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.



73. An Unconventional Hero

Harry slipped out of Hermione's room to find a worried Dan and Emma waiting on him.

"How is she?"

"People Hermione knew have been butchered in their own Crawley home on Christmas Day, she's taking it hard. Even though she may not have liked the Dursleys, she still went to school with Dudley for five years - and you wouldn't wish his fate on anyone."

"And how are you coping?"

"Dan, they weren't my family. I was prepared to give Dudley a chance but the one time we met he refused my offer of a handshake and attacked me. You were both there when I met his parents, they were even worse than their son. To be honest, the murder of little Bea Potter affected me more. The Dursleys played a part in their own downfall, poor Bea just happened to have the last name of Potter."

It was a confused Emma who asked Harry to explain that.

"The Dursleys outed that I was the Potter these killers were after, endangering you and everyone in Crawley. It also painted a large target on them, something they obviously didn't think about when they were spreading their news all over town. I'm just so glad that none of my family were anywhere near Crawley yesterday..."

This saw Harry pulled into a hug as Emma kissed him on the cheek. "So are we, Harry, so are we. Stay with Hermione tonight, she needs her mate to hold her. You can also tell her that this has Dan and me seriously reconsidering your island option, yesterday struck a little too close to home for comfort."

This news certainly cheered Harry up. "It doesn't have to be limited to the island, you know there are Potter properties all over the world. You should be safe anywhere outside Britain, why not travel the world and enjoy yourselves. It will also help us decide where we go on holiday this summer. I would say Florida was a definite no this year, you won't fit on most of the rides by then..."

"Why you cheeky scamp, get in there and cheer Hermione up - before we change our minds." That Emma was smiling told Harry she was only joking, he wished them both goodnight before slipping back into Hermione's room.

Dan was left standing there shaking his head. "I can't believe I just gave my little princess' boyfriend permission to sleep with her."

"Don't get me started, Dan, you know Harry's much more than a boyfriend. You also know sleeping is all they'll be doing, they'll be selling ice cream in hell before Harry would push Hermione into something she wasn't ready for.'

She tried not to laugh as he muttered 'it's not Harry I'm worried about' as they headed for their own room.

Hermione was feeling miserable. She had often wished harm on Dudley Dursley and his gang when she was growing up, but being cut to pieces by a dark lord went way beyond anything a young bullied Hermione had envisaged as revenge on her tormentors. Okay, there was that one time when she wanted a grand piano to drop from the sky and flatten all of them but she was only six - and watching a lot of Tom and Jerry cartoons at the time.

Her morbid thoughts were blasted apart by someone sliding into bed beside her, the arms wrapping around Hermione told her exactly who that someone was.

"Harry, you do that and I won't want you to leave. Then we'll get caught and be in so much trouble..."

"We won't get into any trouble at all. I have permission from your mum and dad to be here for you tonight."


"Really, really - and there's even more good news. They're both considering moving out of Britain when we return to Hogwarts. Rather than just sitting safely on our island, I've asked Emma if they wanted to travel around any houses we haven't yet visited and see what she thinks would be suitable for our summer holidays."

His mate was in awe of that. "You gave mum a research project? Oh Harry, that's sheer genius. We could work out a checklist and she could score certain aspects of each location..."

As Hermione rattled on, Harry was feeling quite smug with himself. Not only would he get her parents out of the country, he'd taken Hermione's mind right off any thought of blood and slaughter. Harry didn't think he was a genius, it was more a case of sometimes you just got lucky. He intended to spend the night holding that luck in his arms - you couldn't get much luckier than that.


Rita was praying her luck would hold. Searching for Rookwood and Lestrange had been bad enough, now she was actively looking for the dark lord himself. This time though they had a specific lead to work with, that made her even more terrified as the beetle searched for a route into Parkinson manor.

