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.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11033616/1/You-re-my-Density

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11. Night Terrors

An invisible Albus arrived at the scene, not sure what to expect. That there were no curses currently flying through the air was a bonus, as was everything being bathed in artificial light. The multiple floodlights attached to the Grangers' home were turning night into day, though that piercing noise would leave Albus needing a headache potion if he remained here for any length of time.

A quick search revealed no current threats, yet the wards did register that they had very recently been attacked by magic. The levels of noise and light were then added to by a rapidly approaching vehicle. Albus carefully watched as a couple of uniformed muggles left the vehicle and proceeded to search around the property. With his wards preventing the spells cast doing any damage to the building, there really wasn't anything for the investigating muggles to find.

After recognising that fact, one of the muggles spoke into a device that squawked back at him. It was mere moments later however that the spotlights went out, and silence once more returned to the night. The flashing lights on their vehicle were also extinguished and the pair eventually left at a pace greatly reduced from the one they'd arrived at.

Not being able to raise anyone in the house, and seeing no signs of forced entry, they obviously reached the conclusion that no one was home - and the house's defences had scared whoever was attempting entry away.

Albus thought at least part of that was true. Whoever attacked the Grangers' house would have gotten an almighty shock to discover it was warded. If that attack also triggered the muggle defences, then shock wouldn't really be a strong enough word to describe the wizards who were doing the attacking's reactions.

What really intrigued the headmaster though was the whereabouts of the Grangers. Yes they could simply be spending the night elsewhere but Albus didn't think so. He certainly believed Miss Granger was capable of providing her parents with a means of emergency escape yet Albus couldn't see how she would get her parents to accept something like that - unless Harry and Hermione had gone down the route of full disclosure?

The fact Miss Granger's parents were missing the afternoon he'd erected the wards at her home hadn't troubled Albus at the time. Now it was beginning to appear that their absence might have been deliberate. If so, it was almost certainly to stop him gleaming any information he shouldn't have from them. If she did indeed provide her parents with a means for an emergency escape, Miss Granger was sure to be monitoring that system.

He would need to head back to Hogwarts and see if he was correct. If Albus was, the young couple might already be looking for him.

-oOoOo-

Harry and Hermione needed to get out of the castle that was locked for the night. They were under Harry's invisibility cloak as Hermione practically dragged him to the statue of the one eyed witch. Speaking the password saw both of them descend into the tunnel and hurry along it. With wands lit, they soon spotted Dobby waiting on them at what they assumed was the edge of the Hogwarts wards. They had no sooner reached him when Dobby popped the couple away.

Emma was sitting wringing her hands with worry. Dan however was far too wound-up to sit. He was stalking up and down behind Emma, the broken wooden chair leg in his hand at least making him feel slightly less defenceless. That improvised weapon was raised and ready for action at the pop he heard, only for it to be instantly lowered the second he recognised it was their daughter calling for them. Emma's answering shout had Hermione bursting into the room and both his girls were soon wrapped up in each other. Harry followed on behind, his wand still held ready. He noticed the chair leg in Dan's hand and nodded his approval before asking the obvious question.

"You both alright?"

"Yes. Our house alarm went off, waking both of us instantly. We never saw or even heard if we were under attack. Dobby was in our bedroom seconds later and brought us here. Just where is here?"

After confirming her mother was fine, Hermione was now hugging her father. Harry found himself being enveloped in Emma's arms as Hermione then answered her father's geographical enquiry.

"You're in Hogsmeade, Dad. We're on the outskirts of the village actually. This is the Shrieking Shack. It's supposedly haunted so no one ever comes here."

At that, Dobby popped back with some clothes for Dan and Emma. Pyjamas and a nightdress weren't really suitable attire for what they would need to do next. Dobby also had some news.

"The house is undamaged. There were muggles checking it and Dobby was sure he felt Dumbledore pop away."

Hermione and Harry moved outside the room to allow them their privacy to change, continuing their conversation through the door as they did.

"What happens now?"

"We need to go and see Dumbledore, Dad, and also cover how you got here. We want to keep Dobby's presence a secret so need to invent a cover story."

Harry and Hermione had simply pulled robes over their sleepwear but Dobby had even thought to add jackets to the clothes he had collected from home for her parents. As the elf popped in again with heavy cloaks from their Gryffindor rooms, Hermione now had time to hug their little friend in thanks.

