Harry Crow

What will happen when a goblin-raised Harry arrives at Hogwarts. A Harry who has received training, already knows the prophecy and has no scar. With the backing of the goblin nation and Hogwarts herself. Complete.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8186071/1/Harry-Crow

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68. A Dancing Goblin

A complication no one had expected was the police being involved, Dan firing his shotgun in the house had a few of their closest neighbours dialling nine, nine, nine. When the police arrived at the scene, they found the Grangers gone and a bloody mess left in their lounge. Barchoke's squad had apprehended the prisoners and removed the bodies but the police were at the Grangers before any cleanup could be done. By the time Amelia discovered what had happened, it was far too late to start obliviating people.

Where the police go, the press are sure to follow - especially where there is blood involved. There had been rumours circulating that the 'Potter' the serial killers were after had connections to Crawley, this appeared to confirm that and the Grangers were front page news all over the country. Speculation regarding their fate was wide, varied and totally inaccurate. They were officially listed as missing though and a manhunt was gathering pace so something had to be done.

This led to Arthur and Bill Weasley walking into Crawley's police station and approaching the front desk. Flashing charmed I.D. Arthur spoke to the police officer who greeted them.

"We need to speak to whoever is in charge of the Granger case."

They were shown into an office and introduced themselves to the detectives in charge, their identifications claiming both father and son worked for a branch of the government.

"I have here a press release that will answer most of the questions being banded about in the media. Please read it and then we'll answer any questions we can." Arthur handed copies of the document over and tried not to smirk as the detectives' eyebrows got higher and higher.

On the nineteenth of September, a heavily armed group managed to bypass the security arrangements on the Granger home. While one of the group was busy boasting what they were going to do to the couple, Daniel Granger managed to bring his shotgun into play - fatally wounding two of the would-be attackers. This also alerted the private firm who were part of the security surrounding the Grangers and the rest of the group were quickly detained.

Unfortunately Emma Granger was seriously wounded in the attack and required immediate medical attention, she is now expected to make a full recovery. Both are recuperating from the attack by staying on a private estate in the Scottish Highlands. This statement is being released to assure all their friends and family that they are alive and well, and also hopefully to end media speculation over this incident.

The more senior of the two detectives was obviously not local, he also appeared to resent having his very high profile murder / kidnapping case pulled out from under him. He was barely courteous when asking the first question. "Can you give us any details on Mrs Granger's injuries?"

Arthur wanted to set the tone of this meeting right from the start, the Weasleys were in charge here. "First you need to understand what level this investigation has now reached, this is being treated as a direct attack on Lord Potter. We'll tell you what we can, and also what can be released to the press. Emma took a knife to the stomach, an injury that could easily have killed her."

His subordinate tried to hide his smirk, he'd basically been given the same 'this is no longer your responsibility' speech when his 'colleague' had arrived from London. He also had the next question ready for the new team apparently now in charge of this case. "Can you confirm or deny that Miss Granger's boyfriend, this young Lord Potter, is the Potter these serial killers are after?"

Looking to his son, Bill nodded before answering that question. "Hermione's boyfriend is indeed the Potter these killers are after, the couple met over two years ago at their exclusive school and have been inseparable ever since. Her parents were made aware of the possible danger and had all the protection we could think of on their home, that was why Dan, a keen shooter, also had a shotgun handy. Harry made sure that Emma had world class care to treat her injury and it's his Highland estate that they're staying on at the moment. That can also be released to the press and might stop some of the rubbish they're printing every day."

"Can you explain why they're after the boy?"

It was Arthur who tried to put the situation into a form that wouldn't break the statue of secrecy but was close enough to the truth for these two detectives to believe.

"Harry's parents worked for the government - a branch of anti terrorism. They were so good at their jobs that a really nasty group made it their mission in life to wipe the Potters out - they almost succeeded too. Both Harry's parents were killed and the explosion also took out the gang's leader, Harry was in the house at the time and it's nothing short of a miracle he survived."

Bill was so proud of his father, Arthur had worked really hard on the muggle materials he'd provided. He'd stopped treating muggles as a 'bit of a hobby' and there was now little sign of the man who couldn't pronounce 'electricity'. Gone too were the plug and battery collections, his new hobby was collecting muggle devices and experimenting to produce a magical version. Arthur was determined Molly would one day have a working microwave, he just loved the 'ping' that signalled your food was ready. He was also imparting truthful information to the police officers without giving specifics away.

