Harry.
The sight of the castle across the water was one of the most incredible things Harry had ever seen, but soon they were whisked under some vines and into a large dock area. Hagrid led them upstairs to a large room and handed them off to Professor McGonagall, who thanked the man and sent him on his way.
She quickly explained the houses and points systems, ensuring to note the faces of those who looked upset at the thought of detention. Before she could depart, some actual ghosts came in through a wall and were oblivious of the youngsters below them, they continued on their conversation as if it were nothing.
Another ghost appeared and looked for the Professor, who after speaking with it, quickly turned around and told the children to follow her. As they walked in Hermione was explaining to Susan about the roof and how it was enchanted, Susan just looked up in amazement. Soon they stopped in front of a stool with a hat upon it, behind it was a large golden chair, a throne really, though it was empty.
The Professor explained how they would be sorted, but she was interrupted by the hat, which broke into a song, or poem as there was no music or melody that it appeared to be following. Once it finished, she picked up where she left off and called forth the first new student, Hannah Abbott.
Chapter 18: School is in session
Harry woke the next morning, thinking how nice of a bed he got to sleep in, while his one at home was nice, this was like on a whole extra level. Hearing the snoring of some of his dormmates still happening, Harry climbed out of bed and got dressed for a run, before quietly ducking out the door.
He made his way downstairs and quickly made his way out of the castle, thanks to some informative portraits, which was just weird and began to stretch. Whilst he was getting limber, he never noticed that Professor McGonagall was watching from a window a few floors up, just as she was beginning to think the boy odd, he took off for a slow run. She stood at the window watching the boy run towards the lake, when she was joined by Pomona Sprout, who after saying hello, noticed where her friends attention was placed.
“There is no denying that the boy was raised in the Muggle world,” Sprout began, “No-one raised in the Wizarding World has that kind of desire to run, especially at this time of day.” Minerva just nodded her head, before speaking up.
“His father is quite a fit man as well, it would not surprise me to see that they ran a lot together.” As she finished, they noticed that they were not able to see Harry anymore, so they turned around and headed off to do their morning routines.
Harry, whilst was a little slower than normal, due to the lack of knowledge about the area, was still having a great run, just being able to switch off and run, was something he liked to do. He realised he had passed 30 mins of running and then turned around and began to run back, pretty soon he was back at the steps into the castle, which brought his run to an end.
Walking back up the stairs, with some more assistance from a few portraits and paintings, he managed to get into his room and get his school uniform and shower supplies, ducking into the bathroom and turning the water on, letting the water getting nice and hot and quickly stripped and stepped under it.
As he finished his shower, he tried to hear if any of his fellow dormmates were awake, but they were still in the land of Nod, so he placed his dirty clothes in the indicated hamper, put his shower gear away and went down for breakfast.
As he arrived, he noticed only a few people were already there, including a few Professors, Harry quickly went to his table and sat down and began to build himself a breakfast. Looking around, he saw the only options for people to drink were water and pumpkin juice, neither of which he really wanted.
“Oh, what I would not do for some Orange juice,” no sooner had he finished speaking, then a jug of the drink appeared on the table in front of him, “Wow, thank you mysterious magical table.”
Pouring a glass, he began to eat and watched some of the older students began to walk in, along with a few of the younger ones. As he was watching the door, he noticed that Hermione was walking in, with Daphne Greengrass, the two of them in a very excited conversation. Hermione managed to see Harry sitting down and gave an excited wave, which he returned, which made Hermione smile, as she sat down at the Ravenclaw table, the other students who were already there, appeared to want to know all about her friendship with Harry.
Harry could see that the attention was starting to get to her, thankfully Daphne had moved from across from her, to next to her in an attempt to shield her from the others. This only stopped a few, others were still quite persistent at discovering the truth, only another minute of this happened, before the shortest teacher Harry had ever seen descended upon the table.
“That is enough, everyone back to your seats.” No-one spoke back, they all just dashed to their former spots, which gave space for Daphne to move away from Hermione again. “You have my apologies ladies, I am sure that it must just be first day nerves, I will ensure that the house prefects speak tonight about giving people the appropriate amount of space.”
Hermione just whispered out a thanks, Daphne just nodded her head, then they began to get their breakfasts in order. While Harry was watching this, he failed to see Ronald Weasley come storming in, however he did notice the boy at the last second, which gave him a chance to let loose an almighty sigh.
“Hey Harry, what a feast hey. There was so much good food to eat, what was your best thing, for me, it has to be how I got to eat everything.” The boy began to start piling food onto a plate, but as soon as it began to touch, it started to vanish from the plate, it took him a few moments to realise what was going on.
“Hey, what gives.” For some reason he kept attempting to pile food onto his plate, which kept emptying itself, leaving no trace behind. He established that if he kept the food in his hands, he could eat, but he was not able to drink anything, but before he started to attempt to mix some food up, Professor Snape came barrelling over.
“WEASLEY. Get back to your table, Now!” The look on his face showed he was extremely angry about having to come down and deal with this. “All members of Slytherin are to eat at their table, for each and every meal, you were informed this last night.”
As Ronald just stared back at the man, Harry was trying to hide his smile, seeing Weasley get spoken to like this was quite amusing, but it seems that even though Harry had done nothing wrong, he was not out of the firing line.
“And 10 points from Gryffindor, Mr Potter, for not assisting a fellow student.” As Snape finished speaking, McGonagall started to walk down, with Snape seeing her coming, he pulled Weasley up from the seat and forced him to move across the hall.
“Mr Potter, can you please explain to me, how you managed to loose 10 points, before classes have even begun?” Her face showed that she was not upset but wanted answers still.
“Well, I was sitting here, eating my own breakfast, when Weasley came over and sat down, he started piling food on his plate, but it kept disappearing. He started to hold it in his hands to eat and then Professor Snape arrived, he told Weasley to go sit at his own table and then took 10 points from me, for not helping him. But I did not know we had to sit at our own tables, I swear it.”
McGonagall looked at Harry, before letting go her anger at Snape and speaking, “Not to worry Mr Potter, I will have words with Professor Snape soon, but 10 points to Gryffindor for showing restraint.”
With that said, she quickly turned and walked away, heading straight towards Snape, something the man appeared to be dreading, as she approached. Harry quickly looked away, letting himself enjoy his food, before anyone else turned up.
As it turned out, he needed to not worry as it was another 10 minutes before anyone else from his year level appeared from Gryffindor. Dean was the first, followed by Seamus a few minutes later, the boys sat around Harry and begin to break their fasts as well. As they were all eating, Harry decided to let them know what happened earlier, this drew the attention of the redhead twins, who were sitting a little further down the table.
“Hey Harry,” Twin One began, “Sorry about our brother, he seems to have no understanding of table manners, not for lack of trying on our part,”
“Or Percy’s,” picked up Twin Two,
“Or Charlie,” Twin One said, beginning what appeared to be a vocal tennis match.
“Well, anyone really. Mum just never bothers anymore; she seems to let him and Ginny do what they want.”
Harry just starred at the twins, trying to work out who was who, but they were not finished talking, in fac they stood and walked over to sit next to the four younger boys.
“I am Fred Weasley and this is my less handsome brother George.” Fred stated, before anyone could say hi, George spoke.
“I thought I was Fred today, first day of school, I am always Fred, remember.”
“Yes, which is why you were Fred yesterday, today I am Fred.”
“Yesterday was not a school day, it was the travel day, it does not count.”
Harry looked at his year-mates for support, but most still had food shoved into their mouths and looking up the table, all he saw were grins on the faces of the older students. Clearly, they were used to this behaviour from the twins.
“Well it is nice to meet you, Thing One and Thing Two, I am Harry Potter and I will introduce you to the rest, as they are still eating. Next to me is Dean Thomas and across is Seamus Finnigan.” Each boy gave a nod when introduced, but the twins were staring at Harry.