The beetle crawled through a tiny gap into what she soon discovered was a bedroom, only to find it currently occupied. The wizard appeared familiar but Rita certainly knew the witch. Bertha had been a good source of information for what was really happening inside the ministry, get enough drink into her down the pub and Bertha would tell you anything you wanted to know. It didn't look as if Bertha would be providing any more juicy ministry gossip for Rita, it didn't look as if Bertha could remember her own name any more. There was a glazed look in her eyes that wasn't alcohol induced, Rita thought the lights may be on but it didn't look like anyone was home where Bertha was concerned.

The identity of the wizard Bertha was currently with then sprang into Rita's mind and she knew this mission would already see her coffers filling with gold. Lord Black and his godson would pay a small fortune to the person who handed them Peter Pettigrew's location.

She carefully flew down and crawled under the bedroom door, figuring on a quick look around before getting back out and heading past the wards. Rita was actually hoping she wouldn't see anyone else as the beetle began searching for another exit, what she found instead would stay with her for the rest of her life. There was a body hanging from the entrance hall chandelier by its ankles, a pool of blood had collected and coagulated on the marble floor beneath the carcass. Some of that blood had already dried and stained the floor, leading the former reporter to think the body might have been hanging there for a few days.

Rita had thought Bertha got a raw deal, that was until she saw this. It looked as if someone had taken their time and skinned this person raw a piece at a time. Whoever this was, they must have died in agony. When the body then moved and emitted a groan of pain, Rita found herself parting with her breakfast. It was only when the animagus noticed that she had shifted back into her witch form that Rita realised just how much trouble she was in.

That was certainly emphasised when sound of her throwing up attracted a visitor, Bellatrix Lestrange stood in a doorway with a bloody knife in her hand. "I don't know how you got in here, I guarantee you'll soon tell me..."

She had no intention of telling this crazy bitch anything. Instead, Rita was shouting at the top of her voice."Emergency, Now, Now, Now..."

Rita watched in horror as the knife sped through the air toward her, the loud crack ringing in her ears signalling her goblin emergency portkey had done its job and crashed through the wards. She arrived in Barchoke's office with the sound of Gringotts alarms now ringing in her ears, Rita didn't care about that - she was far too busy running her hands up and down her body. She expected there would be lots of pain involved if there was currently a knife sticking into her, but only after her hands had confirmed there really wasn't could Rita finally relax - Rita relaxed right into a dead faint.


There was no relaxing at the Malfoy home, Draco was worried that Sirius had practically summonsed them to Grimmauld Place. That Sirius had also included both of their mothers in that summons certainly didn't ease that worry. Leading them through to a lounge where they found Amelia to be waiting on them just took that worry to another level, their serious faces meant there was no way this was going to be good news. At least Amelia didn't keep them waiting long to hear it.

"Elspeth, Pansy, there's no easy way to say this, Edmund is dead."

Most of the time Amelia loved her job, this part of it though really sucked. It took both ladies a few minutes to regain enough control to ask what had happened to their father / husband.

"Voldemort was actually hiding in your home, the ministry arrived with over seventy aurors but had just missed him. We found Edmund in the entrance hall, he'd been tortured and then murdered..."

Again Amelia was forced to wait until both witches had a grip of themselves before she could continue. "We have no way of knowing how many witches and wizards answered or refused Voldemort's summons, it would appear his intention was to use Edmund as an example to the rest of his death eaters. The ministry doesn't want his death to be in vain and would like to do the same."

This confused everyone until Amelia spelled it out for them. "We want to portray Edmund Parkinson for exactly what he was, a brave man who made a mistake over a decade ago. Rather than compound that mistake, he took measures to ensure his family were safe and paid the ultimate price. The ministry thinks there are more people like Edmund out there, we don't want to see any more families faced with this situation. We intend to offer them and their families ministerial protection..."

"Pansy and Elspeth will be staying at Malfoy Manor." Amelia had found herself being interrupted by a very forceful Draco. "We have goblin wards on our home and an escape route mapped out in case of emergencies. Sorry Madam Bones but I don't trust their safety to anyone else."

Deciding to be brutally honest, Amelia laid her cards on the table. "That is exactly the problem the ministry is faced with, and one of the reasons why Edmund is now dead. If he had come to us, we could have protected the entire Parkinson family. Without that trust more people are going to needlessly die, whether they join Voldemort or not."

