Can't Have It Both Ways

If you are forced to participate in a competition that's reserved for adults only, doesn't that mean you should be considered an adult? Harry gets some much needed help and advice before having some fun by allowing his marauder heritage out to play. H/Hr


3. Chapter 3

Harry had the strangest feeling he was being watched so he slowly opened his eyes to see another pair the size of tennis balls staring back at him from a distance of about six inches. "Harry Potter sir should not be sleeping on top of the bed with all his clothes on!"

Harry dived off the bed in fright, "Dobby, what the hell are you doing here?"

Dobby appeared confused, "Dobby is here to wake Harry Potter sir, it is morning."

Harry had regained his composure, he didn't want to upset the little guy. "I understand that bit Dobby, but why are you here and not in Hogwarts?"

"Oh Dobby spoke with master Barchoke to see if he needed an elf to look after Harry Potter's new home, Dobby now works here!"

The delight in Dobby's expression stopped Harry saying any more, the little elf had his clothes all laid out for the day and there was a bathroom/shower en suite so the still sleepy wizard headed in that direction.

Twenty minutes later saw a showered and freshly dressed Harry heading out his room to explore their new accommodation, he heard voices coming from downstairs and set off in that direction to find Luna and Hermione sitting chatting.

"Morning you two, did everyone sleep well?" Harry wasn't sure what the protocol was for greeting your girlfriend in the morning but leaned down to kiss her cheek, Hermione turned her head to give him a quick peck on the lips and both of them were happy with that.

"Luna's already started working on the article for the Quibbler, I was telling her the paper came highly recommended by Barchoke."

"Yes, apparently it appeals to their sense of humour. 'A lot of funny nonsense surrounding nuggets of truth' was how Barchoke put it. He advised us to contact you as the Prophet is just a ministry mouthpiece."

Luna was blushing, "Dad will be upset his cover is blown but printing this was going to raise our profile anyway, our worry has always been that publications openly criticising the ministry have a habit of changing ownership. Hiding the truth amongst articles that we had a lot of fun making up gave the ministry deniability as we were treated as a joke publication. We have accumulated quite a large circulation of loyal, discerning readers who can filter the truth from the manure."

Harry put his hand on the young girl's shoulder. "Speaking of filtering out the manure, anytime you want to talk about your stay in Ravenclaw we would be more than willing to listen. Both Hermione and I have first-hand experience of being bullied and your outburst when you thought we were cruelly teasing told us this was something you were used to. I would have helped you Luna whether you had newspaper connections or not and hope we can find some time for the three of us just to sit and chat. I've always room for more friends."

Luna felt as if her heart would burst. "Thanks Harry, Dobby is going to bring me breakfast here as I want to get this to dad today. Would you both like to join me?"

"We would love to but I think it's important for us to appear in the great hall for breakfast, we need to find out the reaction to what happened last night. I also want to see what happened to Ron, I'm mad at him but hope he's alright, he's a jealous git with a bad temper but I wouldn't like to see him maimed for life. How about you ask Dobby to prepare us lunch and we'll all have here?"

A beaming Luna nodded in agreement as Harry and Hermione headed towards the castle.


A furious Severus Snape had been trying to gain access to the castle since first light with no luck, but now had an idea as he headed back to Hogsmead where he'd spent the night. Faced with the prospects of Hagrid's hut or the three broomsticks, Madam Rosmerta's charms had easily won against the half-giant's snores and that slobbering dog of his.

Zooming back to Hogwarts on a borrowed broom he headed for the astronomy tower, they would have to rise very early in the morning to get the better of him. Severus opened the door and found himself blasted right over the parapet; the only thing that saved his broken body from being found at the bottom of the tower was the broom in his hand.

It was a shaken Severus who had managed to mount the broom as he was falling and gain control of the situation in the nick of time. This had ceased to be a game anymore so he was admitting defeat and heading back to Hogsmead with the intention of sending an owl to Albus. He was now certain this prank was beyond those blasted Weasley twins and he couldn't think of any other candidates capable of pulling this off. He was so caught up in his deliberations he never noticed Harry and Hermione as they headed into the castle.