A blushing Dobby brushed that thanks off. "Dobby was being a good house elf and protecting his family..."

"Dobby, you are the best elf in the world. We simply can't thank you enough."

Harry saying that made the little guy's night, he popped away very happy. When joined by a now dressed set of parents, Hermione led them into a different tunnel. With wand lit, she took her father by the hand while Harry did the same with Emma behind them. Pressing the knot on the Whomping Willow stilled its branches and allowed the four safe passage. With Hogwarts in darkness and it being a cloudy night, their view was limited to that provided by the light from the two wands.

Hermione had coached her parents not to let go of their hands, otherwise the wards would have them wanting to leave. In that manner the four headed off to get some help.

Emma held Harry's other hand tightly as he banged on the door of the strange round house. The loud barking coming from inside was soon drowned out by a voice she could only describe as booming.

"Who the bleedin' 'ell is knockin' on me door at this time o' night. Yeh better 'ave a bloody good reason"

"Hagrid, it's Harry. We need your help."

'Arry? What are yeh doin' oot o' bed, never mind oot the castle. Do yeh know what time it is?"

As the scrape of the heavy door's bolts being drawn back sent shivers up Emma's spine, Hermione spoke from behind her."

"We know what time it is, Hagrid. We've got an emergency here."

"'Ermione? Yeh're oot o' bed too? I should've known. Yeh never get one o' yeh without the other. Oh, who's this?"

The door opened to reveal a hairy giant of a man who had to stoop not to hit his head off his own doorway lintel. Emma could see every detail of his features due to the massive lantern he held in his hand. Those black eyes focused on her standing beside Harry and only the fact the man was smiling stopped Emma panicking. She did squeeze Harry's hand a touch harder though.

"These are Hermione's parents. Their house was attacked by death eaters tonight. Only Dumbledore's protections on the house got them out of there safely." Using Dumbledore's name with Hagrid invoked its own kind of magic. Their large friend immediately assumed everything was fine. It simply couldn't be otherwise with Albus Dumbledore involved.

"Attacked by death eaters yeh say. Well, we'd better get yeh right up to see Dumbledore then. Great man, Dumbledore. 'E'll soon sort everythin' oot."

Grabbing a hairy cloak and pulling his boots on, Hagrid and Fang were soon accompanying the party to the castle. Hagrid of course had the keys needed to gain entry, which is why they had gone to him in the first place.

Once inside the castle, it wasn't strictly necessary for Dan and Emma to continue holding Hermione and Harry's hands. Everything was so strange though that neither relinquished that grip on their only link to normality.

They found the passageway to the Headmaster's Office already open, and Dumbledore sitting waiting on them - convincing Hagrid even more that his idol was a great man.

"Ah, come in. I certainly expected to see two of you tonight. All four is indeed a pleasant surprise. You'll be pleased to know the wards I placed around your home worked perfectly. There is no damage but the attackers had fled before I got there. Hagrid, thank you so much for bringing them here." While Albus was talking, his wand was busy conjuring chairs for the four guests - followed by a small table that soon contained tea and biscuits. Hagrid wished them well before heading off home, and back to his bed.

Emma really needed a cup of tea, though it was a bit disconcerting having all those moving portraits watching her drink it. When one of them spoke out, she nearly spilled her tea.

"Muggles in the Headmaster's Office? You go too far, Albus."

This almost started a fight up on the walls as portraits took sides on that argument, an argument that Albus soon put a stop to.

"Silence. How dare you disrespect my guests, Phineas Black. As parents of one of this school's top students, Mister and Mrs Granger have every right to be here. I won't hear another word on the matter." Albus' glare ended any and all complaints.

"Miss Granger, I'm impressed and intrigued that you actually got your parents here. Would you care to tell me how you managed it?"

"I made them an emergency portkey, Headmaster. It took them to the Shrieking Shack. It also alerted me when triggered so Harry and I headed there at once. Getting out of the castle is a lot easier than gaining entry, especially when having my parents along too. So we headed from the Whomping Willow exit straight to Hagrid's hut."

"Can I assume your parents understand how a first year magical student is able to do all of these things?"

