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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12. Turning Tables

Newhaven is a costal town of over ten thousand souls, cited at the mouth of the River Ouse on the East Sussex coast of England. The town was also a port, and it was possible to board a regular ferry from there to Dieppe. Since Dieppe was more than a hundred miles along the coast from the largest channel crossing port of Calais, this might be the route out the country they would take. While there was a possibility the main route between Dover and Calais could be watched, they were all certain no one would be monitoring the ferry between Newhaven and Dieppe.

That wasn't why they were here today though. While no one would be looking for them in Newhaven, this would be an opportunity to get Harry examined by an optician - and give the kids a bit of a break after the morning they just had.

Dan was driving the couple of miles from the cottage into Newhaven Town with a smirk on his face, a smirk Emma was doing her best to ignore. She'd argued against the extra expense of Dan's choice of interior for his pride and joy - why did they need the seven seater model when there was only three of them? Today, with the three teens behind them and then Sirius and Remus seated further back, Dan felt he was proven right and his smirk clearly said so - Emma wanted nothing to do with any of that so wasn't biting.

While Sirius and Remus could blend into muggle culture, Xeno Lovegood stood out even in a magical setting. He had left to take the destroyed locket to Dumbledore, and hopefully arrange an auror protection detail for the group's planned visit to Diagon Alley tomorrow.

Arriving in plenty of time for Harry's appointment gave the three ladies an opportunity to try different styles of glasses on him, before the optician ended their fun by dragging her next appointment away to be tested. Emma, Hermione and Luna's choices would all be in vain though, the optician wouldn't issue Harry with a prescription today. After noticing some anomalies in his tonometry readings, she then checked with Harry whether he had received a bang to the head or been in some sort of accident recently. Harry confirming that he had indeed been in an accident that affected his head - destroying his old glasses in the process - saw his examination end.

The optician then spoke with Sirius, accepting his assurance that Harry had attended hospital after the accident but was otherwise fit and healthy. She wanted Harry to return in about a week for another examination, giving some time for the apparent side effects of his accident to totally wear off. Since the optician was a tall, beautiful brunette in her late twenties, Sirius instantly agreed to see her again next week - and he even agreed to bring his godson along too.

Having their plan to get Harry new glasses foiled, Hermione then announced they would just have to go shopping to get him some new clothes. Seeing how excited Luna was at this idea, Harry quickly played along.

Although Newhaven was only about fifty miles from London, it might well have been a thousand in terms of the shops available to buy clothes for a teenager. Since Harry seemingly had so little though, the available shopping was more than adequate to kit him out with casual wear for the holidays - a wide array of button down and t-shirts, jeans, shorts and a few pairs of trainers were soon purchased. Somehow Luna and Hermione ended up with nearly as many bags as Harry did, though with Sirius so keen to buy the teens anything they looked twice at that shouldn't really be too surprising.

He had wizarding and muggle money stashed away in case he needed to go on the run again, everyone wholeheartedly agreed with Sirius' opinion that this was a far better use for it. This generosity soon found Sirius ladened with bags, walking beside a similarly encumbered Dan. Harry was in front of them and bagless, Hermione and Luna claiming each of his hands. Sirius couldn't help but notice the way Dan was staring at the trio, knowing from sharing Harry that this man was one day going to be family, he tried to help out.

"Did Hermione ever tell you how we met?" A head shake from Dan had Sirius describing one of the worse and yet best nights of his life. It was as hard for a father to hear about the dangers his daughter had faced as it was for Sirius to tell, Dan just couldn't get over how much cruelty Hermione's new world seemed to hold.

It didn't take long for Sirius to tell his harrowing tale, soon approaching the climax. "I was sitting there, trying to steel myself to face a horrible death - then Harry and Hermione bent the very substance of time to rescue me. My feelings then were similar to those of the other night, when I thought I'd lost Harry - only for him to walk right into the room and hug me. I feel that's twice they've saved my life, and now I'm a free man too. Those two together are a pretty awesome combination, and Luna has slotted right into that mix. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you won't ever have to worry about my godson hurting Hermione, they are so close Harry would rip his own heart out his chest first."