Narcissa had kept quiet up until now but she could see it was time to take a stand. Draco had already made his position in this conflict clear and she was going to follow her son's lead. That the dark lord would already want both remaining Malfoys to be painfully murdered really left her with no other option, their fortune still being tied up preventing them leaving the country for safety.

"Madam Bones, I agree with Draco in that both Pansy and Elspeth will be staying with us. I also understand the issue of trust that you are trying to deal with and believe the Malfoys can be of help. If you discover families who no longer want to follow the dark lord, we would happily offer those families shelter and refuge at Malfoy Manor. Since no death eater can cross our wards, the ministry would only have to provide protection for those family members carrying the dark mark."

Here was an extremely generous offer that Amelia very quickly accepted. They had been trawling through properties the ministry owned with an eye toward having them warded and designated a safe house, this was a ready made solution. That anyone caught in those circumstances would be a pureblood was already a given, which was probably the reason Narcissa Malfoy made the offer. The Malfoy name still carried some weight amongst these particular witches and wizards though, knowing their families would be safe behind the wards and walls of Malfoy Manor might just be the difference to those death eaters currently undecided on what to do next.

Elspeth had understood there was a good chance she wouldn't be seeing Edmund again when they parted that night, hearing her worst fears had been confirmed knocked the witch for six. She was slowly recovering though, there was the Parkinson name and her daughter still to protect.

"Excuse me, Madam Bones. Are you saying that the Parkinsons are going to be under ministry protection? Does this mean there won't be ministerial fines levied against our family?"

"That's exactly what I'm saying, Elspeth. The ministry will protect not only the family members but the family name and fortune too. We intend to let this public offer sit for a few days before waging all out war on every death eater we know about, using veritaserum on those death eaters we capture should provide us with any missing names. We want to use your husband's death to publicise this offer, even if we only save one more family it would be considered a success."

Pansy was currently clinging to Draco with her tears soaking his shirt. It was to her mother though that he aimed his advice. "Elspeth, Pansy and I have already made our choice, we've rejected the dark lord and all that he stands for. We don't want things to go back to the way they were, the wizarding community should be moving forward - not back. Voldemort will take great pleasure in killing me, my mate, my mother, you, Amelia, Sirius and anyone else who stands in his way. We won't be the ones doing the fighting but you must see we're stronger opposing him if we all stand together."

Pansy's sobs actually increased, causing Draco to ask her what the matter was.

"My father cast me out of the family, I know he only did it for my own protection. I was thinking that, when this was all over, I would be able to be a Parkinson again. Now that can never happen."

There was one person there who understood what Pansy was going through, Sirius tried to comfort the girl. "I was only a few years older than you when I ran away from home. My mother and father disinherited me, making my younger brother the heir to the Black family. He was murdered by Voldemort before he even got the chance to turn eighteen, yet my mother still supported the mad bastard. You will be a Malfoy in a few years and that throws up lots of options. While your mother can't bring you back into the Parkinson family, she can do that for any grandchildren she recognises. Your second born can take the Parkinson name, ensuring that family doesn't die out."

Pansy looked from Sirius to her mother, Elspeth's nod saw her attention switch to Draco. When his mate looked at him with so much need in her heart, Draco was always going to say yes. Pansy was still in tears though as she grieved for her father, Draco held her and spoke so all of them could hear.

"Your father died knowing he had saved the two most important people in the world to him, we can now give him a chance to fight back against his murders. I know I don't have a say in this but I think you should both say yes. I think that's what he would have wanted you to do, protect the Parkinson name and stick it to Voldemort at the same time."

Pansy's eyes shifted once more to her mother, a tearful Elspeth again nodded her agreement.

It was a much relieved Amelia who enlightened them on what would happen next. "The story of Edmund's murder will appear in the Prophet, along with who we suspect carried it out. The ministry will then appeal for people to come forward and we will offer them protection..."

