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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18. Wolf in no Clothing

Summer 1995

As the group were slowly meandering their way across Europe, searching for something none of them yet knew what, the trio couldn't really practice any magic. What they could practice however was becoming animagi. Since this was something Luna was really keen on learning, that was what they did. The week after they'd buried Xeno, Harry was burrowing through Sirius' memories of the animagus process.

This then became what must be one of the strangest games ever played by teens on a long car journey. If they weren't visiting each other to pass on information, they were meditating to try and find their animal form. When Luna discovered she was a wolf, she was soon sharing with the other two how that discovery had been reached.

Dan sat shaking his head that night as the group celebrated all three discovering that they would transform into wolves, however that wouldn't be until after mastering becoming animagi. This was just another strange milestone in what their life had now become. Seeing how happy Hermione, and even Emma were though meant Dan had no regrets about the decisions they had made. That Luna seemed to be wearing a genuine smile again for the first time since losing her father was certainly an occasion worthy of a celebration.

Further progress in their transformations however was about as fruitful as their search for whatever they were looking for on their odyssey through Europe. It was then that Harry had the crazy idea of visiting Sirius while he changed into Padfoot. This suggestion was duly kicked back and forth a few times between all of them in what was quickly becoming their new norm for making important decisions that affected the family. No one actually knew if this suggestion was even possible. Eventually the deciding factor was none of them could see this being dangerous to either Harry or Sirius, so those two gave it a shot.

This proved to be a massive success and saw Harry learning not only about the transformation process, but also how it felt to inhabit a body that had four legs and a tail. Less than an hour later, Harry was able to transform his hands and arms. Both Remus and Sirius were amazed at the size of those paws but Dan had another concern, one that stopped all three of them practicing this stage while he was driving.

Dan glancing in his rear view mirror and seeing a bloody great wolf looking back at him could cause them to crash. It was only two days later however when Harry managed to complete his transformation. While the three females were all over Harry in his wolf form - like he was some cute puppy they just had to pat - Dan was left wondering if it was just the fact they were in a hotel room that made this canine seem so huge. One glance at Sirius and Remus answered his question, both were standing there dumbstruck. It was Remus of course who recognised Harry's form, a dire wolf.

Harry transformed back and both girls confirmed their forms were exactly the same species. Remus then sat and explained what a dire wolf actually was. Dan took it as being like an ordinary wolf but a bigger, stronger subspecies that was now considered extinct. Outside a few magical forests, Remus confirmed the dire wolf actually was.

With their sharing abilities, and Harry always spending his nights visiting the girls, Hermione and Luna managed their transformations the following day. As it was approaching the full moon, all three wanted to run with Remus and Sirius. Emma wasn't sure whether this would be safe, thus causing Dan to burst into laughter.

"Emma, stand back and take a good look at them - but don't see Hermione, Luna or Harry. There is nothing living wild about here that will go anywhere near those three, far less try and attack them. They are also smart enough not to stray too close to areas that have people living there."

Sirius had apparated to the magical section of Rome and purchased a dose of wolfesbane potion for Remus. Dobby and Winky then popped the five up to the edge of the tree line on Mount Vesuvius an hour before the moon rose.

That was a night which affected all five of their lives. For Remus, he was part of a pack again. Even as a werewolf however, he wasn't the alpha of this pack. That honour was reserved for the massive jet black dire wolf that Harry transformed into. His famous scar was now a lot less noticeable but it still carried over to his form. The thin jagged line of white hairs on the black dire wolf's forehead earned Harry his Marauder's moniker - Bolt.

For Hermione and Luna, transforming into their forms seemed to make everything so much simpler. Harry was their alpha, their mate. The trio were all members of the same pack, and those same emotions would transfer over when they reverted back. Running as three dire wolves took away their remaining doubts that this relationship could or would work.