Harry and Hermione entered the great hall and were certain they had made the right decision. It was as if the whole school were waiting to see what would happen next, they didn't have long to wait.

A few people were making straight for them but all were headed off by the headmaster, Albus wanted to get to them first. "Miss Granger, your presence is required in Professor McGonagall's office immediately." Both teens turned to leave but Albus didn't want that, "Mr Potter your presence is neither required nor allowed, this is a private matter."

Harry confronted Dumbledore face to face, "Since Miss Granger is my betrothed the only way to bar my presence is if the lady in question requested it."

Hermione quickly replied, "I don't know what the matter is but I want Harry there."

They turned to leave when Albus made a grab for Harry's arm, "I won't allow that!"

Harry looked down at Dumbledore's wrinkled hand on his arm before placing his other hand on top of the old wizard's, intending to remove it. The sizzle could be clearly heard before the headmaster's yell of pain preceded him hastily withdrawing his now blackened hand from Harry but the young man's words hurt a lot more than the burn.

"It would appear professor that my mother's protection is still keeping me safe from evil." He glanced at Hermione, "Love is really such a powerful force, you wouldn't happen to know how my name ended up in that cup would you headmaster?"

A totally stunned Dumbledore stood staring at his blackened hand as the boy's words drilled through his brain, had he become evil? He was aware that if he didn't satisfy Harry with an answer then he would lose the lad forever, not to mention most of the school was watching. Albus pulled out his wand. "I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore swear on my life and magic that I did not knowingly play any part in Harry Potter's name being entered into the goblet of fire."

The resulting flash again illuminated the hall before a phoenix patronus made an appearance, Harry bowed in acknowledgement of the old wizards actions. "Thank you for that sir. There is a long list of people wishing to do me harm and it pleases me more than I can say that your name is no longer on it."

Poppy led the old wizard in the direction of the infirmary as Albus was reliving years of decisions he'd made concerning Harry while trying to discern why the boy could ever think he was evil. The end result though was whatever force protected the boy obviously classed him as such which meant Harry must consider him so, it was imperative that he fix this problem. Albus didn't think he was being overly dramatic when he thought that the fate of the world could rest on this and then he remembered what was waiting for them in Minerva's office. "Oh Merlin! What have I done?"


Harry was trying to reassure his girlfriend. "Sal said it's superficial and Pomfrey will have his hand as good as new in a day or so, it was only being compared to the Voldemort possessed Quirrell that got him to make that oath." They had reached McGonagall's door and her call of enter had Harry opening the door for Hermione, only to stumble into the back of her as she abruptly stopped with a loud gasp.

Minerva was livid with Albus, he'd taken his manipulations a step too far here. If she lost one of the best students Gryffindor ever had through it, she would tear strips off him. He'd wound the Grangers up and then just dumped them in her office, promising to send Hermione to them and leaving her to deal with the shit while he keeps his hands clean. She had just about calmed the father down when Hermione entered and gasped, unfortunately she put her hand over her mouth and her beautiful new ring was there for all to see.

"What the hell do you think you're playing at young lady? That ring is coming off this very second and then I'll deal with the bloody boyfriend!" Dan grabbed his daughter's hand with the intention of removing her ring, this was a mistake and he instantly found himself flying across the room with the screams of his daughter and wife ringing in his ears.

McGonagall now had her wand out, no one was attacking her students. Harry meanwhile had both his arms comfortingly around Hermione and whispering in her ear, "It's ok, there was a cushioning charm on the wall. Hogwarts knows he's your father but only we are allowed to remove that ring."

Emma was trying to help Dan up when he saw the boy with his arms around his little girl. It was like a red rag to a bull, he sprang at them only to find himself frozen by Minerva's wand. "We are going to sit and discuss this like civilised adults, she may be your daughter but in this castle I'm charged with her safety. If you can do that I will release the body bind."