"How are they going to contact you?" A confused Draco had interrupted Amelia again, "No one bearing the mark can enter the ministry."

Rather than being annoyed, Amelia was quite pleased at how quickly the young wizard had picked up on that. "They can't enter the ministry but they can enter Gringotts. All they have to do is approach a teller and ask to see a ministry representative. The goblins are providing us with private rooms and will have extra security on the bank floor. We will have teams of aurors patrolling Diagon Alley and a squad stationed outside the bank. Anyone wanting to ask for help will be able to do so in safety."

This level of organisation and competence from the ministry stunned both mothers, Pansy though had expected nothing less.

"Told you things were different now, Voldemort will pay for what he did to my father. If we wouldn't be so far behind, I would ask Harry if Draco and I could join them in their training."

It was with hope in her heart that Amelia left the grieving family to head back to the ministry. Those people in that house should be some of Voldemort's strongest supporters, that they were now ready to stand and fight against him meant that this time they might just be able to finish him and his death eaters off once and for all. This was their first piece of good news since the solstice.


Cornelius could be doing with hearing some good news, he was currently being faced with a failed scheme of his own.

Ludo Bagman always gave Cornelius the impression that a few of those bludgers the former beater was supposed to hit had slipped through his guard and smacked him on the head. Ludo was a 'fly by the seat of his pants' type of wizard whose only skills appeared to be the ability to once a year assist with organising the upcoming quidditch season.

These were hardly sought after qualities and certainly not abilities worthy of a head of department salary, but Ludo had been appointed to that post before Cornelius became minister and had proven really difficult to get rid of.

Dolores Umbridge on the other hand was a witch who never did anything without a plan. She was the ministry's ultimate schemer and Cornelius had thought he'd pulled off a masterstroke by forcing the two of them to work together. He was sure they would drive each other crazy and expected a resignation to be appearing on his desk within a month of her appointment. The minister would have been happy whichever one of them resigned but instead was presented with the Quidditch World Cup Final being held in England over the summer and then the prospects of the Tri-Wizard tournament being revived in Hogwarts a few months later.

The final might have held more interest if any of the home countries made it through but Wales were already out, Scotland would soon follow while England again appeared destined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, once more living up to their tag of perennial underachievers. There was still hope that the Irish just might ride their luck all the way to the final though, that at least would give the expected crowds something to cheer about.

It was mainly the second of those events that saw Cornelius facing these two today, if the Tri-Wizard had been compromised in any way then the ministry needed to know now.

"You will both have seen from today's Prophet that our death eater problem hasn't gone away. While the article only speculates on the fact that Voldemort may have returned I can tell you both that the ministry is certain he has."

He gave that news a moment to sink in before continuing with the real reason for having these two in front of him. "This next part is not for repeating outside this room, Voldemort appears to have captured Bertha Jorkins. While we are doing everything in our power to get Bertha back, it goes without saying the poor soul would have been tortured to tell anything and everything she knew. That brings us to why I have you sitting here today, how much does Bertha know about the preparations for the Quidditch World Cup Final and the Tri-Wizard Tournament? We need to know if those events have been compromised and whether changes need to be made."

Ludo tended to sign whatever Dolores put in front of him so had no idea how to answer that question, he looked to his deputy in the hope that she did.

Hs deputy currently had a slight dilemma on her hands. She had of course taken all the credit for Bertha's work on the Tri-Wizard and the last thing she wanted to do here was admit to that. There would also be the problem of, should everything have to be changed, who Dolores was going to be able to get to do all the work then needed to reorganise the tournament.

Her decision then was an easy one for Dolores to make. "Because of the nature of the event, details of the Cup Final are all pretty public. I honestly don't see any point in moving the proposed stadium to another location that we'll soon have to publicise anyway."

Cornelius could certainly see the sense behind that argument, his own thoughts had moved along the same lines. He nodded to Dolores to continue.

It would be this part where Dolores would have to lie through her teeth. That the only person who could possibly contradict her was apparently currently a prisoner of Lord Voldemort meant it was a lie Dolores was sure wouldn't come back to hurt her.

