Don't look back in Anger

Can some angry words change everything?

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10669760/1/Don-t-look-back-in-Anger

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13. Death in Diagon

The members of the Wizengamot were starting to think they had heard every type of atrocity possible by now, but still they were able to be sickened by the depths of depravity these supposedly respectable wizards and witches had stooped to. Claiming their master forced them to be inventive with their torture, rape and murder - apparently their Dark Lord was a sick son of a witch who liked to be entertained by witnessing that kind of thing. However that excuse wasn't gaining these Death Eaters any sympathy whatsoever within the chamber.

Just before the death sentence could be handed out to the latest follower of this psychotic lunatic to be found guilty, an auror burst into the chamber.

Immediately recognising the auror, and knowing where he was supposed to be at the moment, Amelia ruthlessly repressed the sinking feeling in her gut as she barked out an order. "Auror Dawlish, Report!"

"Madam Bones, Diagon Alley is under attack from dementors - there seemed to be hundreds of them."

"Did you get Mister Potter's party to safety before leaving?"

"No Ma'am. Potter refused to leave, and kept shouting at us to help defend the people in the Alley. I thought the best way of helping was to get assistance as quickly as possible, Diagon Alley was packed with people and being overrun…"

This news was causing outrage in the chamber and Amelia now made no attempt to curb her own rage, most of which was directed at the auror standing before her. "…and you left them there? You were on protection duty, that means you have to be prepared to stand in front of that person and take a curse meant for them. You abandoned your post, your duty..."

"I thought…"

"You thought it was time to get your own precious arse out of there. Fudge kept you on his detail, despite my opinion on the matter. Well he isn't here to protect you now. Auror Dawlish, you are suspended until an investigation determines your fate. Leaving your mission and your fellow aurors in their time of need has me wanting to vomit at the very sight of you. Albus…"

Dumbledore had already made his mind up on where he needed to be. Calling for Fawkes, he flamed right out of the chamber.

As Amelia raced for the nearest floo, she was screaming for every ministry worker who could cast a patronus to follow her to Diagon Alley. She was pleased to see her aurors were already heading out, obviously the ministry had received calls for help from the commercial heart of wizarding Britain.

She was kicking herself for not replacing John Dawlish from that protection detail. Amelia had thought they would be doing nothing more than keeping the crowd from mobbing Harry's group, Dawlish could handle that. She didn't have confidence in him to guard her or anyone else's back in a sticky situation though, an opinion that his latest actions had just confirmed as being accurate.

Even from her brief contact with Harry, and interrogating Susan for every scrap of information about the lad her niece knew, Amelia was certain Harry Potter would never run away and leave those witches and wizards in Diagon Alley to their dreadful fate. Not when he could cast a patronus, and half the people in the Alley would only be there because they had heard the boy-who-lived was visiting today.

-oOoOo-

Amelia's guesses were spot on. Harry simply couldn't leave all these people to their fate, not when he possessed the means to help. Prongs shooting out of his wand at least shut up that auror who was trying to drag them away to somewhere safe. Prongs was soon joined by Harry the Otter and Snorky, all three pushing the dementor horde back, allowing the people in the Alley precious seconds to reach the relative safety of the buildings. Their three patronuses quickly had company as Remus and the remaining two aurors had their silver animals pitching right into the battle too. Sirius and Xeno hadn't been idle either. They had first bundled Dan and Emma into Quality Quidditch Supplies, Sirius was then busy trying to get everyone off the street and into a shop for cover. Silver patronuses now coming from the other end of the Alley as well gave everyone hope these dementors could be held off until more help arrived - then the impossible happened.

Prongs and Hermione's 'Harry' both hit the same dementor simultaneously, causing an unholy scream to drown out most of the noise in the Alley. When Luna then had Snorky hit the same dementor the stag and otter were already harrying, the soul-sucking fiend simply disintegrated. As particles of deceased dementor began sprinkling down on the Alley like black snow, the world seemed to stop for a few seconds and try to make sense of what had just occurred. The rest of the dementors in the Alley, who had been busily attacking anyone they could grab, suddenly stalled in their actions - this had never happened to them before. A certain three patronuses however had no intention of stopping their attack, they now hunted their targets like a pride of lionesses - using teamwork to bring down their larger prey. In a total reversal of roles, the dark hunters from Azkaban had suddenly become the hunted.