Emma had both hands on Dan's arm, "I promise you professor, he'll behave."

Minerva released him and Emma brooked no argument as she plonked Dan down in a chair and practically sat on him.

Hermione was seated beside Harry, she'd never seen her dad this angry and couldn't understand what was happening here. McGonagall could offer no help, "Miss Granger, I have no idea what's going on here, the headmaster brought your parents here and told me he would send you to my office. Your father is clearly upset but won't tell me why so I'm in the dark as much as you."

"Daddy what's happened? What's the matter?"

"You sit there, wearing the ring of the boy you're now living with and ask me what the matter is? I thought we raised you better than that?" Dan was now yelling but a very angry Harry was on his feet.

"Mr Granger, this is our first meeting and I can already tell Hermione takes her intelligence after her mother. The emphasis you put on the phrase 'living together' is very upsetting to your daughter, upsetting and downright hurtful that you would believe such a thing of her."

"The headmaster said you'd turned Hermione's head by giving her a fortune and that ring must be worth one as well. My daughter's never had a boyfriend then along comes this rich lord, lavishing her with gifts and attention to bowl my little girl right off her feet."

Harry turned to face Hermione, "It's beginning to make sense now, no wonder he tried to stop me from coming up here. You do know I would have come after you, right?"

Hermione attempted a weak smile and nodded.

Minerva felt powerful wards going up around her office and she looked to Harry for an explanation. "Professor, I need to know how much we can trust you. Dumbledore has betrayed ours yet again, if you scan Mr Granger you will find a mild compulsion charm. I would suggest it was to get his daughter as far away from me as possible. If you could lift that charm and promise to keep our secrets, then we can talk. If not, we four will leave to our new accommodation and Hermione and I will be leaving Hogwarts today."

She found the charm exactly as Harry had said and was now ready to blow her top. "Mr Potter, as long as these secrets doesn't endanger anyone then I will keep them."

It was as if a switch had been thrown on the Grangers but for very different reasons, Dan felt a lot of the aggression leave him while Emma reacted to the name Minerva had just used. "Potter, as in Harry Potter?" she received a nod, "But the headmaster told us it was some lord who was here for a competition, he implied that this foreigner had just met Hermione and she was now living with him. We've been hearing about Harry Potter since Hermione first set foot in this place."

"The headmaster didn't actually lie to you Mrs Granger, he just gives out a few facts and leads you in a specific direction toward the conclusions he wants you to draw. I have been illegally entered in a competition that only adults are supposed to participate in, my goblin friends used this as an argument to have me made an adult, hence Lord Potter. We were told the competition had been abandoned in years past because it got too dangerous, our research brought up that one of the tasks usually has someone close to the competitor taken as a hostage to be rescued. The last competition saw two of the three hostages severely injured and one of the competitors killed." Harry was right about the intelligence because Emma caught on a lot quicker than Dan.

"I will never give my permission for my daughter to be used as a hostage!"

It was Harry though who had to break the bad news to them. "Unfortunately Mrs Granger, you wouldn't even be asked and your objections ignored anyway. Hermione has been my best friend for three years and my girlfriend for only a day but she wears my ring because, as the betrothed of Lord Potter they can't touch her. Hermione's safety was my only concern here, neither of us will be rushing into anything and all this ring signifies is that we're serious about each other. Our friendship is so important to us we would never have risked dating if we weren't serious about each other. Professor, this is the bit I need you to keep secret, I am a founder's heir which means the castle itself will protect me and mine. While Hermione wears that ring as my betrothed the castle itself will keep her safe."

McGonagall was rapidly joining the dots to get a complete picture, "That's what happened to Mr Weasley's hand!"

"Yes, when he fired a curse at us the castle exploded his wand. The headmaster tried to physically stop me coming up here and received a burned hand for his troubles. That's also why Mr Granger couldn't remove her ring, Hogwarts will protect Hermione."