"As for the Tri-Wizard Tournament, Bertha certainly knew there was going to be a tournament held and what schools would be competing. Her knowledge beyond that would be minimal. Mainly hearsay and anything she might have picked up around the office, no specifics of the tournament."

The minister had to accept the facts given to him but Cornelius had more to say on the matter. "The next few months could be critical for our country, I may have to take decisions you don't like but people's safety has to be our first consideration."

The very idea that the Quidditch World Cup could possibly be canceled for safety reasons shocked Ludo into action, he intended to make a lot of money off this event by running a book. "Why don't we bring the goblins onboard when the wards are being erected? If the stadium was inaccessible to death eaters then that should remove any threat to the spectators' safety. If things get anywhere near as bad as they were the last time, being able to enjoy a cup final in safety would give wizards and witches something to look forward to. Cancelling this prestigious event would see our standing drop not just in Europe but all over the world."

"I like the idea of the wards and will task Arthur with making enquires to Ambassador Barchoke on the matter. We have no intention of letting things get as bad as the last time but these high profile events will be tempting targets to these terrorists. We have to weigh up the damage to our standing cancelling events would have against holding them and our security being seriously breeched. The ministry will proceed as normal at the moment but the next few months will be crucial for more than the future of these tournaments."

Ludo and Dolores left the minister's office, shocked at the change in Cornelius. Both left wondering how these possible changes would affect their projects and even the working environment in the ministry itself. It would appear there were big changes on the way.


The big changes had already arrived in Kingussie, totally altering the environment. There was now a good six inches of snow lying across the glen, with much deeper deposits in places where the wind had caused drifts to build up. Harry and Hermione had been forced to exercise in their new training facility, the bitingly cold gusts of the last few days had made running outside impractical - if not impossible. It was certainly impossible to run in this much snow, that didn't mean they couldn't get out of the house and go for a good walk though.

Tonks was of course accompanying them, with Remus spending last night in the shrieking shack it would be this afternoon before he surfaced from his bedroom in Kingussie. Sirius was arriving this afternoon too, having spent the night as Padfoot to keep Remus company, Barchoke had sent word he had news for both of them.

The trio were enjoying ploughing their way through the fresh snow, leaving footprints where none had been before. After the tempest of the last few days the weather had settled down to cold but clear, with barely a whisper of wind to spoil their walk. They all heard the children laughing long before they saw them. Just before their route took them to the new goblin dwellings, they were soon greeted by the sight of some very happy goblin youngsters who were clearly loving shooting down a snow covered hill on sledges.

"That looks like a lot of fun, they're obviously enjoying themselves."

"Hermione, how often do you think it snows inside Gringotts?" Harry's question had both witches looking at him while Harry's gaze never left the laughing youngsters who were now excitedly waving to them. "This is what The Nation has been denied for centuries, simple things that you both take for granted are only now being enjoyed by our citizens - and then only a precious few of them. That is why we fight so hard, isn't that scene there worth fighting for?"

His mate of course agreed but this wasn't the time for that discussion, she had something else in mind that should save Harry's mood from crashing. He had done so much to further goblin relations but then felt terrible it wasn't even more, Hermione didn't want him brooding and was sure she had a way around that. "So, Centurion Crow, are you saying you've never been on a sledge before? I think then it should be up to Tonks and I to teach you."

After joining the group and exchanging greetings with the children and their parents, they went to the top of the hill where Tonks transformed some rocks into a sledge. Hermione soon had Harry plonked on the front of it, he was about to complain when Hermione snuggled up behind him and wrapped herself around his body. Harry was just thinking sledging could be a good thing when Tonks pushed them off, Hermione had the guide rope held in her hands in front of Harry and steered while they shot down the hill - both laughing all the way to the bottom.

The sight of Centurion Crow, his mate and an auror continually shooting down the hill saw one of the goblin parents tentatively climb onto a sledge with their toddler in front, the youngster's happy screams soon had more parents doing the same.