“Things he calls us”
“Clearly, does not know who we are”
“Well, he did just meet us now”
“But things is a bit much”
Harry was fearful he had upset them, so he began to explain the names.
“Sorry, but Thing One and Thing Two are from a muggle children’s story. There are these creatures that look identical to each other and they are called Thing One and Two and wear shirts with numbers on them, so people know.”
This had the twins burst out into smiles, thinking of the new things they would learn from the boy.
“Ah, well I am sure you will help explain more muggle things to us, won’t you Mr Harrikins. Being straight for a moment, I am Fred.” Harry shook his hand and noted he was the same person who said Fred before.
“I am George,” shaking his other hand, leaving Harry to look like some sort of animated inflatable as both arms were being shaken by the twins. It was this strange scene that Susan walked in on, she made her way over to Harry and coughed to get the attention of the Twins.
“Would you mind if I sat down and had some food, you are blocking my way.” The twins quickly stopped shaking Harry’s hands, jumped back a little and bowed at Susan.
“Of course, My Lady, please excuse we humble servants for interrupting your way.” Fred began, with George getting ready to take over, but even before he could speak Susan spoke first.
“Well, as long as you make sure it never happens again. I swear Harry, it is so hard to get good help these days.” With that she sat down with a level of elegance that an 11-year-old can muster, which caused all the boys around her to burst out into laughter.
Fred and George were still laughing as a tall dark girl came over and started to pull them away by an ear each, pretty soon though, they were begging to be let go, this kept all the other students laughing.
Harry looked over at Hermione and saw her laughing at the antics that were taking place over at his table, she caught his eye and raised an eyebrow, Harry just shrugged back and Hermione responded with a shrug of her own, before turning back to the conversation she was having with Daphne.
Thinking back, when Harry arrived at the Great Hall last night, he never could have expected what the outcome would be of the sorting that shocked everyone. When it was Harry’s turn to be sorted, he was completely unsure where he would go, Hermione ending up in the house of the smart was a given, the moment it was described to him, he thought nowhere else would be good for her.
Susan surprised by not following her friend into Hufflepuff, something she clearly wanted if the amount of conviction on the train was any indication, but to end up in Gryffindor was a shock for a few teachers, even the young lady herself. Neville heading to the badgers den though was something Harry could understand, he clearly knew Hannah and seemed to just follow along.
Draco Malfoy barely had the hat placed onto his head before it shouted out Slytherin, but it was the shock of Ronald Weasley being sorted into the same house that caused perhaps the biggest shock, a lot of anger was directed at the hat from this, mostly from the young redhead beneath it.
After the kids were sorted, with Blaise Zabini ending up in Slytherin as well, Professor McGonagall stood to address the students, which many thought was a little odd.
“Good evening students, as those who are returning will notice, Professor Dumbledore is not amongst us tonight, for those knew to the school, that is our Headmaster. He was been called away on some urgent business and is likely to be gone until closer to the Yule holiday.”
This got everyone talking, mostly the older students and McGonagall let it continue for a moment before she cleared her throat, gaining the attention of all students back onto herself.
“Whilst the Headmaster is away, the running of the school will fall to myself, with Professor Sprout assisting as well. As that is all I needed to say, enjoy the feast.”
Susan noticed Harry had finished eating and began to speak to him, it took a few attempts for him to response, but when he did, he noticed that Susan seemed to gain a lot of attention from the older Gryffindors.
“Harry, do you know what class we have first?”
“Nope, I was down pretty early and was told that schedules would be handed out before breakfast ended. All I can hope is that I have nothing at all to do with Weasley and Malfoy.”
“Yes, I can understand that Malfoy is as bad as his dad, though of course, not on the same political level, but give that time, I am sure that he will try to build up a reputation. Weasley though, now that was a shock, I don’t think anyone from that house has ever been sorted into anywhere bar Gryffindor for centuries.”
“He came over here earlier and tried to start talking with me, but Snape soon came and stopped him. That is one teacher that I think is not happy in his job.”
Both children sniggered at that, while Harry finished off his juice, Professor McGonagall was walking down from the Staff end and delivering the schedule to all of her students. She stopped by Harry and passed his and Susan’s, as the young girl currently had a mouth full of food. A quick thank you and she moved on, Harry had a look over their schedules, to see if there was anything different.
“Ok, as today is Monday, that means we have Charms first, then Herbology and then lunch. Later today it is History and then Transfiguration, not a bad day and apart from History, where we are with Hufflepuff, the rest of our classes are with Ravenclaw.”
Susan acknowledged Harry with a shake of her head, but quickly swallowed her food, as she had to ask a question.
“Wait, we are not with Slytherin, for anything today?”
“Nope, it seems we have them for Astronomy and Defence Against the Dark Arts, but we share Potions and History with Hufflepuff and the rest of our classes are with Ravenclaw. Why do you ask?
“Aunt Amelia always said that for ages now, Gryffindor and Slytherin have been placed together for as many classes as they could be, it was the only thing that worried me when I was sorted here.”
“Well, all I can tell you is what the piece of paper in front of me says.”
Susan just looked thoughtful for a bit, shrugged her shoulders and finished eating what was on her plate. Once finished she gave an almost silent thank you to the elves and then looked at Harry.
“Come on Harry, we need to go and get our books, then head to our first class.”
Harry just stood up and Susan quickly followed, leaving Seamus and Dean eating at the table, the two of the quickly headed out the doors and towards the tower to get their things.
After a nice walk up to the tower and back down to the Charms classroom, Harry was sitting down with Susan, when Hermione entered with Daphne, she quickly made a beeline for Harry and took the seat next to him, Daphne smirked and took the seat on the girls other side.
“Morning Harry how was your night?”
“Hey Hermione, it was alright, a lot of kids wanted to ask me so many questions, it was a bit crazy. There are only three boys in my room, including me, so that was nice.”
“I share a room with Daphne, they only allow two people to a room and they said that we are likely to remain that way until we graduate.”
Harry nodded his head, thinking about how strange it was going to be, living with the same two boys for most of his life. He put that thought aside and addressed Daphne.
“Hey Daphne, how was your night?”
“Good Morning Harry, it was quite eventful, it seems that a lot of witches in Ravenclaw discovered that Hermione and I had rode with you on the train and began to demand information about you. Sadly, it only escalated once they learnt Hermione and you grew up together.”
“It was the same for me,” Susan said, “The two girls I am sharing with are quite the little pair of gossips, they had so much to say about Harry, even though they admitted they had not spoken to him.”
All three girls just giggled, which only increased when they noticed Harry’s face become beet red. It was to this sound that Professor Flitwick entered, which put a smile on his face. The Professor gave them an overview of what Charms were and how they could be used in everyday life, he also went and gave them their first taste of magic, by using the colouring charm and at the end of the lesson, both Gryffindors and Ravenclaws were over the moon.
Herbology proved to be as exciting as Harry thought it would be, in other words, not very, while he had no issues in working outside in the garden with his dad, it was not his favourite outdoor activity. It seemed that three girls thought the same, but they were at least smiling when they left.
History was the first class they had with the Hufflepuffs and Susan quickly took the seat next to Hannah, leaving Harry and Neville to sit next to each other. Whilst Harry attempted to stay awake, he found it a real challenge, in the end he started speaking with Neville more, learning about the boy and in turn sharing details about his life.
The final class for the first day was Transfiguration and knowing that Professor McGonagall was strict, all the students made sure they were going to be on their best behaviour. After a wicked introduction, where the Professor literally turned herself from a cat into a human, the class got down to the brass tacks of the subject, or at least the silver needles. In the end only, Hermione managed to get something resembling a needle, though it was not pointy, it was at least silver.
Another fantastic meal in the Great Hall had Harry and Susan stuffed and they soon headed to the library to begin their homework, joining Hermione and Daphne, who had already claimed a table. Talking, while in hushed tones, was happening more than homework, though Hermione and Harry were able to do both, as they had the developed the habit a few years back.
