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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9. Searching for Justice

Lord Voldemort watched with a wicked smile as the first rays of the rising sun encountered Azkaban's impressive black walls, an Azkaban that was now under his command. While he was disappointed with the results of the earlier raids, there hadn't been anyone murdered and that useless Wormtail was missing, those raids had still served their purpose. The Ministry's aurors were all busy chasing shadows while his real plan now took place unhindered and unopposed.

The dementors had turned on the guards at his command, leaving only the governor alive - providing he immediately pulled down the wards. The island was now only protected by muggle repelling wards, those were attached to buoys anchored around the island - and of no consequence to the dark lord. The governor lying prostrate before Lord Voldemort was though, here would be one more confirmation of the extraordinary situation they found themselves in.

"I will ask you one question, your answer will decide whether you live or die this morning. Was Harry Potter kissed while in your care?"

It took the terrified wizard three attempts to utter 'yes'

The dark lord's wand emitted a spell that lifted the wizard up in the air and stuck him to his own prison wall, about twenty feet above the ground. When the ministry discovered what had happened here, their prison governor would still be hanging there to greet them when the rescue party arrived. After entering the prison proper, his death eaters spread throughout the building to make the inmates an offer they couldn't refuse - join our ranks or die.

Lord Voldemort headed to the secure wing, ready to release his most faithful followers. As the cell doors were opened and his imprisoned death eaters once more knelt before their master, the dark lord noticed one prisoner who hung back.

"Bella my dear, is this the witch who rid us of the Potter brat?"

"Yes, my master. She used the torture curse on him until he could scream no more, then she left the cell door open for the dementors. Bones herself locked her in that cell, the same one Potter was being held in."

The dark lord then focused his attention on the clearly frightened witch. "You have done Lord Voldemort a great service, come forward and receive your reward. Not only will you be allowed to live, I will grant you the honour of wearing my mark. You shall become one of my servants as we rid our world of those who would pollute our culture with their dirty blood and new ways."

Dolores had hoped Cornelius would rush to her rescue but something that bitch Bones said struck a chord. The Minister of Magic would shovel as much of the shit as possible onto her in a desperate attempt to save his own arse. This was the only offer Dolores was going to get, and a refusal would surely be a death sentence. She tried to muster as much courage as she could while Dolores walked toward the dark lord. Bellatrix Lestrange growled at her to kneel, something Dolores was glad to do as her legs were about to give way any second.

"I normally demand my servants show that they are worthy before they earn my mark, and join the ranks of my death eaters. In disposing of Potter, with my most faithful followers as witnesses, I deem you to have already proven your worth."

Bellatrix then ripped her sleeve before Dolores' new master's wand made her arm burn with a pain way more excruciating than any other she had experienced before - it seemed to reach into her very soul. Her screams rang throughout the prison, and appeared to delight those who watched their master work. Panting for breath, Dolores now looked at her arm in fascination as the snake continually moved around the skull - Dolores Umbridge was now a marked death eater and answered to a new master.

"Let us leave this place and then break our fast in surroundings more suited to our stations."

With that, Lord Voldemort led his followers out of the so-called secure wing. They would breakfast in Malfoy Manor while his death eaters looked over the new recruits from the other parts of the prison on the manor grounds.

Some of those released prisoners would go on to be loyal death eaters, some would die during their training raids and a few would even try to run - that would give Lord Voldemort a chance to see if over a decade in Azkaban had his little Bella losing her edge. The screams of Bella working on their first would-be deserter should certainly discourage others who harboured similar thoughts.

-oOoOo-

After hearing the news about Harry Potter being kissed by a dementor, Xeno Lovegood arrived at the little cottage at an hour that was hardly sociable - almost right after the snowy owl delivered the address to him. He found all the occupants, including one Harry Potter, were already up. In fact, most of them hadn't slept at all.

Ron went with Harry into what had by default become his bedroom in the cottage to get ready for their part in this plan. This also allowed Luna to bring her father up to speed with exactly what was happening. Hermione arriving for both wizards told them it was time to return. As Ron left, Hermione took the opportunity to hug Harry - just to make sure he really was here and her boyfriend.

