You're my Density

Just Suppose Harry hadn't heeded his godfather's advice, and actually lost his temper at his trial? Time travel fic and title is 'Back to the Future' joke.


23. A Foolish Old Man

Kneeling beside her injured son, Cissi watched intently as Madam Pomfrey cast diagnostic charms on Draco. She was studying the Hogwarts healer's features and body language for any sign of bad news when Cissi then heard the absolute worst prognosis possible. That this terminal diagnosis didn't originate from Madam Pomfrey was immaterial, both she and Draco were as good as dead. That stupid pig she called a husband had just done the unthinkable - he had attempted to harm Potter's mudblood.

A lot of things began to fall into place for Cissi, including why Draco was almost murdered by a bludger today. Potter had specifically warned them against this course of action, and Lucius had chosen to ignore that warning - and been caught doing so. Not only that, the stupid bastard had gone after the one person guaranteed to ensure Potter carried out the full extent of his dire threat. The cold hand of fear gripped Cissi's heart, squeezing so tight it almost stopped beating. That Potter could get Draco murdered in full view of all of Hogwarts, with no blame attaching to the Gryffindor, took Cissi right back to the night she saw her son's severed head lying in her bed.

Vowing that would never happen, she stood tall and proud.

"I saw him slip that book into the pocket of Lord Potter's intended..."

This stopped all conversation so Cissi continued. "I'm prepared to swear an oath on what I saw, and also that I had no idea what the book was. If it was something intending to harm Miss Granger, I played no part nor had any knowledge of that."

"You traitorous bitch. I'll cast you and your whelp out of my family."

In any battle between his parents, Draco knew which side he would come down on. That his father had forced him to play on against that rogue bludger, and then threatened to disown him left Draco with nothing to lose.

"He slipped a book into Granger's pocket while Potter was fighting with Weasley inside Flourish and Blots. I saw him too."

With the quality and quantity of the people surrounding him, Lucius understood he couldn't start firing off curses, as much as he'd like to. Slowly and carefully placing his hand on his wand, at least thankful he didn't need draw it to disinherit these two. Then Bones cut in, preempting his actions.

"Lucius Malfoy, what I've heard here today is more than enough evidence to arrest you. I also know what that book is, or was, and witnessed its evil taint being removed." Amelia hadn't actually witnessed that happening to the book, seeing the locket horcrux blasting Dumbledore across the room was more than enough for her though.

"You will have a fair trial, one where truth serum will be used. Only you know what that serum will reveal. These revaluations are something you might want to consider before casting the sole Malfoy heir out of the family. Somehow, I don't think you'll be begetting another heir - not from inside an Azkaban cell."

Doing that careful considering didn't improve Lucius' temper any. He did manage to moderate his revenge however. He cast Cissi out of the family, firstly claiming Draco as his son, before having his wand taken and cuffs placed on his wrists. While this would pay Draco's education fees, and include a small stipend, it would be nowhere near enough to provide for his now nameless and penniless mother. It would be almost five years before Draco could get his hands on the Malfoy money, a lot could happen in that time.

Draco was about to angrily tell his father to shove it somewhere the sun didn't shine but a glare from his mother prevented that. They watched on as Madam Bones and her fiancé, Lord Black, led Lucius away.

Though he knew nothing of Harry's warning to the Malfoys, Albus was well aware they blamed Lucius for the attack on the Grangers' home - and also slipping the diary horcrux to Hermione. Albus was delighted Lucius had just been arrested, and also confident Amelia could make it stick. Young Draco's life being put on the line to achieve this was not something he could however condone. Albus was placing an incredible amount of faith in this young couple and the very thought of them being involved in this fiasco worried him greatly. Since most of Hogwarts would rapidly reach the same conclusion, he decided to get the matter out in the open.

"Harry, do you have any idea why that bludger targeted Mister Malfoy?"

"No Sir. Like Mrs Malfoy, I would be prepared to give my oath on the matter - specifically that I wasn't involved in any way. It's not so long ago I was lying there injured, I would never be part of something causing that to a fellow player. Ollie had me concentrating on catching the snitch, knowing you or Professor Vector would stop the game if it looked like the Slytherin seeker was in real danger. We wanted to win, but I honestly don't think we needed a rogue bludger to achieve that result."