With her name being Luna and her form's fur the colour of a silvery moon, Moonlight was born. Hermione's dire wolf form had the same colouring as her sun lightened brown hair, but that played no part in her marauder name. Sirius declared his godson should always have a lady by his side. Since Luna would be Lady Black, Hermione's dire wolf form would be known simply as Lady. Dan saying she certainly looked a regal animal sealed the deal.

Even with his great size, Padfoot found himself being relegated to the position of the runt of the pack. This was something the other four would take great delight in gently teasing him about. Despite loving running with his family pack, it was a different kind of family that Sirius' thoughts kept turning toward. While surrounded by Moony, Bolt, Lady and Moonlight, Sirius now knew he wanted a family of his own.

This was probably the first time Sirius began to realise that he just might have found the person he wanted to have that family with. All night, his mind kept wandering to the fact he was leaving Italy tomorrow and meeting Claire when she finished work. Even though he was not a wolf, the thought of spending a few days with Claire had Padfoot wanting to howl at the moon in delight.

-oOoOo-

Present - 15th June, 1996. Late evening...

Theo wasn't howling, and he certainly wasn't delighted. Theodore Nott was dead. Moonlight had effortlessly and instantly covered the distance between them, those powerful jaws locking onto Theo's throat before the terrified wizard could even make a sound. Moonlight tipped the scales at a tad over two hundred pounds and she hit Theo with considerable force, the wizard never had a chance. As well as his neck being snapped, Moonlight had held her jaws clamped until lack of oxygen to his brain quickly finished Theo off.

The dire wolf released its grip and took a couple of steps back before becoming Luna again, she then quickly threw up from having Nott's blood in her mouth. Harry was talking to her constantly, telling Luna how proud he was of her. He also suggested to grab Nott's wand and conjure up some water, advice Luna was quick to take. She then couldn't believe her luck, her own wand was still in his back pocket. That soon made its way into the invisible wand holder on her arm, Nott's went behind her ear while Luna got dressed.

"I'm burning this underwear when we get home, that creepy bastard saw me in it."

"I'd like nothing better than to go with my girls and buy them new underwear, I promise you and Hermione the shopping trip to end all shopping trips when we get home."

"Naples here we come, and you bring your wallet."

Delighted to be dressed, and have her own wand back in her hand, Luna stepped over the dead wizard and slid out the door Nott had foolishly opened. She was making her way down the passageway when a strange 'voice' alerted them they weren't alone.

""I smell fresh blood. My master would want me to look while he rests.""

They came face to face with Nagini, and needed to get past the massive snake to reach the stairs. Luna tried reasoning first, with Harry taking control to use his parseltongue abilities.

""There is a fine meal waiting on you at the end of this passageway. Let us both be on our way, you to your meal and me to go about my business. There is no need for us to try and harm each other.""

""Puny speaker, you cannot harm me. My master has placed many protections on his companion. You will be dead before your stick would be of any use. I will not let you pass.""

This snake was bad news, and something Harry hadn't accounted for when he'd earlier had a look around. "There's no telling what protection charms or even rituals Voldemort has used on his snake. If we use heavy magic, we'll bring everyone in the house down on us before you can escape."

"I can take this snake as Moonlight."

"I just wish Bolt and Lady were here to give you a hand."

"The three of us could tear this place down around their ears."

They both knew Luna was trying to boost her confidence, just as they knew Moonlight would have to take this snake on. Their mental conversation had barely taken a few seconds but they could see the snake rear up and was getting ready to strike.

The girl becoming a massive wolf halted the twelve foot long snake's attack, Nagini was smart enough to recognise it was now facing a much deadlier foe.

The snake pausing in its attack was all the encouragement Moonlight needed, she charged.

Nagini was lightning quick but that speed was of little advantage to the snake here in these cramped conditions. The tight passageway severely limited her movement and the wolf seemed to fill the entire width of the corridor. Nagini attempted to spring over the wolf and then attack it from behind but there simply wasn't enough room available to complete such a manoeuvre.