Most of the talk centered around what they thought of their classes and the teachers of each, most agreed that McGonagall was strict, but she knew her stuff and while Charms was headed by the most entertaining teacher so far, Flitwick also knew his subject quite well. Those who were raised Pureblood all agreed that Herbology was going to be a challenge, even if Neville loved the subject, doing it at home was very different from doing it in a classroom.
Harry admitted that while he was not a fan of doing garden work, he loved spending time with his dad, which Hermione admitted was a cool guy, even if he was a bit of a gym junkie. Susan just laughed at that, having had the concept explained after Jacob crashed, by accident, at the Bones Manor last year. Daphne and Hannah could not understand what Hermione meant and Susan decided to explain to them, Neville was starring out into nowhere at this point.
“Well, Harry’s dad works at a place called a Gym, which is where muggles go to work out.” Seeing the lack of understanding, Hermione clarified the point.
“Mundane folks like to stay in shape, so they use places called Gym’s to stay fit, a lot of the time, they run on a treadmill, which is like running on the road, just you never move from where you are. Others lift weights, heavy items, to help them build up muscle.”
“Yes, and Harry’s dad works at a Gym, so he gets to use all of the stuff there, he is very firm.” Harry just dropped his head in embarrassment that his father was the topic of the night.
“How do you know that?” Daphne asked, leaving Susan to blush.
“He stayed the night last year after working with Aunt Amelia on something, he woke up the next morning and I saw him without his shirt on and when Aunty tried to explain it, she said he was firm. I still don’t know what she meant, but oh well.”
Harry clearly had enough and went to return some books, seeing as the studying had all but stopped, looking around, he saw that Neville was practically asleep on the table.
Calling it a night, all the kids put their things away their things and headed for their respective dorms, Harry was thinking that the first day at the school was not so bad, girl gossip notwithstanding and with that final thought he climbed into bed and drifted off to sleep.
Chapter 19: Halloween Begins
Life moved fast for both members of the Tuttle family, Jacob and Amelia began having weekly and then almost daily dates, with only the odd night here and there thrown in where they did not. Harry meanwhile was loving school, he was reading ahead and enjoyed learning all he was able to from the teachers.
Hermione and he were still able to spend a lot of time together, even though they were in other houses, Susan thought it was sweet, something to which Harry refused to acknowledge. The other members of their little group, also were happy to being able to study and hang out together, as each seemed to have a subject that they were able to help the others in.
For Neville it was Herbology, he loved the plants and was able to provide help to all, even Hermione, when it came to their study sessions in the library. Hannah was quite skilled in Astronomy, it turned out, she was able to climb onto the roof of her house, something Susan did a lot with her, and she loved to go up and just lay there, starring at the night sky.
Daphne was the potioneer of the group, she understood why things had to go together in set ways and was able to provide a book that detailed the basics of potion making to the others. Harry was very grateful for this, as for some reason the teacher hated him from day one and it made him quite nervous in class. Susan it seemed was gifted in the art of Charms, something she said came from her Aunt, as she would always use little charms around the house for things, so she just listened and learnt from that.
Hermione was the Transfiguration expert, well as much as one can be at 12, she understood the need for rules and logic, something which appealed to her mind and she was able to help everyone by translating the complicated instructions into a more understandable form. Harry was a defence prodigy, while some students thought it was because of his defeat of Voldemort, Hermione and he both thought it was due to his years of Karate. While no-one wanted to do any of the physical activity he did of a morning, they all listened to the lessons of his sensei, each picking up a little hint here and there that helped them out.
Standing in the corner of the library was Professor McGonagall, standing next to her was Irma Pince the school’s librarian, the two witches both had smiles on their faces, watching the table to friends working, though for different reasons. For McGonagall, it was thanks to Harry and Hermione that the houses were working together, but for Pince, it was that each of the students were quiet and respectful of the books they were using, but while they were happy, not everyone was. Ronald Weasley thought that his time in Hogwarts was going very badly, sure the food was great, but he was not in the right house and no matter how many letters his mother sent to McGonagall, it never changed.
On top of that, he was left without being Harry Potter’s best friend, something he thought he deserved, and his mother thought so as well. Each time he tried to speak with Harry, he would be ignored, or worse Snape would come down on him and force him to move away, but he knew the upcoming feast would be a perfect chance to catch Harry on his own, as he had a plan.
A few weeks into the school year, Harry was excited to learn that they would so be learning how to fly, with all first years being assigned to the same class. Susan was nervous at the thought of flying, even though she had done tandem flights with her Aunt over the years, but she was not the only one. In fact, almost everyone that was not named Harry Potter, from their study group had a reason to be nervous.
Hermione it was her fear of heights, while she loved a good ride at the theme park, she was not a fan of heights, so it worried her about being on a broom. Neville was much the same, but his thoughts were based around his lack of ability to stay on two feet on the ground, leaving the ground was going to prove a challenge for the boy.
For Daphne and Hannah, their concerns came from the fact that they did not want to fly, because they believed they would never need to, and it would prove to be un-lady like to do so. Harry had suggested that they ride side-saddle, something muggle women do, but Hermione quickly shot that idea down.
When the day finally came, there were some outlandish stories being thrown around the great hall, Malfoy was telling all he could about his exploits against a muggle helicopter, whereas Weasley was talking up the time he almost hit a muggle who was hanging in the air from a strange triangle shaped device.
As the students were walking out to where they would be learning, Hermione was repeating facts that she had read in Quidditch Throughout the Ages, Neville was trying to listen in, hoping he would pick up a tip or twenty. Harry was just bouncing, excited to being able to fly for the first time.
When all the students arrived, the instructor, Madam Hooch walked out and arranged them into two lines, with a broomstick to their right. She advised how thing were going to happen, then gave the kids the go ahead to step up to the side of their broom and say Up! Harry was one of a small few, that had the broom leap into his hand, the speed of which made him wince a little, he noticed that Malfoy and Weasley were also in that small number.
The ones that did not have their broomstick leap up, were instructed to simple pick up the broom, once they were all in hand, they were told to mount and then push up ever so gently, Neville though, was a little nervous and practically jumped. His broom shot off, taking him up and away from the class, vanishing behind the castle.
Mere moments later, he reappeared, heading right for the class, the broom veered to the left and smacked straight into the wall, a loud and sickening crunch was heard. Madam Hooch ran for the boy, giving her wand a quick flick and levitating him, she warned the remaining students to stay firmly on the ground and she led Neville to the hospital wing.
As soon as she was gone, Malfoy leant down and picked up something small and made of glass that Neville had dropped, when he came to his abrupt stop. Hannah noticed what it was, as Neville had only received it that morning at breakfast and asked Malfoy to return it, his high-pitched laugh, drew the attention of everyone else.
“Give it back, I don’t think so, maybe if he gave it a squeeze, he would have remembered to not crash in his first lesson. I might leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find, perhaps up a tree”
Harry pushed forward and demanded that Malfoy hand it over, something the boy just sneered at and then quickly pushed into the air. From up there, Malfoy began to taunt Harry, something Harry gave into and mounted his broom, Hermione tried to stop him, but she was only able to get close enough as Harry shot off.
“Give it back Malfoy,” Harry yelled as he approached, wobbling a little on the broomstick. “It is not yours, or do you want to be known, as Malfoy the thief?”
“I am no thief Potter,” Malfoy sneered, Harry responded quite quickly, “Well, seeing as you have taken something of someone else’s, without their permission that is the definition of stealing, which in turn makes you a thief.”
“I AM NO THIEF,” Malfoy yelled out, letting all those on the ground here his response, “If you want the thing so badly, go and catch.” Before Harry could respond again, Malfoy threw the glass ball as hard as he could, sending it towards the castle, without thinking Harry took off after it.