Dan was feeling rather sheepish, he'd come to Hogwarts to withdraw Hermione and hopefully beat the shit out this foreign lord who'd corrupted his princess. Instead he finds the boy's her best friend who has done more than the professors to keep his little girl safe, he still had questions though. "What about the fortune the headmaster mentioned, I'd like to know the reason behind that?"

"I claimed the carcass of the basilisk I had killed and shared the proceeds equally amongst its victims, including one girl who has since graduated."

"How much is a fortune?" Emma asked.

Hermione was sitting looking at her shoes, "About a quarter of a million pounds. Harry I don't feel too good, can we go back to our quarters now."

Dan had cooled down enough that Emma felt she could go to Hermione, but her daughter pulled away. "How could you even think that about me, far less say it? Harry's the nicest boy you could ever meet yet you had him practically administering love potions and raping me! I don't know if I can forgive you for that."

Harry's arms once again going around his daughter didn't bother Dan, the hurt his daughter's words caused left him feeling hollow inside but the space gradually filled with anger as the young man spoke.

"Hermione love, you need to think about this, your parents have just been played by a master. Our beloved headmaster would portray it as if the famous Victor Krum had swept you off your feet and you were now sharing his ship with him. Given those circumstances, your parents' actions are not only predictable but perfectly understandable. You inhabit a world they know very little about, then Albus Dumbledore comes to their house and tells them their daughter is in grave danger! They clearly love you very much so what else were they supposed to do?"

Emma's emotions had been all over the place since this morning, her instinct was that the headmaster had another agenda but no parent can ignore a warning their child is in danger. Harry was right, they'd been manipulated by an expert. "Harry, do you have any idea why the headmaster would do this?"

"Oh that's easy Mrs Granger, control of me! Hermione's stuck by me through thick and thin and our betrothal, along with me expressing my independence must have scared him. The headmaster doesn't want to lose control of his bait."

"Mr Potter, I think that's quite enough!"

McGonagall's reprimand was quite enough for Hermione. "No I don't think that's anywhere near enough! You all agreed that the only reason Harry's name was entered is because someone is again trying to kill him but you just forced him to compete anyway. How many people in that room knew the competition could be cancelled and the names redrawn later? Not one person spoke up to defend my Harry, no one ever speaks up or steps forward to defend my Harry and frankly I think THAT is quite enough. He has to stay here to compete in this travesty and if that isn't dangerous enough someone is trying to kill him AGAIN! I think this will be my last year at Hogwarts and I will do everything in my power to see Harry leaves with me."

Harry still had his arms around Hermione, "Where you go, I go Hermione."

Emma had never seen her quiet, studious daughter like this, Professor McGonagall was practically her role model yet Hermione had just tore into the woman. She was aware her daughter liked Harry but apparently her feelings went well beyond like, thankfully it was blatantly obvious that the young man in question returned those feelings with the same measure. Emma tried to lighten the tension, "Harry, you're supposed to play hard to get."

"Not with Hermione ma'am, she's too special to risk loosing over stupid games."

Dan thought he had his facts right but after his recent debacle he was going to make sure. "Are you saying the old man got us out of bed, filled our heads with this bullshit, cast some sort of spell on me and then left us here just so he could break up a couple of school kids who'd just started dating? I'm finding this very hard to believe right now."

Minerva was still reeling from Hermione's outburst, and declaration of leaving Hogwarts but she knew both teens were far too modest to answer her father's question. "The piece of information you are missing Mr Granger is that Harry is just about the most famous wizard in our world. His betrothal to your daughter will be front page news and spill onto quite a few pages inside as well I would imagine. Lord Potter here is apparently also very wealthy, I have no idea how much he's worth but this young man gave over a million of your pounds away last night and didn't bat an eyelid."