When a second dementor had the misfortune to be destroyed by this trio of silver assassins, the rest of these foul creatures decided that was more than enough for them. They began leaving the Alley as quickly as they could, and moved in the opposite direction to wherever those three silver slaughterers were. Two more of their kind would meet their destruction as the entire horde fled the Alley in terror. Their withdrawal was quickly to became a rout - and a very dark day for the dementors.

Seeing people fighting back, and then recognising it was none other than Harry Potter leading this stand against the darkness, saw pockets of resistance being formed up and down the length of the Alley. With the dementors now in full retreat, some cheering began to be heard - and that was when the Death Eaters' spells started raining down on those same defenders.

Dolores was shitting herself in fear. She was not a warrior who fought in battles, more someone who would blindside their opponent without any risk to herself. Yet here she was, leading a group of five others in this attack. Her new master had claimed this was her chance to prove she deserved the honour of wearing his mark, Dolores acute sense of self preservation meant she wisely didn't argue with that opinion.

She had to admit, their Master's plan had been working brilliantly. The dementors caused mayhem amongst those in the Alley. As the panic generated by these witches and wizards built to a crescendo, they were then tasked with cancelling their disillusionment charms and opening fire - killing as many of these fools as possible.

As the resistance against the dementors rapidly and unexpectedly built, Dolores was left wondering just what to do next. Groups that could fight off dementors wouldn't think twice about firing back at Death Eaters the instant they became visible. Then she spotted who was spearheading the resistance and anger robbed Dolores of any cognitive thought processes whatsoever - other than knowing that little shit Potter simply had to die.

"Pick your targets and fire when I do - Avada K…."

Three stunners hit Dolores in the back while a fourth flashed past her toady form and took down the wannabe Death Eater at her side. The other four members of her squad were certainly criminals, after all they had been serving time in Azkaban. Watching dementors slaughtering witches and children was not something they wanted to be any part of though, hence the stunners aimed at the members of their group who did. Apart from not wanting to be branded by a madman, and face a death sentence if captured by the Ministry, none of them had any wish to return to Azkaban either. So the four got out of Diagon Alley as quickly as they could - leaving a stunned supposed comrade in arms and their squad leader to face their fates.

Emma was also terrified, clinging onto Dan for dear life as they sheltered in the strange shop's open doorway. Hermione was less than ten yards away from them but it might as well have been miles for how helpless both parents felt. Hermione was using magic they couldn't see to battle monsters that were also invisible to her parents - leaving them with no idea how the battle was playing out or how much danger the three teens were actually in.

Harry was just a bit over from Hermione, an auror at each shoulder while Luna was on his other side. Remus was keeping a close watch on her while Sirius was standing guard on all of them after ending up on the other side of the Alley. Xeno drew the double duty of ensuring the Grangers stayed safe while still keeping a close eye on their battling daughter.

Realising that, as muggles, neither Dan nor Emma could see what was happening, Xeno began to describe the battle. "Those three have some of the strongest patronuses I have ever seen. It's such a hard spell to master, I can't cast it. That's why we're allowing them to stand there and fight against the dementors, their spells are literally saving dozens of lives… Merlin - I don't believe it!"

"Xeno - what happened? You're killing us here."

"Sorry Emma, I just witnessed something I didn't think was possible. Those three worked together and just ended one of these monsters - they've just done it again!" Neither Granger might have been able to see what was happening but their crippling sense of dread seemed to be lessening - what had just transpired also left Xeno appearing as excitable as Dobby got over Harry thanking the little guy.

The pride in his voice at the three teens' achievements was dripping off every syllable. "This is amazing, it's something I didn't think was possible. The dementors are starting to leave - our children's patronuses are actually chasing them out the Alley. What we need to guard against now is Death Eaters attacking the defenders." Before Dan or Emma could say anything about that terrifying scenario, Xeno was already prepared with his answer.

"The instant curses start flying, I'm dragging Hermione in here along with you - where she'll be safe. Remus will do the exact same with my Luna, and so will those aurors guarding Harry."

When the curses started coming from the hidden Death Eaters, Xeno was already moving.

Bellatrix had completed her mission, her master's cup was safely tucked in an inside pocket of her robes. She couldn't resist watching the slaughter though - and then things quickly started to go very wrong for her side. She spotted those three powerful patronuses, and also who they belonged to.

