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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48. And You Are Mine!

Rita held today's Prophet in her hand and couldn't help but smile. She was beginning to appreciate how the goblins operated, this certainly felt like a revenge worthy of that race. Although the Prophet had literally begged her to return, Rita had politely refused - and then wrung what would have been six months worth of her old salary out them for the stories she had in today's paper.

With no editor breathing down her neck and no deadline to meet, her byline of Rita Skeeter, Independent Investigative Reporter sure tasted like sweet revenge to her - all the gold in her bank account certainly helped to sweeten that feeling too!

The Prophet had of course led with her story on Lucius Malfoy or, as the headline screamed - The Real Beast of Hogwarts. Malfoy was clearly the out and out villain of the piece, with the poor, innocent Patil witch simply unable to resist the dark and powerful compulsion charms on the horcrux. The article posed a simple question - what twelve year old could possibly resist the subtle manipulations of a dark lord?

That her twin sister and her friends had not only discovered, but then broken into the fabled Chamber of Secrets, slain the gigantic basilisk that had been attacking the school, stopped Tom Riddle from being reborn and then rescued Parvati too meant there would not be one shred of blame heading in the direction of the Patil family - quite the opposite.

That Voldemort had come within a whisker of being reborn was the really shocking part of the entire sorry tale, and ensured Malfoy would be joining his fellow death eaters in Azkaban.

The ministry also came out of this looking good. They already had Malfoy in a ministry cell by the time the story broke and had also ransacked his manor to ensure there were no more horcruxes lying in wait. That aurors had been in front of the students they were protecting and one had fought alongside the students down in the chamber left the population with the impression that their ministry actually knew what they were doing - a most unusual occurrence.

Hogwarts also had effective measures in place to deal with the emergency, the castle's evacuation was swift and efficient. Again, a Hogwarts professor had fought alongside the students, almost losing her life in the process.

All in all, Rita was pleased with her articles and really pleased with the direction her life was taking. Being sacked by the Prophet and then getting hired by the goblins was proving to be the best thing that had ever happened to her.

-oOoOo-

Minerva was also amazed at the accuracy of the reporting, especially the article on the emergency meeting of the Hogwarts school board. With Albus' non-arrival, the current information Amelia Bones had available pointed to him leaving Britain all together, he was quickly dismissed as headmaster in his absence. Minerva had then refused the offered headmistress position, citing that she was in the process of introducing an entirely new method of transfiguration and would like to concentrate her efforts on that for the foreseeable future.

Augusta had invited Amelia and Barchoke to attend the meeting, it was the goblin though who asked the all important question. "Excuse me, exactly what did Headmaster Dumbledore do inside Hogwarts? All my dealings are with Professor McGonagall, which is why I asked that question. I know he didn't teach and that his deputy handled all the finances, what was his contribution to running the school?"

All eyes then shifted to Minerva, recognising that she would be best able to handle this question. She was rather uncomfortable with where the question could lead but still answered truthfully. "Albus left the day to day running of the school to me, he was more interested in setting Hogwarts policy, dealing with the paperwork involved - and of course hiring new staff."

This was greeted with silence before Amelia offered a suggestion. "Why not let Minerva continue with what she had been doing and just appoint someone to generally oversee Hogwarts. There exists some old legislation where the ministry can appoint someone into that very position, they would be known as the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts. They would also have the power to remove staff they felt weren't up to Hogwarts standard, a certain defence professor immediately springs to mind."

Her idea wasn't exactly greeted enthusiastically, so Amelia set out to solve their obvious problem with this. "I wasn't suggesting the ministry actually appoint someone, rather use the existing legislation to ratify whoever the school board chose to fill the role."

That was certainly a lot more palatable to the board and Augusta Longbottom was selected for the part-time position within the hour. Barchoke then explained the reason behind why he was here.