Moonlight tried to grab the snake just below its head but it was so quick. Her jaws did lock around the snake's body but not close enough to her target to prevent the beast sinking its fangs into the wolf's flank. The pain was incredible but that just drove Moonlight into an attacking frenzy, her large canine fangs and sharp claws were ripping the snake to pieces. No creature could sustain that amount of damage and live, even with all of Voldemort's protections.

As Nagini eventually succumbed to Moonlight's attack, the reason for all those protections soon became clear. Luna and Harry knew exactly what they were watching as a black mist left the snake, and then emitted a scream that must have rattled every window in the building. With everyone in the house now alerted, and Moonlight having been repeatedly injected with poisonous snake venom, speed was now far more important than stealth.

With her left hind leg already going numb, Moonlight shot up those steps as fast as she could. Having their escape route already mapped out was paying dividends now, the massive wolf turned left and maintained her speed.

Bulstrode stepped out of a room with her wand already in her hand but didn't stand a chance against the charging wolf. Moonlight's front paws struck Millicent about chest height as the dire wolf went through her as if she wasn't there.

Millicent was left lying in great pain, with deep scratches down her torso and at least a couple of broken ribs from the force she'd been hit with. She was alive though, not something Millicent would have put money on after laying eyes on that nightmare. Moonlight alone could be a terrifying sight. Add in the fact she was covered in Nagini's blood and charging toward you - that really was the stuff of nightmares. Millicent didn't yet know she would never be troubled with nightmares again.

When they had decided to leave by a window, rather than trying to sneak out one of the doors, their plan had Luna opening it and slipping out unnoticed. Harry was desperately trying to talk Luna out of her latest course of action but she wasn't for changing her mind.

"Harry, I have a chance here to finish this. What would you do?" That ended the argument. You couldn't really argue against someone who knew exactly what you would do in any given situation.

Moonlight hit that window as hard as she could, mere bits of wood and pieces of glass never stood a chance. As Harry had feared though, Moonlight didn't escape the house without getting heavily cut. He was desperately urging Moonlight to keep going and find the edge of the wards, Dobby could then have them away in seconds. Again Luna refused.

After a few strides, Moonlight became Luna - a Luna who now couldn't even stand up. She didn't need to stand though for what she planned to do next. Her wand shot into her hand as Luna cast fiendfyre. The difficulty with this particular spell was not in the casting, but rather in the controlling of it once cast. Luna wasn't too bothered about that, since she wanted the spell to do as much damage as possible. This was the only building for at least half a mile in any direction, Luna wanted it burned to the ground. A large flaming wolf shot through the window Moonlight had just destroyed with her dramatic exit.

As the building began to burn, Luna was reduced to using her elbows to crawl in her attempts to get them outside the wards. The snake's venom was pumping through her body, leaving Luna very tired and certainly unable to transform back into Moonlight. Harry offering to personally suck the poison out once they got home had Luna putting on a bit of a spurt, she would certainly enjoy Harry kissing her bum.

All their concentration was now focused on moving her rapidly failing body along to the edge of these wards. Crawl, call for Dobby, crawl some more when their little friend didn't come. Neither had any idea what was happening around them, that was why Snape was able to catch them cold. Both Harry and Luna were apologising to each other for not making it, getting themselves ready to face the inevitable, when Snape surprised the life out of them.

"Potter, if you can hear me, I'm taking her back to Hogwarts. Miss Granger is there, and anxiously awaiting both your return." A portkey activating let them know at least part of what Snape said was the truth.

-oOoOo-

The headmistress's office was ready to descend into utter chaos as Harry suddenly shot up from the couch he'd been lying on for hours. There was no time for that though, there was no time for anything. Grabbing Hermione's hand, Harry was shouting over his shoulder as he barged their way out the office. "Snape's carrying Luna into the castle, she's in a bad way..."

The second they cleared the gargoyle, Bolt and Lady were charging toward the clock tower courtyard. Harry had only left Luna when Snape had carried them inside the Hogwarts wards. He had no idea what just happened regarding their former potions professor but Harry wanted to get back to Luna as quickly as possible.