Carefully making her way along her side of the Alley, she was hoping to get a shot at Potter. Bellatrix Lestrange would show Umbridge how to kill the boy, and this time he would be staying dead. The spells started to fly before she got into an ideal position, however she did have a clear shot at Potter's mudblood girlfriend. Hearing from her nephew how close these two were, Bella decided to blow her cover to take the shot. Killing his mudblood bint would certainly hurt the brat worse than any cruciatus, and there was no cure for that pain. Her killing curse flew true and the mudblood faced certain death, until someone shot out of a shop doorway and, intentionally or not, intercepted the fatal green beam.

Remus was rushing Luna toward Quality Quidditch Supplies when they both saw the entire scene play out as if in slow motion. They didn't even get time to shout a warning to Hermione before that green curse was heading straight toward her back, only for Xeno to run right into the curse.

Luna's heartbreaking scream of 'Daadddyyy…' alerted Harry something had just gone terribly wrong. He was able to take it all in at a glance as Luna sprang at Xeno's still form now lying on the ground, Hermione appeared unharmed but slumped down to her knees beside both Lovegoods in shock. The maniacal laughter refocused Harry's attention on the murderer.

"Wee baby Potter, another parent dies for you. It's time for you to do the same, Avada Kedavra.

Harry was moving before the curse even left the crazy witch's wand, his own wand was also very busy. As the deadly green curse hissed past his shoulder, a whip of flame shot toward an astonished Bellatrix Lestrange. She too dodged but, since the line of flame was still connected to the phoenix and holly wand, Harry was able to direct his curse exactly where he wanted it to go. The flame whip wrapped around her knees and then continued on growing, the deadly cord of flame coiling and climbing up her body. Bellatrix was screaming in excruciating agony as those super hot flames consumed all of her flesh that came into contact with it. She collapsed onto the ground, even losing fingers in a desperate but ultimately futile attempt at trying to pull the flaming cord off her body.

Her painful screams were so loud they drew the attention of every Death Eater in the Alley, Sirius and both aurors were kept busy deflecting curses away from Harry. Remus was shielding both girls, and then a curse coming in their direction saw Harry's temper explode.

His flame whip released the dying Bellatrix and was soon looking for more victims, especially those who had dared to fire on Hermione and Luna. It snaked off at incredible speed and two Death Eaters who'd been standing next to each other were suddenly a lot closer. That lethal cord of flame pushed the two of them together as it completed its deadly work.

Another more experienced Death Eater had been shielding behind a corner, poking out to fire off a few curses before retreating to the relative safety the stone wall provided. When Harry guided his whip around that corner though, the attacker was dragged screaming into the middle of the Alley. The whip was around the Death Eater's chest and quickly caused critical wounds to the soon to be deceased wizard.

After Harry had taken down Bellatrix Lestrange and then so graphically demonstrated that you couldn't even hide from his deadly attacks, the remaining Death eaters knew it was past time to get the hell out of Diagon Alley - it could only be a moment or two more before the ministry responded to this attack too - so they fled.

There was no cheering this time from any of the defenders, Diagon Alley being blasted, burning in places and littered with bodies was not something to cheer about.

Sirius made his way over and had his arm around his godson's shoulders. Harry was now shaking like a leaf in a storm, whether in realisation that he'd just killed at least four people or for what was now waiting on them when they approached the rest of their group - not even Harry really knew.

Xeno was laying where he fell, a distraught Luna draped over him. An equally upset Hermione was desperately trying to offer Luna any comfort she could. Emma hovered beside both girls, not really sure what to do in this situation. Harry was now down on his knees beside them too and, like Emma, he hadn't a clue what to do either. Earlier it had been so much easier to make decisions.

People needed help, he could provide that help - Harry didn't think a decision needed to be made. Harry also knew he was very protective of this group, especially Hermione and Luna. When they had come under attack, again there was no decision to be made. His rage may have escalated his response but he was always going to respond by going after those who tried to hurt people he cared about.

Now, faced with the reality and consequences of those supposedly easy decisions he had made, Harry was second guessing all of his actions today. Could that auror have been right? Should they have fled the Alley and left everyone to their fate? Those thoughts led to one conclusion that was inescapable, had they done so then Luna's father would still be with them.