Just as the ball was about to hit a window, Harry managed to catch it, flipping himself over and stopping dead in front of the glass. Looking in he could see Professor McGonagall sitting there, her hands on her chest as she looked at him in complete fear. Seeing this, he quickly headed back for the ground.
Harry landed and handed the glass ball to Hannah and the broom to Susan; he then made his way towards the path that they had used to come out. After getting there, a moment later Professor McGonagall arrived and seeing the boy, demanded that he follow her. The next time that Harry saw his classmates, he was the new seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Malfoy and Weasley were furious at that news.
The year pushed on and Halloween quickly arrived and when Susan arrived downstairs in the common room, it was to see a very subdued Harry, he was dressed, but clearly not concerned about the state of his dress. Susan sat down next to him, waiting for him to see her, but after a few minutes, he still had not responded, so she gave him a slight bump, which had him look up.
The sadness on his face told the complete story, this was the day the life he should have had, was taken away, Susan thought it best to just help him up and begin their day, but things did not go to plan.
“I am telling you Dean, this is going to be the best Halloween ever, our first full Magical one. Did you know it’s been 10 years since You-Know-Who was defeated.” Seamus was speaking so loudly, his voice carried down the stairs and into the common room, causing Harry to flinch.
Susan noticed that flinch and almost jumped from the couch and ran to the stairs, but before she could open her mouth, Seamus spotted her and continued his speech.
“Hey Susan, can you believe today, I heard there is going to be a massive feast tonight.” Though before he could continue, Susan stomped on his foot, which caused the Irish lad to curse.
“Oi, what did you do that for, you’re crazy.” Others had stopped to see what the first years were up to, many caught Susan’s head and eyes pointing towards Harry, who was still sitting on the couch. Whilst Seamus might not have been able to get the reference, Dean surely did.
“Oh, crap. Seamus, let’s go, best we do not speak about today, with so much excitement.” Even with a gentle nudge to leave, Seamus was still starring at Susan, trying to get why she stomped on him, it seems that he decided to voice that very question.
“Why in the world, did you come over here and stomp on my foot? Did I do something to annoy you, because you know, words help sometimes. At least that is what me Ma says, so maybe you can speak up and explain?”
Susan never got the chance as Harry stood and answered in her place.
“You want an explanation, how about the fact that you are celebrating the death of my parents. Today is the day they were taken from me, by that monster, but all you care about is food and what not.”
Not even bothering to wait for any sort of explanation, Harry turned and stormed away from the common room, with Susan heading out moments later. Dean turned to Seamus, who seemed to be upset at Harry’s outburst and cut him off.
“Harry’s right Seamus. You and I know what the day means to us, but to Harry it’s something else.” Seamus took the words onboard but responded with what he thought was a very thought out question.
“I understand, but He who must not be named, killed loads of people and you don’t see them all getting angry at it. What about them?”
A sixth year, who was sitting by the window stood and explained it to the young boy.
“It seems that you really don’t get it. Your friend’s parents were killed this day, like many others before them. But while everyone else has the chance and option to mourn them in private, Harry does not. All most people care about is the fact that this is the day we won the war, and while it is something we should celebrate, for Harry we celebrate that his parents died. That is how he sees it.”
Many of the students were stunned, over the years, they were more about the parties they would attend, or the thought of the end of the war, very few had thought about what the day meant to their hero. Seamus made a promise he would apologise once he got to the great hall, many more thought the same.
Down in the Great Hall, Hermione was sitting at the end of the Ravenclaw table, waiting for Harry, she knew what this day meant to Harry and she had planned to be with him, as much as she could. She had a letter from Jacob, that she was going to give him, something the two of them worked out between themselves, as a surprise for Harry.
Daphne walked in a moment later, looking shocked that Hermione was not sitting in their regular space, but before she could question it, Harry entered, which caused Hermione to dash out of her seat. The two almost collided as Hermione wrapped Harry up in a strong hug, something that Harry returned just as enthusiastically, it was this scene that Susan walked in on.
“Susan,” Daphne said, “Why are they hugging like that?” Both the young witches were just watching the two hug, right in front of the main doors.
“You know what today is right?” Daphne nodded her head, but she answered wrong, “It is Halloween, the day that You-Know-Who was defeated.” Susan shook her head.
“No, this is the day that Harry lost his parents and each year, he would spend time with his Dad. This year, he is away and then one of the boys was talking about how great the day was” Susan stopped talking at this, as Professor Snape had just walked in, seeing the two hugging, stopped him short.
“Potter, Granger, separate right this moment. That will be 10 points from each of you for that disgusting display.” No-one, in the history or future of Hogwarts could have guessed what happened next. Hermione Granger, follower of rules, spoke back.
“Bugger off Snape.” Those simple words, killed all conversation in the hall, leaving Snape to sputter, no student had ever spoken to him like that. As soon as he realised what was said, he reached forward and grabbed Hermione by the arm, threating her with detention for the rest of the year.
Having her arm grabbed and being pulled away, had her remove herself from Harry with a squeak, which was not a normal sound for the young witch. Harry reacting on instinct, reach out, he smacked Snape in the arm, then kicked Snape in a knee, bringing him down to the ground, but Harry did not stop.
Harry then spun around, facing Snape he pulled short, looking down at the man spoke in a low voice. “If you ever lay a hand on any of my friends again, you will seriously regret it.” Pulling his arm back, he unleashed it upon Snape’s nose, which caused the man to fall back to the ground, blood going everywhere.
It was just before this moment that Professors Sprout and McGonagall had walked into the hall, seeing the display, they had their wands out right away. But seeing the speed at which Harry moved, caused them to stop in their own movements, with Snape on the ground and blood around, they were quickly back in action.
“Mr Potter,” McGonagall shrieked, “Just what is going on here.” Sprout meanwhile had stunned Snape and then begun to remove him from the hall. Harry watched that happen, before then turning back to the angry teacher in front of him.
“That man, decide it was appropriate to lay his hands upon my friend, whilst she was giving me a hug. I decided that it was not ok and dealt with him, the way I was taught how.”
For Professor McGonagall, this was not something new, a student being unruly, however that student knocking down a teacher and without a wand, that was new. Seeing the look upon his face though, she knew he would not accept any punishment without fighting it, so deciding that getting the boy’s father here, was the right move, how though she was not sure.
“Come with me Mr Potter, you are in detention for the remainder of the day. The rest of you, go about your mornings.”
Leading Harry away from the hall and towards her office, she sent off a Patronus to Amelia Bones, hoping she could help.
Amelia was currently in her kitchen enjoying a nice morning coffee, something she enjoyed doing, thinking of her plans for the night, attending the party at Jacob’s work. A smile graced her face as she thought of the night’s plans, she had to let Jacob arrange the costume, seeing as it was about space this year and was very interesting in knowing what he had selected.
She had placed her cup down and was about to head to the office, when a spectral cat appeared in the room, the voice of Minerva coming from it.
“Amelia, please assist with getting Mr Tuttle to Hogwarts, there has been an incident.” Without any other details, the cat vanished, leaving Amelia confused as to what her friend was talking about.
Thinking it was best to get some more details, before she rushed over to what would become a worried father. She headed to the floo, threw down some powder and called for the Transfiguration office, a moment later her head was in the opposite fireplace.
“Minerva, can you please explain what you meant by incident?” The appearance of head in the first was normal for the witch in the office, for the young wizard, he just about climbed the walls, so shocked was he.
“Please, step on through Amelia.” Replied the professor, keeping an eye on Harry as he starred at the fireplace.
A moment later, Amelia stepped through, which pushed Harry back against the wall, both ladies looked at him, amused at the expression on his face.
“Calm yourself Mr Potter,” Professor McGonagall began, “It is only a way of travel for Witches and Wizards.”
Still a little shaken, Harry remained at the back of the room, while the other sat down, though he was given a firm look by the Professor to take a seat.