Severus was just leaving the covered bridge when he spied the pair of massive wolves charging directly at him. Before he could even think about reacting, they had changed into Potter and Granger. The girl was soon scooped from his arms by her worried fiancee.

"I can never thank you enough, Professor. She was so brave tonight but I don't know if we would have found the edge of the wards in time to save her. Voldemort's snake bit Luna, more than once too. Do you know if Madam Pomfrey has anti-venom or will we need to take her to St Mungo's?"

"Take her up to the infirmary. I'll collect some of the proper anti-venom from my store and be along as quickly as I can..."

Harry's thanks was again being shouted over his shoulder in his haste to get Luna to Pomfrey. Hermione was right by his side, unable to speak after seeing Luna's condition. Bulstrode's ministrations has Luna's face all swollen and bruised, jumping through that window had added some deep cuts to the problem too.

Luna's shallow breathing and deathly colouring though were caused by the snake venom, the rest of her injuries would be easily dealt with by the Hogwarts healer.

The rest of the group who had been waiting on news all headed from McGonagall's office, straight to the infirmary. The trio still arrived there before them. Poppy's wand was working on Luna while Harry lay on the bed next to her.

Hermione snogging Harry as Madam Pomfrey treated Luna on the adjacent bed may have appeared shockingly inappropriate, the family though knew exactly what was really going on. Both were merely bringing each other up to speed on what had happened in their absence by the fastest available method. Harry sat up, ready to get tore into Dumbledore but Professor Snape rushing into the infirmary put a stop to that. Luna's recovery was far more important to them.

As Poppy administered the vial of clear liquid to Luna, the potions master helped ease their concerns by expressing his confidence in this treatment. "I have actually milked venom from Nagini before, it was for a potion her master needed. I also brewed a specific anti-venom, just in case the Dark Lord ever decided to set the beast on me."

"You won't have to worry about that again, Professor. The snake met its match tonight in Moonlight, Luna tore it apart..."

That certainly caught Dumbledore's interest. "Are you sure, Harry? This is very important..."

While desperately trying to hold his temper, Harry laid it on the line for the old wizard. "Don't even speak to me, you and I are finished for good. There is nothing else left for me to say to you. If we lose Luna however, I promise you here and in front of witnesses I won't rest until I've made Albus Dumbledore pay."

Luna's woozy voice probably saved a battle kicking off there and then. "Not going anywhere. Harry promised to kiss my bum."

Hermione actually got to Luna before Harry did, she was clinging to her while whispering in her ear. "You stay with us and I'll kiss the other cheek for you."

"Promise?"

"I promise, love."

"Harry, I wanna go home. Need to brush my teeth before any kissing though, that snake didn't taste like chicken."

Harry was now slowly running his fingers through her matted hair. "We'll get you home as soon as we can, love. Madam Pomfrey?"

"Ideally I'd like her to spend the night..."

"Not possible."

"I thought not. I should know within an hour how the anti-venom is working, Luna's initial results are very encouraging. Then it's just a matter of caring for the puncture wounds, though I don't think kissing them better is a method that would work."

Luna chirping in with 'I do!' didn't embarrass her two mates, they were just so glad to have her back.

"Thank you, Madam Pomfrey - you're the best."

Harry then turned his attentions to Amelia, it was time to get down to business. "Madam Bones, at that time we will be leaving Britain - never to return. You, and only you, are welcome to accompany us to our home where I'll answer any and all of your questions. We will not meet or talk with any other members of your ministry. Our family will be cutting all ties with the British magical establishment."

Ignoring Dumbledore's attempts at interrupting, Harry then respectfully bowed to Severus. "Professor Snape, the houses of Potter and Black owe you a debt that can never be repaid. You can call on us at any time for anything."