"Between us, Augusta and I represent three of the students who fought the basilisk, we also have Ramrao Patil's permission to make this offer. They propose to split the profits from the basilisk carcass into three pots. The first would pay for the upgrade of the Hogwarts wards, wards that won't even allow a marked death eater to enter the castle - far less something as dark as a horcrux. The remaining gold would then be split evenly between the final two pots, one to be shared amongst the rescuers and the other reserved for those who were injured by this situation."

Since they were basically getting the best wards gold could buy for free, the school board unanimously accepted this generous offer at once. Barchoke did explain that Gringotts would be erecting these ward at cost, the goblin nation had no intention of making profit from protecting schoolchildren. What he didn't say was that this would be a massive advert and profitable endorsement for their new wards, and that they expected to make a fair bit of gold from protecting homes of the wealthy. To a wizard with enough gold, wards that wouldn't allow death eaters even access to your property were certainly worth paying for.

It proved to be a very productive meeting, with everyone feeling as if they had gained something positive by the end of the night. Minerva was delighted that she would now be allowed to continue teaching the different form of transfiguration, and also have someone inside Hogwarts that might listen to her when she complained. With Augusta Longbottom in charge of hiring and firing, she didn't see Lockhart lasting much past Christmas. The only reason he might last that long was they would need to find a replacement first.

-oOoOo-

Edmund Parkinson focused more on the short interview Crow had given Rita. He'd heard from Pansy that Crow could easily lord it over Hogwarts but made no attempt to do so - and apparently had no interest in doing so either. The impression given here was of a wizard who had no interest in honours, or any intention of playing a hero over this affair. He stated quite plainly they had gone down there to rescue their friend - nothing more.

Crow's comment that he didn't want to see his friend being blamed for this incident, or anyone else other than the person who gave Parvati the horcrux resonated with Edmund. They had pulled their daughter out of Hogwarts on a mere suspicion, here was Crow publicly exonerating them - and others - of any blame. Pansy had begged him not to end her betrothal to Draco, citing this would indicate they blamed him and his mother for what happened at Hogwarts - something that could destroy the Malfoys.

The smart move would be to end that betrothal now, and offer Pansy to the Longbottom lad. This was something Edmund might still do - depending on the outcome of Lucius' trial. That Lucius was bound for Azkaban seemed beyond doubt, what would happen to the Malfoy money was not. A seventeen year old Draco would still inherit and, with Lucius out the picture, Edmund was sure he could influence his daughter's then wealthy future husband.

Draco would have a reprieve, at least until his father's trial. If the ministry took over half of the Malfoy money, that would be the end of Pansy's betrothal - no matter how many tears his daughter cried.

-oOoOo-

Dolores was attempting to be pragmatic about the situation - and failing miserably. Inside the witch was seething at the injustice of this, even though she understood it was nothing more than a case of very bad timing. The summer after next, she had secured the Quidditch World Cup to be held in England. Dolores had worked her arse off fighting to get the tournament to Britain, only to find the news buried deep inside the Prophet. The newspaper was still being dominated by the basilisk - and Harry Crow. Seeing him once more cast as the hero really made her blood boil, and that was before he stole her deserved front page.

-oOoOo-

It was now the following day before Albus could get his hands on a copy of the Prophet, he still thought it was worth the effort though. Now that he'd left Britain, it was vital that he kept himself up to date with just what was happening back home.

The most striking thing for him was just who had ended Tom Riddle, Albus had to read it three times to ensure he hadn't made a mistake - it actually said Neville Longbottom. This saw Albus questioning just which of the boys was the child of the prophecy, could he actually have gotten it wrong?

This would need careful consideration but he had time, neither of the boys would be going anywhere for the next five years or so. Plenty of time for Albus Dumbledore to make his triumphant return to Hogwarts, and once more engage in the battle for influence over the prophesied one. That there were again two contenders for the position meant he would need to keep a careful eye on what was happening back home - otherwise known as getting the Prophet delivered a day later than those living in Britain.