“Now, can someone explain to me, just what happened?” Amelia began, a quill floated out of her robes and hovered over a piece of parchment on the desk.
“I would like Mr Potter here to explain it.” Was all that McGonagall said, with both witches turning to look at the boy and while he was still unsure of the fireplace, he knew that if he was in trouble, especially with the head of the law group here, his father needed to be with him.
“I don’t think I should speak, without my father present.”
“You are not in trouble, well too much, so I don’t think that would be an issue.”
Harry looked at the Professor who finished speaking, with a little smirk, but he could not believe the words.
“Sorry, but you called me in here, then called the head of the police and now say that I am not in trouble. That seems wrong.”
“Mr Potter, it is not for you to debate the rules of the school. Now please explain why you decide to assault Professor Snape.”
Amelia turned back to the Professor when she began to speak, but quickly snapped her head back to the boy when the reason was given as to why she was here.
“Fine, you want to know why, because I was angry. Alright. I just had to endure my dormmates carrying on how it’s been 10 years since Voldemort was killed, and they were so happy, laughing about it, some even were going on and on about how it was a great night for all, but they had hoped tonight’s feast was going to have some foods.”
Both women just looked, neither saying a word, as neither could refute the boy’s statement, so far, but Harry just continued.
“One of them came up and asked me, why I was so down, Susan tried to help distract them, but he was adamant that I smile, that it was a happy day. I tried to ignore him, I really did, but he would not let it go, so I exploded at him.”
“I reminded him that while he was celebrating the defeat of Voldemort, he was also celebrating the death of my parents.”
Both female faces paled almost immediately, realising that they too had not considered what the day meant to Harry.
“Even after that, he still could not understand it, so I left the common room, I was so angry at how stupid he was and when I got the great hall, Hermione was there. She knows how much I hate this day and quickly ran over to give me some comfort.”
“It was then that Snape walked in, he saw us hugging and decided to stick his nose in, he tried to deduct points from us, but Hermione told him to get lost. It was then that he grabbed her and pulled her away, but as she was still in my arms, he had to use a lot of force to do so.”
Amelia could see why that would upset Harry, but she let him finish, whereas Minerva was just too stunned to speak.
“Once I realised what happened, I smacked his elbow, which made him release Hermione, I then swept his leg, which brought him to the ground and I punched him out.”
No one spoke for a few minutes once Harry had finished his story, but eventually Amelia did, and she was not upset at Harry’s reaction, just the use of force. Minerva was trying to understand how to proceed, never had this scenario entered her mind, but thankfully, Amelia spoke up.
“Harry, you were ok to defend your friend, but it was wrong to hit the Professor, even if he deserved it. What I will do now, is head out and get your dad, the two of you can spend the day together and hopefully, work through this.”
Harry smiled a little at the thought of his dad coming here, he had wanted him to see the castle, the moment he did. Before he could voice how it would be possible, Amelia asked for one of the amulets that would allow a muggle in.
Minerva handed it over, without issue, advising that Harry would remain here, until she returned. A quick nod was all she got, but Amelia stood and headed for the fireplace, a green flash later and she was gone.
Minerva had turned to Harry, who again looked deathly sick, Minerva realised that this was not just shock at the floo, but something more, but decided to leave it be for the moment.
While Harry was in with Professor McGonagall, Snape had been taken to the hospital wing, leaving the student population to discuss the mornings events. Hermione was sitting with Susan and Daphne, which allowed Neville and Hannah to come and join them.
Susan had explained what happened upstairs in the dorm, while Hermione recounted the story of the great hall. While all were thoughtful at what had happened, Seamus and Dean walked over and stood shy of the table, and when they were noticed, Seamus began to speak.
“Does anyone know where Harry is, I need to apologise.” Hermione explained that Harry was with Professor McGonagall and had no idea when he would return. Seamus looked sad but nodded and headed down the table to find a seat. Before the conversation could begin again, Malfoy had walked over and began to annoy the group.
“So, scarhead is getting expelled is he, attacking a teacher is grounds for it you know. I tell you; they should not have let him in the school at all.”
“Go away Malfoy, no one wants you here,” Hermione began, “Just go back to your table and prepare a letter for daddy, isn’t that what you normally do.”
The rest of the group snickered, as Malfoy’s face began to get redder and redder, but rather than storm off, Malfoy responded in a most unkind way.
“Shut it Mudblood, no one asked you.” Hermione just looked back at Malfoy, confused on the word, if not the tone, the reaction of her friends, though, proved what he said was something disgusting. Before anyone could speak, Professor Sprout had wandered over, seeing the confrontation, before quickly dragging Malfoy away, berating him for his language.
“What was so bad about the word Malfoy said,” Hermione asked, “Your reactions mean it was bad, but just how bad.”
No-one seemed willing to answer, but after a few minutes, Susan explained how it was a slur against muggleborn, that it meant that they had dirty blood. Hermione sat there, shocked, she was aware that some people thought themselves better than others, but apart from some light teasing when she was a lot younger, she had never experienced it before.
After the explanation, silence was the outcome, each kid having something to think about, but before long, the bell to inform them that classes were due to start, rang. Realising they needed to move it, they all went their separate ways and headed to class.
Amelia had made good time and arrived at Jacob’s work, walking in the front door, she was greeted by the owner, whose name she could not recall and one of the women using one of the machines gave her a very angry look.
She was about to ask where Jacob was, when he came out from the office, seeing Amelia, he made a beeline straight for her, but when he saw her face, he stopped short.
“What is it Amelia?”
Thinking hard about how best to describe the events, she decided to go with the truth, explaining what had happened any why, they thought it best to get Jacob, so he could speak with Harry.
“It is Minerva’s opinion that you come and speak with Harry, there is clearly something he is not wishing to talk about.”
Jacob said nothing, just turned around and headed for Rob’s office, a quick word and he was back out to Amelia and all he spoke were two simple words.
Together they walked outside, Jacob got in his car and Amelia cautiously got in the other side, after a quick explanation on how to use a seatbelt, Jacob headed back home. Along the drive, nobody said anything, just sat in silence, but even though Amelia had nothing to say, she was intent on trying to see everything around her.
Once they pulled into the drive, Jacob got out and waited for Amelia before locking the car, together they made their way in the house and Jacob put his things down, only to be grabbed by Amelia around the waist and with a twist they were gone.
Arriving at the gates of Hogwarts, Amelia released Jacob, though the speed at which she did was considerably slower than she grabbed him and while she began to look for where she had placed the medallion she was given, Jacob was looking around, seeing Hogwarts for the first time.
“I have to say, Hogwarts is not exactly what I pictured.”
Amelia turned to look at Jacob, whilst still trying to locate the medallion, “Well, sadly muggles can only see ruins, normally though, you would not get this close.”
“Ruins, what ruins. All I see is a massive castle.”
Amelia stopped her hunt and snapped her head back to Jacob, who she could see was clearly looking at the castle, as well as standing there and not wandering off, like a muggle would normally do.
“Wait, you are telling me that you are able to see the castle? The whole thing, there is no keep out sign, no ruins, no desire to turn around and head home?”
“Nope, I can see the castle fine, it’s a brown colour, kind of like sand, has a few towers and such as well, very medieval.”
Amelia was just standing there, looking at Jacob for the first time, while she thought she knew him, she was clearly wrong. Jacob turned to look at Amelia, who was staring right at him and even after a few moments, she was still doing it.
Clearing his throat got no reaction from the witch, he tried again a little louder and still nothing, unsure of how to proceed, he took an action he hoped would not get him in too much trouble, he leaned in and kissed her.
Amelia was at first stunned, but instincts quickly took over and she began to return the kiss. For Jacob, it had only intended to be a way to break her out of whatever she was stuck in, but he eagerly keep on kissing, only after the need for air became too great, did they break apart.