"The government rounded up as many of this gang as we could while toddler Harry was adopted by a friend of the family. This gang though would give fanatics a bad name and the escapees are trying to link up with former members who must have slipped through our nets over a decade ago."

The senior detective opened a slim file that had been sitting on his desk, one of the first things he did upon arrival was to scour through all the information they had on this family. "This report begins to make more sense now, how one lad easily took down five local bullies. I understand Lord Potter was asked by the officers who took them home to the Grangers if he had any special training, our records show he said no."

Arthur hadn't a clue what the detective was talking about but thankfully Bill had gone over the entire incident in great detail with all of them.

"Harry was asked if he practiced any kind of martial arts, he replied that, apart from keeping fit, fencing was the only sport he attempted. That is as true today as it was then. Due to his special circumstances though Harry has received government approved training on how to extract himself from difficult situations. Since he and his best friends are always together, they received approval to undertake the training too. Hermione was more upset with herself that she let that boy catch her off guard in that incident and accepted as her due the rollocking she got from her tutor for doing so."

The younger local detective was suspicious of such a glib answer. "You seem to know rather a lot about this?"

"Probably because I was the tutor who gave her a rollocking. I know the Granger family well, I've holidayed with them and have younger siblings who attend the same school as Hermione and Harry. I spoke with Dan and Emma this morning before setting out for your station, Emma is actually going to try some solid food today." Bill didn't want to say he had breakfast with them or an explanation of how he got from the Scottish Highlands to Crawley in such a short time would be required.

"Would it be possible for us to contact them?"

A rather emphatic shake of the head from Bill preceded his answer. "Sorry but no. Both are understandably rather shaken up at the moment and Harry's being exceptionally protective of them. We all know how easily it could have been for things to go so differently the other night, Dan has barely let his shotgun out of his reach."

-oOoOo-

A very calm Dan had his shotgun resting at his shoulder.

"PULL!"

He smiled as each blast of the shotgun saw a clay pigeon disintegrate.

"PULL!"

Another two clay pigeons met their end under his gun as once more his little loader swiftly and smoothly passed over a loaded weapon.

"PULL!"

One smashed to smithereens and the other merely clipped. It was still good shooting though, a certain goblin observer thought it was shocking and amazing at the same time.

There was no way Ragnok wasn't going to further investigate guns after seeing how effective they were against goblins, watching Dan shoot was a revelation. As with Harry's demonstration of his abilities in the pit, here again it was a case of their weapons being seriously outmatched in a fight. The sharpest sword in the world was as much use to a warrior as a dandelion if your enemy could cut you down well before your blade could even reach them.

Barchoke rested his weapon as he'd been taught before giving the command to set the clay pigeons flying, shooting with The director studying his every move was nerve racking. Rather than trying for both and hitting none, he concentrated on making sure only one of those disks would hit the ground whole.

Ragnok actually cheered as he witnessed a goblin blast one of those disks apart, Barchoke made sure the weapon was unloaded before handing it over for The Director to examine.

"The workmanship is superb, it must have taken days to get those barrels so true. Why did you remove the bits that fire though?"

The leader of the Goblin Nation then found himself being lectured by a human as Dan explained the safety protocols Everyone had to learn before handling a loaded weapon. He also shattered Ragnok's illusions by telling him most of the shotgun he held in his hands would have been produced by machine.

Rather than raising any level of anxiety, the echo of the shotgun's blasts was actually reassuring to the other half of the Granger dentistry duo. Dan practicing on his beloved shooting course was a welcome slice of what now passed as normality for them. She was sitting in her favourite chair with a book in her hands but Emma couldn't stop her thoughts from running over the last few days.

Once it had been established beyond doubt she was out of danger, Sirius and Henrica took Neville and Padma back to Hogwarts. Hermione and Harry had refused to leave, and even now they had transferred to Kingussie, both were still here keeping a very careful eye on her.

Emma suddenly sussed what had disturbed her quiet reading, it was far too quiet for a room that held both her children. She turned her head round to look for them and let go with an incredibly loud piercing scream.