Hermione letting out a loud shriek alerted all of them that the situation had just taken a turn for the worse. "Luna, don't leave. Stay with us - come back to us…"

As Hermione moved the unresponsive Luna's head to rest on her lap, her tear stricken face begged Harry to help. "She's gone Harry - just like she did when her mother passed away. You have to go after her, bring Luna back to us…"

Hermione didn't need to say any more, Harry left at once. Only Sirius having his hands supportively on his godson's shoulders allowed him to guide Harry's body gently the rest of the way to the ground. This was the scene Albus Dumbledore flamed into.

The two aurors were starting to panic. They'd protected their subject to the best of their abilities, only for Harry to now collapse. The new Minister of Magic was able to allay their fears.

"Aurors, you have done a fine job today and Mister Potter is currently in no danger." A quick glance around allowed Albus to see the signs of what must have been a brief but titanic battle. As usual, he had a solution to the immediate problem ready. "These two must have fought until exhausted, their grief being the final blow. Can you please get this group off the street and somewhere more secure? They will need some time to recover, sadly time alone can help lessen the tragic loss of a loved one."

"They have booked a private room at the Leaky Cauldron, Minister. If you're sure they're fine, we could take everyone there."

Albus thought that was a splendid idea. They were actually joined by a group from the Leaky Cauldron who had also been fighting back against the attack, Minerva and Hagrid amongst them.

Hearing what was said, Hagrid very gently lifted both Harry and Luna into his arms. He began carefully making his way to the Leaky Cauldron, carrying both teens as easily as if they were babies. A sobbing Hermione walked beside their large friend, wrapped protectively in her mother's arms.

Already knowing Hagrid was a good friend of Harry's, both aurors allowed this, walking in front and with their wands still drawn. They were the first of the group to see the aurors and their boss pouring into the Alley. Like Albus, Amelia was able to take in the aftermath of the battle at a glance. She also recognised Harry and Luna's condition, though needed to talk with her two aurors and discover the reason behind it.

"Bellatrix Lestrange attempted to murder Miss Granger, Mr Lovegood ran right into the killing curse. I don't even know if he saw it, he was just trying to get the girl to safety. Mister Potter then made sure Bellatrix Lestrange wouldn't be harming anyone else. Those three were also the reason the dementors fled, I think they killed four of them. Then Mister Potter used a flame whip charm to end about the same number of Death Eaters..."

"Well done for standing by him. Are you fit to continue your duties or do you need to be relieved?"

Both aurors stood a little straighter after hearing that. though neither wanted to be relieved. "Boss, nothing will harm him while we draw breath."

"I know that, and want you to stay with him until personally relieved of that duty by me. I will send someone to get your detail back up to full strength when we have a better idea of the damage here..."

This was met with two synchronised growls of answers. "Not Dawlish!"

Hearing Dawlish was suspended received a couple of nods before they quickly caught up with Hagrid again. Dan, Remus and Sirius were following on behind.

Albus was disillusioning Xeno's body, knowing it had to be left there until the D.M.L.E. could investigate exactly what happened. A white line appeared around the body, with the victim's name printed next to it. This let the investigating team know where the body was, whose body it was, didn't disturb any evidence yet stopped gawkers and offered the deceased some dignity.

"Are Mister Potter and Miss Lovegood really alright?"

"They are physically unharmed, Minerva. I doubt though if that could be classed as 'alright'. Miss Lovegood has lost her father while Mister Potter was forced to take lives - and probably blames himself for Xeno's death too."

Looking around the Alley, Albus came to a conclusion that he shared with Minirva and the newly arrived Amelia. "This is a massive blow for Voldemort. He took a very large gamble and lost, heavily. His dementors were chased from his chosen battlefield and some of his best people lie dead or injured on the cobblestones. While we too will certainly have suffered losses, I can't help feeling that this body here will deliver our biggest loss of all. Keeping the boy-who-lived in Britain was always going to be a difficult task, I fear that task just became impossible..."

Though neither voiced an opinion on the matter, privately both Minerva and Amelia thought so too.

-oOoOo-

After the number of times they had roved together, and how many hours they had spent sharing minds, Harry found it relatively easy to trace Luna. He always seemed to have some sense of where the girls were, and he used that sense to lead him to Luna. This was made easier by the fact she hadn't roamed far.