Both just looked upon each other, their cheeks tinged with pink as embarrassment began to set in, Jacob could not help it and he began to laugh, Amelia quickly developed a scowl on her face.
“What is funny?” She demanded, but she had to wait a moment for Jacob to cease his laughter, his attempts at explaining, whilst still chuckling were not that effective, eventually he did reign in his laughter and explained.
“Here we are, a couple of adults, well past the point of puberty and yet we are snogging like teenagers and blushing just the same.”
Hearing his explanation, Amelia could not help but chuckle as well, she did not let herself carry on though, as she had to get the man up to the school. Before she set out though, she thought it best to get the medallion out, and quickly began to find it.
“Here, put this around your neck,” she said as she handed it to him, “this way, no-one will think you are a Squib and just a muggle.”
Jacob just did as was asked and once the item was around his neck, they began to walk up to the school proper. It took them a bit of time, but they eventually made it to McGonagall’s office, finding both teacher and student sitting there, each holding a cup of tea.
As soon as Harry saw that his dad had arrived, he placed down the cup and bolted straight for him, Jacob opened his arms, taking the force of Harry’s run and then closing his arms around his son.
Minerva and Amelia just watched as the boy, who had been very angry and upset earlier was now behaving more like an 11-year-old would be expected to. Giving them a moment longer, Minerva eventually cleared her throat, gaining their attention, which caused the males to separate and then head to their own chair once seated Minerva began to explain.
Hermione and Daphne were headed to their charms class, when Ron Weasley pushed to the front, demanding to know where Harry was. Both girls ignored him and attempted to walk past, but the boy refused to move, instead he grabbed a hold of Daphne’s robe, pulling the girl back to where she was.
“Let me go,” she began, attempting to twist out of the hold she was in, “You have to let me go now, Weasley.”
Ron just held on, demanding to know where Harry was, which caused Daphne to drop her books as she began to fight back. Hermione seeing this tried to help, but was pushed out of the way by Ron, she fell to the ground, but quickly stood back up.
“Let her go Weasley, what did we ever do to you?”
“Listen here Mudblood, you got in my way of being friends with Harry, that is what you did. Why don’t you just get lost, no-one wants you around.”
Daphne was still trying to get out of the hold but found herself stopping when she heard the vile words that spewed from Weasleys mouth. Other Ravenclaws soon came upon the scene, one of them saw what was happening and ran past to go and get Flitwick.
Hermione just stood there, her eyes filling with tears, at the words that had been thrown at her and for the second time today. Before anything else could happen, Flitwick appeared from around the corner and a loud bang was heard, which caused Ron to let go, and left Daphne to fall the ground.
“Mr Weasley, please explain to me, why you were manhandling another student?” Ron turned around, his face pale and he began to try and weasel his way out of it, but Daphne, who had stood back up, refused to let him.
“He is lying Professor, he stood in our way, refused to let us pass and when we tried to go around, he grabbed my robes and would not let go.”
Ron turned back to the young witch, his face contorted to show his annoyance at her words, but she was not done.
“I demanded that he release me, he refused, then Hermione tried to get him to let go, but she was pushed to the ground. When she started to speak, he called her a Mud.. a mud”
Hermione was ashamed that someone would call her that, hearing her friend attempt to explain the situation, but struggle over the words, was just too much for the young witch, she quickly turned on the spot and ran away.
Daphne called after her, but she got no reaction, watching her friend vanish around the corner, she turned back to the professor and without thinking, she brought her right foot up and connected with the space between Weasley’s legs, which resulted in the boy dropping like a stone.
“Ms Greengrass, there was no need for that, that will be 1 point from Ravenclaw.” The professor had said the words, but his face and the minimal point loss, clearly did not reinforce the fact that he was not angry at her.
Looking down at the young boy, who had his hands cupping his groin as he rolled on the floor, Flitwick understood what was trying to be said and quickly sent all the students off to class, before sending for Madam Pomfrey.
“Mr Weasley, your actions are beyond abysmal, you have lost Slytherin house 50 points and will spend the week in detention, you will also be confined to the infirmary for the remainder of the day, including during this evening’s feast. Groan if you understand me?”
A groan was the only reaction that he got back and just mere seconds later, Pomfrey arrived and quickly levitated the boy, taking him away to be examined. With the action over, Flitwick headed back to his classroom, to begin the lesson, giving permission to Daphne on the way through, to go and check on Hermione.
Daphne wasted no time and quickly headed for their dorm room, expecting to find her there, but she was not, soon though after checking a few bathrooms, she was found on the 3rd floor, crying inside of a stall. Daphne attempted to get a response from the young witch, but nothing she said got one, she made a promise to be back after class had ended, leaving Hermione alone.
Just as Madam Pomfrey returned to the Infirmary, Harry Potter and his muggle father arrived as well, she looked over the pair of them and told them to wait. She placed Weasley down on the bed, leaving him be for a moment, turning back and heading to find out what was wrong with Mr Potter.
“I am sorry to disturb you Madam, but is Professor Snape still around, Harry needs to speak with him.” Harry just looked down at his feet, whilst his dad spoke, but looked up and gave a small nod when he noticed Pomfrey was looking at him.
She directed to the two, to a bed at the rear of the wing, which had a curtain around it, deciding that it would be better for Harry to do it alone, Jacob gave the boy a nudge and sent him on his way.
As Harry got close to the curtain, he paused for a moment, taking a breath and then walked behind it. Jacob and Madam Pomfrey just watched as Harry went behind the curtain, but within moments an almighty crash was heard, and Harry came back around the curtain, running as if the hounds of hades were on his tale.
Professor Snape was quick to jump out of bed, before Potter could begin to speak, knocking over the tray that was beside the bed. He quickly got his wand out, and chased after the boy, intent on showing him the same favour that he received earlier.
“DAD!!!!!” Was all that Harry had to scream, before Jacob reacted, seeing a grown man chase up a small boy, enraged the man, seeing as that it was his son, his instincts from his time in the military kicked in.
Jacob grabbed a large bottle from a stand to his left and dashed towards the man, as he did, he smashed the bottle on the end of one of the beds, causing the potion inside to spill out, thankfully it was just a light pain reliever, but he did not know that.
Harry quickly got to his dad and ducked behind him, Jacob put one arm around and pushed Harry back further and continued towards Snape.
Snape however was bringing his wand up to bear, when he noticed a man shield the boy, still enraged by the actions of the boy, he thought nothing of this person, he cast a spell designed to throw him out of the way, leaving his real target insight.
Jacob ducked to the left, letting the light pass on his right, still pushing forward towards Snape, who had stumbled for a moment, when his spell was dodged and done so with only metres between them. By the time he thought to cast something else, Jacob had closed the distance and faster than you might imagine, he grabbed Snape’s hand, twisted it around, taking the man with it.
Once Snape had been spun around, Jacob released the hand, before reaching further up and grabbing his arm, before twisting it around and pulling it behind Snape’s back, causing the man to scream in pain.
The broken bottle in Jacob’s left hand, was quickly brought up to Snape’s neck, the sharpest point, sticking right up against the Carotid artery, giving it a little force to draw out some blood. Jacob held the bottle there and leaned into Snape’s ear and spoke quite softly, but with a steel in his voice that was hard to deny.
“If you EVER, come close to my son again,” Snape flinched, which Jacob caught, “Yes, Harry is my son, then you will not live through the remainder of the night, do you understand me?”
Snape considered his options, knowing that Potter had not been raised by the Dursleys was something that Dumbledore would want to know, especially as it went against the plan, but right now, the shear amount of pain that he was in, meant he had to respond to this muggle.
“Yes, you have my word.”
“Your word is not good enough for me, coward, but I will let you go know, should we cross paths again, you won’t be so lucky.”
Jacob pushed the man away and stood back, not taking his eyes off Snape, he walked past and headed back towards Harry. Once he had reached the boy, he had placed the broken bottle on the tray and began to apologise to Pomfrey, only to realise that she was not alone.