Dobby had Dan transported there in mere seconds, his shotgun searching for targets. All he saw was Harry and Hermione standing in front of Emma with their weapons drawn, Tonks coming barreling through the door almost started a war before Emma screamed again.

"STOP! Weapons down before anyone gets hurt."

Emma's screamed order proved to be timely, sensing no threat everyone complied just before Barchoke, Ragnok and a pair of The Director's guards crashed into the room from the other direction than the one Tonks had burst through.

"I'm sorry for startling everyone, I just got a bit of a shock. Guess I'm not dealing with this as well as I thought I was."

Dobby popped away with the shotgun as the Potter elves began supplying refreshments since the situation was under control, the two guards positioned themselves at the doors as a now embarrassed Emma provided an explanation.

"It suddenly dawned on me that it was too quiet in here with this pair in the room, I turned around and saw what I now know was Hermione but she was covered in feathers. I simply got a shock, sorry for scaring everyone."

"We were meditating on our animagus forms, was Hermione really covered in feathers?"

"Didn't you see her?"

"Sorry mum, after you screamed I was too busy sweeping my side of the room for threats. I didn't need to look to know Hermione was doing the same behind me."

Hermione now held out her arm and concentrated, copper coloured feathers with distinct black markings started to spread along her outstretched limb. She was soon in the air as Harry had his arms around her waist and was swinging her around in celebration, his whoop of jubilation letting the uninitiated know this was a major achievement.

Tonks was shaking her head in wonder. "Let me guess, Neville and Padma have forms too?"

Harry still had Hermione hoisted in the air, his admiration of his mate clear for all to see. "Hermione is a kestrel, I'm a swift, Neville is a tawny owl while Padma is some type of hawk - we'll need to wait until she perfects her form to get a more specific identification. I can't wait until we can all fly around the glen, might save Padma moaning about having to run as much."

The thought of their children being able to change themselves into birds and having the ability to fly unaided just gave a whole new meaning to the term 'flying the nest' for Dan and Emma, here was a graphic example of not only how quickly they were growing up but they were now trying to grow feathers too.

Ragnok was once again witnessing proof of just how well his gamble on these four human children was paying off. Animagus was an ability that was foreign to goblins but having three Friends of the Nation and a Centurion who would possess this strange phenomenon would be another feather in his cap. He had considered these children extraordinary when he made the awards, just how extraordinary they were turning out to be was surprising even him.

-oOoOo-

It was no surprise to Emma that the extraordinary man she had married all those years ago eventually broke down and cried his heart out. Her Dan was a gentle soul and, while he wouldn't hesitate to protect his family, killing two 'people' was always going to have an affect on him. She held her husband close as they snuggled in bed, getting Dan to talk through the experience had led to this breakdown - he badly needed to let it out though.

After getting himself together, and reluctantly admitting to his wife he actually felt better, they snuggled a while longer before Emma raised the next potential problem.

"I think Harry needs to do the same as you just have, instead of bottling it up and going on as if everything is fine. You reacted purely on instinct but, by all accounts, Harry practically slaughtered those goblins in front of a large audience. You'll get no argument from me that those four deserved their fate, I'm just not happy that our boy had to be the one administering it. I've had a quiet word with Barchoke and he agrees, he also thinks Hermione is the only one who stands any chance of getting through to him."

"I guessed as much, I also guessed that's why she was sneaking into his room every night..."

"I didn't think you'd noticed, why didn't you say anything?"

"Only being able to hold you at night has kept me sane these last few days, I keep getting flashbacks and watching those two goblins die. If Harry feels half as bad as I do about this then he'll need Hermione to get him through this. I also think that's why they're in no hurry at all to return to Hogwarts, he doesn't really want to face all their friends knowing what he had to do. I know that's the way I feel about returning to Crawley, people who could never understand what we went through will want to congratulate me for picking up my shotgun."

"So, you trust those two together?"

"Harry has now killed five times to protect the two most important women in the world to me - make that seven if you count a basilisk and a troll. If we can't trust him with Hermione then just class me as a horrible father..."