This actually received a wry smile from Dan. "Emma basically said the same thing. They're just so young though, and three into two nearly always sees someone hurt..."

"Harry's been inside my head, and had no idea how to shield his thoughts. This let me see everything, and certainly brought me closer to my godson than I ever thought possible. There is a better than fair chance these three won't be becoming two, Dan, I also think that's something they don't know themselves yet."

It was more a grimace Dan displayed this time. "Again Emma agrees with that opinion. Is such an arrangement even possible in your society?"

Unable to help himself, Sirius just had to laugh at that question. "You saw the Wizengamot yesterday, between them and Dumbledore they would give my godson whatever he asked for if he stayed in Britain."

There was just no arguing with that opinion, it had been blatantly obvious to all of them yesterday that Harry could get whatever he asked for from the Ministry of Magic. "And where do you stand in this?"

Sirius was able to answer with complete honesty, trying not to let his emotions get the better of him as he did so. "Remus is like a brother to me while Harry is a son in all but blood. As long as the people we consider family are safe, the rest of the country can go and fuck itself - we owe them nothing."

Now Dan sported a serious grin as Sirius continued. "I have no problem giving Dumbledore some time to try and sort out this mess, Harry publicly stating the ministry is on the right track is also something I would support. However I will not stand back and let Dumbledore use emotional blackmail to keep those three in the country if it would be better for them to leave. While Harry might have considered accepting Dumbledore's manipulations before Fudge started this fiasco, he simply won't stand for any of those girls being put in any danger because of them. I think we need to make a decision by around Harry's birthday, that's how long I'm prepared to let this stretch - providing those three remain safe. Any threat and we're gone, the method for that will be arranged when we visit Gringotts tomorrow."

Dan was actually asking Sirius what he thought about his godson being part of a trio but drew a lot of comfort from that answer anyway. He could plainly see what Dumbledore was up to, and neither he nor Emma held the man in any reverence whatsoever. Sirius' views matched Dan's exactly, apart from the concerned father might like them to leave Britain a little bit sooner. Emma and Remus were following on behind them, and obviously listening to their conversation. Emma's hand appeared supportively on his shoulder. She had known what Dan had meant by his question to Sirius and answered her husband with a question of her own. "When have you ever seen our girl happier?"

That question didn't need an answer, the answer was right in front of them, the three teens were having a great time just walking around holding hands. Shopping like this was a new experience for two of them, and Hermione was loving showing Harry and Luna around a town she'd spent many a happy holiday visiting when she was younger. The girls were also teasing Harry about something, which seemed responsible for most of the laughter.

They reached the Range Rover and piled in to return to the cottage. No one saw any point in stopping anywhere for dinner, Winky would have something far tastier waiting on them when they got home.

-oOoOo-

Ron wasn't having nearly as good a time as his friends. While Harry had been facing the Wizengamot yesterday, the Weasley family were facing up to their new reality of being homeless. There simply wasn't anything salvageable from the pile of ashes that had once been their home, all the Weasleys now owned was the clothes they currently stood in and the family clock. Both Charlie and Bill had rushed back to Britain to see if they could help, though Percy the git was still nowhere to be seen.

His mother had originally been set against the idea of borrowing Hermione's parents' cottage, seeing the devastation at the Burrow changed her mind. Ron being able to describe the beautiful little cottage to them ended any doubts, not that the family had many other options at the moment.

Ron was on a school broom, relaxing by flying lazy loops around the quidditch pitch when he heard someone calling his name. Ron could only groan as he spotted Ginny waving him down.

His feet had hardly touched the ground when Ginny spat instructions at him before turning and heading back to the castle. "Father has called a family meeting, I was sent to fetch you."

Watching as she angrily stormed away, Ron was in no hurry to catch up to his sister. Ginny's anger hadn't abated since their mother tore strips of her yesterday. Ron was trying to stay out of the argument but, as Ginny decided to stop and wait on him, it would seem that option had just gone.