"Yes Headmaster, and I would ask that you respect their privacy on the matter. We're all on the same team here and my parents have been very supportive…"

Albus interrupted the young girl. "Miss Granger, you have my word. Since your parents are already at Hogwarts, and welcome to stay, I would like to extend an invitation for them to join us tomorrow for the quidditch match. We'll have lots of visitors so they won't stand out. I'm sure they would like the opportunity to watch Harry play."

"Thank you, sir - for all of that. I'm sure my father will enjoy watching quidditch. My mother will probably be a bit more like me - terrified that Harry will get hurt."

"We can have guest quarters prepared tomorrow but I wonder if I could impose on your hospitality…"

"That would be brilliant, Sir. They can stay in our room for what's left of tonight. We can sort out tomorrow - make that later today - what happens next."

Dan had been overawed by the whole experience tonight. Once he was sure his family were indeed safe, the fact that Dobby had just transported them to the Scottish Highlands in a matter of seconds blew his mind. Events, if anything, had just gotten stranger after that. He felt there was something he could contribute to the situation here though.

"Headmaster, I would like to offer my thanks for placing those wards around our home. They really saved us tonight. The attack also triggered our own alarm system, which includes surveillance cameras. Those cameras would have sent pictures to the alarm company's regional control centre. We should hopefully have images of whoever attacked our house tonight."

"Oh dear, that might just complicate matters..."

"Excuse me, Sir. What do you mean by complicate matters? We're all pretty sure that Malfoy was behind this attack on the Grangers' home, though Emma and Dan wisely didn't hang around long enough to make certain. This might be our proof, and our one chance to make something stick to Malfoy."

"I'm sorry, Harry, but those photographs would never be admissible as proof in a magical courtroom." Albus held his hand up as quite a few of his guests appeared ready to explode at hearing that. "Bearing in mind I know practically nothing about muggle photography, please answer this question honestly. How difficult would it be to fake pictures of Lucius Malfoy being at the Grangers tonight?"

This immediately deflated Harry's ire. Although not yet the phenomenon it would later become, he knew Photoshop and other similar computer programs were already out there. "With the right equipment, ridiculously easy. If Dan get's proof though, that will be good enough for me. Malfoy doesn't seem to care if he breaks the law or not. Those who live by the sword..."

Albus really didn't have an answer to that, more just a request. "Harry, please don't do anything rash."

"Sir, I've got Hermione to stop me doing anything like that."

Albus glanced toward the girl, saw the barely contained rage that there had been an attempt to attack her parents, and wasn't convinced she would be able - or even willing - to contain or curtail her intended's response.

"That doesn't get around the fact that these pictures could be considered a breach of the Statute of Secrecy Act."

It was left to Dan to reassure the headmaster. "The police will have checked our property and found no damage or any signs of forced entry. If these pictures show people in funny costumes trying to gain access, it will be put down as some kind of prank. With no damage, there will be no insurance claim so practically no investigation will take place. The alarm company will send me the photographs as a matter of course, since the alarm was triggered, but the entire incident will then be quickly dropped and forgotten."

Albus was satisfied with that, but certainly intended to inform Amelia and Cornelius about the attack too.

-oOoOo-

Neville awoke to a strange sight - Harry was sleeping in his own bed. The knocking then reminded Neville just what had woken him in the first place. He staggered through to their living room, opening the door to find Professor McGonagall standing there.

"Good morning, Mister Longbottom. The Headmaster informed me you all had some excitement last night."

Neville's puzzled look disappeared the instant he heard the strange voice coming from behind him. He almost jumped out of his pyjamas in fright.

"Good morning Professor McGonagall. It's nice to meet you again."

"I wish the circumstances were better, Mister Granger. Is your wife sharing your daughter's room?"

"Yes. Me on the couch seemed to be the easiest option. I have to say, it was very comfortable.

Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Harry was now up too. "Morning Professor. I expected Ollie to be banging on our door at first light."

"I did indeed intercept Mister Wood on my way up here. When I told him why I needed to speak with you, he was then worried that you wouldn't be able to play today. You seem to me to all be handling this experience exceedingly well."

It was Dan who quickly answered that. "We had plans in place to deal with something like last night. Emma and I were out of there within seconds of the attack beginning. My family are fine and Professor Dumbledore's work saved our home from being damaged too. Things really couldn't have gone much better for us and we're all very grateful for that. We will hopefully sit down later as a family to discuss exactly what we do next. Our home being attacked certainly changes things."