Recognising what was happening, Harry held her close too. "Hey, it's okay, Hermione - we'll get through this."

"I'm just thankful Madam Bones brought you to St Mungo's, Dobby wouldn't have been able to get you out of the Ministry or Azkaban."

"I'm just thankful I don't have to speak to your parents about those love based rituals Luna mentioned. Not that I have anything against performing them with you, I would just rather no one but us knew about it…"

This left Hermione blushing, smiling and dragging Harry into the living room before any of her parents came looking for them.

Xeno had very quickly and wholeheartedly approved of their plan, though added one more refinement.

This was why Ron was in Hogsmeade, with Luna by his side as they entered Honeydukes. The pair found themselves on a mission that could have been designed for the two of them.

They were to enter the store and discuss loudly what they should buy and why, Ron was enjoying the argument so much he almost forgot the real reason they were there. As the only customers in the shop - Honeydukes had barely been open five minutes - both of the assistants were soon over to see if they could help this young couple make their minds up.

After a good ten minutes of enthusiastic back and forth discussions, they left the shop with a large bag of assorted sweets. Quickly and quietly walking past a few shops, they then dived into an alley before calling for Dobby.

"Master Harry is waiting on you..." There was almost displeasure in Dobby's tone, as if it was a crime to keep the great Harry Potter waiting. Then again, to Dobby it probably was. The little elf popped them straight to Harry.

"You had no trouble getting in then?"

"Oh I don't know about that, Ron. Luna saying that Pepper Imps scared away the Blibbering Humdingers almost had me bursting out laughing - not a good reaction for someone under an invisibility cloak and breaking into a shop's basement. It was a great relief though when Dobby could find me in the tunnel, I didn't fancy having to try and sneak back out of Honeydukes. Dobby, time for you and Winky to bring the rest of the gang."

Dobby was back moments later with the three Grangers, a relieved Hermione slipping into Harry's waiting arms - her parents refusing to let her be part of this scheme. Winky was right behind with Remus, Sirius and Xeno.

Emma was clinging on to Dan as the tunnel stretched out before them, lit only by wands. "Um, Harry, did I mention I hate spiders? There aren't any spiders down here, are there?"

"Don't worry, mum, Ron's terrified of them too. That's why he and Harry walked into an acromantula nest."

"Hermione, I'm almost afraid to ask what that is."

"Think spiders the size of dad's precious Range Rover, mum, and you won't be too far away. They only live in the Forbidden Forest though, probably why the forest has the word 'forbidden' in front of it."

"Hey, that wasn't our fault. Hagrid told Harry and me to 'follow the spiders' - and you weren't there to talk us out of it."

That night was etched on Harry's brain too. "They wanted us to stay for supper, only we were to be their supper. Hagrid still thinks they're misunderstood harmless wee beasties."

"There was no misunderstanding that night, me and Harry barely got out of there with our lives..."

While they had been talking, they had also been walking. Emma had become so engrossed in the tale that she was surprised when Harry announced they had arrived. Checking the marauders map, Harry was able to see that the coast was clear. Everyone was in the great hall, presumably eating a late breakfast. It was time to get out of this tunnel and join them.

-oOoOo-

The doors of the great hall opening surprised Albus, the wards hadn't warned him Hogwarts had visitors. That initial surprise was nothing though when compared to who walked through those doors. A scream from Molly shocked everyone back to their senses as she displayed speed and agility not normally associated with someone of her short stature yet ample other dimensions.

Harry, Hermione, Ron and Luna led the four adults and the big black dog into the hall, Molly shot toward them like a bowling ball fired down an alley. Ron was bracing himself for the strike, only to discover he wasn't the intended target.

It was Harry who was soon entombed in that ample bosom as Molly sobbed all over him. "Oh Harry, this is wonderful - we thought you had left us forever."

Harry used what little breath he had left to answer the crying woman. "Thank you, Mrs Weasley. I probably would have been a goner if it wasn't for the girls."

This had Molly switching targets as Luna and Hermione now received the same treatment. "Thank you! I don't know how you did it, I don't even want to know - just thank you for whatever you did."