"Would it really be so terrible if Harry and I got together?"

Ron was left shaking his head as he marched right passed his sister, forcing Ginny to practically jog to keep up with his longer strides.

"There are two huge holes in your thinking, Ginny. Number one is that Harry only sees you as my annoying little sister - certainly not as someone he wants to date. Number two -he's with Hermione, and I can't see that changing any time soon. Trust me on this, there's a reason Malfoy chose to stay away from Hermione. She is one scary witch when she wants to be."

"I can handle Granger, and maybe then Harry would see me as more…"

Ron stopped and turned to face this stupid little girl he was related to. "Ginny, I know those two better than anyone. Please believe me when I say you wouldn't have an earthly in any kind of fair fight with Hermione. If you were to take her down any other way, Harry would certainly be after you then - but not in the way you hope."

He started walking again, pleased that there was at least a trace of doubt in Ginny's voice now.

"Harry would never hurt me…"

"Look, you obviously don't believe me so do yourself a favour. Ask Fred or George what Harry would do to anyone deliberately hurting Hermione. While you're at it, ask them if they think either or both together would be able to stop Harry getting to the person who hurt her - I'll bet I already know their answers to both questions." He was left hoping that Ginny's silence meant he was finally getting through to her.

With Bill and Charlie staying in Hogwarts too, the Weasley family were currently living in the very familiar surroundings of Gryffindor House. Seeing everyone had been waiting on the two youngest appearing, Ron flopped into his favourite chair and waited to hear what his father had to say.

He wasn't kept waiting long, it had taxed an excited Arthur's patience to wait until the whole family was here before breaking his good news - something that had been in short supply for the Weasleys recently. "I have a new job. You are now looking at the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic…"

That certainly brightened the family up but Arthur had more to say - a lot more. "Since Albus is used to having his living quarters just off his office, and wants to continue living in that manner, they are adapting the Minister's Office to accommodate him. This leaves the Minister of Magic's official residence lying empty, but not for long. We will be moving in there before the end of the week, sharing with Amelia and Susan Bones."

That got Ron's attention, staying in the same house as the gorgeous Susan Bones meant his summer had just taken a massive upswing. Ginny's one track mind though had focused on another aspect of this that no one else had even thought of.

"If we have a house again, does that mean Harry will be spending part of the summer staying with us?"

Having discussed in detail their daughter's fixation on Harry Potter with Molly, Arthur decided to be brutal with his answer. "At the very least, Harry will be spending the entire summer with Hermione, Luna and their families. Albus is desperately trying to persuade Harry not to leave Britain but at best he would say the odds are only fifty-fifty. Harry though has not forgotten us. When Albus tried to give him the Triwizard gold he'd won, Harry refused it - instead insisting it be placed in our vault at Gringotts."

This had the Weasey family looking at each other to see if they'd heard that last bit properly. Confirming they had, Arthur continued passing out the good news to his family. "With a thousand galleons in our vault and my new salary, the goblins will certainly give us a loan to rebuild our home. It might not be ready before you four head back to Hogwarts in September but will certainly be there for you to come home to at Christmas."

Spending the summer living in the Minister of Magic's official residence and then having a new home by Christmas was something for the Weasleys to celebrate - and they did.

-oOoOo-

Draco wasn't celebrating, nor had he any reason to. His whole life was turning to shit - and the summer had started off so well too.

Potter being kissed by a dementor, the mudblood Granger and the blood traitor Weasleys getting burned out of their homes. It had been the stuff of Draco's better dreams, but then there were the very real nightmares to contend with.

His father had told him it was a great honour to have the Dark Lord staying with them, Draco was then left to wonder where the honour was as his father's screams had been heard in every corner of their manor. Try as he might, Draco couldn't see any honour in being tortured inside your own home by an invited guest - even if that guest was the Dark Lord.