Harry introduced Neville to Dan, before reassuring their friend he would be included in any plans that saw them moving away from Hogwarts. He also explained why that might happen now, Hermione's house being attacked by suspected death eaters. Harry also assured his head of house he would be ready to play. "It was a rough night, Professor, nothing more. While not ideal preparation for a big match, I'll be fine."

"A rough night? That's an apt description." Hermione then noticed Harry did indeed look rough, she went over and hugged him. His needy response had her own alarm bells ringing.

"After getting back to sleep I had a bad dream - what are the odds on that? I'd just nodded off again when it was time to get up."

Understanding at once what he meant by a bad dream, Hermione couldn't wait to get him alone and discover what the unlocked memory was.

Emma was introduced to Neville too, before McGonagall pushed on with today's arrangements. "I'll have a house elf drop off a couple of robes for you both, then please join us in the Great Hall for breakfast. After that, while Harry heads off with the rest of the team, there should be time enough to get you set up in guest quarters before the match."

While Dan didn't want to put the school to any trouble, he was quite willing to stay here for another night, McGonagall had to say no to that idea.

"These are the children's dorms. While I will have no problem justifying you staying here under last night's circumstances, I really can't do so for another. We're currently arranging guest quarters close to Gryffindor House. With those conditions, and considering it's Saturday, I'll even extend these two's curfew by an hour - providing they're both with you."

After thanking the professor, they all headed off to get ready for their day. Harry was just pulling on his quidditch team jersey when Dan stuck his head in the room and asked if he could use the shower facilities. Pointing him in the right direction, he and Neville then went into their living area. Seeing that Harry would need to wait not only on Hermione and Emma but Dan too, Neville decided he would head down to breakfast first. He didn't want to intrude on the family at a time like this.

Harry was sitting on an armchair when Hermione entered, immediately settling herself on his lap. "What did you remember this time?"

"I don't think it's a huge surprise that Malfoy made an appearance, just as we're both sure he was behind last night. I was in Dumbledore's office and Malfoy strode in as if he owned the place, kicking a beleaguered Dobby in the process. All of us in that office knew Malfoy was behind setting the basilisk on the school but he just challenged us to prove it. Again he walked away with nothing done about it. He's not getting away with it this time."

"Harry, we need to be careful..."

"Hermione, when I tricked him into freeing Dobby, the bastard pulled his wand on a twelve year old kid. Only Dobby knocking him on his arse saved me from getting cursed with who knows what."

Emma was listening in too, as was someone else. A beaming Dobby popped right beside the couple. "Harry remembers freeing Dobby?"

Harry's arm came from around Hermione and his hand rested on Dobby's shoulder. "Best thing ever I did, Dobby. That man is a sadistic arsehole who thinks he's above the law, probably because his position and money have let him get away with just about anything for his entire life. With your help, we can show him that his actions will have consequences. It might be the only way we can stay in Britain..."

A dressed Dan entered still towelling his hair. "What have you got in mind, Harry?"

"If we get photographic proof Malfoy was involved, I intend to send him a message of exactly what will happen if he goes after anyone connected to me again. He needs to know I can and will do whatever is necessary to protect those closest to me."

When Dan heard details of Harry's plans, he was grinning like a loon. It was a ploy straight out of his favourite movie. These people behaved like gangsters, it was time to use tactics they would not only understand - but ignore the warning at their peril.

Harry had both arms back around Hermione as he told everyone the rest of what he'd remembered. "My dream finished with a newly unpetrified Hermione Granger racing into the Great Hall and almost hugging the life out of me - in front of the entire school too. At least I hugged you right back, still without realising just what I felt for you."

"You do now, Harry. What more could I ask for?"

Dan's quip of 'Breakfast?' soon had all of them heading out the door.

-oOoOo-

Draco was also grinning like a loon. His father intended to strike back against Potter last night, and in doing so also ruin any chance of him being able to play in the quidditch match today. Seeing the rest of the Gryffindor quidditch team enter without Potter had started him smiling. Longbottom entering and still no sign of Potter just widened that grin. The rumour sweeping through the great hall was that the mudblood's parents had been attacked by wizards last night, a rumour that was being believed - especially by Draco.

That good mood crashed and burned as Potter entered the Great Hall. Not only was he in his quidditch uniform, the two adults with him could only be the mudblood's parents. How was this possible? No one had ever stood up to his father before - and lived to tell the tale.