Albus had spent his entire life learning to read people, he was as sure as he could be that Harry was telling the truth here. The relief Harry's words brought to Draco's mother was also unmistakable, and gave the headmaster an idea.

"Ma'am, since my defence professor just performed a spell on a student he was neither qualified nor proficient in, I will be sacking Gilderoy Lockhart - when he recovers. I now find myself without a defence professor, and wondered if you might be interested in applying for the job? We can take the ease of your defeating the position's former holder as proof of your abilities in this subject. As a full time post though, I feel I must warn you that residing within Hogwarts is a requirement of the position."

Cissi's emotions had matched her son's manoeuvres on his broom as he'd tried to stay one step ahead of that bludger - they'd been up, down and all over the place. Hearing Potter say he didn't set that bludger on Draco lifted her spirits from the pit of despair they'd plummeted into. Like Dumbledore, she believed the boy.

Turning on Lucius was always going to see her expelled from the Malfoy family, thankfully Draco was spared that fate. She was going to have enough trouble trying to support herself without having to put her son through Hogwarts too. Now Dumbledore had just thrown her an unbelievable lifeline - paid work, free lodgings, and she would get to see Draco every day.

"Thank you, Headmaster. I won't play any games in this matter, we both know I now desperately need this job. Since I am no longer a Malfoy, nor a Black, I'll revert to my mother's maiden name. If you don't mind, I would like to be known as Professor Rosier?"

Since this appointment would be mutually beneficial on so many levels, Albus wasn't too bothered what his new defence professor called herself. Harry however had more to say on the quidditch situation.

"Sir, could you and the four heads of house review the quidditch rules? Leaving that job to the captains saw no changes being made. Without those rules preventing action, Madam Hooch would have instantly taken that rogue bludger out of the game. I think I can speak for all four teams in saying we trust her to be impartial, and also look out for our safety. There are all these rules from professional quidditch preventing her doing that very thing in a school game."

"You make some very good points, Mister Potter, points I can't find argument with. I will also include Madam Hooch in that meeting, with the results posted in time for the next match."

Nodding in thanks, Harry turned to find Hermione and their friends waiting on him. Handing a flabbergasted Dudley the snitch he'd caught, the group then filed off the pitch. He waved up to their family still in the stands, Emma, Dan and Petuinia were left trying to explain what had happened here today to visiting parents who were getting their first look at Hogwarts.

That those on the pitch and all the spectators still in the stands erupted in cheering as Draco was being floated off the park would help with that explanation, as would stating truthfully that he would be fit for classes on Monday. Harry was certain none of the trio of muggle professors would be explaining that the cheering wasn't sportsmanship for the injured player, rather a spontaneous and universal show of appreciation for his mother. Not only did the former Mrs Malfoy destroy the despised Gilderoy Lockhart, she managed to get him booted out of Hogwarts too. Now that certainly deserved a round of applause.


The atmosphere inside Hogwarts was usually heightened after a quidditch match, one of the reasons the muggle parents had been invited to attend this weekend. That Hogwarts now had a new defence professor took that heightened atmosphere straight into the party bracket - with even the losing Slytherin house celebrating Lockhart's leaving. The speed and skill that Draco's mother had shown in taking Lockhart apart gave the student's hope that this time they might actually have a professor who could teach them how to defend themselves.

Since Amelia and Sirius dragged Lucius off to a ministry cell, the meeting with Dumbledore to discuss the horcrux hunt was postponed until the following weekend, Halloween.

With Dudley and Petunia in the castle, it took until bedtime before Harry and Hermione got a chance to talk privately with their elf friend.

Dobby popped into Hermione's bedroom as soon as the couple were alone, a smiling Hermione greeted him.

"I almost choked trying to hold my laughter back today. A little prior warning might have helped…"

"Dobby is sorry but Darla being at Hogwarts was unexpected, Dobby had to act. Dobby also knew Harry remembered how he fooled Malfoy before…"

Harry was also grinning at their friend. "When you shoved that diary in my hand I didn't know what was happening, until I spotted the female elf behind Malfoy. I thought Dumbledore had the diary hidden somewhere safe?"