Honour also seemed to be missing from the Death Eaters now living in his home. He was Draco Malfoy, this was his home, those facts alone should have demanded their guests show respect for the Malfoy heir - Draco didn't get any.

His crazy Aunt Bellatrix also seriously scared the shit out of Draco. One minute she would be talking to him as if he was about three years old, the next asking if it wasn't about time he took their lord's mark to kill for the glory of the Dark Lord. There seemed to be about six different people living inside his aunt, all trying to get out at the same time - and each every bit as scary as the other five.

Then there was that lucky shit, Potter, unbelievably surviving a dementor's kiss to add to his woes - that wasn't supposed to be possible. Having said that, Draco had to admit surviving the killing curse was supposed to be impossible too - Potter had managed to do that as well.

Now he'd just been told by his mother that father had somehow died. Though she swore the Dark Lord wasn't involved in his death, Draco couldn't help but think his return had cost him his father. Seeing the picture of those six Death Eaters waiting to be executed, with Pansy's father being one of them, there had been relief that his own father had avoided that fate. Draco had been living under the illusion his father was far too smart for the ministry to catch like that, now it would appear this illusion was totally false. For whatever the reason his father had missed that meeting, the end result was still the same - Lucius Malfoy was dead.

There was even more misery to come however. Lord Black, Potter's godfather, was now in charge of the Malfoy affairs. Draco wouldn't even be able to return to Hogwarts without his say-so.

A summer that had started off so promisingly had swiftly taken a spectacular downturn. So much so that Draco's only consolation at the moment was that things couldn't possibly get any worse. He had no idea just how wrong he could be.

-oOoOo-

Frank Spencer was a squib who made his living as a police photographer in London. Occasionally Frank would come across something that he could make a few extra quid off by selling his pictures on to the magical press - safe in the knowledge his bosses at the Met would never see them.

As he made his way to meet his contact in the Leaky Cauldron, Frank was thinking this was front page material - therefore worth a lot more than he was usually paid. While normally, this would have been a correct assumption, these were not normal times. His contact baulked at the price he asked, justifying the lower offer he just made by showing Frank today's edition of the Prophet.

Seeing this, Frank simply had to agree. The story he was selling would certainly not make the front page at the moment with all this going on. More negotiations followed with Frank eventually settling on a price that was four times what he would normally get. His contact left, pleased with the deal too. This would be a nice wrap-up piece and allow their writers to put any slant on the story they so wished. Tomorrow's edition was going to be just as explosive, and their subscriptions were actually up on this time last week. It was all good at the Daily Prophet, and their bonuses were looking assured.

-oOoOo-

Narcissa knocked on the door of the room her master was occupying, entering when told to do so. There she found her lord, kneeling naked on the floor. He was kneeling inside a pentagram, carved into the floor and surrounded by runes. There were also runes painted on his body too.

"Master, forgive me for intruding. I could return later…"

"No, my dear, as usual you are right on time. I was just finishing my ritual as you knocked."

As he rose from the floor and reached for a robe, Narcissa felt a wave of relief pass through her. Bella might enjoy providing comfort for their master but that wasn't a task she was keen to perform. Her relief was short-lived though as she was then ordered to strip. Laying down the folder she had brought for their meeting, Narcissa did as she was ordered - those red eyes watching her every move.

She tried to stand there proud, something Narcissa could see was appreciated by her Lord.

"My dear Narcissa, I would first like to thank you for your vital assistance in this matter tonight - it really is very important to me. Please don't unnecessarily trouble yourself however. You are indeed a very beautiful woman but I have no need of you for those kind of services tonight. I wanted you naked for another reason, other than the obvious pleasure I receive from looking upon your lovely form in all its glory. Nagini hates buttons, buckles and zips - they so interfere with her digestion. You have been a good and faithful servant, and I regret what must happen. It was Lucius who placed you in this position though, goodbye Narcissa - Avada Kedava."