Harry had quickly settled Ollie's nerves by assuring his captain he was fit and ready to play. As he'd predicted, the game against Ravenclaw had become something much more than a simple school quidditch match. There would be government officials, press representatives and even other concerned parents in the stands today - all here to see if their revered hero - the boy-who-lived - was indeed a coward.

While Harry didn't really give a shit about that, there was now even more at stake here. All four of them recognised the timing of last night's attack was no coincidence. Malfoy thought today's game was important enough of an event to wreck his chances of playing so Harry was going to rub salt into the open wound that was last night's failure. Then he was going to defang Lucius Malfoy for good.

-oOoOo-

The Hogwarts quidditch stands were full to capacity, something that was evident by the noise being generated. Harry spotted Dumbledore, sitting in one of the stands with the Minister of Magic and Head of the D.M.L.E. That at least meant there wouldn't be an attack coming from the possessed Quirrell. Seeing Hagrid beside Hermione and her parents removed any worry from that direction too. No one would mess with the trio of Grangers with their large friend in attendance, something Harry thought Dumbledore was more than shrewd enough to arrange. This left him free to concentrate on the match.

The game started with friendly handshakes all around, then it was down to business. Harry was flying around like he did in the last game, causing disruption wherever he could - though careful not to cross over the line that would have given away a foul.

Gryffindor were thirty points up when the crowd got their first glimpse that things were different. Katie appeared to drop the quaffle but Harry was right below her and plucked it out the air. He bolted toward the Ravenclaw hoops, leaving the rest of the opposition not sure what to do. The keeper was doing his best to cover the top hoop as Harry drew his arm back to shoot there, only for his empty hand to come forward. The quaffle had been flipped over his shoulder, the waiting Katie then firing it through the bottom left hoop to much cheering - and whining from the Ravenclaw team.

Lee's voice boomed out announcing the goal. He also brought to everyone's attention that the rules allowed a seeker to carry the quaffle - but not score with it.

With Harry being the lightest player on the fastest broom, none of the Ravenclaw chasers could get near him when he had the quaffle. Knowing he couldn't score, the keeper was ignoring Harry in favour of watching who was available for the pass. The quaffle bouncing off his back and then tumbling through the lower right hoop had the Gryffindors in the crowd cheering like mad.

Dan was sitting beside Hagrid and Neville, all three of them were right into the game. Emma had both hands over her eyes and occasionally peeking through her fingers.

"Hermione, how can you possibly watch this?"

Putting her arm around her mother allowed Hermione to have her mouth close to Emma's ear. She was then able to speak without fear of being overheard. "I watched Harry fly against a dragon. Compared to that, quidditch is tame."

Shuddering at the mere thought of witnessing that, Emma glanced toward her husband. Dan was punching the air and screaming his approval as Gryffindor scored another goal. There was then a massive intaking of breath as Harry's broom seemed to fall out the sky. The other seeker though was right on his broom's bristles so Emma though it must be a dive. She wanted to scream as the ground rushed up to meet Harry at a ridiculously fast pace but no sound was coming out of her wide open mouth. Harry pulled up not a second too soon and whizzed safely away, the other seeker wasn't as skilful and ploughed into the pitch.

Harry flew past and high fived Hermione as she leaned over the barrier, just as the Ravenclaw captain called a time-out. Dan's eyes were sparkling with excitement as he spoke to the girls in his life. "I've never seen anything like this - it's fantastic!"

Using his years of experience from watching his beloved football, Dan offered an analogy of what he thought was happening up in the air. "It's like playing three midfielders against four. The three are being totally overrun, and Harry just took out the only player capable of evening that part of the game out. The skill and tactics on show out there today are simply fantastic. Those three Gryffindor girls appear able to read each other's minds, and Harry is clearly the best and quickest flier out there. With the twins batting those cannonballs with the precision of a snooker pro too, It's easy to see why the other team is getting swamped."

If a muggle at his first match could see what was happening, the Ravenclaw captain certainly had no trouble discerning what the problem was. That didn't mean he knew how to fix it though. All their plays and preparations assumed they would be facing three chasers, not four. With no answers he was left trying to encouraged his dazed and bruised seeker to hurry up and catch the snitch - before it was too late.