"Professor I didn't feel that money was mine, rather it should go to the people who'd suffered months in the infirmary. I'm also famous because my parents died and I didn't, not something I want to boast about. The Headmaster likes to keep me on a tight leash, even dictating where I go during the summer holidays but that's all at an end now. Mr and Mrs Granger, would you like to see where Hermione is now living? To tell the truth we haven't really had time for a good look around ourselves yet, we were so tired after our adventures yesterday I fell asleep fully clothed on top of my bed." Harry was now holding Hermione's hand and trying to convey that this was something they needed to do, he didn't want his girlfriend fighting with her parents, especially over him.

Emma could see what Harry was trying to do and desperately wanted to help heal the rift in her family, "We would love to, Hermione's life at Hogwarts is a complete mystery to us and anything we can learn would be very welcome."

Harry took a book out his bag and turned it into a portkey, much to McGonagall's astonishment. "The mystery of how you got out of the chamber is solved, wouldn't it be better just to walk?"

Harry smiled, "Same reason we used them to get out the chamber last night, there are certain people we'd rather avoid. Please touch the book."

Minerva was about to ask if she could accompany them when they disappeared. It suddenly dawned on her that she'd never even asked which founder he was heir to, she'd just assumed it was Gryffindor.


Three Gryffindors with red hair were currently haranguing a forth, the littlest Weasley was not pulling any punches with her older brother. "How can anyone plan six moves ahead in chess yet be so bloody stupid not to see what's right under their nose? Do you honestly think Harry wants more fame or a thousand galleons enough to be branded a liar and cheat by his so-called best friend? What the hell were you thinking firing a curse at him and Hermione, have you got so many friends you can afford to throw the best two you'll ever have away? Mum's going to go mental when McGonagall tells her what happened!"

Ron had been sitting in bed, trying to ignore all the points his sister was making, 'Harry's got everything' running through his mind. The mention of his mother crashed through his feeble defences like a cannon ball, "Why would McGonagall contact mum?"

Ginny couldn't answer, her brother's stupidity had rendered her speechless so George was left to do the honours. "Correct me if I'm wrong little brother but didn't you fire a curse at two unarmed students during dinner in the middle of the great hall?"

"It didn't hit anybody, I'm the injured one here!"

"Well George, I think we can safely say it's official. Mum gave all the good stuff to the five older brothers so by the time Ron came along there was nothing left. Thank Merlin Ginny's a girl, can you imagine how much of a twat a seventh son would be?"

"True my twin, but I don't think we should feel responsible, just because we got a double dose."

"Knock it off you two, this moron is in so much trouble yet so bloody thick and full of Harry Potter envy that he can't get his head far enough out his arse to see it!"

"Oh there speaks the girl with her own bank vault, what the hell did I get?"

Ginny could at least say they had tried. "Ron I think you are going to get everything you deserve."

With that they left their brother to ferment in his self-induced pity party.


The party of four arrived in the large reception hall. "This will give you some idea of how tired we were last night, those crates are full of extremely rare books that no one has read for a thousand year and yet we all headed straight to bed."

Harry could see the look of longing in Emma at the mention of rare books and guessed that's where Hermione inherited her passion.

"Harry, Hermione, you need to come and see these!"

They followed the sound of Luna's voice and found her sitting at a table adorned with photographs from the chamber. "Colin dropped by with the pictures and they're unbelievable, good job you took others down with you because I was there and still don't believe it. Colin seemed quite disappointed you weren't here Harry, he wanted to show you these himself…Oh Hello!" Luna had finally looked up from the pictures and noticed the two adults.

"Luna, this is my mum and dad. We're going to have a tour of this place, would you like to join us?"

Luna didn't ask why Hermione's parents were there, or why her new friend looked so strained, she figured they would tell her later if they wanted her to know. "Oh yes please, I've almost got this article finished but am having a hard time deciding what picture to use."

Dan couldn't take his eyes off the pictures, with the kids standing in front of the monster you got some idea towards the scale of the beast. "What the hell is that?"

"That's what put me in the infirmary for over three weeks, Harry killed it with a sword."