"Hey, I'm the one with the red hair. Remember me - your youngest son?"

Molly released her grip on the girls before facing Ron. "My clock told me you were visiting, and I knew Hermione would look after you..." She then had a wide smile on her face and engulfed Ron in a hug too.

Harry meanwhile was being congratulated by the twins before Arthur shook his hand. A tearful Ginny then tried to rush toward Harry, only to find his hand held out in front of him in the universal sign to stop. "Ginevra, you drew your wand on my girlfriend when Hermione and Luna were trying to save my life. Those are not the actions of a friend, Ginevra Molly Weasley."

Ginny was mortified. Her entire family were watching as Harry not only refused to hug her, she was being publicly called on her actions against Hermione. Harry using her full name was particularly hurtful. "Harry, I don't know what Hermione has told you..."

"Hermione didn't tell me anything, and neither did Ron." Harry had seen Ginny's glare switch instantly to her brother, Ron didn't need that trouble. Hermione didn't tell him what happened either, he'd seen the entire memory while sharing her mind.

"If I can get letters out of Azkaban and survive a dementor's kiss, don't you think I would know who did what to my girlfriend while I was gone?" Harry was glaring at Dumbledore as he said his last comment before switching to acknowledge Amelia Bones who was standing open-mouthed beside Dumbledore.

"Madam Bones, it's a pleasure to meet you. It's an even greater pleasure to know you have the betrayer of the Potter family, and Cedric's murderer, safely contained in the headmaster's office. Pettigrew is safely contained, isn't he? That rat has escaped justice more than once."

"Mr Potter, while delighted and astonished to see you are still with us - I have to ask how you know that? None of the staff even know that fact."

"Madam Bones, that fact is the only reason I'm standing here today. With everyone thinking I'm as good as dead, Hermione, Luna and I could have been out of the country and no one would have been any the wiser. I want justice for my godfather, and we're placing our trust in you to deliver that justice. As to the how, I believe you were promised a full explanation. We always keep our promises, though the headmaster is not welcome at that meeting."

Albus couldn't hide his hurt at that last remark. "Harry, I know we've had our differences but I hope we can put that behind us…"

"Save it, Professor. You let Snape make my life a misery for the last four years, knowing he was responsible for what happened to the Potters - I can't forgive you or him for that. We hope to work with Madam Bones so any of your secrets you now think we need to know, you should pass to her. We trust her to use her judgement to do the same where you're concerned."

There were staff staring at Harry as if he had horns growing out his head, he had of course noticed Snape wasn't present. It was another absentee however that had Harry asking his former head of house for a favour.

"Professor McGonagall, could you please let Hagrid know I'm fine? I can't imagine he would take the news of me being kissed by a dementor well. Even Hagrid hates those creatures, yet the same Minister of Magic flung him in Azkaban too."

"I'll do that, and Mister Potter - it's good to have you back."

"Oh, I'm not back, Professor. We three have left Hogwarts. Our discussions with Madam Bones will centre around how to bring Voldemort down so we can freely attend Beauxbatons next term. Otherwise we're looking at new identities, moving abroad and the possibility of tutors. Voldemort is not my problem, no matter how much the Professor here tries to make it so. I intend to let the witches and wizards of Britain know I'm alive and then do exactly what I said I would do - bugger off and leave them to deal with their problem."

"The Harry Potter I know would never do that…" Dumbledore had barely uttered that sentence when he found himself under a verbal attack from a pair of very angry witches. A pair of witches who seemed so in sync that Fred and George could only look on in awe.

"The Harry Potter you think you know is nothing more than a projection of an old man's manipulations…"

Luna was right behind her best friend. "…while girls like Ginny were reading about Harry Potter's wonderful adventures and life, the real Harry Potter was living in a cupboard and being treated worse than the Malfoys' house elf."

"You left him there, Headmaster. Not only did you not check up on a young Harry, you sent him back to Privet Drive every summer too…" Hermione was trying not to let her temper get away from her, she could end up slapping Dumbledore one if that happened.