A smiling Cornelius was also enjoying himself. No matter the score today, Harry Potter had answered the accusations publicly aimed in his direction in The Prophet by Lucius Malfoy. There was also the fact that he had given Dumbledore permission to erect those wards on the Grangers' home, something he would be sure to work into the conversation he intended to have with Harry later. Amelia would also have the attack investigated, though none of them expected that to turn up much evidence. If Harry Potter chose to leave Hogwarts and Britain, things like that may be the only reasons Cornelius held onto his job.

As their score climbed, it seemed to supply even more energy to the Gryffindor attack. When they surged one hundred and sixty points ahead, their supporters went absolutely nuts. It also had the effect of totally demoralising the Ravenclaw team, it was almost a relief for them when Harry eventually caught the snitch.

The Gryffindor supporters were ecstatic, as was the team. Harry shot up to Hermione and presented her with the snitch, receiving a kiss from his intended before Emma almost smothered him in a hug of relief.

Due to the massive interest in this match, and doubt placed over their quidditch playing children's safety by the Prophet article, Dumbledore had invited the families of those playing today along to watch the game. With her twin brothers wearing the red and gold of Gryffindor, Ginny Weasley sat beside her father as she got to see her first Hogwarts quidditch match.

Although there had been two Weasleys up in the air, Ginny was sure she wasn't the only person in the stadium who couldn't take her eyes off Harry Potter. It was no hardship however, he was easily the star player up there. She could have done without seeing him kiss his intended, and that didn't look like anything other than a kiss between a very serious couple.

The girl's mother then hugging Harry was also entirely genuine. Ginny came from a family whose mother practiced the exact same behaviour, she certainly could recognise a genuine hug when she saw one. It didn't look however as if Molly Weasley would ever be hugging Harry Potter like that. Between them, the two Granger ladies seemed to have those positions all sewn up. That Harry appeared very happy about that fact really drove home to Ginny her childhood dreams would never be anything more than just that.

-oOoOo-

Albus had set an unused classroom aside and the Hogwarts elves soon had it transformed into a suitable location where the players could mingle with their parents. This would be done while enjoying a light buffet and some refreshments - thus also providing Cornelius with an opportunity to meet the players too.

Hermione and her parents were of course invited. The girl with memories of the future also knew there was no way a certain Arthur Weasley could be in a room with two muggles and not approach them. He didn't even wait for Harry to arrive before introducing himself, and his daughter of course.

This was how Hermione found herself chatting to Ginny Weasley. "Are you the little sister who wrote to Harry?"

Her blush was of epic proportions and Ginny could only nod in agreement, her voice somewhat deserting the bashful little redhead.

"That's great. Harry and I have met four Weasleys so far at Hogwarts, and two of them are our friends." Hermione didn't need to name names. Ginny knew exactly which of her brothers she was speaking of. Arthur meanwhile was far too busy concentrating on interrogating Hermione's mother and father to care what the two girls were talking about.

The teams arriving disrupted all conversations and Harry was soon standing with his arm around Hermione's waist as she introduced him to Ginny. That went about as well as could be expected, with Ginny at least managing to say 'hi'. Her twin brothers then recommended Hermione save her parents from their father, Arthur's fascination with muggles being a long running joke in the Weasley family.

Dan and Emma's relief at being rescued was short lived. After escaping Arthur's inane questions - 'what is the purpose of a rubber duck?' - they then found themselves in the company of the Minister of Magic. Harry handled the introductions and Cornelius was happy to shake a couple of muggles by the hand. He was actually prepared to do a lot more than that to keep Harry Potter in Britain.

"I was really sorry to hear of your home being attacked, though delighted signing that warding permission played a small part in what became a fortuitous outcome. Madam Bones will have her aurors checking today to see if they can determine any information from the attack. I have to be honest here and say she's not too hopeful it will. What they will also do though is add an auror alarm ward to your existing protection. This will see those wards monitored from within the ministry. Should this ever be attempted again, the attackers will find a squad of aurors appearing when that ward is triggered."

Hermione thanked the Minister profusely, both for his initial permission and the follow on alarm wards. She recognised why he was doing this but keeping her parents safe was their number one priority here. Anything that helped with that aim was okay in her book.

The Minister then gushed all over Harry about the game he'd played today. While the praise was deserved, it didn't make Harry's blush any less noticeable.