"Thank you, Mister Potter. I feel I too must apologise, for informing the Dark Lord of your secret. That would not have been my preferred decision. Draco's stance within Slytherin that it was the Dark Lord who made him an orphan did not sit well with my former master. I was given an ultimatum, kill my godson or provide information on how you survived the dementor's kiss. I wanted to declare myself for the light but was persuaded otherwise. You can guess who did the persuading, and gave me the information."

"Severus, you know what I must ask of you. Hermione was there the evening Dumbledore said that to you, which means I know about it too. We both had to deal with being caught in-between Dumbledore and Voldemort, and we're both still standing at the end of it. I'll settle for that and intend to move on with the rest of my life - living it far away from here." Both of them shaking hands was pretty ground breaking, Severus Snape smiling while doing so was momentous.

Deciding to finish all family business today, Harry then addressed Arthur. This task wasn't as pleasant as the last one. "Mr Weasley, I now know everything Hermione does. Tonight Luna had to repeatedly fight for her life, and was also forced to take life as well - your daughter was instrumental in all of that. As well as the physical abuse she clearly suffered, there was also the hidden mental torture of a friend's betrayal to deal with too. Ginny pretended to renew her friendship with our Luna for the sole purpose of betraying her to Bulstrode - all in the vain hope of replacing our wonderful Luna in my affections."

Harry turned to see Hermione and Emma at either side of Luna's bed, the love both ladies possessed for the blonde was clear for all to see.

"Luna is simply irreplaceable, to me and the rest of her family. While Madam Pomfrey has done a wonderful job of healing Luna's physical injuries, the wound of betrayal will take a lot longer to recover from. I reiterate what Hermione said earlier, we shall be pressing all charges."

Arthur could only nod in acknowledgement but this was all unacceptable to Albus. Getting sick of being ignored, the Minister of Magic tried to assert his authority. "Since you seem determined to set the tone of no forgiveness here tonight, I feel we have no choice but to reciprocate in kind. Madam Bones, I must bring to your attention we have three unregistered animagi in this room. If they push for the letter of the law to be upheld, they leave us no option but to do that very same thing."

This had Dan chuckling and coming over to stand with his arm around Harry's shoulder. "He just doesn't know when to quit, does he. Have you notice too it's never his fault, you're the one who's forcing this decision on him. Sirius is technically still on his honeymoon, so do you want Remus to contact the Minister of Magic? I'm sure he would be very interested in this."

"Mister Granger, I am the Minister of Magic."

"No, Dumbledore, You're the British Minister of Magic. The world doesn't end at Britain's shores, no matter what some witches and wizards in this country may think. I was referring to Minister Rossi, the Italian Minister of Magic. I'm sure he would like to know that his British counterpart was trying to blackmail one of his wizards. When that wizard is Harry here, well, do I have to draw a picture? You will certainly be receiving an official censure from the Italian Ministry for deliberately placing one of its citizens in deadly jeopardy, Minister Rossi is quite fond of the future Lady Black. Using an underage Italian witch as bait to catch your Dark Lord is certain to cause an international incident, especially since she is the fiancee of the boy-who-lived."

It was McGonagall who was first to find her voice after that bombshell. "You're not British anymore?"

Hermione came to stand beside the two most important men in her life. "If we didn't have Italian citizenship, we would never have come anywhere near Dumbledore. My mum and Dad even have their licences to practice dentistry in Italy. We were only coming back to Britain for Claire and Sirius' wedding - the timing just fitted the O.W.L. exams. Our Italian should hopefully be good enough by the time we're ready to sit our N.E.W.T.'s next year, so this is goodbye."

This was unacceptable to Dumbledore. "We must know what happened to Voldemort..."

"He's dead!" This statement now had all eyes on Severus. "The Dark Lord was hiding at the old Riddle Manor in Little Hangleton. I wouldn't be able to tell you that if he was still alive, the charm died with him. I left the Dark Lord unconscious in his chambers, those chambers were at the other side of the house from where they made their escape. I'm guessing everyone ran there as you got out..."