This earned Dan a kiss from his wife. "I think you forgot to add that Hermione and I are two of the most important ladies in Harry's life too, we both know there is not the slightest danger of him hurting our daughter. We also know they can't go on like this much longer, both of them and Tonks need to be in Hogwarts for the ball on Saturday evening. It would make a mockery of the event if three of the guests of honour were missing. Barchoke and I have an idea for Friday, I just need you to go along with it."

-oOoOo-

Barchoke arrived in Kingussie on Friday morning accompanied by a surprising bonus.

Hermione was out her chair while shrieking 'Sapphire!' in a tone that could crack glass.

The little goblin was now a fully paid up member of the 'hugs are good' society and, as Hermione eventually released her she flew into Harry's open arms. Her head barely reached his muscled chest but Sapphire held on tight as she finally answered some of the questions Hermione had immediately hit her with.

"Your mate here started a mad scramble to get back to London, my whole family's here to get ready for next week. Anyone waiting until the last minute is going to be disappointed, I've never seen Gringotts so busy - we could hardly get accommodation."

"You're more than welcome to stay here?"

She looked up into her tall friend's green eyes and knew he was being completely genuine, that he hadn't let her go yet was also a big clue too. "Thanks, Harry, I might for a day or two. Your father has also offered that I can stay in your apartment, save me having to share a room with the rest of my family." She then got really serious and changed the subject.

"Even in Cairo, your fight in the pit was all anyone could talk about. There are memory crystals changing hands at ridiculous amounts as everyone wants to see if the rumours are true. My father got his hands on a copy and it left him clearly shaken, so much so that I was able to sneak a look at it when he wasn't there..."

She could feel Harry trying to pull away at hearing that but Sapphire just tightened her grip on his waist. "Harry, you did what you had to do. We both know Dragonbreath was going to meet a bad end, he didn't hesitate in trying to murder Emma so don't you go blaming yourself for what happened to him."

Hermione now made it a three way hug, delighted with what their little friend was saying. "I've been trying to tell him that all week, Sapphire, I was there and it makes no difference to me. He seems to think it will make a difference to our friends, Padma and Neville were there too and both have already told him that's not going to happen."

Here was the opening Emma was looking for to introduce their idea. "Since you won't be able to leave Hogwarts this year at Halloween, I thought now would be a good time to visit Harry's parents."

Hermione explained that concept to a confused Sapphire, allowing Harry a few moments to think about it. "Harry visits the cemetery where his parents are buried, usually on Halloween. This year though Halloween is a Hogsmeade weekend and the goblins are going to help protect the village, Centurion Crow here is going to be on duty."

Barchoke then helped his son reach a decision. "As the entire country now knows that fact, visiting on a different day also makes tactical sense."

Sapphire and Hermione holding him lent Harry the courage to agree, the guilt he was currently carrying made visiting his parents the last place he wanted to go.

Harry's reluctance at the cemetery was clear to all those who had visited here with him before, Hermione and Sapphire kept a tight hold of him as they stood beside the headstones.

The fact that his son was standing there in silence forced Barchoke to take some action. "James and Lily, our son is being rather quiet today because he had to do something that's left him feeling ashamed, unworthy even. We've all told him that he's still the same Harry we know and love but he doesn't seem to believe us. You left me a fine boy to raise and I've done the best I can, if there is any fault here then it is mine to bear."

Emma's hand then rested supportively on the elder goblin's shoulder as she too spoke. "James and Lily, I hope you don't mind if I say our son too. Harry's started calling me mum and I couldn't be happier about that. I think his father has done a wonderful job as Harry is quite simply the finest young man I have ever met. If there's a fault here then it's mine, I was attacked and Harry not only helped save my life but ensured my attackers would never bother anyone again. I already loved our son with all my heart and this incident didn't lessen that love one bit, Harry though is having trouble believing that."

As Harry still hadn't spoken a word, Hermione filled the silence. "I really don't know what to call you, Mr and Mrs Potter seems so formal yet James and Lily doesn't feel right either. It will be mum and dad when I marry your son, and I will be marrying him. He is mine and I am his, nothing is going to change that. He seems to think his recent actions have affected how we all see him, I keep trying to tell him that his friends and family all still love him - and will never stop loving him."