Voldemort felt the magical backlash as a surprised Narcissa's murder powered the ritual that then split what was left of his soul. The runes painted on his skin glowed with power as Voldemort screamed from the pain and pleasure the ritual provided. Splitting his soul was the most painful thing Voldemort had ever experienced but the pleasure too was immeasurable. Knowing he was defeating death itself was the main source of that pleasure, there wasn't anything Voldemort could think of more pleasurable than that.

He had performed the ritual enough times now to know he had twenty four ours to detach the split section and imbed it where he intended. To delay the transfer for any longer would see his soul pieces begin to reattach themselves to each other, but he had no intention of waiting.

Delicate use of his wand soon had his unattached piece of soul moving across the room to his beloved familiar. "Open, my precious, and receive this gift from your grateful master. You can then dine while I have a short nap. We must be away from here tonight, there are plans to put in motion. Enjoy your meal first."

As the great snake effortlessly swallowed the piece of soul, it then turned its attention to the still warm meal waiting to be devoured.

-oOoOo-

Draco awoke to a quiet and seemingly empty house. He searched in vain for anyone, but especially his mother. Finally braving the room the Dark Lord had been occupying, he found his first clue. Although still no sign of anyone, his mother's clothes were lying on the floor.

That didn't prove anything but Draco still felt sick inside. The owl delivering today's Prophet wasn't amused as this blond boy pulled the newspaper out of its grasp, Draco though was desperate for any news - even bad.

While the front cover was full of the latest round of Death Eater trials, page three was what really caught and held Draco's attention. The picture might not have moved, then again his father was never going to move again either. Lying crushed under the massive metal contraption, his broken death eater mask by his side, the deceased figure of Lucius Malfoy was clearly distinguishable.

Looking at those pictures made it final for Draco. No mistaken identities or Potter type miracle returns - his father was gone for good. With tears running down his cheeks, Draco couldn't shake the feeling that his mother was gone too - leaving him an orphan.

-oOoOo-

For Dan and Emma, walking into the Leaky Cauldron with Harry along really reinforced the feelings that they were entering a different world - and not just because of magic. He was ordinarily such an unassuming young lad but here Harry was being treated like some sports / rock star. The three aurors who met the group there were called into action immediately, just to stop him being mobbed by the well-wishers who had already been in the pub.

While Harry was polite and shook all the hands that wanted to congratulate him, he made a point of heading for Jock, Derek and Tom behind the bar. Harry was thanking these three for the support they had shown him when a reporter and photographer from the Daily Prophet rushed into the pub. The news of Harry Potter's impending visit to Diagon Alley was spreading like wildfire, drawing even more attention in their direction.

Harry point blank refused to give an interview, he wouldn't even speak to the reporter. He did however offer to give them a photograph, providing Jock, Derek and Tom were included in it too. The people from the Prophet practically fell over themselves in their eagerness to accept that compromise. Here would be photographic proof their saviour was alive, well and still in Britain - they were never going to turn that opportunity down. Harry understood this picture would exonerate both former prison guards of any blame, might even see a few job offers coming in their directions and probably end up in a frame above Tom's bar too - he was more than happy with all of that.

Professor McGonagall appearing in the pub smacked of a set-up. Dumbledore obviously had to know their schedule for today in order to arrange the aurors, and it was just as obvious he had passed that information on to Hogwarts. Since the professor had brought Hagrid with her though, Harry was in something of a forgiving mood. His biggest friend soon needed that table-cover sized handkerchief he carried around in one of his many pockets, of course this was after an emotional Hagrid practically hugged the life out of Harry.

This also let both Granger parents see the difference between the people who held Harry in awe, and those with genuine affection for him. Harry was clearly more comfortable with the three men behind the bar and the entire pub couldn't miss the connection between this gentle giant of a man and the boy who clearly regarded him as a good friend.

It was Minerva who had to break up this touching scene, she was here for a reason. "Mister Potter, would it be possible to arrange a time where we could have a talk? I'm contacting all the students who completed forms to transfer out of Hogwarts, purely to give them details of the changes I intend to implement so they can make their final decision knowing all the facts. I didn't know how else to contact you, Miss Granger or Miss Lovegood, which is why I'm standing here today."