"After facing Voldemort at the end of his first year, you sent him back there. They put bars on his window and passed him meagre scraps of food through a flap they'd cut in his door - the twins and Ron had to rescue him from the hell you sent him to."

Molly was not the only Weasley with tears in her eyes at Luna's description, she thought she was all cried out too. In their defence, it had been a very emotional last few hours for the Weasley family. "We thought the twins were making that up to try and stay out of trouble for stealing the car."

She found comfort being offered by Hermione. "Mrs Weasley, your family has shown Harry nothing but kindness since meeting him that first morning in the station. The headmaster on the other hand appears determined to mould Harry Potter into whatever he thinks his version of Harry needs to be. Since he doesn't share with anyone else what or why that is, you can perhaps see why none of us trust him where Harry's concerned."

Harry putting an arm around each of the girls stopped their tirade though both still appeared ready to spring at the old wizard. "I suspect none of us got much sleep last night, I know we got none. The Grangers' house was also targeted last night, I assume the death eaters hit others too?"

"The Dark Lord himself led the scum who visited Bones Manor, only having a portkey made by Professor Dumbledore got Susan and I out of there alive. The Professor did the same for the Weasley family."

"Madam, the Headmaster is undoubtably on the same side as us - we just don't trust him enough to work with him. Padfoot, you know we need to trust someone - and you're never going to get a better opportunity than this."

Amelia thought the shocks were over for the morning, seeing the big black dog transform into Sirius Black was right up there however for the Director of the D.M.L.E. Having Peter Pettigrew locked in the headmaster's office, and Harry clearly on good terms with this wizard, were what stopped Amelia immediately reaching for her wand.

"It's good to see you again, Amelia. My godson trusts you, and he has good taste." Padfoot was pouring on the charm.

"Sirius Black, leave the flirting until we prove you're innocent - and then get your name cleared."

Sirius nodded and then got down to business. "My godson also knows of a room that even the marauders couldn't find, we have lots to discuss. Know this though, Amelia, the safety of these teens here are the only concerns of the three parents, godparent and one honouree uncle who are standing with them in this. The ministry has now locked both me and my godson into Azkaban without a trial, while the Grangers have just had their home burned to the ground. You are looking at a group of people who owe the British magical community zilch - and that's exactly what they're going to get from us."

As the group were starting to move away, Molly noticed Ron didn't appear ready to leave with them. "Aren't you going with your friends?"

Ron calmly shook his head at that. " What I don't know, the headmaster can't look inside my head and find. They're safer this way…"

Ginny didn't think so. After her painful and embarrassing rebuttal, watching Harry begin to leave with an arm around each girl had her wanting to reach for her wand. "You're leaving Harry with those two girls?"

That was enough for Molly, Ginny found herself being dragged away by her angry mother - and it wasn't for a quiet word.

"Do you really think I would do that, Mr Weasley?"

Shrugging his shoulders, Ron answered Dumbledore the only way he could. "You did it to Hermione, why should I be any different?"

The twins and his father then had a quick word with Ron, they wanted to know what was left of the Burrow before visiting the site later this morning. Ron's answer of nothing was not unexpected, but devastating none the less.

Devastation was a good description of how Albus was feeling. There was a meeting about to be held in Hogwarts that was vital to the outcome of this war and, not only was he not invited - he was specifically barred from attending.

Albus needed to do something to get himself back being trusted again. Something in him had changed the instant Amelia had confirmed the news Harry Potter had been kissed. There was not one shred of doubt in his mind that Albus Dumbledore had failed James and Lily's son - and then the lad unbelievably just walked into the great hall. Albus had been given a second chance - he daren't fail Harry this time.

"Mister Potter." Albus' shout halted the group just before they left the great hall, he took a couple of determined strides toward them before saying his piece.

"You are making decisions based on incomplete information, a condition I am more than aware that I am responsible for. This is something I need to rectify immediately. What I would like to propose is that I attend your meeting, tell your group everything I know, answer all your questions that I am able to and then you can decide whether I leave before you give Madam Bones whatever information you need to. I understand your lack of trust in me, I also understand that's not something that can be easily repaired. Even if you then ask me to leave your meeting, I'm pleased that you have found someone like Amelia Bones that you can place your trust in - you really couldn't have picked anyone more appropriate to do so with."