After spending the rest of the morning sledging, the trio found themselves with multiple invitations to visit homes and get something warm inside them. The problem of which invitation to chose was soon solved for them by the simple act of a little girl grabbing Hermione's hand and dragging her new friend in the direction of her house. This raised lots of laughter amongst the goblins present, especially since the centurion was left with no other option but to shrug his shoulders and follow after his mate. The person whose house they were now heading toward quickly solved any possibility of the rest of the children feeling left out by inviting them along too. The other mothers were dashing into their own houses, all then arrived at the home the trio had been led to with trays of snacks.

The goblin hospitality consisted of a roaring fire, mugs of hot ale and enough snacks to feed the entire Weasley family for a fortnight. Both Hermione and Tonks had read Henrika's book multiple times, they knew it would be considered impolite not to eat something from every plater that was offered to them. They had certainly burned off some energy dragging their sledges up the hill but neither witch would be eating much for dinner tonight.

The home was snug and warm, spartan though to wizarding and muggle tastes. What couldn't have been warmer was how welcome they were made, Hermione and Tonks being able to speak to their hosts in their own language certainly earned them respect. It was the children though that held Hermione's attention, she was reminded of another young girl, Danielle Dugan, and her reaction to father.

They were treated as welcome guests by the adults but the young children treated the trio more like they were their friends, friends who had just spent a wonderful time with them sledging down a hill. She was reminded again that children aren't born with bigotries against people who are different, Hermione had now witnessed this from both sides of the divide. That she was sitting with a little goblin girl on her knee made that point impossible to refute.

It was a happy but weary set of travellers that eventually arrived back home, that weariness dropped away though when they heard the shouting. That they instantly recognised all the voices doing the shouting didn't lower their anxiety any, they headed straight for the room that the sound of the confrontation was clearly coming from.

"You can't expect me just to sit back and do nothing, that little bastard cost me over a decade in Azkaban..."

There was no compromise in Barchoke though, he fired right back at Sirius. "I think you'll find that it was you chasing after Pettigrew that cost you that decade, not something any of us want to see repeated."

Remus was normally someone who could be relied upon to try and bring some measure of calmness to a situation like this, having undergone his transformation last night that was never going to happen here today.

"That's easy for you to sit there and say, we trusted this man like a brother and he betrayed us. All I keep hearing about from you is family, family, family. What's the goblin response when that family gets betrayed by one of its own members?" Remus ended up in Barchoke's face, his last question was practically growled at the goblin.

They hadn't seen the trio enter but their presence was soon announced, this situation was not something Harry was ever going to stand for. His anger was clear and his answer was as loud as Remus' shouted question.

"We goblins look after any family that needs it, revenge comes a poor second to caring for one of your own. I know what Sirius did was stupid, even Sirius knows what he did was stupid, he's paid for that mistake though in an Azkaban cell. Where were you, Remus? Where were you when members of your so-called family needed you? If you counted Pettigrew as a brother then I'm assuming my father would have been considered the same. That makes me your nephew, a nephew you abandoned."

Harry's words took all the fight out of Remus, he didn't argue because there wasn't an argument he could put forward for his actions - or lack of them. He'd basically crawled into a hole and hid from the world.

Harry was relentless though, making his views on the matter clearly known to everyone. "Let's get one thing straight here, if we're playing the blame game over this then there is certainly enough to go around. My parents deserve some, for putting their trust in an obscure charm and the wrong person. Had they moved to the Potter Island, both would certainly have survived past that Halloween."

Since both he and Hermione were trying to ensure the Grangers took this action, it was difficult to refute Harry's claim. He wasn't anywhere near finished though. "Sirius, Hagird, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin, Pettigrew, Voldemort, there's more than enough blame for everyone to get a share."

His gaze had been locked on Remus and Sirius throughout his rant, it then turned lovingly to Barchoke. "The one person that no portion of blame can attach itself to is my father. He took me in when 'family' wouldn't and has raised me ever since."

Switching back to the two Marauders, he rounded off his tirade. "If either of you want to abandon what you have to go chasing after Pettigrew then go ahead, just don't go taking your tempers out on my father because that is something I'll never allow - especially not in my house. Neither of you would be sitting here now if it wasn't for him."