Dan couldn't believe what his daughter was saying but, to the best of their knowledge, she'd never lied to them. The fact that neither Harry nor the girl called Luna disagreed with Hermione chilled their blood, the idea that this thing had nearly cost Hermione her life having more effect than the thought of a twelve year old Harry killing the beast. Dan was forced to reassess his plan of kicking the boyfriend's arse, if he faced this thing when he was twelve then the lad was hardly likely to find Dan the dentist scary!

They started the tour upstairs as Hermione made a point of showing her bedroom to her parents, she then commented that Harry's room was smaller than hers and Luna's.

"After saying goodnight I just collapsed onto the nearest available bed, when Dobby woke me up all my stuff was in the room." The bedroom two doors down was obviously the master bedroom and gave Harry an idea. "Mr and Mrs Granger, the first task takes place on the twenty fourth of this month, would you like to attend as my guests? You could even stay here for a few days and get a flavour of the magical world."

Again Emma cottoned on very quickly to what Harry was attempting and once more she was very willing to help him out. He clearly wanted them to see there was nothing untoward going on here and let them spend time with Hermione, how could she say no to that. "Harry we would be delighted to accept but we couldn't take your bedroom from you."

"Mrs Granger, the room I'm currently in is larger and more luxurious than anywhere I've ever stayed, trust me when I say I'm very happy there."

They continued their tour, finding a training room that allowed Hermione to display her magic to Dan and Emma for the first time. Both parents were amazed as she had objects flying through the air, changing from one thing to another with eventually about a dozen bunny rabbits hopping around the room, one last wave of her wand and everything returned to normal. A hug from a proud mother went a long way to repairing the damage done this morning.

A compact gym, small potions lab and kitchen were followed by an area that had a sauna and large whirlpool tub, producing blushes from the teens and worrying glances from the adults.

It was the last room they visited though that was the jewel in the crown, a library that had all three females drooling. There was a fireplace with two incredibly comfortable looking sofas either side of it as well as a few work tables set around the room. With bookcases holding at least ten thousand volumes, when the books from the crates were added this would rival, if not surpass Hogwarts.

"Ok Dan, how quickly can we sell the practice and move in here?" Emma wasn't entirely joking.

"Mrs Granger, if we can get Hermione to make you a portkey home then I can go with you to make reusable ones that will take you between your house and here whenever you want."

"Harry we are going to be spending so much time here I insist you call me Emma, otherwise I'll need to start calling you Lord Potter."

They only escaped the library when Dobby announced that lunch was ready, having the food appear on the table as soon as they sat down was a shock to the Grangers until Hermione explained about house elves.

"Can non magical people employ one, that would be fabulous to sit down after fixing teeth all day to a home cooked meal with no clearing up to do either."

Dobby popped right at Emma's elbow. "Would Missis Granger like a house elf? Dobby's friend Winky is looking for a new family and would be honoured to serve friends of Harry Potter."

"Would Winky take wages Dobby?" Hermione asked, only to be interrupted by the house elf in question making a personal appearance.

To say that Winky wasn't adjusting to being set free as well as Dobby would have been a gross understatement. The little elf looked ill, dirty and drunk, not a good combination, which was made appear worse as her speech, was slurred also. "Winky may be bad elf but not wanting wages, Winky wants to be part of family again."

They all felt sorry for the distraught elf but it was Luna who acted. "Winky, if you really want to be part of a family then perhaps you would consider mine? My dad is at work most days so you could be here with Dobby, just make sure daddy occasionally eats something and has clean underwear."

The change in her demeanour was instantaneous and remarkable, even the thought of someone wanting the little elf had her standing straighter and looking better. "Miss would want Winky in her family?"

"Only if it makes you happy and get's you looking after yourself again. I have an article to finish then you can take it to daddy and tell him what I said, Dobby could you look after her until then?"

Dobby was bouncing with excitement before popping away with Winky, Hermione wanted to be angry at the thought of the little elf's impending enslavement but she couldn't deny the evidence of her own eyes. Winky's condition almost had her in tears until her soft spoken new friend offered the desperate elf a home, the wonder and joy being broadcast by Winky would have left any objection of Hermione's looking pretty selfish. In this case Winky's happiness was clearly more important than her morals.