"Headmaster did, and Dobby has already returned it to the safe place…"

Cutting right to the heart of the matter, Hermione asked the all-important question. "How's Darla?"

"Darla is glad to be away from Malfoys, but worried she now doesn't have a family…"

"Of course she has a family. You're her family now, and you're certainly part of our family. Call Darla…" Harry didn't get to say anymore before the little female elf appeared, standing right beside Dobby. Both he and Hermione noticed the elves automatically reach for each other's hand. Harry knelt to be on the same level as the pair of house elves, trying to reassure a worried looking female elf.

"Darla, my Hermione considers Dobby as her brother, and he's certainly one of my very best friends. Dobby is family to us, and our family would be delighted if you wished to join it too. I understand today has been traumatic for you so take all the time you need to make your mind up about this, the offer will always be there for you."

The shocked look on the female elf's face was only match by the ear to ear grin Dobby was sporting.

"Darla has heard from Dobby about his wonderful family, and now Darla sees it for herself. Dara's mind is already made up, Darla wants to be a Potter - like Dobby."

Hermione was now knelling beside Harry and Hugged both elves, getting a squeal from Darla. "You'll need to get used to that, Darla. My Hermione likes her hugs. Dobby, was Draco in any danger today?"

Hermione sprang to the elf's defence. "Dobby would never kill the little shit, unless he was about to murder one of us. Draco getting banged about and scared witless worked for me."

"Dobby would not kill old master's son. If that son was injured, and could not produce any more Malfoys, Dobby could live with that."

Thinking to what a future Draco had attempted to do to Hermione, and what he had done to girls they now considered friends, Harry could have lived with that result too. "You freed Darla, got Lucius Malfoy arrested and Lockhart kicked out of the castle - that's a stellar day right there, Dobby."

The hero worship coming from Darla in Dobby's direction was so reminiscent of the way Dobby used to treat Harry that Hermione just had to giggle. A blushing Dobby was struggling to cope with the praise from Harry, and the adulation of the female elf who still held his hand.

"Dobby was just trying to free his friend, nothing more."

"Sometimes life throws you a break, Dobby. We'll gladly accept this one. Darla, has Dobby told you why you'll now both need to stay hidden?" The nods confirming that fact, Hermione continued. "Good, you'll be able to meet my parents later..."

Darla then brought up something she was clearly struggling with. "Dobby says we will eat dinner with your parents on Monday?" While she certainly didn't want to cast any doubt on something Dobby had said, this was just too strange for Darla to even contemplate being real.

"When my mum and dad are at home, Dobby pops in every night to have dinner with them - and keep us all up to date on what's happening. You're part of our family now. Not a servant, and certainly not a slave. I have known Dobby for more years than you may think. He's looked after me more like a brother than a servant, and that is how I think of him. I hope one day we can be as close too..."

After the day she just had, these unbelievable words of kindness saw Darla in tears. A hug from Dobby was soon being returned. "Darla had heard the stories from Dobby, but Darla did not know what to believe. Darla is sorry, Dobby."

"When Dobby worked for the Malfoys, Dobby would not have believed such stories either. Dobby understands, Darla should not be sorry - or sad."

"Darla is not sad, this is the happiest day of Darla's life."

The two students were almost forgotten by the elves, until Harry interrupted. "We want all your days from now on to be happy, Darla. Welcome to the family."

A four way hug preceded the elves' departures, allowing Harry and Hermione to climb into bed. Harry had a final question though, before sleep claimed them.

"What does the happenings of today do to your future knowledge?"

After thinking about that for a few minutes, Hermione gave the only answer she could. "Apart from tomorrow being Sunday, I haven't a bloody clue what happens next." Harry snuggling in deeper at that answer was not the response Hermione expected.

"Why do I get the feeling you liked that news?"

It was Harry's turn to carefully consider his answer. "Like is probably the wrong term to use. I certainly can see how not knowing what will happen next loses us our advantage. We'd made so many changes though, that was always going to happen. With all the training and lessons you've been giving me, and your lack of future knowledge, I feel like we're on a more even footing now. Does that sound silly?"