-oOoOo-

The group of friends were spending time together in Crawley that Saturday afternoon for two reasons. One was simply that they enjoyed each other's company and two was to help Parvati recover from her ordeal. Being in the company of Luna, Susan and Hannah, all of whom were petrified yet bore her no ill-will, would certainly help Parvati with facing having to climb back on board the Hogwarts express on Wednesday. Knowing her friends would be there for her too would also help, with even Lavender being invited to spend the day with the group.

Hermione was holding Harry's hand as they led their friends around the town centre, her mind though kept wandering back to last night - and the events at Longbottom Manor.

-o- last night -o-

Barchoke didn't need much of an excuse to show the memory of his son and daughter's bonding, and the family had already heard Harry had to fight in the pit. Luna was clutching Harry and Hermione as the fight unfolded, sensing something bad was about to happen. Both Patil twins screamed as the goblin blade bit into Hermione, only for her armour to deflect it away.

"Still hurt like a bitch though! I had a bruise right down me."

No one was surprised at Hermione's revelation, and neither were they shocked at Harry's response to the attack on his girlfriend - that goblin was just fortunate Harry dropped his blade. The girls screams had soon turned to sighs as the bond formed, with Padma, Parvati and Luna all staring at the couple in awe.

It was Neville though who reacted first. "Harry, can I borrow your sword for our bonding ceremony? I was going to use the potions knife you gave me but I want all the help magic can give me." After insisting on the bond, Neville was now dreading a negative result - as was Padma.

Hermione had worn her sword specifically in the hope Padma might ask for it, she handed it over to her friend as Neville had the sword of Gryffindor in his grasp. The rest of the world no longer existed for the pair as, with a nod, Padma indicated she was ready.

They cut their hands in unison, Neville going deeper than he intended due to the exceedingly sharp blade. That was the least of his troubles though, the next few minutes could decide the course of his life.

They clasped their bleeding hands together as Neville offered the incantation.

"You are mine, and I am yours."

Padma's eyes positively sparkled as she provided the necessary response.

"You are mine, and I am yours."

Not one person in the room breathed as they studied the couple's joined hands, those collective breathes were released as a silver glow began to escape from their linked fingers. As that glow passed their wrists and began travelling up their arms, an air of euphoria amongst the watchers escalated directly in relationship to the expanding glow. As it reached their shoulders, Ramrao let out a loud yell of celebration - his wife and Parvati had already been in floods of tears from the instant the silver glow first made an appearance. It crept into their chests, stopping when it reached their hearts before slowly fading away.

Neville's gaze had never left Padma's eyes, "Will that do you, Miss Patil?"

"Mr Longbottom, I was yours the instant our hands healed." She proceeded to prove it by grabbing him for their second kiss, and this time Neville just might have ended up sock-less.

With the exception of Augusta, all the females present then mobbed the couple. The Longbottom matriarch had a wide smile on her face though as she approached Ramrao. "I believe we have some business to discuss, it will give me great pleasure to invite your daughter to join our family."

"As Padma's father, I can honestly say I couldn't think of a wizard better suited to one day marry my daughter than your grandson. I will be delighted to sign the documents that will formalise what we witnessed here today."

Dan found himself standing next to Barchoke, a hint of sadness creeping into what was a happy occasion. "This is what it should have been like for our children, and I ruined that..."

He didn't get to say any more as Hermione had heard, and quickly rounded on him. "Dad, everyone today knew exactly why we were here. You had just watched some memories and then were told I was married, how else could you react? You now understand our situation and are happy for us, I can't ask for anything better than that."

Barchoke was chuckling as Hermione kissed her father on the cheek. "Dan, I have to confess I've rarely known our daughter to be wrong about anything. She is of course right about this."

"If it makes you feel any better, Dan, we all expected to get a right roasting for the chamber. Let's now call it even and move on."

Looking at the boy he was quickly coming to consider as his son, Dan nodded his acceptance of that and held his hand out to shake. "Deal!"