With tears rolling down his cheeks, Harry finally broke his silence. "Mum, dad, I've let you down - I've let everyone down. You both gave your lives protecting me from a dark wizard, only for your son to turn into one. I slaughtered four people, one of them a boy who wouldn't even fight back!" Sobs now racked Harry's body as his worst fears left his lips.

Hermione was strong for her mate, fighting back her own tears. "You are not a dark wizard, Harry, and you never could be. You are a Centurion who dealt with a goblin problem as only a goblin could."

She'd been standing back, not wanting to intrude on a family moment, but Tonks now stepped forward to offer some advice. She had watched as the rest of the family had used Harry's parents to try and reach out to the young man, Tonks now did the same. "James and Lily, you don't know me but my auror robes will tell you we have a mutual acquaintance, Alastor Moody. If anyone can spot a dark wizard then it's him, that he's going to train your son should answer that question. Harry has been raised as a goblin but is now trying to assign wizarding values to his goblin actions, it just won't work."

Harry was still crying but he could feel the love he was surrounded by, almost as if it was a physical force. This atmosphere allowed him to begin unburdening his soul of the day that would give him nightmares for years to come.

As Harry got into his stride, there was soon more than him standing in the graveyard with tears in their eyes, especially when he reached the part about seeing Emma injured.

"When I saw mum lying there with that knife sticking out her I knew I had to do something. I couldn't lose my mum again, how could I ever face my Hermione knowing that, because of me, both of us no longer had a mum. I had to protect them and acted as a goblin should, why do I then feel as if I've ripped my own guts out too?"

His father had an answer for that. "Taking a life should always leave you feeling like that, son, it's never something that can be taken lightly. The people you killed had already been sentenced to die, I'm sorrier than I can say that you had to be the one to carry that sentence out. You did your duty, son, and The Nation is a better place because of that."

Sapphire spoke for the first time, her heart breaking from witnessing the pain her friend was suffering. "The Nation is a better place now, Harry, and your family is certainly safer because of what you were forced to do. Listen to those around you and don't hand your hard won victory over to Dragonbreath, he and his father got exactly what they deserved."

It was a lovely autumn day in Godric's Hollow and the well maintained cemetery sparkled like an emerald, set squarely at the heart of the village. The more time they spent there with Harry talking to his parents, the more the sparkle returned to those emerald eyes Hermione loved so much.

Harry felt lighter as they returned to Kingussie, he was also knackered and was heading off for a nap. Hermione had every intention of joining him but had something to do first.

"Father, can you get a dress made for Sapphire by tomorrow? Since she's in the country so Sapphire can be our guest at tomorrow's Merlin Ball."

"Are you sure Hogwarts is ready for this, my daughter?"

"All our friends have met and love Sapphire, they'll all be there. Fred and George might act all respectable now but everyone knows they've just gotten a lot better at what they do since taking lessons from Master Pitslay, nobody will want to cross that pair. What do you say, Sapphire, me and you walking into the ball on Harry's arms?"

The little goblin was almost hyperventilating with excitement and only had one question, "Will Roger be there?"

Having holidayed with the group in Cairo, Barchoke was now certain his daughter was right - they would rally around Sapphire and ensure she had an enjoyable, and trouble free evening. He would take her to Gringotts and have a dress made in the same style as those Hermione and Padma would be wearing, having to return Sapphire to Kingussie might be the only reason he got out of the director's office without having to consume a keg of grog.

Ragnok would surely call for the potent brew to celebrate a goblin being invited to the Hogwarts Merlin Ball. With Gringotts currently packed to capacity with all of the overseas visitors, this couldn't have happened at a more opportune time to allow their visitors to see the unbelievable changes happening in Britain for themselves.

-oOoOo-

They all noticed the changes at breakfast, it was hard not to with Harry, Hermione and Tonks wearing their Orders of Merlin and greeting each other formally at the table. Add in Sapphire being high as a kite with the excitement of attending her first ball tonight and breakfast in Kingussie that Saturday morning was unusual to say the least.

The three parents were all smiling as their charges were making plans to spend a couple of hours giving Sapphire some dancing lessons, Dan and Emma lost their smiles as Hermione revealed more of their plans.

"After the ball we'll portkey home, that will allow the four of us..." A growl from Tonks saw Hermione change that part. "That will allow the five of us to attend church tomorrow."