With a chortle of laughter, she kissed her intended. "I don't know about silly, but I certainly recognise it as something my Harry would say. Goodnight love, and never change."

Snuggling in for the night, Hermione heard him mutter 'it would seem I can't' before both felt the stresses of the day fade away as sleep paid a welcome visit.


Changes were also foremost on Cissi's mind as she sat down to lunch, for the first time as a professor, in the great hall that Sunday. She'd eaten her meals with Draco in the infirmary but Madam Pomphery had now released her son. She knew Draco would play up his injury, using it as an excuse for Slytherin losing the match. That at least hadn't changed.

Finding yourself at the staff table, and sitting beside a muggle was certainly new.

"Delighted to see your son back on his feet. My nephew was injured playing quidditch last term, I'm glad I wasn't here to see it. The magical form of medical treatment amazes me though. An injury like that would have taken months to recover from in our world."

Petunia had hit on the one thing she and Hogwarts' newest professor had in common, they both doted on their sons. While thanking this woman for her concern over Draco, Cissi just had to ask the obvious question. "Aren't you supposed to be teaching the young students how great the muggle world is? Complimenting something magical flies in the face of that."

Petunia just smiled at those words. "A rather popular misconception. We see our task as passing on knowledge of our world, both good and bad, so our students can make their own minds up about things."

"I have to say, some of the things Draco has told me about those lessons seems quite far-fetched…"

This time Petunia actually chuckled. "That's a polite way of saying he didn't believe a word of it. It's also the reaction we expected. To be honest, without witnessing magic, I wouldn't believe it existed either - even though it clearly does. That is why it's so important that we can take the students outside of Hogwarts on an educational visit, so they can see some of the things we talk about for themselves. Only then will they have a chance of making their own minds up."

"I'm surprised Dumbledore was able to get that past the school board. They normally keep a tight grip of the purse strings."

"Professor Dumbledore insisted we got paid a salary, though none of us wanted it. Just being able to visit the world my sister belonged to is more than enough for me. That the two men in my life are here too leaves me thinking I should be the one paying Hogwarts."

Petunia couldn't help but smile in Dudley and Vernon's direction as she said that. Both were sitting having lunch at the Gryffindor table, with non magical parents sprinkled throughout the great hall. Like the Dursleys, they would all be leaving for home after lunch.

"Emma, Dan, Augusta and I all pool those salaries, this is what's going to pay for any trips into the non magical world. We hope to organise something before Christmas."

Looking around what would effectively be her new home, Cissi was left shaking her head. "I don't envy your task. I'm seeing this but still not sure if I believe it. That nephew of yours seems to have kicked off a revolution in magical Britain. Revolutions though always throw up casualties, my former husband being one."

"I thought you were very brave yesterday. That couldn't have been easy..."

"Actually, it was. I don't know if you're aware of this but your nephew is a very powerful wizard, magically and politically. Lucius had already crossed Harry, and was warned not to do so again. To then attempt to harm his intended could have destroyed all three of us. I will do anything to protect my son, including turning on his father."

"I knew Lucius Malfoy was involved in the attack on the Grangers' home, they actually had photographic proof. Since what Harry did to the last wizard who tried to harm Hermione was front page news for days, I can't help but see your point. I find it hard to believe my nephew could be so ruthless. Then again, if Hermione was in danger, he would take on the entire country to protect her."

That news was not exactly new, but it still sent a shiver of dread down Cissi's spine. She tried her best to cover it up. "If our world is changing, I want my son to be prepared for those changes. An open mind will serve him much better than an open mouth - especially if he's parroting his father's words. Your nephew is the catalyst for those changes, with Hogwarts being the epicentre. Working here is going to provide me with a front row seat, and help me steer my son in the direction he needs to go. The more I think about it, the more I know I'm going to enjoy working here."

"Working in Hogwarts was a shock for me too, I have to say though it's something I'm really enjoying. I usually just portkey here on a Monday morning, leaving Hogwarts after lunch. I've also enjoyed our talk, and if there's anything I can help you with - you only have to ask."