Harry's voice being added to the shouting match drew the rest of the house guests to see just what was happening, they saw what those in the room had already surmised. Centurion Crow was standing ready to do battle if necessary to protect his father.

It was that same father though who defused the situation before it could develop any further. "Oh dear, Hermione, we really have our work cut out if we're ever going to make a diplomat out of our Harry."

"I don't know, Father, sometimes Harry's direct approach is exactly what's needed. These marauders can be a pretty thick-headed bunch, thankfully we're teaching Crow's Marauders that their mind is their most important weapon in any fight. If these two stopped and thought about what they were arguing over then I'm sure they would realise that nobody wants Pettigrew's head on a stick more than Harry. That doesn't mean Harry's going to go chasing after the rat, he knows I'd never let him hear the end of it."

"Sirius won't be chasing after anyone, he has a wife now - and a daughter on the way." Henrica's news changed the entire emphasis of the room, with everyone now focusing on congratulating the Blacks.

Not quite everyone though, Remus quietly approached Harry to apologise, for his outburst against his father and also for not being there when he was needed.

With his temper now gone, it was Harry who was soon doing the apologising. "I'm really sorry for laying into you, Remus. That happening with the Dursleys on Christmas Day has had my mind thinking what would have happened if Vernon hadn't taken me to Gringotts. The very thought of being raised by them fills me with dread. If not for my father I would probably still be walking about with a horcrux in my head, the Dursleys wouldn't know how to spell that - far less how to deal with it. I know that night must have been hard for you too, but for me it was almost catastrophic. My father saved me and helped make me who and what I am, I could never stand there and watch someone scream at him. I'm as impulsive as Sirius in that respect."

"Okay, I heard my name mentioned and you two are far too serious here. Sorry for earlier, Harry, you were right and Henrica soon pointed that out to me."

After both had congratulated Sirius on his news, he then had a question to ask. "There were four people we considered as godparents and you two were in that group. What we decided was to ask Tonks and Harry this time, with Hermione and Remus up next time. You two okay with that?"

The smile Harry was now wearing lit the room while Remus was already joking about how long he'd be made to wait. Sirius now had his arms around both their shoulders, while he was still slightly taller than Harry the lad certainly had him trounced for breadth. With their heads close together he then asked the question he needed to know the answer to.

"I'm really sorry about earlier, are we three still good?"

"Sirius, as I explained to Remus, I saw my father being shouted at and overreacted. We're good, and Pettigrew will get his. I really don't care who does it, just as long as someone does. If Voldemort got hit by a bus I wouldn't be disappointed it wasn't me driving, I'd just be delighted he was gone. Hermione taught me that, we need to listen to our brilliant girls more often. I now have my mate, two lots of parents with a brother and a goddaughter on the way, this is not the time to go charging into battle like a Gryffindor."

Sirius was incredibly proud of his godson, that didn't mean he wasn't going to tease him though. "You certainly inherited your mother's eyes but you also got something else, her temper. Lily would have all of us scampering out of her way when she lost it, a very sweet but still scary witch."

They were then approached by their three witches, all of whom had been listening to every word. "Girls, what are we going to do with them."

That question was quickly answered by Tonks. "Don't take this the wrong way, Henrica, but you've already done everything there is to do. You married the prat and then got pregnant..."

"Hey, I didn't know anything about these stupid marauders. I'm Swedish - not British."

"Oh, that's nothing. My mate's a goblin through and through. That's a fact we all have a tendency to forget - until something like this happens and his inner goblin shines through. There isn't a word in the goblin language for 'protective' because they don't need one, it's built into their way of life." Hermione came forward and, taking Harry's face in her hands, gently kissed him. She knew her mate was worried about what was happening all around them, now it was her turn to be there for him.

She gently teased him some more. "I think you need to add 'adoptive centurion uncle' to about a dozen young goblins now living in the glen to your list. I can just imagine them turning up at our door during the summer holidays and asking if Harry's coming out to play."