Standing beside her were both Amelia and Professor McGonagall, both of whom stared at Jacob like they had just witnessed something truly horrific and incredibly exciting at the same time. Amelia was the first to break out of her stupor, she quickly walked over to Snape, informed him that he was under arrest and stunned him, which in turn left all the others stunned.
Chapter 20: Halloween Night
Jacob was being shown around the castle by Harry, who was still upset over the events of the morning, they had met up with Professor McGonagall at lunch for a private meal in her office, as Harry was excused for the remainder of the day.
Jacob was a little shocked at just how much stuff was going on in the castle, paintings that moved, suits of armour that would do random actions at random times and he could not forget the ghosts. There were bloody ghosts that floated around the place, thankfully, they seemed to be the peaceful kind and not the haunt your vcr like that book, that someone from the gym had attempted to get him to read.
Jacob stopped to look out the window, noticing the vast lawn that lead down to the lake, he was shocked by the sheer scale of Hogwarts, Harry stopped next to him. Jacob just reached out and put his arm around him and the two just stood in silence, but Jacob soon broke it, hoping to discover more about Harry’s reaction this morning.
“Harry, can you tell me why you felt the need to punch the teacher?”
“Why, it happened, and I got detention, what good does finding out why matter now?”
“You know, answering a question, with another question is never a good thing. But just humour me, you have never struck out at anyone, not even the bullies around the neighbourhood, so why Snape?”
Harry did not speak straight away, he looked out the window for a moment, clearly gathering his thoughts, before turning to Jacob and speaking.
“I think it was more to do with how he treats me, the bullies like Dursley don’t both me, because they are not worth me worrying about, but Snape is a teacher and meant to protect and guide me, but so far all he has done is insult me.”
Jacob said nothing, letting Harry continue speaking, though he was logging the comment about the insults for later.
“He always picks on any student that are not from his house, but for some reason he picks on me a lot.”
“That is good to hear Harry, but that is not the real reason, again, being bullied has never seen you react in such a way, so why was today different?”
Harry responded in a loud and angry manner, “Because he hurt Hermione. She was doing nothing wrong and he hurt her, and it just made me so angry.”
Jacob merely watch as Harry began to cry, now that the reason had come out, he could finally start to move beyond it. As Harry let the tears flow, Jacob pulled him closer, showing him that he still loved him, but before the tears could stop, they heard a loud bong noise.
“What in the world was that?” Said Jacob as he started looking all around him for the source, Harry gave a small laugh, whilst wiping off the tears that remained upon his face.
“That is the bell for the feast, one of the prefects told me about it.”
“Did you want to head down to the hall now? Or would you rather hang out with your old man a little longer?”
Harry gave a little pause before answering, as if to weigh up the decision he had to make, he quickly pulled closer to his Dad and threw both arms around, giving his answer.
As they turned to leave the window, both heard an almighty growl, coming from somewhere down the corridor. Looking at each other, they decided to go and investigate.
A few minutes earlier, the students were packed into the Great Hall, ready to begin their Halloween feast, but whilst Harry was known to be absent, no-one noticed that Hermione was not there, that is until Professor Flitwick started doing a count of his table, to ensure they were all there.
However, before he could raise the matter further, the doors at the front of the hall burst open, revealing Professor Quirrell, who ran up the middle of the hall. He stopped, a few metres shy of the teachers table, before shouting.
“TROLL… In the Dungeon… thought you ought to know” What little stamina the man had, clearly gave out as did his legs and he fell face first to the ground.
The moment he landed, the students began to panic, screaming was heard from all over the place, the younger years on their own, were causing most of it, but before anyone could leave their tables, Professor McGonagall pointed her wand to the air and released a massive canon blast, which caused everyone to stop dead.
“Everyone remain calm. We teachers shall go and investigate, Prefects, please escort all students back to their dorms. Any student not in their room within 15 minutes, will find themselves sitting in detention for the remainder of the year.”
Professor Sprout asked what they should do about Quirrell, who was still passed out on the floor, Minerva gave him a quick look and decided to leave him be, as they had no-one around who could escort him to the Infirmary.
The older prefects went and collected the younger years, except in Gryffindor, where the male prefect from 5th year, began to assemble them. The 7th year quickly overrode that and directed him to follow at the rear, to ensure no student was left behind.
In the excitement, Flitwick had forgotten about Hermione, but within a few minutes the entire hall was emptied, except for Quirrell, who had sprung to his feet, the moment that the doors had closed. He quickly ducked out the side door at the rear of the hall and began to make his way to the third-floor corridor.
Jacob and Harry quickly found the source of the noise, a large grey creature was walking away from them, heading down another corridor. Both deciding to follow it, but at a distance, began to move forward, keeping the noise down as much as they could, Jacob spied a Knight’s armour near the corner and decided to equip himself, just in case.
He reached up to take the sword it was holding, when the suit of armour moved on its own and snapped up, grabbing Jacob’s wrist. Shock hit Jacob, but he quickly turned that back around and attempted to pry the sword free again, with his remaining hand, however the suit did not want to let go.
“Will you give it a rest,” he yelled, at least as much as he could in a whisper, “There is a strange creature here and I need to borrow your sword. Feel free to follow along if you want, but I am taking the sword and leaving now.”
The suit of armour released his wrist, letting Jacob take the sword, but as he and Harry made their way around the corner, they heard a loud clanking noise from behind them, the suit it seemed, had decided to follow along.
As the creature came to a t-junction, it looked in both directions, before tilting its head back and sniffing the air, both men thought they had been detected, but the creature let out another low growl, this one showing happiness and he pushed in through the small door ahead of it.
The boys and their suit of armour quickly made an effort to catch up and just as they had gotten to the door, they heard a female scream on the other side. Harry knew that scream, it was Hermione, he turned to Jacob who had recognised it before as well and they ran at the door, Jacob slightly ahead of Harry.
With a lot of force, Jacob managed to break through the door, stumbling as he landed on the other side of it, but he did not wait for Harry, he began searching for Hermione. Across the room, he could see that one toilet stall door was closed and the screaming was coming from within there.
Harry had followed through the door not a moment later and picked up where Hermione was almost right away. He looked at his dad, before deciding, he pulled his wand out and leapt at the creature, trying to distract it.
The creature had no idea that anyone had followed it in, he was too entranced by the smell and scream that was coming from the corner of the room, it felt a small weight land on his lower back but ignored it. Its club was pulled up high and then came down in a massive arc, cleaving the wooden stalls in half as it barrelled through.
Jacob figured out was going to happen as the club was raised up and shouted for Hermione to get down low. Unsure if the girl listened and responded, he looked around to see what he could do, as the creature needed to be stopped.
Deciding to use the sword that he had in his hand, Jacob launched at the legs of the creature, the blade out to his right. As he passed, the sword dug into the backs of the creature’s legs, just below the knee. The moment that the sword hit the skin, it reverberated up the length of the blade and in Jacob’s arms, causing him to let go of the sword.
The creature felt a burst of pain from the rear which caused it to turn around, which in turn sent Harry flying into the corner were Hermione was, as his grip was not as strong as he would have liked. It also had the added bonus of removing the sword from the leg, which skidded it towards the door into the bathroom. Seeing that Hermione was still down on the ground, Harry quickly clambered over to the girl, pulling bits of wood off her, seeing that she was not hurt in anyway, Harry pulled her into a hug.
Hermione threw her arms around Harry, without realising it was him and started to squeeze back, which Harry was used to. Deciding to stay put for a moment, Harry turned his attention to his Dad, who had managed to collect the sword from the ground, before the creature stood on it.
The creature though did not see the little man as a threat but it raised up its club anyway, ready to flatten the little man, but just before the club came crashing down upon Jacob, the suit of armour burst through the door, pushing Jacob clear, a lot of dirt was picked up in the wake of the crash, which also resulted in the club being broken.