Harry spotted her, curled into a ball against a wall. That this wall belonged to the north tower of Tower Bridge and that the floor beneath her was the bridge's upper level walkway was neither here nor there. Luna was hurting so Harry settled down beside her, not even the traffic noise from below was able to drown out her sobs. She knew he was there so Harry just sat beside Luna, trying to work out what he was going to say to the hurting girl - he needed to get this right.

Eventually, Luna verbally acknowledged his presence. "I'm not going back, Harry. I can't go back. I've nothing left to go back to..." Instead of the expected argument, Luna was astonished at what Harry said next.

"I know, and I'm coming with you."

Luna just looked at him, waiting on Harry to say more. He didn't disappoint.

"I don't know how things like this work, Luna. You've seen my memories of the people who raised me, when the Dursleys attended church it was more to be seen by the right type of people. That means I certainly wouldn't have been welcome in their company at church. You think that going on will see you join your mum and dad, that's something I've wanted my whole life. If it doesn't work out like that, you could end up alone - I can't, I won't, ever let that happen to you. No matter what is decided here today, you have my promise - my oath - that you will never be alone again."

Luna was still crying but her attention never wavered from Harry. "What about Hermione?"

It took him a few minutes to answer, shedding a few tears of his own now. "I know she'll be heartbroken if we...leave." Harry had nearly said die, but stopped himself at the last second. Both he and Luna though knew that's exactly what they were talking about here. "She would be just as heartbroken if either of us left so me returning without you isn't going to avoid that pain. She would also chew my head off for returning without you. Remember, you have spent way more time snuggling with Hermione than I have."

"That's because you were sharing with one of us, the other just thought they were snuggling into you."

"There's going to be some serious disappointment then, because there is no way snuggling into me will ever feel as good as holding you or Hermione."

Now that she had started talking, Luna approached the big problem. "I'm an orphan now, what would happen to me if I went back?"

The answer from Harry was immediate, and comforting. "You're part of my family, Luna, and Hermione certainly considers you part of her family too. One day, that family might even grow."

"I remember how painful it was when my mum died, Harry, I don't think I could go through that pain again..."

"I swear you won't face it alone, Hermione and I will be beside you every step of the way - and be with you for as long as you need us."

"I might need you both for a very long time..."

"Since I began sharing minds with you and Hermione, it has been the happiest time of my life. Why wouldn't I want as much of that as I could get? We were three lonely people who found something together that's special - magical even. We had planned to face our futures together, that's still an option I would love to see happen, but I will understand if you can't face that future now."

They sat not speaking for a while, Harry waiting on Luna reaching her decision. Eventually she spoke her thoughts out loud. "Me leaving would break Hermione's heart, both of us going on though would destroy her. I don't think I could do that, I like her far too much. Hermione has been wonderful to me since that morning we met and we've gotten really close. I also tried to think of what my mum and dad would want me to do, all I could come up with was they would want me to be happy. Since meeting you and Hermione, I have been happier than at any other time I can remember."

Talking out loud seemed to solidify her decision. "I think we should go home now, Hermione will be worrying herself sick over both of us."

As they flew off the bridge and began heading in the direction of their waiting bodies, Luna had one more thing to say. "Harry, thank you for coming after me."

"I was always coming after you, and Hermione ordered me to bring you back to us. You know I hate to disappoint any of you."

"I think we need to get you in the middle, to test your theory that you're not as huggable as us."

"That sounds wonderful, but I think we need Hermione in the middle first. She's not likely to let either of us go anywhere again for days."

-oOoOo-

Hermione was already holding both of them. They were in one of Tom's bedrooms, Hermione was on the bed with Harry and Luna lying either side of her. The four adults were scattered around the room, with Harry's two auror guards outside the bedroom door. When Hermione felt arms tightening around her, those tears from earlier returned with a vengeance.

"I thought I had lost both of you. Luna, I'm so sorry. I never even saw that Death Eater..."

"My dad never saw her either, Hermione. He was just coming to get you and walked right into the curse. Remus and I saw the whole thing, it happened so fast we couldn't even get time to shout a warning."

Needy hugs and kisses passed between the trio as the teens began to grieve for the fallen father. All three privately thought they played a part in what happened to Xeno today, though each were also totally convinced the other two were innocent. In the end they would settle on the correct path, only Voldemort and his Death Eaters were to blame. However, reaching that path would take time.