As they clasped hands, Dan had one more question. "There is something I wanted to ask though, what is your honest appraisal of what happened down there." Neville and Padma were returning their borrowed swords which gave the four a minute to think of an answer for Dan.

"I didn't want to take Hermione down there but she was right, we needed her. We also had no plan to deal with Tom Riddle, Neville saved all our arses over that. Henrica was just amazing, otherwise we would have been in really bad trouble. I think we would all agree that we carried an amazing amount of luck, the only time it turned against us being Hermione slipping."

Hermione agreed with every word of that. "I certainly didn't feel heroic, lying on a wet and bloody floor with a giant snake's head in my lap. Padma and I were too worried about Parvati and Harry to feel much of anything. Our training saved our lives, that same training has also taught us just how lucky we were that day."

Dan then embraced the happy new couple. "Congratulations you two, I didn't mean to lower the tone of the celebrations."

Neville wore a smile that nothing was going to shift, just like nothing was going to shift Padma from his side. "That's fine, Dan. Without going down into that chamber, Padma might never have kissed me - and I certainly wouldn't have had the courage to ask her to blood bond."

His betrothed now playfully slapped his arm. "Listen Longbottom, you were always going to get kissed. That ruddy great snake just moved the timetable up a bit!"

The celebration was back on track when Augusta and Ramrao returned, the paperwork all dealt with. She handed a small box to her grandson and Neville's smile got even wider.

He opened the box and placed the Longbottom betrothal ring on Padma's finger, before offering her the box to do the same for him. There was no need for words, their blood bond was far stronger than any betrothal agreement - something the rings recognised as a spark of magic passed between them.

An impromptu party broke out after that, no one had wanted to plan one beforehand in case they jinxed the outcome of the blood bond ceremony.

It was during this time that Sirius approached Dan and Emma. "I have a little problem you two might be able to help me with. Setting Dobby free has created an unforeseen problem, the little guy apparently likes being free."

This left Dan shaking his head. "Why does everything in your world have to be so bloody complicated? How could someone wanting to remain free be a problem?"

"House Elves love to work, it's when they're at their happiest..."

This drew a nod of understanding from Emma. "Hermione told me the same thing, says she deliberately messes up her room sometimes to keep Betsy happy. That little elf is devoted to her."

"Dobby still wants to work, but he now wants paid for that work. While that might seem perfectly natural to you both, it's certainly not in our world. All his fellow house elves think Dobby is crazy, a disgrace for wanting payment for doing what he's supposed to do. To put him into a magical household would cause chaos amongst the other elves, I probably could get him into Hogwarts but the little guy was really hoping for a family..."

"...and you just naturally thought of a family that seems to be growing all the time." Emma was smiling in Luna's direction as she said this. Dan though was more business like. "I don't know if we could afford a servant and where would he live? Our house seems to be full now more often than not."

"He wants a galleon a month and will live in a corner of your loft..." Sirius enjoyed watching his two friends' rather predictable reactions to his last statement.

"Indeed he will not live in a corner of our loft..."

"A galleon a month! That's not even pocket money..."

"He would build himself a little cosy nest, and be very happy with that. The money thing is more about symbolism than economics, Dobby gets paid therefore he's free - the amount he's paid is inconsequential. When I told him I was going to enquire if the family of Harry Potter wanted a house elf, he immediately dropped the price to a Knut a month."

Both took some convincing they wouldn't being exploiting the little creature and wanted time to speak with Harry and Hermione first - before making a decision.

Harry found himself dancing with Hermione, Parvati and Luna, Neville and Padma weren't for being separated tonight. This gave Hermione time to talk with her parents and advise them to give Dobby a job - and a home.

Hermione danced in Harry's arms, delighted they were regaining their mobility and fitness. She was also delighted for her two friends, with not a hint of jealousy at the rings they wore. Hermione already knew there would be an engagement ring on her finger, a present for her seventeenth birthday. That it would be joined by a wedding ring the following summer made her happier than she had the words to express. As a couple they would still disagree, argue and might even resort to the occasional fight. What their bond did though was ensure they knew how they felt about one another. Yes each had faults that the other could find irritating but they loved each other - faults and all.