The suit of armour was crushed into a pile of scrap, but it gave Jacob a chance to stand and regroup, seeing that Harry had Hermione, Jacob began to attempt to lead the creature away and that plan worked. Jacob ducked out the door, only to have the creature follow him, this time, not ducking low enough and taking out massive portions of stone with it.
The creature was angry, not only had it missed its meal in the corner, now the little man was being a pain, it lunged for Jacob, but missed and without his club to balance him, the creature quickly fell to the ground. As it came to a stop, Jacob realised that this was a great chance to strike back, so he ran at the wall, pushed his feet up on it and forced himself up into the air, bring the sword with him.
He managed to swing the sword around and brought it clean down atop the creature’s head, which was clearly not as thick skinned as its legs, as the sword went straight through and cleaved the creatures face right off.
The sword hit the ground, causing another series of reverberations to pass through Jacob, but this time he refused to let the sword fall just in case the creature rose again. After a few moments, it was clear that the creature was dead, it failed to move, and the pool of blood was getting larger and larger, thinking back to Harry, Jacob climbed over the body of the creature, dragging the sword with him.
As he got back towards the door, he passed another suit of armour, without thinking, he passed it the sword, telling it to hold this for him, to which the suit did. Jacob went back into the now ruined bathroom, finding the two kids huddling in the corner still, seeing Jacob approach had Harry burst into a massive smile.
“Harry, are you ok? A nod back was all he got before Jacob turned to Hermione and repeated the question. He got no response from the girl, instead she simply gripped Harry event tighter. Jacob saw this, as Harry began to squirm under the pressure.
Jacob slowly began to remove Hermione from Harry, letting the girl grip him instead and with her safely in his arms, he stood, getting Harry to follow him and began to leave the room.
“Strange that all this noise was made and not a single teacher, ghost or painting could be seen calling for help. This is some school you have Harry.”
Harry was unable to respond as Nearly-Headless Nick appeared through a wall only a second later, bowing deep to Jacob. Once he righted himself and his head, he began to explain.
“My Lord, please forgive the delay in reaching you, all the ghosts were assisting the student’s evacuation back to their dorms. While the teachers went to look for the troll in the dungeons.”
Jacob did not respond, but thought about the words he had just heard, didn’t Harry say that there were two house common rooms in the dungeon somewhere?
“Thank you, um…”
“Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, the ghost of Gryffindor house, my Lord.”
“Yes, thank you Sir Nicholas. But can you explain why students were sent into the dungeons, if that is where the teachers were going as well?”
Nick stopped, well dead, at that point, as he could not respond to the question, the thought had stunned him into silence. Jacob decided to leave the ghost alone and headed back to where his sword was residing, the suit of armour picked it up and handed it back to Jacob, who took it in his free hand.
Sword in hand, he began to head back out to where he knew the giant staircase to be, Harry following along behind him, but before they could get a half a dozen steps away, another scream was heard behind them again.
Turning around and slowly heading back, they turned the corner to see a host of Professor’s standing around the downed creature. Professor Sprout looked up and saw Jacob, holding onto Hermione, Harry standing beside him and a giant, gleaming, yet blood covered sword in his other hand.
Realising who it was gave her a bit of a start, which caused the other professors to look up and take notice. Seeing that the sword was dripping in blood, had them rush towards the group, wands drawn. Before they reached them though, Professor McGonagall began to screech at them to explain, Jacob decided to respond in kind.
“ENOUGH. HOW DARE YOU SCREAM AT ME FOR AN EXPLANATION, WHEN YOU AND EVERY OTHER TEACHER HERE ARE GUILTY OF STUDENT ENDANGERMENT. YOU FAILED TO KEEP THEM SAFE AND NOW HAVE THE GAWL TO DEMAND ANSWERS FROM ME, I DON’T THINK SO.”
It was very rare that the teachers of Hogwarts were all stunned into silence, but this was one time it happened, no one wanted to speak, all of them a little afraid of the man with the sword. However, McGonagall decided that answers were needed, so she tried again.
“Mr Tuttle, might you please explain what happened?”
“No, first thing you need to do, is call in the Law Enforcement people, as this is beyond what teachers are trained to deal with, correct?”
No-one wanted to speak, but Jacob had more to say.
“Then, whilst someone does that, I will be taking Hermione to the infirmary, as she was in that bathroom when the creature attacked her. She appears ok, but I want a medical check-up performed.”
Flitwick nodded at the demand for the Aurors and quickly turned and headed to get them, leaving the others to deal with the man. As he turned the far corner, he heard a bellow from the infirmary.
Amelia was having a wonderful day, not only had she spent some time with Jacob, which even resulted in their first proper kiss that he instigated, but she had finally gotten Snape arrested. The man was currently in one of her cells, awaiting the purge of anti- veritaserum to run its course.
She was taking a moment to savour her coffee, the last one for the day, when her assistant burst in, stating that there was an incident at Hogwarts. Downing the coffee, she gathered her things and headed out to the door, seeing that she had access to Shacklebolt and Dawlish, she summoned them to her, gave a 10 second version of what had happened and then flooed to the Charms office.
As she appeared, Flitwick was standing behind his desk, wand in hand, just in case, seeing this stopped her in her tracks, which resulted in Shacklebolt and Dawlish, landing in a heap behind her.
“Professor Flitwick, please explain why you have your wand out and why you called us, preferably in that order.”
Whilst it was not framed as a demand, the tone of Amelia’s force indicated that he should answer and quickly. A brief run down was given, including of the muggle man, which then resulted in them turning around and running towards the Infirmary, Amelia was well aware of who the man was and wanted to ensure he was ok.
As she arrived in the Infirmary, she made note of most of the teachers who were in the room, minus Binns, Trelawny, Snape and Quirrell. She made her way towards the screens that had been erected at the end of the hall, only to see the only person in the bed was Ms Granger.
As she came to a stop, she noticed Jacob, who in turn, looked up and smiled at her, relief evident upon his face. Professor McGonagall also looked up at the now present Aurors and expressed her gratitude at the swift arrival.
Pomfrey gave them all a look, which indicated that they should take their conversation away from the infirmary, which all the adults did, leaving Harry and Hermione to sleep. As they were walking Amelia stood close to Jacob, her hand reaching out for his, to show that she was happy he was ok. Jacob gripped her hand back and held it for a few moments, they eventually let go and soon after they arrived at McGonagall’s office.
Once everyone was inside and seated, the questions began, and all turned to Jacob to explain what happened on his side. After a lengthy explanation, Amelia turned back to the Professors, hoping to find an answer to the questions that Jacob had asked, namely why did they send students down to where the Troll was said to have been.
Not a single teacher could explain why they had thought it was a good idea, but Amelia had promised to have each of them checked for any form of mind-altering charm, potion or anything else. A few of them looked scandalised at the thought of being controlled and others looked relieved that it might not be their own faults.
As Amelia stood to leave, the question was asked about Albus, as it had been 2 months now and nothing had happened, but they needed a full-time headmaster. Amelia sat back down and began to explain that Albus had not woken up yet and they were not sure when he would, so it would be best if the school sourced someone else to fill the role.
Before anyone could refuse to think of it, or whatever other thought they had, the four house ghosts swept into the office, via the door and requested a moment to speak. As Sir Nicholas was voted the defacto leader of the group, he moved forward and began to explain.
“You need not worry, as of tonight, we have a new headmaster.”
Shocked was the only response from those with a pulse, it fell to Professor Aurora Sinistra to respond, the answer was one that no one alive could have predicted.
“That is easy Professor, My Lord Jacob Tuttle is the new headmaster, as Lord Hufflepuff, he automatically is appointed to the role, over any acting steward at the time, in this case, Professor Dumbledore.”
“Of course, it was not just his Hufflepuff heritage that allowed him this role, it is also because of the other one.”