Albus had been using Hermione and, to a lesser extent, Harry as barometers to gauge how well things were going. Today he didn't need to look anywhere near the young couple. He was sitting close enough to Cissi and Petunia that Albus had overheard every word. He agreed with Cissi about Harry and Hogwarts, which was why he didn't have to seek out the young couple to discover how well things were going. Hogwarts itself was telling Albus, telling everyone, they were on a better path.

The positive energy being generated in the great hall felt strong enough to repel a dementor. Happy students, happy parents and happy staff, the holy trinity for a headmaster - and Albus was one happy headmaster. He was beginning to think they just might pull this off. Put a stop to Voldemort returning and, almost more importantly, turn their world away from the self destructive route it had been heading down before the time travellers came to Hogwarts.

If someone as aged, knowledgeable and experienced as Albus could get caught up in all the positive vibes, then it was hardly surprising the rest of the country could too? This just ensured that when tragedy struck, it would resonate with everyone all the more.


While Harry was sad to see the Dursleys leave, he wasn't sorry to see the back of the Creeveys. Turns out Colin had a younger brother, Dennis, who had visited along with his parents. Colin had obviously been sending pictures home with his letters because Dennis recognised Harry immediately, and his parents didn't read the Prophet. The thought of another Creevey stalker had Harry cringing, and Hermione giggling.

She had some good and bad news for her intended. Harry decided to get the bad news over with first and actually groaned as Hermione whispered in his ear that Dennis would be in Gryffindor too. A kiss preceded the good news - it would be nearly two years before that would happen.

Ron had been sure him getting resorted into Hufflepuff and repeating first year would be forgotten about by the time the first quidditch match was played. Turned out he was way off with that estimate. Ron Weasley had been forgotten about by the first morning, when Potter fought Lockhart. Being in Hufflepuff wasn't so bad, there was certainly no pressure on him to shine. Even after having already completed first year, Ron wasn't top of the year - or even close to being top. He wasn't bottom though, and Hufflepuffs appeared happy just to place somewhere in the middle of their year group. This was something he thought achievable. It may be he would be in the bottom half of the middle group, but near the top of the bottom group. In some weird way that probably only made sense in Ron's head, he thought that would be great.

The idea of working harder to get himself up that list never entered his head. That might be because there wasn't any room left in his head for all the schemes he kept thinking up to get back at Potter. Ron however at least still had the sense to know his schemes needed to stay exactly where they were, in his head.

He had laughed his head off yesterday while that bludger chased Malfoy all over the sky. Ron simply didn't believe neither Potter nor Granger were involved in a prank his brothers would have been proud of, a prank pulled off right under Dumbledore's nose too.

Until he could come up with a foolproof plan to get back at Potter, Ron would be keeping his head down. As a Hufflepuff firstie, he blended into the background in Hogwarts. That's exactly where he intended to stay, unnoticed. Sometimes in chess you let your opponent underestimate you, before moving in to win the game. Ron's time would come, he was sure of it. There was no ticking clock this year, he could afford to take his time.

Luna wasn't sure of her facts, which is why she was in the Grangers' accommodation with Harry, Hermione and both professors. She'd sent a letter home to her father about the muggle course being taught at Hogwarts, and her father had wondered if there could be an article for the Quibbler in this. What Luna was learning in this class though was very difficult to put into words, especially since she didn't understand some of the things being taught.

Emma was explaining to the first year this got right to the crux of the problems they were having while teaching the course before Hermione had an idea. Knowing her parents were already fond of Luna saw her making the offer.

"You really have to experience it for yourself, before you'll be able to write about it. So, how would you like to spend some of the Christmas holidays with us?"

The little blonde's entire face lit up with delight at that offer. "I was going to be spending Christmas in the castle…"

That was all Emma had to hear. "It's settled then, you can spend the Christmas holidays with us. You'll be sharing a room with Hermione so I don't see Petunia having a problem with that arrangement either. You need to write home and get your father's permission first, and then we're good to go."

Looking around the room and seeing four people smiling back at her had Luna on cloud nine. "I'll write to daddy in the morning but I already know he'll say yes. In these changing times, an article on 'a muggle Christmas' should get a lot of interest. Thank you so much for inviting me."