-o- present -o-

Hermione was drawn out of her musings by someone calling her name, she felt Harry tense beside her as Padma and Neville casually took up supporting position behind them. Harry and Padma had personal experience of Hermione meeting people she knew before heading off to Hogwarts, this might be four girls rushing toward them but they were taking no chances. Both intended to make certain Hermione wouldn't be needing to see a healer after this meeting.

"Hermione Granger, is that really you?"

"No, Melissa, I'm the wicked witch of the west. What can I do for you?"

"You can tell us who your stylist and personal trainer are - you look fantastic!"

She studied Joanne, finding none of the sarcasm or smirks she expected to accompany a comment like that, Hermione looked to Harry for help.

"Hey, I always think you look fantastic."

Hermione had no way of knowing just how much she'd changed in the year and a half since these girls had last laid eyes on her. The frizzy hair that was the source of so many jibes was now soft brown curls and those two front teeth perfectly matched their lovely pearly white neighbours. All her exercising had also had a very desirable effect on her body, as did the confident way she walked down the street holding Harry's hand. "Eh, I don't have a stylist and I exercise with Harry every day. You four almost got hit by a bus, running across the road in front of it to ask me that?"

Melissa silenced Joanne with a look before answering. "No, we came over to thank you - and say hi. Things are so much better now in school since you stomped on Dudley's gang, Tony came back on crutches and then his family finally moved away altogether."

Joanne and the others nodded their agreement. "We searched for you all last summer to thank you, but you were nowhere to be seen."

"Oh, we spent the full summer traveling, I was only in Crawley at the end of August..."

Padma had certainly picked up on Hermione's wariness as these girls approached, she also noticed the envious glances they were stealing at Hermione and Harry. She had learned from Hermione that muggle school had been a lonely place for her friend, Padma didn't need to be a genius to deduct that these four played a part in that loneliness. It was time for some retrospective payback, and provide these four with a real focus for that jealousy.

"Starting off in Florida was brilliant! Are we doing that again next summer?"

Susan was also no slouch, spotting the tension before figuring out what Padma was doing. "Oh I would love to go back to Japan, that was just amazing and Auntie talks about it all the time."

"Sorry Susan, and I hate to disagree with my girlfriend, but Rome was the highlight of the whole summer..."

Lavender hadn't cottoned on to what was happening here, that made her outburst so much more believable though. She had been listening to stories of that holiday since Parvati returned from it, Lavender certainly knew which part sounded best to her. "Neville, Rome was better than Harry's private tropical island! - are you nuts?"

Harry settled the matter. "This summer our holidays will have to be built around a wedding, we won't be able to do much planning until that's arranged."

The four girls were left looking at each other in disbelief, they'd heard the wild rumours but here was the proof. Hermione Granger, the girl who they wouldn't give the time of day to had somehow fallen on her feet and had every girl's dream in the palm of her hand - certainly these four girls' dream. A gorgeous, rich and actually titled boyfriend, sometimes life just wasn't fair.

They had been searching all summer to see if the rumours were true, and, if they were, to begin the process of working their way into Granger's good graces. Here she stood though, surrounded by friends and hand in hand with the aforementioned gorgeous boyfriend. Melissa was left clutching at straws.

"Will you be coming home for Christmas?" Hermione's shake of her head shattered any hopes they had of ingratiating themselves into her clearly wealthy company. It was always going to be a hard task, but the girl never being in Crawley just make that mission impossible.

"Sorry but no. Harry's godfather, Lord Black, is getting engaged at Christmas. We will be spending the entire holiday with him in London. It was nice meeting you again but we need to go. This is the first time some of my friends have been in Crawley, we're showing them around."

None of the four were quite brazen enough to invite themselves along - it was a close run thing though.