Harry nodded his agreement at that. "Bloody horcrux made enough noise to wake all the dead in the cemetery. We had to get out of there fast. Instead of escaping past the wards, Luna transformed back and set the house on fire. Looks like she destroyed the last horcrux and got Voldemort too Luna was magnificent tonight."

Harry's last statement found no disagreement from anyone there. Knowing the teens were solely concentrating on leaving Little Hangleton at the time, Severus brought everyone up to date with the results of their actions.

"There will be nothing for your aurors to find, Madam Bones. The house was collapsing in on itself by the time I got there. It was only the fierce flames lighting up the night sky for miles around that allowed me to spot the girl crawling on the grass. With everyone attracted to the other side of the house by the horcrux, there would have been no one left to get the Dark Lord out before the fire spread to his location. Death eaters aren't the type to race into a burning building to rescue anyone."

Amelia felt a great weight lift of her at that news. Voldemort was gone, really gone. "Just from what I'm hearing here, there is no doubt in my mind Luna deserves an Order of Merlin..."

That caused an outburst from Hermione. "Stick it up Dumbledore's arse!" Hermione then buckling with laughter saw Harry's arm going around her waist.

"That's my girls! How are you feeling, Luna?"

"Much better, now I'm not in a body that feels as if it's drunk. I still meant what I said about any award, even if I did embarrass Hermione."

Ron was trying to put a grin on his face but couldn't quite pull it off. "Now I know why she's changed so much! I really like this version of Hermione. Luna, I can only apologise for Ginny."

"Not needed Ron, and it doesn't affect how the three of us think about you."

Hermione retook control and, now they knew what to look for, everyone could spot the difference. "Ron, would you and Susan like to spend some of the holidays with us? It would also let people see we have no quarrel with the rest of the Weasley family. It was only Ginny who tried to hurt us."

Susan squeezing his hand to say yes wasn't really necessary, Ron had already made his mind up. "That would be great, Hermione - or is it Luna?"

"Oh, I'm always Hermione, no matter whether I'm sharing Harry or Luna. Her temper just saw that coming out before I could edit the wording. She now knows Voldemort planned this tonight. Dumbledore though knew every detail before it happened, and again it suited him to stand back with his hands in his pockets. Luna's anger at Dumbledore is certainly justified. Neville, Parvatti, would you like to come stay with us over part of the summer too?"

"Miss Granger, I need Miss Potter back in her own body so I can monitor her condition. You do want me to discharge her tonight, don't you?"

Madam Pomfrey's summons had Luna back in her body within seconds while the Gryffindor couple confirmed to Harry they would be delighted to visit along with Ron and Susan.

Emma was now hugging Harry as Sirius stepped forward and offered to shake Severus' hand too. If anyone could appreciate looking out for your godson, it was the marauder. This was also a historic handshake, one that seemed to end bad chapters in both of their lives.

Sirius was now a married man while the Hogwarts defence curse would be striking again, Severus Snape was done teaching dunderheads. The demise of the Dark Lord left both wizards now able to concentrate on the rest of their lives. Severus actually agreed with Harry's decision on this, the rest of his life would be spent outside Britain too. The Defence N.E.W.T. was Wednesday, He intended to leave Hogwarts directly after his last student had finished their exam.

There were no offered hands of friendship or hugs for Albus, the Minister for Magic found himself sitting alone. He had just achieved his goal, a goal he'd been working toward for over two decades, Voldemort was no more. Why then did he feel like shit?

His wand had quickly eased the pain from the physical blow Arthur had dealt him. There was no quick fix however to the pain caused by one of his strongest supporters so publicly and bitterly turning against him. With all involved standing firm on the matter of Ginny's punishment, Arthur's opinion of Albus Dumbledore wouldn't be changing any time soon. Facing Molly Weasley was only one of a number of unpleasant encounters his immediate future now held.