This drew a chuckle from Hermione. "You're very welcome, Luna, though you may need a bodyguard in Gryffindor when Colin and Ginny hear where you're spending Christmas.'

"I don't think they'll be too bothered by the where, it's more the who I'll be spending it with that will upset them. I could say I wouldn't tell them but I'm far too excited to keep this to myself."

Harry couldn't help but tease her a little more. "Wait until they find out that you'll be at the Longbottom Ball and Lord Black's wedding too…" Seeing Luna almost hyperventilating resulted in Harry putting his arm around her shoulders. "What's the matter, Luna?"

"I really want to spend Christmas with you both but I couldn't impose…"

"…and that is why Luna Lovegood is being invited. Apart from the fact you're our friend, a friend we like spending time with, you would never impose on that friendship. We'll have a great time…"

Luna couldn't help herself. she hugged Harry, then Hermione before repeatedly thanking Emma and Dan for inviting her. She practically floated back to the Gryffindor common room. Walking in alongside Harry and Hermione would always get you noticed, the large grin Luna wore though was more than enough to catch the attention of fellow Gryffindors.

Harry knew Hermione had promised Luna wouldn't be a friendless waif this time around, he fully supported his intended in those intentions. They would certainly be spending time with their friends over the Christmas holidays, adding Luna to that group was no hardship. They could also ensure her article was factually correct, and something like that getting published could only help with what they were trying to achieve.


Cissi was in her classroom early, trying to prepare herself for the ordeal of facing her students more than her lesson. She wasn't really prepared for the pair of students who entered her class well before that lesson was due to start.

"Good morning, Professor Rosier, and good luck with your first class."

Cissi could only nod as Hermione then took over from her intended to explain the reason behind the couple's unscheduled visit. "Harry and I have enjoyed our self-study defence classes, and have the Headmaster's permission to continue doing so. We wanted to tell you that ourselves, and say this is no slight on your abilities as a professor. All our friends who were studying with us will now be taking your class, allowing Harry and I to push further ahead with our own studies. I also want to reiterate what Harry said on Saturday. Neither of us were involved with what happened to Draco, and we would be prepared to give you an oath to prove that."

"Miss Granger, Lord Potter, I thank you for the offer but those oaths won't be necessary. I shall also be working on my son to stop him pulling his wand on people, especially you two."

"Thank you, Professor. Draco has now attempted to attack us twice. As I previously told your former husband, a third attack would see us retaliate - rather than just shielding."

Rather irked at that last comment from Potter, Cissi kept her cool while trying to garner more information on these two. "If the Headmaster has given you permission to continue your self-study for defence, there's nothing I can do about that. I have to say I'm rather surprised, I really believe everyone benefits from having someone more experienced teaching them. Unless you are both so advanced you don't need me? Just what level are you at?"

Harry's wand slipped into his hand and Prongs was soon galloping around the classroom, searching for enemies. Hermione's otter quickly joined the stag, leaving Cissi flabbergasted.

"That's impossible! Twelve year olds can't cast a patronus - that's N.E.W.T. level magic."

As the animals faded away, so did Harry and Hermione. Just before they left the classroom, a smiling Harry corrected the professor. "Hermione is actually thirteen."

"Oh, that explains it then..." Cissi was whispering that comment to herself as the couple left her classroom. These two may be considered adults because of their awards but, by their casual use of such an advanced charm, it would appear their magic was able to back that age up. She knew Draco wasn't anywhere near that level and would certainly be ensuring her son didn't deliberately antagonise them again.

She believed both of them when they said they weren't involved in the bludger attack on Draco, but to then take down Lucius in such a devastating fashion showed their true abilities. Whether that was planned or just them taking advantage of a presented opportunity didn't really matter, that they engineered his arrest was a feat no one else had been able to manage. Cissi also had no doubts that her former husband would be spending his immediate future in Azkaban, leaving her time to hopefully guide Draco down a path that would ensure her son had a bright future. Teaching in Hogwarts could only help her discover just what direction this elusive path was leading.