They could see the fear in Emma's eyes and it was Harry who broached the elephant in the room. "Mum, you got me to face my fears yesterday and I feel so much better for doing it. You know any of my houses are available to you but your life is back in Crawley, even if you want to permanently change that you still need to go back and sort everything out first."

She found herself being tagged team by both of them as Hermione pushed too. "You'll have Harry and me with you, and Tonks guarding our backs. We go to church, a quick pop home before heading back to Kingussie for lunch."

Dan now had his arm supportively around his wife's shoulders. "We have to face this sometime, love, wouldn't it be much better to do it with these three there for support? Just look at those medals, you know we'll be in safe hands."

She was every bit as reluctant as Harry had been yesterday but again Emma knew this was something she needed to face. Dan was right, it would be much better with their family there for support.

With that settled, the three teens left so Sapphire could get some dancing practice for her first ball. She had loved dinner and dancing on their Nile cruise but the little goblin wanted to be more prepared for her first ball.

-oOoOo-

Nothing could have prepared Sapphire for walking into the great hall of Hogwarts. It wasn't so much the splendour of the vast room, more that every pair of eyes in the hall focused on them the instant they entered. The little goblin was feeling self-conscious about wearing this dress but had trusted Harry and Hermione when they said that's what most of the girls would be wearing. She stood as the six Order of Merlin holders observed their formal greetings before the whole thing descended into hugs, Sapphire soon found herself being included by an excited Padma and then Luna arrived to carry on that trend.

Sapphire watched as Harry spoke to the woman in charge before leading everyone out of there to climb lots of stairs as Hogwarts once more provided a spectacular ballroom. Luna had been introducing her to so many friends of theirs that Sapphire's head was spinning, she found herself being led to a table where dinner would appear. She was sitting between Luna and Harry with Padma, Neville and of course Hermione making up the rest of the company. They were surrounded though on all sides by tables full of their friends and Sapphire couldn't help but smile as two younger girls approached Harry to remind him he had promised them a dance.

It was like watching the last of the doubt leave her friend, one glance at Hermione was enough to tell that she thought so too. She knew what they had for dinner was lovely but Sapphire couldn't remember what she ate, she was far too busy looking all around her as Luna kept up a running commentary and answered any questions she asked - and Sapphire had a lot of questions about everything and everyone.

It was announced that the first dance was for the Order of Merlin holders and there was loud cheering as four students, three professors and an auror took to the dance floor. Hermione was in Harry's arms and they were surrounded by friends and family. She looked into her mate's eyes and saw peace there for the first time since her birthday.

"I hate saying I told you so but did you really think your friends would treat you any different? You'll make Natalie and Pauline's evenings by dancing with them, and Sapphire is sitting there practically glowing. You've never hidden the fact you consider yourself a goblin, you told the entire hall that at your sorting, sometimes we can all forget though - even you."

"Not as long as I have you to keep me right, it was also you who invited Sapphire here tonight - something I want to thank you for. What I'm trying to say is thanks for being there for me this week, I don't know what I would have done if you weren't..."

"I'll always be there for you, Harry, I am yours and you are mine. We're going to have to wait a few more years though before we can snuggle up in bed every night, although we weren't doing anything wrong I really don't like sneaking about behind mum and dad's back."

This earned her a kiss from her mate. "I know, and again I can't thank you enough. Just you being there with me kept me sane."

Tonks was enjoying being held in her date's arms, she wanted to know if there could be more though. "Remus, I need to return to Kingussie with Harry tonight but we'll be back in Hogwarts ready for classes on Monday. I think we need to sit down then and have a talk."

She was really worried until Remus smiled at her, then Tonks knew it would be okay. Even if they went no further than their current friendship she knew Remus Lupin was going to be a part of her life for years to come.

The ball was a resounding success again, that there was an actual goblin amongst them barely raised an eyebrow. Word had quickly spread Sapphire was a very good friend of Harry's, that he danced with her next after his first dance with Hermione easily confirmed this. With some of the professors and even the head boy and girl clearly having met her before, Sapphire was afforded a warm welcome to Hogwarts and was on the dance floor for most of evening.