The actions of Severus tonight also felt like a betrayal. Airing all Albus' secrets in public was so unlike the wizard he'd thought of as a friend. With Voldemort now gone, Severus' oaths to both Albus and the Dark Lord no longer existed. Albus knew the potions master and defence expert would be gone from Britain within the week.

Amelia, Augusta and the Italian Ministry's ire could be neatly sidestepped by the simple act of him resigning as Minister of Magic. This was something he was more than eager to do - the instant it could be officially confirmed Voldemort was indeed gone. With Harry, Hermione and Luna destroying the diary, diadem and locket horcruxes, they more than anyone would recognise another one being destroyed. Albus certainly believed them when they said the one inside Voldemort's familiar was dealt with.

Having himself been forcibly ejected from Miss Granger's mind, whilst only performing a light surface scan, he also had no trouble believing Voldemort's fate after attempting a full frontal mind attack.

Minerva's comments about there being no future for him inside Hogwarts was another terrible blow, but an understandable one from the headmistress' point of view. Two of her students, Nott and Bulstrode, were probably dead. A third was being held in a ministry cell while a pair of former students barely escaped tonight with their lives.

Albus thought at a minimum Ginny Weasley would find herself expelled, with her wand snapped and magic bound. Ronald standing as Harry's best man at his wedding to Miss Granger might be the only thing that saved the Weasley family from the public backlash that would surly follow this incident. That, and the same backlash having an alternative target.

Albus had no such shield to offer protection. Instead of being remembered as the minister who had rid the country of Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort, he would be known as the Minister of Magic that drove Harry Potter from Britain. That Harry would also now reject his Order of Merlin, First Class, was perfectly understood by everyone here tonight without anyone even having to ask. Albus had no wish to hear Harry telling him where to stick it, his future Lady Black had already put forward their solution to that matter.

The public would be baying for his blood, a mere ministerial resignation wasn't going to quench that thirst. Even without her earlier proclamation, Minerva wouldn't be able to offer him a job in Hogwarts anyway. Albus could see he would be finished in Britain yet that in itself wasn't what really hurt. With the Dark Lord gone, magical Britain was not only free - it stood at a critical crossroads. What really hurt was the country's wizard and witches would choose what direction to take their country without Albus being able to have any influence on that decision.

In nineteen thirty eight, Albus Dumbledore renewed his acquaintance with Hogwarts as its Transfiguration Professor. Even from that position, he was able to influence young minds. After his defeat of Gellert, and receiving an Order of Merlin, First Class, for doing so, the students of Hogwarts looked upon him with hero worship. That hero worship wasn't restricted to just the students of Hogwarts. Within a decade, he was Headmaster, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and magical Britain's representative to the rest of the world - through the I.C.W. A wizard who was the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards should not be flushed away like a used piece of toilet paper in their country's hour of need, but that's what was happening here.

Albus was looking around the room that contained three of the people who would be favourite to replace him as Minister of Magic. Arthur though was realistically now out of the running for that position, especially after what his daughter had done became public. That his youngest son was still Harry Potter's best friend would certainly help the Weasleys. Ronald spending some of the holidays with him in Italy, before standing as Harry's best man at his wedding to Miss Granger, might just be enough to save not only the Weasley family but Arthur's position in the ministry too. Albus also thought the brilliant Miss Granger was easily shrewd enough to know this when she invited Ronald to their home in Italy earlier.

Harry Potter played a part in the capture of Barty Crouch junior, personally put down Bellatrix and Rabastan Lestrange and probably finished Rodolphus tonight. The loss of his brother and wife, combined with Voldemort laying low resulted in Rodolphus hitting the firewhisky - hard. Severus had reported the last Lestrange was drunk most nights, making it a fair bet the fire accounted for him too.

With a record like that, and then inviting her grandson to be a groomsman at his wedding, Augusta Longbottom practically worshiped the ground Harry Potter walked on. With Harry saying both his families were leaving Britain, citing Albus Dumbledore as the cause, there would be no sympathy or succour heading in Albus' direction from the Longbottom family, especially Augusta. The fact Augusta knew that, if it suited Dumbledore's ends, he wouldn't have thought twice about using Neville in a scheme like tonight's was conveniently overlooked by the supposed brilliant wizard.