She'd closely observed as Harry learned the portkey charm and now had an opportunity to try it herself. Hermione imagined their enclosed back garden and applied it to Harry's scarf, the four then said cheerio to Luna as they left to walk outside. The Grangers had been portkeyed directly into the castle and this was a chance for a quick glance around.

When they left Dan was amazed at the solid looking cube with the large metal door, guarded by what Hermione claimed were security goblins, it really was magic how it looked so different on the inside. He and Emma had started the day worried sick about Hermione but were happier with her situation now than at anytime since she'd started attended this bloody place. Having visited her new accommodation, met the boyfriend and witnessed first hand what it was like to have a magical castle protecting their daughter, Dan would sleep soundly tonight. He'd wondered for years how he would feel when faced with the dreaded boyfriend only to discover that it was nothing like he'd imagined, that he was sure could be accredited entirely to said boyfriend being Harry Potter.

Dan couldn't think of any other young lad who had such an air of chivalry about them. Hermione certainly didn't do things by half's, not only was her boyfriend a gentleman but a Lord to boot!


Albus was at an absolute loss with no idea what to do next. Severus couldn't gain access to the castle, Fawkes had disappeared when asked to fetch the potion's master and hadn't been seen since. On top of that, no one had yet left Minerva's office and he couldn't get in.

The headmaster didn't feel any change in the castle wards yet Minerva's office was blocked to him. When the portraits reported that she'd left for her afternoon class he hurried to intercept her, Albus needed to know what had transpired with the Grangers. Unfortunately for the headmaster, Minerva's anger had not abated one iota but now she had a target to release it on, which she promptly did.

"Albus Dumbledore, what possessed you to place that charm on Miss Granger's father? You should be ashamed of yourself for doing that to a muggle, no you should be arrested for interfering with the betrothal of Lord Potter. What gives you the right to do such a thing?"

"I thought it was necessary and for the best, does Harry know?"

"For the best, for who's best? Yes Harry knows, it was he who detected that horrible spell. I was about to assure him you would never do such a thing when I discovered he was correct. I never thought you could stoop so low Albus."

The headmaster felt as if he'd been physically assaulted, "What was Harry's reaction?"

"Both he and Miss Granger have indicated they will be leaving Hogwarts when the competition ends."

"No, he can't!"

Minerva unloaded both barrels on the wilting Dumbledore. "Yes he bloody well can and I for one don't blame either of them, the person I blame is standing right in front of me! I have a class of second year students awaiting, they are far more deserving of my time than you, good-day headmaster."

Albus was left standing in the corridor surrounded by his shattered schemes but McGonagall hadn't exactly been quiet in her remonstrations, they had been heard by more than one pair of ears. By the time none of the new trio turned up for dinner the entire school was aware of Dumbledore's manipulations and tomorrows Quibbler would only add to his pain.


Luna had been brought up to speed on what had transpired with Hermione's parents that morning and none of them had felt like facing the rest of Hogwarts so they had chatted and built upon their first tenuous bonds of friendship. "I didn't like lying to McGonagall but I want to keep Sal a secret for now and don't want anyone to know just how much the goblins are helping. It would feel like cheating if I had any intention of winning. I plan on staying out the way and let the other three fight it out for eternal glory, I'll just be eternally grateful if I make it out in one piece."

All three had decided on an early night when Dobby appeared. "Harry Potter, the goblins have reported that Professor Lupin and his dog are at the door. Do you wish to allow them in?"

"Yes please Dobby. Luna you're about to learn another of our secrets and the Quibbler's next front page story, just don't be alarmed and trust us."

Luna smiled at him, "I trust you Harry…"

The little blond never got to say anymore as a massive black dog bounded into the room and flattened the boy she'd been speaking to. It proceeded to slobber all over him as Hermione buckled in laughter at his predicament, Luna thought staying here was so much fun.

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