Gilderoy's path was leading him out of Hogwarts. Once the healer had released him, he discovered his trunks were already packed and waiting on his departure. Dumbledore had made him aware that, should he wish to contest this decision, a meeting of the school board could be convened to hear his case. Since McGonagall and Longbottom were on that board, and Dumbledore had a massive influence on the other members, Gilderoy Lockhart's days as a professor inside Hogwarts were now over.

Although admittedly gifted in the use of memory charms, Gilderoy was not able to cast a countrywide obliviate. That's what would be required to stop people remembering his defeat at the talons of Potter's owl - and all the press coverage that event generated. He knew time alone would see that event move to the back of people's memories, allowing him to once more proudly walk down Diagon Alley and gain the adulation he deserved.

Gilderoy needed more time in Hogwarts, time for people to forget - and for him to turn things around. Healing the young Malfoy boy's leg would have been a large leap up the ladder of exoneration, if his spell had worked as intended. Instead he was once more heavily defeated in public, and then suffered the ignominy of being sacked. With the witch who defeated him then taking his job, Gilderoy knew there was nothing left for him in Britain.

He would once more have to go on his travels, listening out for stories that could be his next book. He was sure that, by the time Gilderoy Lockhart's new book hit the shelves, the British wizarding public would be back adoring him again. That he didn't have to repay all those books he'd sold to the students put a smile on his face. Gilderoy had made a career out of being able to see the positive in any situation, and by his use of the memory charm.


Lucius' charm and gold was useless against the truth serum. He was lucky to escape a dementor's kiss, though a sentence of spending the rest of his life in Azkaban could hardly be called lucky. That bitch Bones had carved him up like a Christmas turkey. No public trial, no questions that could incriminate Fudge asked.

The judging panel had obviously been briefed on whatever that diary was, his admission of what he hoped the diary would achieve being more than enough to see him convicted. Being unable to deny that he became a death eater of his own free will was nothing more than the final nail in his coffin.

He was still trying to figure out where everything had gone wrong but there was no hurry, Lucius Malfoy would have the rest of his life to work on that problem - he wouldn't be doing anything else inside his Azkaban cell.


Hermione was awoken by a kiss from Harry, the scent of roses sweetening the air. She soon discovered that scent came from a large bouquet of red roses that had been placed at the side of her bed, then Harry totally surprised her with the reason behind those beautiful roses being there.

"Happy anniversary love..."


"A year ago today I woke up with you in my arms for the very first time, and I knew even then that I never wanted to wake up with anyone else. That may have been a December morning when we woke, but we went to bed on Halloween that night. So, happy anniversary."

This saw Hermione kissing her intended. "My old Harry hated Halloween, nothing good ever happened to him on that date. First year was the troll, second there was a basilisk lose in the castle. Third year a mad escaped prisoner tried to break into Gryffindor and fourth saw you entered into a tournament that almost got you killed."

Smiling at her, Harry logically dismantled that argument. "We've already ensured that this Halloween and next will be different. I think it should be safe to celebrate today as an anniversary, rather than remembering all the bad things that happened in the past."

Hermione knew exactly what part of the past Harry was referring to, she'd deliberately not mentioned his parents amongst the reasons why he hated Halloween. "Happy Anniversary, Harry - though you caught me out. I'm just going to have to find some way to make it up to you later."

The twinkle in Harry's eyes at that comment told Hermione she'd judged it perfectly. Anything that could shift Harry's memories of Halloween toward a positive slant was always going to get her vote. As they got ready to face the day, fate must have been having a little chuckle at their naivety.

The hammer dropped at lunchtime when a clearly upset McGonagall approached them. "The headmaster is in the infirmary, and asking to see both of you."

Since it was a Saturday, Dan and Emma were in the castle too. Signalling to the staff table for them to follow, Harry and Hermione left with McGonagall.

Entering the infirmary, it was immediately apparent that things were very serious. Albus was lying on a bed and the only colour his skin contained was the blackness of his now withered hand and arm. The effort it took for him to speak further highlighted that this was not good.

"Hermione my dear, you were of course correct. Those things should never be tackled alone. Alas, I'm a foolish old man who thought he knew better. I'm going to have to pay a price for that foolishness, I just hope I haven't doomed us all..."

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