Harry was looking to the rest of the group, none of them could see a downside to this offer either. Before he could accept Dumbledore's offer, a pair of owls entered the great hall - swooping down to the Headmaster and Director of the D.M.L.E.

Both reacted angrily to what they were now reading, Madam Bones giving them the news that would be all over the country later on today. "Voldemort turned up on Azkaban Island at dawn. The dementors had already killed all the guards, bar the governor, and the death eaters then freed the entire population of the prison. A prison-load of new recruits, the very worst of his death eaters now free and also the dementors added to his ranks - Voldemort just got himself an army!"

Albus was also infuriated at this news, he'd warned Cornelius what the consequences of his inactions could be. "There's an emergency Wizengamot meeting called for noon. We all know Fudge is finished, what we need now is someone elected who will go after Voldemort and his death eaters - and not a supporter of Tom."

Hermione had a flash of inspiration and just went with it. That inspiration was motivated purely by wanting someone else to fight this war, someone other than her Harry that is. Hermione had the very wizard in mind for that particular job.

"Sir, whatever our differences, we know we're all on the same side here. Voldemort has made some big plays but I think I know how our side can counter them - and then some. The witches and wizards of Britain will be terrified and panicking, something Voldemort will be counting heavily on. What would happen if, at the Wizengamot meeting today, Pettigrew was tried for killing Cedric and his part in the Potters being murdered, Sirius Black became a free wizard, Harry Potter returned from the dead and Albus Dumbledore became the next Minister of Magic?"

The only two people in the great hall not currently staring at Hermione in shock were both Weasley females. Molly had obviously erected a silencing charm as she got ripped in about her daughter and missed what Hermione had just said.

"Miss Granger, I've known since the Halloween of your first year that you were an exceptional witch. The trauma you endured that night was certainly of the major variety, yet you were still capable of lying to your headmaster and head of house to protect the two boys who saved you. Nothing you have done since has made me change my very high opinion of you, but the insight you just displayed shoots that opinion to an even higher level. I feel though that Amelia here would be a better candidate for Minister of Magic..."

Harry jumped all over Dumbledore's objections, immediately seeing where Hermione was going with this. "I disagree, Headmaster. We've just heard Voldemort has his army, well our side certainly now needs an army too. No offence to Madam Bones, but an army with Albus Dumbledore at its head will gain far more followers, and scare those who chose to face it more, than one led by anyone else we have. The time for talking would appear to be over, it's time for Dumbledore's Army to take the field. You're pushing for us to trust you yet still don't seem willing to take the steps needed to defeat Voldemort and his followers. Surely you have to see you can't have one without the other?"

Sensing Dumbledore's opinion was swithering, Harry pushed home his advantage. "Last night Voldemort and his death eaters tried to murder the Grangers, Weasleys and Bones' - and we all know that's only the beginning. To have any chance of winning this war, the fight has to be taken to them - and you have to be the one leading it."

Having recovered from the sheer audacity of Miss Granger's proposal, Amelia was now studying it from every angle - and liking that proposal more and more. "Albus, this is genius! The Dark Lord will have his followers in that Wizengamot meeting, trying to ensure they rig the vote in his favour. Pettigrew can be used to finish Fudge, and then finger the death eaters inside the chamber too. We clean out the Wizengamot - arrest them right out of their seats - elect you minister, get Sirius his trial and then bring in Harry. We'll deal Voldemort a blow he hopefully won't recover from - it will certainly at the very least put him on the back foot. We can use this momentum to clean all his marked followers out of the ministry too."

"I don't know if we would get the backing to do all that..."

An angry Hermione exploded at Dumbledore's dithering. "Backing? Screw backing - did Fudge ask for backing to throw Harry in Azkaban? This is war, there are different rules during wars. With Madam Bones and the aurors beside you, what more backing do you need? Voldemort won't let laws or rules stand in the way of getting what he wants, or worry about getting the backing he needs. Our side has to match that ruthlessness - or lose!"