Emma and Dan were also seeing the 'children' in what they now considered their natural environment, a magical one. While being introduced to that culture's Prime Minister was a bit of a shock, seeing their daughter not only being accepted but have friends was somewhat of a dream come true for her once worried parents.

Visiting Hogwarts and seeing where and how they lived, meeting Neville and some of their other friends too, all this was helping Emma and Dan reach the decision they wouldn't have believed possible last night. They had Dobby watching over them in Crawley and now the Ministry would also respond along with Dumbledore should this attack ever be repeated. They also knew what Harry had planned as retribution against Malfoy, should the security cameras pictures place him at the house.

They would leave Harry and Hermione at Hogwarts, at least until their already planned conversations on the matter over the summer. Seeing how close they were to Neville, they would also ask Harry and Hermione if they wanted to invite their friend to Crawley over the summer. They would stay in the castle tonight in the lovely guest quarters provided and return to Crawley tomorrow.

Due to the methods of transportation available to them, they would be able to have lunch with Harry and Hermione yet still be home in time for dinner. That was one thing both non magicals thought they could easily get used to.

-oOoOo-

That there had been a press presence at the school quidditch match saw Harry Potter once more feature heavily in The Prophet. Albus had allowed team photographs to be taken before the match, though barred all press from the families gathering after the game, and it was the Gryffindor team picture that hit the headlines. While their teamwork, inventive use of strategy and plays were rightly praised, the paper couldn't help but single out the performance of their seeker, Harry Potter. Harry's control on his Nimbus Two Thousand had rather graphically and comprehensively rubbished any claims his flying was a danger to the other players. The same report also praised Hogwarts for recognising the young wizard had prodigious talent on a broom, relaxing their own rules to accommodate and help develop that tremendous potential. It was also widely reported that professional quidditch teams the length and breadth of the country were already showing interest in Harry Potter's abilities.

All this positive attention on Potter had really ruined Lucius' week. Instead of his usual glass of exquisite port before bed, the amount consumed by the seething head of the Malfoy family had steadily climbed each and every night. So much so that it was a rather slow and disjointed hand that blindly reached for his wand on the nightstand in response to his wife's horrified screams.

Using his wand to dramatically increase the illumination in their bedroom, Lucius was first puzzled at how the hand holding his wand had blood dripping from it. Turning to his still screaming wife, he couldn't miss that she was standing out of their bed and liberally splattered with fresh blood too. Cissy's eyes were almost bulging out of her head as she stared back into the bed, her screams if anything becoming more frantic and distraught.

It was then the alcohol evaporated out of Lucius' system as he noticed who was still in the bed with him. Lucius was staring into the lifeless eyes of his son. As if that wasn't bad enough, he was staring into the lifeless eyes of his son's detached head. The rest of Draco's body was missing, the head appearing to have been brutally ripped off, and thus accounting for why he and Cissy were covered in their son's sticky red blood.

It took a moment for Lucius to realise he was screaming too, that was before what was now pinned to the headboard caught his eye. He didn't know how this item was taken, or even how it got into its present position. There wasn't a single shred of ambiguity concerning what this item was however. Standing in his death eater regalia, a clearly identifiable Lucius Malfoy was pictured attacking Potter's mudblood's home.

Written across the bottom of the large photograph in blood, probably Draco's, was just one word.

RETRIBUTION.

His wife's grief was turning to anger as it began to dawn on her who was responsible for this chilling catastrophe. "You stupid, arrogant bastard. You just couldn't let it go. Now our son has been murdered…"

Narcissa was then left trying to believe her eyes. Her son's beautiful features were slowly transforming into something horrible - though with its own special sense of beauty. Where once had lain Draco's detached head, his bloody yet still aristocratic features easily identifiable, there was now forming a pile of offal. This led to the beautiful hope that her son may indeed be still alive and well. The flames of that hope were fanned further still by the message on the picture changing too. Blood was now running over Lucius' image in the picture as this message was far longer, though still managed to get its point across with horrifying clarity and simplicity.

NO MORE WARNINGS

MOVE AGAINST MY FAMILY

DRACO DIES

THEN NARCISSA

FINALLY YOU

NO MORE MALFOYS

As Lucius eventually stumbled out of the bloody bed, and away from the blood-soaked offal, his relief at Draco apparently still being alive was soon replaced by his incandescent fury at who was obviously responsible for this warning.