Glancing at the two girls, and the rest of their group, produced nothing but shrugs, they were happy to let Harry deal with this approach they had known must be coming at some point. "Professor, we're here today to do some business, and honestly haven't planned any further than that. If we can book a private room from Tom, would you and Hagrid like to join us for lunch?"

When Tom quickly confirmed a room and lunch would be available, Minerva and Hagrid agreed that having lunch together would be lovely. Dan and Emma got another insight into Harry when he spoke to one of the men behind the bar.

"Derek, I really appreciate all the help your Abi gave in getting the word out of what Fudge and Umbridge were doing to me. A signed picture doesn't really say thank you enough for all that. Do you think Abi would like to join us today for lunch?"

That signed front page of the Quibbler was now framed and hanging in pride of place on his daughter's bedroom wall - his Abi was the envy of all her friends and certainly thought it was more than enough thanks from Harry. Having lunch with Harry Potter would be a dream come true for his little girl - and the wizard making the offer definitely knew that too.

Walking out of Azkaban that morning was easily the best decision Derek had ever made in his life. Both he and Jock would have been working at the prison when you-know-who arrived to free his followers from Azkaban, they were under no illusions that their fates would have been any different from the rest of the guards who were murdered while on duty that dreadful day.

Having already been asked to call this young wizard by his first name, an emotional father gave the answer that would make his little girl's year. "I'll floo-call her at once, Harry, thank you so much for thinking of her."

This had Harry shaking his head. "Hermione told Abi she was our friend, we look after our friends, Derek. I know how much courage it took to cross that hall and talk to someone she didn't even know from another house. Abi then stood beside Hermione while she confronted Dumbledore and the rest of the Hogwarts staff over this. You should be very proud of your Abi, we're certainly proud to call her our friend."

A very happy Derek left to go and make that floo-call while the group got ready to face Diagon Alley. Luna and Hermione slipping their hands into his assured Harry he had done exactly the right thing with Abi, and he was looking forward to meeting her in person too. It also didn't do any harm to let Professor McGonagall know exactly where they stood on the matter of schooling, having lunch with Abi was every bit as important to them as listening to what the new Headmistress had to say about Hogwarts. Dumbledore liked to play his games to try and control Harry Potter, but that didn't mean they couldn't play those same games right back at him - and his representatives.

Merely setting foot into Diagon Alley was enough to let them know their plans to do some shopping too were never going to happen. The Alley was very busy, the news Harry was visiting today had clearly spread. The three aurors were spearheading their path through the Alley, with Remus, Sirius and Xeno covering their rear. This left Dan, Emma and the trio of teens in as much of a protective bubble as these six could provide while the group slowly made the short journey along the alley to Gringotts.

-oOoOo-

That Lord Voldemort was reduced to living in Riddle Manor meant he was one unhappy dark lord. He had erected strong defensive wards and hidden the old muggle building behind charms he himself had designed and crafted. Those who were privileged enough to wear his dark mark could see their new headquarters, his unblooded and unmarked new recruits however could not - yet. Lord Voldemort intended to change both of those things today.

The muggle repelling wards around the graveyard should keep away any unwelcome visitors as he rallied his troops amongst the headstones.

"The Ministry have made a deliberate move against us - and against an entire way of life. The last two nights have seen proud purebloods put to death - murdered by our own Ministry as they pushed them through the veil in the death chamber. That same Ministry are currently holding mock trials for tonight's chosen victims even as we speak. Does anyone here doubt their fate will be any different from the others? Tonight's executions cannot be allowed to take place - our actions today will put a stop to that."

This led to cheering, though there were certainly nerves behind some of those cheers. Lord Voldemort however knew the Ministry of Magic would be heavily defended, expecting him to attack and attempt to save his followers. That was not his plan, and was also impossible at the moment - at least until he recovered. He wasn't certain whether it was this new body, or he'd simply reached the limit of the number of times he could split his soul, but last night's horcrux preparation ritual and then its creation had left him very weak. Having to then ward his new accommodation left him barely enough energy to stand and rally his Death Eaters. Plans were already in place however and the timing of other events decreed this had to be done today.