After ensuring all three teens actually were physically fine, Emma shooed the three hovering men out the room. She understood some of the trauma these three had in front of them, there was never a good time to lose a parent but for both to be gone while a person was still in their early teens was a particularly harsh set of circumstances to deal with.

Knowing that Harry and Hermione were the best company for Luna at the moment, Emma was trying to give the trio that time they needed to begin the process of sorting this out. Hermione had told them Luna only discovered she could rove after her mother died - when she left her body and wanted to go with her mum. Xeno had certainly saved her life that day, just as Luna had then done the same with Harry inside Hogwarts.

The four adults coming down the stairs into the pub saw Hagrid and Minerva approach the group at once, Albus and Amelia too breaking off their discussions to discover if there was any news.

Sirius didn't keep them waiting. "The three of them are upstairs trying to put themselves back together. Today was pretty horrific all round, and those three were right in the middle of it. They were always going to struggle with their emotions after the battle, Xeno's murder just made the aftermath a hundred times worse."

Knowing the damage that had been done today to this group's relationship with magical Britain, Albus began the repair work. The seven were soon sitting in a booth, Hagrid's large shape occupying the end of the table and discouraging anyone approaching them. Tom did appear with a tray of drinks, his genuine enquiry after the teens health was met with a weak smile from Emma.

"I think they will be fine, Tom, it'll take time though."

Nodding at that, Tom had more to say. "I was upstairs preparing a room when the attack happened - it was horrible to watch. Then I saw Harry in the middle of the Alley, those two gutsy witches standing right at his side. It was the bravest and most beautiful sight I have ever seen. They used love to send those foul monsters packing - probably saving hundreds of witches and wizards in the process. Please offer Miss Lovegood all our condolences. The bravery she displayed today didn't deserve to be rewarded like that. I will say this however, Harry taking down that bitch Lestrange saw many a glass raised to him in here today. I don't think I'm alone in saying I feared her almost as much as her master, a right nasty piece of work who met a fitting end."

As Tom left, this was Albus' opening. "Mister and Mrs Granger, it simply can't be overstated how important the actions of those three were today. Voldemort sent a missive to the Daily Prophet, in it he promised to kill at least ten innocents for every Death Eater we executed. Today's attack was intended to see over a hundred innocent lives taken, those three were mainly responsible for that intention being thwarted."

Seeing Amelia and Minerva nodding their agreement with his assessment saw Albus push on. "I know saving all those innocent lives has to be balanced against your group losing Xeno, I doubt if any of those three still upstairs will think they got the best of the exchange. Ask yourselves this though, would any of you even hesitate to throw yourselves in front of Hermione, Harry or Luna to protect them. Knowing Xeno, he certainly wouldn't have."

Recalling those final moments, Emma related what had happened. "Xeno was almost bursting with pride at what those three were doing, he was trying to explain what was happening since neither Dan nor I could see a thing. He didn't think the dementors would be there by themselves and was ready to grab Hermione as soon as the Death Eaters appeared."

She may have tears running down her cheeks but there was no doubt of the commitment in her words as Emma continued her story. "Xeno died saving our daughter's life, I promise here and now we will do our very best to look after Luna for him. She had already forged a warm place in our hearts, Luna will have a permanent place in any home we have. That girl will never want for a loving family, not while Dan and I still live." Her husband's arm that was supportively around her shoulder squeezed a little tighter at that, showing Emma his approval.

This was something Sirius also approved of, he just laid it out differently. With the Minister of Magic and Director of the D.M.L.E. present, he took this opportunity to tell them what was going to happen here - before they got any ideas of their own. That brave young witch upstairs was going to have a hard enough time dealing with this, there was no way she was going to become a pawn to be used in the ministry's game of keeping Harry in Britain.

"Luna has plenty of options available to her. She can become a Granger, a Black - Harry would take her into the Potter family in an instant. She may even choose to remain a Lovegood and just live with us. The four of us sitting here, and my godson upstairs, will all ensure this will be Luna's choice - and she will get whatever she wants. Please excuse my brashness on this matter but the people on the other side of this table don't exactly have a good record of placing orphans in loving homes."

Seeing Albus, Minerva and Hagrid all embarrassed into silence by Sirius' dig at their placement of his godson, and any slight gains Dumbledore had just made completely swept away, Amelia took over.