"This is Potter's doing! I'm going to…"

Lucius never got to say what he intended to do to a certain Harry Potter. The curse that left his wife's wand passed close enough to his head for Lucius to feel the power it contained. Her power abated not an iota as it transferred to her voice while a raging Cissy screamed at him.

"ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR TINY FUCKING MIND?"

With a Herculean effort, she managed to rein in her temper just enough to be able to talk with her husband. Her wand though was still trained on him.

"This person was not only able to access our home, they were clearly in our bedroom while we slept. Both of us could have been murdered and we wouldn't have known anything about it."

"Exactly, he hasn't got the balls to carry his threat out"

"You're prepared to gamble all out lives on that? Let's remember, he can get to Draco anytime he wants inside Hogwarts. Dumbledore won't investigate his golden boy and all they would need to do was make our son's death look like an accident. Just because he's giving out a warning first, that doesn't mean Potter won't kill if he feels he has to. You, or anyone else, attacking the mudblood's family will see him make that decision. Is that worth the death of our son? Is it worth my life? Is it worth the annihilation of the entire Malfoy family? You yourself have told Draco and I many times that muggles are beneath us, mere worthless creatures. Are you willing to gamble all our lives on this matter, just so you can again attempt to harm these particular worthless creatures?"

Seeing she was finally getting through to her husband, Narcissa changed tack. "They seem to have been one step ahead of everyone since Potter took up with the mudblood. Now is not the time to go charging in like a bloody Gryffindor. It's way past time for some Slytherin cunning to be brought to bare on the matter."

Lucius stood there amid the stench that was reeking from the bloody mess on their marital bed. With blood in his hair, the same substance polluting his silk pyjamas, and his wife's wand still steadily pointed at him - Lucius finally began to think rationally about the situation. "Darla."

The little female elf popped into the bedroom. She stood in her tattered and faded blue plaid dress, head down and hands behind her back. "Master called for Darla?"

"Who was in this house, elf."

"Darla didn't see anyone in the house, Master. Would Master like Darla to clean the mess in here?"

The kick sent Darla to her knees. The elf didn't think it was too bad though, Master didn't have his boots on.

"Who do you think is going to clean it? Burn those sheets, pillows - the mattress too. I will sleep in Draco's room tonight while your mistress will choose one of the guest bedrooms. Have them prepared first before clearing up this mess. Burn these too." Lucius stripped out of his pyjamas. The expensive nightwear was covered with so much blood, they hit the marble floor with a splat.

Narcissa disrobed at the same time before heading off in the direction of their showers. Lucius though had more to say before leaving their bedroom. "The person who did this will pay."

A now naked Narcissa stared straight into her husband's eyes and made a promise. "Whoever did this left me thinking our son had been brutally murdered. Even just for a moment, that pain was unbearable. They are not getting away with doing that to us. We need a plan that hurts them yet in no way even hints at any Malfoy involvement. Come to me with a plan like that and I swear I will help you take our revenge."

This was more like the witch he married, Lucius nodded in agreement. "I'll check the wards after my shower, you write to Draco and have him confirm nothing is amiss as quickly as possible. We'll let things settle down before retaliating. That will give us more time to plan too."

Only after they had left the room did Darla's mouth form a wry smile. Dobby would be so proud of her, and making Dobby proud was quickly becoming more important to Darla than pleasing her family. Dobby was teaching Darla how not to lie, but still not answer Master's questions. Darla knew it was Dobby who had accomplished this tonight but she had deliberately not seen him. Therefore Darla could truthfully answer her master and protect Dobby too.

Dobby was helping Darla with so much, and promised to try and free her from the bad family too. Dobby was such a powerful elf, and Darla would give anything to be part of his family. Telling Dobby about any plans the bad Masters made should help with Dobby's family liking Darla too, though Dobby said they would do so anyway.

Master thought he was being so clever, ordering Darla to keep the family's secrets. Dobby was family though, even if Master thought Dobby was dead. Dobby said he was free, and his magic certainly allowed him to do things against the Master that Darla could never do. Then again, the house magic didn't stop Darla talking to, or even sometimes helping, Dobby. Darla didn't know why that was, Darla just knew the handsome elf would always receive anything Dobby asked of Darla. The little elf popped away to carry out the tasks her Master had just ordered Darla to do.

 
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