Amelia was the real danger though, Amelia Bones could take magical Britain in directions that would change it forever. With her Susan's association with Ronald, Amelia could even offer Arthur some protection inside the ministry - winning her a loyal supporter. Amelia being the only member of the British Ministry Harry Potter would even talk to should make her a shoo in for the top post, Augusta would probably second her. Being able to choose her successor for the post of Head of the D.M.L.E. would give Amelia a power base that was practically untouchable. A leaked 'I talked to Harry about this' would see her able to push just about anything she wanted through the Wizengamot.

His tired old eyes then settled on the cause of all this turmoil, Harry James Potter. Albus didn't really care for concocted and hyphenated names, Harry though could easily be considered the boy-who-had-it-all. A bona-fide hero who was already awarded the country's highest honour for bravery. Defeated the Dark Lord again, with one of his fiancees deserving the same award for her part in that too. Head of two old families and yet picked his own brides for both, brides who would certainly be assets to him in whatever endeavours he chose to undertake in the future. He could have been Minister of Magic by the time he was thirty, after giving Arthur Weasley a few terms in the post to quieten things down first.

Magical Britain would become a wonderful place with Harry Potter as Minister of Magic, and Albus would hopefully still be around - quietly advising in the background. Instead of this bright future Albus had foreseen, Harry was pulling up family roots that went centuries deep. All in the name of protecting those same families whose traditions he was spitting on.

It was like a spoilt child not wanting to play the game anymore, they were taking their quidditch set and going away. Why couldn't Harry see that in life there was only the game, and mastering it was by far the best way to protect those he professed to love. It also went without needing to be said that the best way to master something was to learn from an acknowledged master of the subject. Albus had been so looking forward to teaching the boy too.

What was the point in discovering Harry didn't need to die, only for him to be as good as dead since he refused all contact from those who could help him. When you played the great game, sometimes you had to sacrifice your queen to win. Harry was even in the fortunate position of having a spare. The boy was just too young to see this, which is why Albus would never have made Harry an adult… He was drawn out of his musings by the increased noise from those now getting ready to leave.

"We're coming home too. Dobby can pop Claire and I back into our cabin in the morning. I won't be able to settle until I see everyone back home, and my wife agrees with me." Claire just kissed him on the cheek, Sirius took that as agreement.

Arrangements were also being made amongst the younger company too. "The express leaves on Saturday. We can arrange a port key that would take the four of you from Hogshead to our home in Italy. You can spend the first couple of weeks of the holiday with us."

Hermione loved Harry's timetable too. "We can get all the clothes sorted for the wedding. Winky can make any alterations needed by the time September comes around. Ron will probably be another couple of inches taller by then."

With three parents/guardians giving their agreement at once, only Parvatti was going to have to write home and ask for permission. She didn't think that would be a problem.

Harry scooped Luna up in his arms, despite her half-hearted protests that she was able to walk, as they made their way outside the infirmary. At the edge of the Hogwarts wards their two wonderful elves would ferry everyone to Grimmauld Place. Then it was an international portkey ride and they were home.

Since Amelia had been invited, she too would be leaving with them. She had already used the floo and arranged for there to be aurors crawling all over what was left of the old Riddle Manor in Little Hangleton, what she needed now was to discover the events leading up to that building being burned to the ground.

Amelia was aware she would then be interviewing Italian citizens on Italian soil, and that she would have no jurisdiction whatsoever. She wasn't sure what went on in that manor but Harry had effectively ensured there was nothing Amelia could do about it if she didn't like what she heard. After Dumbledore's efforts to bring them up on charges earlier, she thought this was an incredibly smart move. With them ridding the country of Voldemort, Amelia was prepared to cut this group all the slack she could.

 
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