"At this stage of the investigation, it would appear your group being in Diagon Alley had nothing to do with Voldemort's attack. Their objective was to murder so many innocent people we would be forced to postpone the executions planned for midnight tonight - they will be going ahead as scheduled. It would also seem Bellatrix was supposed to use the attack as cover to get a certain item out of her Gringotts vault. That item is now in our possession and will be dealt with shortly."

This raised a few grins from those in the know, Minerva and Hagrid not having a clue what was being talked about here. "As well as being the last item needing dealt with, we also have a little more good news. Dolores Umbridge was captured in today's attack and will be placed on trial shortly. She is currently telling us everything she knows about Voldemort, while claiming she was forced into taking the dark mark. She might actually be telling the truth about that, but I'm sure she will be guilty of enough to keep her off the streets."

Sirius then returned the favour with some good news for Amelia. "With Lucius Malfoy dead, I discovered in Gringotts today that I am in charge of the Malfoy family affairs until Draco comes of age. The first thing I'm doing is giving the ministry permission to access Malfoy Manor. Search the building from top to bottom, you can pull it down for all I care."

Amelia's wide smile soon turned into a frown as Albus just didn't know when to keep his mouth shut. "And what of young Draco?"

"What about him?"

"You're in charge of his family, surely you intend to make some sort of provisions for him?"

"Don't go there, Dumbledore, I might start looking closely at the provisions made for my godson. It's only Harry wanting to look forward, and not back, that's stopping me. Draco's education will be paid for, and he will receive a monthly allowance. Those arrangements were put in place while I was in Gringotts today - that will be the extent of my involvement."

Albus was clearly going to say more but Sirius again cut him off. "I wouldn't touch the Malfoy money, it's certain to be dirty. I will say this however, if Voldemort is still around when Draco comes of age - there won't be a knut in those vaults for him to inherit. I'll give the entire fortune away to some charity, rather than see Voldemort get his hands on it."

Amelia was about to agree with that, denying Dumbledore the opportunity to put his foot in it again. Before either of them could say anything, the group were interrupted by an auror.

"Excuse me, but the Prophet just rushed out a special edition. I thought you would like to see it at once."

A few copies were left on the table, the banner headline proclaiming the newspaper's victorious message.

Defiant Defenders Defeat Dementors

While neither Emma nor Dan could see dementors or patronuses, they could look at both in the moving photograph - though that wasn't necessarily a good thing. Looking at that picture was even more shocking to them than it appeared to be for those who weren't in the Alley earlier today.

The teenage trio, both aurors and Remus were spread across the Alley, using what seemed like ghostly animals to hold back a tidal wave of death. Place a scythe in a dementor's hands and you would have an instantly recognisable image of death incarnate - except there seemed to be a multitude of them.

Amelia was looking from this iconic picture to Remus, and then back again to the newspaper. Eventually she got her mouth to work well enough to say what she wanted. "You stood up to THAT?"

Remus had lived it and still was shocked at the picture, so could perfectly understand Amelia's question. "I think it would be fair to say Harry stood up to that, and we all stood with him. One of the things I'm proudest of is teaching Harry how to cast a patronus, he of course then taught both the girls. When in a battle, you're too busy concentrating on staying alive to stand back and see the full picture. That picture there really is something..."

As understatements go, Remus' was a cracker. The entire pub had fallen silent, people just staring at the picture on the front page.

Shaking his head, Dan was left to sum up the Grangers' opinion - Emma having temporarily lost her power of speech. "I'm actually glad we're not magical. I just couldn't have watched the 'live' version of that. I feel physically sick just looking at the photograph."

He didn't expect an answer to that, and Dan never got one.

-oOoOo-

Luna asked a question that she really needed answered. "What will happen to my dad? There will need to be arrangements made..."

The three were still holding on to each other as Hermione asked a question of her own. "What arrangements were made for your mum?"

"Oh, she was laid to rest on a plot at our house. I like to visit her, and take some of her favourite flowers... I think Daddy would like to be beside her."

Harry gently kissed Luna, before answering her original question. "Sirius will see to all the arrangements, he'll make sure whatever you want happens."

After such an emotionally, and magically draining day, it was perhaps unsurprising that the three began to doze. That was how Emma found them when she popped back up to check how they were coping, asleep in each others arms.

 
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