While Amelia agreed with every word the young witch just said, she understood Dumbledore's problem. "Albus, this is something that has to be done - and only you can do it. I know you've never wanted the power that comes with being Minister of Magic but sometimes we all have to do things we don't want to. When Voldemort is defeated then you can retire if you want. Shit - I might just retire myself after we achieve that."

It was actually Arthur Weasley who spoke next, he too liking Hermione's idea. "Albus, it was nothing short of a miracle we defeated him the last time. The Weasleys, like the rest of the country, were then left to watch as those with enough gold bought themselves out of being sent to Azkaban. We all know that there would have been some of those same people at the Burrow last night, trying to murder my family. The Burrow may not have been much, but it was more than enough for the Weasley family - it was our home and now it's gone! While we are incredibly grateful for the portkey that got us all out of there, my family is standing here in everything they own - mainly because the problem wasn't dealt with the last time."

Arthur needed a moment to centre himself before he could continue. "I'm not looking for sympathy, Albus, what we all want and need is justice. The Order of the Phoenix can only do so much, and those efforts weren't nearly enough the last time. You becoming Minister of Magic is the best chance our country has of winning this war, and finally seeing real justice carried out. You are our best, our only hope of seeing any of that rare commodity from the Ministry - something everyone here can sadly testify to."

Dan liked the Weasleys, they had made his daughter welcome in their home - the same home they had just lost last night. It was time to return the favour, and show some support for the right side. "Arthur, my family spent the night at a cottage we own - a cottage we won't need when we leave the country. It's not a magical building so neither your Ministry nor these murderers know anything about it. The Weasley family would be welcome to use the cottage for as long as they like."

Hermione was soon hugging her father, confirming she thought that was a brilliant idea too. "Oh Mr Weasley, say yes. Ron might have to share a room with the twins or sleep on the couch…"

Ron quickly confirmed his option would be the couch as Hermione continued, switching her attention to another target. "…and Professor Dumbledore, we're all waiting on the same answer from you."

Both wizards seemed out of other options and agreed, seeing Harry then signal to Ron. "You might as well come with us, we can't have the new Minister of Magic not knowing what's happening. Let's go do what we came here for, since it's looking like we now need to be somewhere else at noon."

-oOoOo-

Lucius was feeling like a stranger in his own home, a home that now held his crazed sister-in-law. Bella's time in Azkaban had not improved her temperament, and having a wand in her hand for the first time in over a decade left her desperate for any excuse to use it.

There was also Dolores Umbridge to consider, this new death eater was actually currently placed higher than Lucius in the Dark Lord's esteem. This was not something Lucius could allow to continue, and he knew just how to reverse that trend.

He was now glad that he'd kept the news of the tracking charm on the Granger bitch to himself, Lucius figured he shouldn't need any help with this simple snatch mission. Stun the mudblood and kill everyone else, taking the time to enjoy the screams of her muggle parents before finally putting an end to their misery - then bringing Granger back for his master's pleasure. If Lucius was really lucky, he might even find Potter there too.

With his mind made up, Lucius held his wand ready before apparating to wherever the tracking charm led him - to wherever Granger was - and then he could revel in the resulting glory.

Instead of finding himself in some muggle dwelling, the masked death eater found himself standing in the middle of a busy London road, busy even although it was a Sunday morning. Lucius' last thought was how could this thing possibly predict it was the World's End as the massive red London bus Dobby had placed the tracking charm on ploughed right into and over Lucius Malfoy, the shocked driver not having nearly enough time to apply the brakes.

The number three two eight, routed to the Chelsea area named after a pub called the World's End, was going to be late today. There was an ambulance already rushing to the scene of the accident but that rush would be in vain. The strangely dressed man with the long blond hair was already dead, his twisted and mangled body wedged under the ten ton bus. The paramedics would be needed more for the driver of the vehicle, a driver who just kept repeating 'he came out of nowhere' whether anyone was listening or not.