These new and untested conscripts would certainly be decimated if he was foolish enough to pitch them into a battle against the ministry on their own territory - especially with him unable to participate in the attack. No, he had chosen a much softer target for their initiation.

"I am sending our promise, our sacred pledge, to the Daily Prophet - so the wizards and witches of Britain can read what's really happening in their country. I, Lord Voldemort, pledge that for every one of ours they murder, we will revisit that murder back on them tenfold. After the last two nights' misdeeds, they now owe us over a hundred bodies. Today, we begin to even out the odds."

The cheering was louder this time, discovering their intended target however really raised the noise level. Lord Voldemort promised his new recruits they would be given the honour of wearing his dark mark if they fought well today - most were just happy their chances of surviving this attack had just jumped considerably.

Splitting them into squads, where each squad had at least one or two experienced death eaters, should also help with the decisions Lord Voldemort would have to make later - of just who had fought well enough to deserve wearing his mark. With the dementors being an integral part of this attack too, after today not even Dumbledore would dare execute another of his followers again - the price payed for doing so would be way too high.

With the Malfoy fortune now placed beyond Lord Voldemort's reach, the ministry executing those followers they had scheduled placing on trial today would decimate his access to any form of significant finance. Knowing the Death Eaters that would be questioned by the ministry today, there wasn't the slightest chance those same followers would receive any sentence other than the veil. That had to be stopped, or at least delayed for long enough until he was back to full strength and able to break them out of there.

-oOoOo-

The group were leaving Gringotts a lot happier than they had entered, especially Dan and Emma. They had taken Dumbledore's warnings about the risks involved in obtaining false documents seriously. It went without needing to be said that the old wizard wasn't going to raise a single finger to help them leave the country - so there would be no new identities coming from the Ministry of Magic for them. In the space of two hours though, it was like all their problems had been solved.

They were walking out of Gringotts with new identities, and all the official paperwork that those new identities would ever need. Dan didn't know if he could ever consider himself as a Wendell, but Emma as Mrs Monica Wilkins worked for him. Hermione was now Jane while Luna's new identity made her their daughter too - Patricia Wilkins. This was another layer of protection to throw off any pursuers, the Grangers had one daughter while the Wilkins two. Xeno was now Leo Watson, Emma's brother and the girls' uncle.

Sirius and Remus' new identities also made them brothers, Leonard and Gary Newman, with Harry becoming Leonard's son Alfie.

They now had portkeys that would send them to a hotel suite in Paris, Sirius had just rented that suite for the entire summer. He had also arranged for clothes and funds to be waiting on them there, allowing their group the ability to escape Britain at a moment's notice - and then use Paris as a launch pad from where they could move on to wherever in the world they wanted to go. Now getting more comfortable with just what could be achieved when magic was involved, Dan really had only one question for Sirius about the entire process.

"Can we trust the goblins not to give details of our new identities to anyone else?"

"You can always trust goblins to milk as much gold out of you as possible for their services, but their entire business is built on confidentiality. They allowed the most wanted man in the country access to his vault to buy his godson a Christmas present - they won't sell our new identities to anyone else. Can you imagine what would happen if Harry was on the front page of the Prophet, claiming that the goblins weren't trustworthy? There would be a run on the bank that would ruin Gringotts, the goblins would be finished in Britain. They will certainly pass our information along to the nearest branch of Gringotts from where we finally settle, but that same information will never leave goblin hands."

It was a very happy Dan Granger who made his way down Diagon Alley with his wife holding on to his arm, even the crowds increasing since they had entered the bank couldn't dent his good mood. Suddenly though Dan felt as if he would never be happy again, the temperature had just dropped at least twenty degrees too. Neither of the Granger parents had any idea what was happening but Hermione's 'oh shit!' was a big clue it had to be bad - and then the screaming started...

 
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