"They also seemed very taken with their 'Aunt Hermione', though I can't blame them for that."

"...and my mate now has more people he considers family, and has to protect."

"I am the Baron of Kingussie and they are living on my land, Hermione, that makes it my duty to protect them."

"...and you will, Harry. Just remember, you don't have to do it alone. That is why we train so hard, to protect those we love."

The couple were now oblivious to those around them, their entire focus on each other. Even the two marauders thought the moment was too sweet to interrupt, that and they knew Henrica and Tonks would make them pay for it later. Barchoke didn't think he was the only one who picked up on Hermione's last comment, Dan too understood she trained as hard because she wanted to stand beside her mate in any fight.

It was two mothers standing watching in the background who were left to sum the situation up. Moa was delighted the news of her daughter's pregnancy was now public, and at their choice of godparents. "Protectiveness is a good trait for a godfather to have."

This received Emma's agreement. "It's a good trait for a husband, brother and son to have too."


Rookwood was concerned about his unborn son. These thoughts though were not the typical concerns a parent has for their unborn child, Augustus was concerned either Bella could be killed or he himself might not live long enough to see his son born. He was now having to deal with two psychopaths, and one of them was pregnant, hormonal and his mate.

In all the raids he'd participated in, all the murder, rape and torture he'd witnessed, nothing had prepared Augustus for what he saw at Parkinson Manor. His mate sweetly singing nursery rhymes to their unborn child while at the same time cutting strips of skin off the screaming manor's owner sent severe chills down the death eater's spine. Being pregnant was making Bella's condition worse, and then there was also their master to deal with.

After having to flee the Parkinson home, they returned to the only place they could guarantee would be safe. Going from the manor to a tent certainly did nothing for the master's mood, then Peter returned with a newspaper that just ignited his ire.

It was left to Augustus to at least try and focus that ire onto something productive. "Master, they tried the same tactic after Bella and I escaped Azkaban. Articles were printed in the Prophet that were specifically designed to provoke a reaction from us."

His mate was sitting sharpening her knife while gently humming to herself, Bella though missed nothing and agreed with Augustus. "They printed a picture of the cup you gave me for safekeeping, Master, it was being presented as a gift to Hogwarts. This was after announcing that the Lestrange vault had just been emptied to help in the fight against us. I think our son was conceived that day as Augustus fought to keep my attention away from storming the ministry. That was also the day we discovered we could find you, Augustus convinced me that was the best way to get back at the ministry."

It was an enraged Voldemort who threw the offending newspaper at Rookwood. "And just how do you think I should respond to that? How is-s this-s even possible, can the ministry really have changed that much?"

It wasn't difficult to decipher what had upset their master, it was plastered all over the front page. That Parkinson was being portrayed as a hero who had saved his family was certainly a shock. The offer of ministerial protection to the families of any marked death eater who didn't want to serve Voldemort was astonishing, and could be disastrous for their cause.

He didn't know how many believers their master expected to appear on the night of his rebirth, Rookwood was certain though that there wasn't a full turnout.

"It's that Bones bitch who's behind this. She's very smart, utterly ruthless and has the ear of the minister..." Augustus stopped mid-sentence, Bella's humming had halted and she was looking at him strangely. He suddenly realised he'd been singing the praises of another woman - and his psychopathic, hormonal mate had a knife in her hand.

"I want her dead, love, that's all. She's a formidable obstacle that needs to be removed."

Tom needed to do something, the dark lord living in a tent was never going to be acceptable for more than a few days. Lord Voldemort also needed to react in a way that stopped his followers haemorrhaging to the ministry and struck fear into the hearts of those who opposed him. He announced his decision.

"The Bones family have stood against me for the last time, they shall be the first victims of my return."

In one sense, Augustus could see the logic in that move. He could also see that the Bones family would be well protected, both with guards and wards. This took him back full circle to concern for their unborn son. There was no chance Bella wouldn't participate in this attack, the gleam of anticipating a fight was already clearly displayed in her beautiful eyes.

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