Lucius certainly got one of his wishes, because of him there were now muggles screaming in horror. There was no glory however, those horrific screams were from the people who witnessed this stranger's gory end. Around seventy pedestrians a year meet their end on the busy London roads, only his clothing and lack of any identification made Lucius Malfoy different from the rest of those unfortunate souls. The proud pureblood was now leaking that precious liquid onto the road surface, meeting his end under the wheels of a London bus was certainly not a glorious way to go.

-oOoOo-

Ron watched as Harry had two witches cuddling into him, there was however not one grain of jealousy coming from the redhead - quite the opposite in fact. Like the other three teens in this wondrous room, Ron's mind was focused on only one thing.

"... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives..."

No matter what way Ron looked at that statement, he reached the same conclusion - his best friend had just been handed a death sentence. It was clear everyone else in the room thought so too.

Sirius had just gotten his godson back from the dead, he wasn't about to lose Harry again to any bloody mumbo-jumbo. He concentrated on another part of this prophecy.

"... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... You've had over a decade to work on this, Albus - just what is this power?"

"Well a power the dark lord knows nothing about would be love. That's why poor Quirenus couldn't touch Harry back in his first year, Lily's love still protected her son."

This saw Luna's mood brighten. "Harry's love for Hermione protected him from that horcrux in his head. Voldemort was trying to alter Harry's thoughts to cause him pain, the love Harry had for Hermione was radiating out and hurting the horcrux - it actually caused the thing to hide away. I don't know how Harry could use that in a fight though..."

This left Albus, Amelia and even Ron staring at the girl as if she'd just said the moon was made of cheese. Sirius and the others knew exactly what Luna was talking about, the worried godfather wanted to focus on something else however.

"I can't argue against anything Luna just said, especially to wonder how Harry would use the power of love to defeat a dark lord. If the prophecy is to be believed then Harry is Voldemort's equal - at least in the magic each has available to call on. I think Harry has another power though, and it's one I've certainly never heard of. Amelia, could you humour us here for a few moments. I want you to consider what the most difficult spell you know is, and I'm willing to bet Harry will have mastered it before we leave for the ministry. You're about to get your explanation - and a visitor!"

Seeing where Sirius was going with this gave the three teens some hope, Ron wasn't fully in the loop yet and would need to wait for an explanation. Luna moved to let Harry stretch out with his head on Hermione's lap, the blonde was now standing beside Amelia and telling her what was going to happen.

"Harry will visit you, and then you can actually show him what you want to - right inside your head."

Amelia and Albus were now staring at Harry with disbelief, Ron had at least seen Luna in this condition. The Director of the D.M.L.E. was just about to ask a question when she felt a chill pass over her head, Luna now had a grip of her arm and advised her to relax.

Harry found himself facing an army of aurors as Amelia's mindscape reacted to the intrusion. "Eh, Madam Bones - I come in peace. I certainly don't want to see anything you don't want to show me."

A representation of Amelia emerged from the massed auror ranks. "Mister Potter, how is this possible?"

As Xeno was giving Albus and Ron an explanation of exactly what spirit roving was, Amelia got to see the actual events in a fraction of the time. Harry also let her view Voldemort's return, as well as discovering how Sirius had constructed a mindscape rapidly led to the building of Harry's own. She quickly understood what Sirius was suggesting and thought his theory should at least be tested.

By the time Xeno and Hermione had answered all Dumbledore's questions, Luna also discussing her horcrux encounters in great detail, Amelia was just shaking her head to recover from the effect of Harry leaving her.

"That is quite the head-rush. The version of Harry that was with me picked up the spell incredibly quickly, now we just have to see if Harry in his physical form can cast it."

Harry sat up and moved over to a section of the room that had just expanded for him, three dummies in death eater robes and masks were at the far end. Harry drew his wand and raised it above his head, actually somewhat behind his shoulder. With an audible 'crack' he whipped his wand forward - and a long rope of flame shot from the holly and phoenix feather combination. That thin tongue of flame was still connected to the wand however, a flick of Harry's wrist saw it wrap around and capture two of the dummies - incinerating them in seconds.

As Harry ended the curse, a slack-jawed Sirius was first to speak. Even although it had been his idea, he was still awestruck at the result. "Harry, that was amazing..."