Sirius asked Hermione to dance and was relieved to hear that Harry was now on the mend, he had killed in the last war and, even though that person had been in full death eater regalia and taking part in a raid, Sirius had still felt like shit knowing he had caused someone's death. He also approved of what they were doing for her mum and dad, asking if they wanted some company at the church.

Hermione was sorely tempted but eventually declined, it was going to be enough of a dog and pony show without turning up mob handed. The thought of Melissa and Joanne turning green with envy when the saw Henrica almost had her saying yes.

Those bound for Kingussie eventually had to bid their friends goodnight, Sapphire was proclaiming to everyone within earshot that it was the best night of her life. Hermione leaning over and whispering in her ear that this ball was an annual event, and of course she was invited next year, saw her dancing all the way to the edge of the wards. She had a whole year to work on her father to make sure she was in Britain at the same time next year.

-oOoOo-

Her father was studying Sunday's edition of the Prophet and was struggling to believe what his eyes were telling him, his daughter's picture was on the front page. He'd half expected pictures proclaiming outrage at a goblin daring to attend Hogwarts premier event, only Barchoke reiterating his promise that she would be perfectly safe saw him giving permission for his daughter to attend. No, instead of singling her out, this picture was much worse.

He wasn't to know this was a repeat of the type of picture they had successfully ran after last year's ball, a mass of Hogwarts students gathered in front of an impressive fountain. There, left of centre was Sapphire - happily standing amongst the collection of smiling young witches and wizards.

He had to read well into the article before finding any mention of his daughter, and even then she was simply mentioned as a long time friend of the Baron of Kingussie who happened to be currently holidaying in Britain. He held irrefutable proof in his hands that these witches and wizards had easily accepted his goblin daughter in their company, again something he simply didn't think was possible.

Not for the first time lately, he was left to wonder if he'd made a mistake all those years ago.

-oOoOo-

Emma was clinging onto Dan's arm and wondering if they'd made a mistake, like Sapphire last night they were experiencing the phenomenon of having every pair of eyes focused on them as they walked into church.

The Reverend Richards actually announced during his sermon that he had been going to ask the congregation to pray for a couple of their members who had been attacked last week, only for his prayers to have already been answered when he saw them sitting in their usual seats.

After the service ended, it was then that the group found themselves being approached by most of the congregation. Dan lost count of the number of times he told people that they were only visiting their home, they would be staying in the Scottish Highlands and dental agency staff would be covering their practice for the next few weeks at least.

It was the Reverend Richards though who made the most perceptive comment as they were leaving the church. "I was dismayed to discover that it was members of Harry's own family who pointed these terrorists at Crawley and your family. That was very irresponsible of them."

Harry though who quickly put the minister straight. "The Dursleys are no family of mine, Reverend, they signed that right away when they put me up for adoption. I said the same to Melissa and Joanne during the summer, and also expressed my concern that their revelations might attract these terrorists to Crawley."

Dan clearly shared Harry's view of the Dursleys. "They must have known what they were doing would place my family in the firing line, they either did it deliberately or just didn't care. Whatever their motives, I'm finding it hard to offer any forgiveness in their direction at the moment."

As the Reverend Richards shook Dan's hand, he found himself agreeing with his parishioner who almost lost his wife a few days ago. "I really can't blame any of you for that."

As they walked back to the Grangers' house Tonks had to bring up something that was bothering her. "It wasn't death eaters who attacked Emma, whoever the Dursleys are they had nothing to do with the other night."

A mischievous smile stole across Harry's face. "The Dursleys deliberately started spreading that information, trying to justify themselves for giving me away when I was a toddler. this was not done out of any spirit of public service. Everyone in town now knows it was them who directed the eyes of Britain onto Crawley, and just what the consequences of that could be. The Dursleys' standing in Crawley probably couldn't get any lower, and they did it themselves - I hardly had to do anything."

This drew a smile from Emma, she considered that the tormentors of her daughter receiving some tormenting of their own was poetic justice. Emma's smile at the Dursleys' situation meant this morning would be classed as a success, they had shown face and everyone now knew they were alright. All they had to do now was get back to Scotland before the police or press got wind they were in Crawley. They would have lunch in Kingussie before he, Hermione and Tonks needed to head back to Hogwarts.

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