"Naw, I was aiming to get all three - I need to practice that a few times more. My magic feels cleaner, sharper, more focused - must be because I got that thing out of my head."

He soon had his arms full of a bushy haired witch. Like Sirius, Hermione had just gotten Harry back - and had no intention of losing him again. Here was something that gave them hope Harry could actually defeat Voldemort if he had to. Harry had another idea though, and, following his girlfriend's earlier example, just went for it. Still with Hermione in his arms, Harry had a quiet word with her.

"I don't think this is unique to me, want to help me prove that? You've studied me doing it, do you feel confident enough to cast a patronus on your own - or do you need some help?"

"I think I would like a bit of help for the first time." Everyone watched as they made their way back to the couch, Harry lying down before Hermione kissed him. She then returned to the area Harry was using, just having her boyfriend in her arms this morning was the happy memory Hermione decided to use.

A fully corporal silver otter was soon swimming through the air, leading to a chuckle from Ron. "An otter, it figures. What are you going to call it, Harry?"

This cracked Luna up. "Harry Otter!" She stopped laughing as Hermione kissed her, transferring Harry. It was now Luna's turn to make the attempt. Standing there with her best friends and her father watching, Luna soon had a form of her own. The strange silver creature was like a cross between a mountain goat and one of those little hairless dogs some owners took great delight in dressing up like four-legged dolls. Luna wasn't caring, her father was applauding with pride and happiness shining from his eyes. Luna kissed Harry before hugging her father.

As Harry sat up, he was faced with a miffed Ron. "Hey, don't I get a chance to learn this way?"

"Ron, for me to enter your mind I would see all your memories and thoughts. Things that you never wanted another living soul to see would be right in front of me. The girls and I didn't know there were methods of shielding your thoughts so we had to share everything. I think all three of us would agree it was excruciatingly embarrassing. If you're up for that, I'll transfer - without the kissing though."

Ron's face was now bright red as Hermione sat beside Harry on the couch. "You're now thinking of all the things you wouldn't want Harry to see, which just brings them to the front of your mind for him to look at. There would be no secrets, and no hiding, Harry would see everything..."

There was an audible gulp from Ron at that. "Everything?" Nods from Harry, Hermione and then Luna saw Ron's decision made. "Eh, I think I'll give that a miss then..."

His face was bright red as a particularly embarrassing memory came to the forefront of his thoughts. Ron didn't know how his two best friends would react to the knowledge that, while Hermione had been brewing polyjuice potion in Myrtle's bathroom, he had spent most of his time there sneaking peaks up Hermione's skirt as she sat crosslegged on the floor. He was only twelve at the time, and it was more out of curiosity than anything else, but he didn't think that would help. Ron was now old enough to know he would pummel anyone doing the same thing to Ginny. An angry Dan Granger raising his voice had Ron guiltily almost jumping out of his skin - only to realise that anger wasn't aimed in his direction.

"What just happened here? I'll say this right now, so there can be absolutely no room for misunderstandings. I don't care what spells Hermione learns, our daughter's not yet sixteen and will not be fighting in any war!"

Realising both Dan and Emma were really out of their depth here, Sirius did his best to reassure them. "The spell both girls just mastered is purely a defensive one, Dan. Specifically, it defends the caster from dementors - and is an incredibly difficult spell to master. So very well done Hermione, and Luna."

The last thing Harry wanted was to have Hermione's parents angry, he also offered his reassurance. "It's only our short-term plans that have changed, Dan - and those were never really set in stone anyway. If Sirius becomes legally free, everyone knows I'm not dead and the headmaster gets elected Minister of Magic - that will be a massive boost for our side. After hopefully achieving all that in the ministry today, we can then sit down and discuss when we're leaving the country. We may have to give it at least a few days to see how things settle but the three of us are still all set on leaving Hogwarts and Britain."

Hearing that from Sirius and Harry, and then seeing everyone agree with those opinions, somewhat calmed both Grangers' fears. Amelia thought she was the only one who noticed Albus didn't offer the Grangers any assurances that Harry would be leaving the country. She didn't bring that up at the moment, it was now time to head for the ministry.

 
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