As the friends walked away, Padma of course had a comment. "Well, that certainly went better than the last time we met the natives of Crawley."

Her sister couldn't contain her curiosity. "Why, what happened?"

"Oh, five guys tried to beat us up. One of them was even stupid enough to punch Hermione in the mouth."

"Let me guess, his name was Tony and he ended up on crutches?"

"Why Susan, your aunt would be proud of you. That is certainly deduction worthy of an auror." Padma couldn't hold her giggle though, she was in a very good mood.

Lavender was only paying partial attention, the shops were distracting her but she wanted to ask Parvati something. "I thought Ravenclaws were supposed to be bookworms, this lot are more Gryffindor than we are!"

-oOoOo-

Hermione had explained to her parents that, as Betsy was her personal elf, there would be no conflict with Dobby in Crawley. The elves already considered her Lady Potter, and Dobby would be the Grangers' elf.

Emma couldn't get her head around having Dobby living in the loft, there was also no way he was going to walk around wearing a pillow case. Dan and Emma were currently in negotiations with the elf, it was hard though as Dobby was currently in floods of tears.

"If this isn't big enough, Dobby, we could..."

"Oh no, Missis Granger, this is far too big for Dobby. This is a room..."

"Dobby, it's a storage cupboard under the stairs. We emptied it and put that little cot in there, we thought you'd be more comfortable here than in the loft. We bought you some outfits, do you like them?" Both Emma and Dan had been coached not to say clothes. Dobby may be a free elf now but that just wasn't a word you used around house elves.

There were three children's outfits on hangers in the walk-in cupboard, Dobby's eyes were drawn to the little track suit. It was brightly coloured, had zips and pockets - and Dobby had never seen anything so fine in all his life. "Dobby loves them, and Dobby already thinks he's going to really like working here."

With a shake of hands the deal was done, the Grangers had just hired a very dedicated house elf.

-oOoOo-

They had spent Tuesday night staying in Grimmauld to make accessing Kings Cross easier. Breakfast was already a lively affair before the pair of Gringotts owls arrived. Both Henrica and Luna were stunned into silence at what they contained.

"Harry, I have a Gringotts bank draft here for ninety thousand galleons. Would you care to explain why?"

"It's your first instalment from the basilisk carcass, Henrica, it will be a few months yet before the final figure is known. As a victim of the creature, Luna should have about half of that. That's simply because there were more victims than rescuers."

This received a nod of agreement from Luna. "Mine is for forty five thousand, that's an awful lot of gold, Harry."

"Everyone who was a victim gets the same, Luna, you, Hannah, Susan and Parvati will all get that today. Padma and Neville will receive the same as Henrica."

It was a puzzled Sirius who asked the obvious question. "Where are the owls with your bank drafts?"

Hermione was almost blushing as she answered. "We sorted that out yesterday when we were at Gringotts, it was getting embarrassing. Everywhere I went there would be goblins bowing to me, I hope it dies down soon."

Emma could put two and two together quicker than most, and was sure she had the right answer here. "So, Parvati is terrified of facing everyone on the express later today - and those cheques just happen to be delivered this morning?"

His ruse might have been easily read but Harry was unrepentant. "This was an attack on me and my family, I'll do everything I can to protect them..."

Sirius' loud laughter cut through anything else Harry was going to say. "This is genius! Instead of Parvati being picked on, you'll have a train full of people wishing they had been petrified. Luna was out for about a week and the rest of them were fed the potion the same day."

The news also pleased Henrica. "I didn't say anything before but I'm traveling to Hogwarts on the express with you lot, there will be a few aurors on the train too. We were worried in case there might be trouble but this will make the entire journey a party. Someone better tell the trolley lady to stock up well, I've a feeling she's going to be busy."

There was a party atmosphere taking over the breakfast table but Hermione noticed Luna's smile didn't quite reach her eyes. "Is there something wrong, Luna, I thought you were looking forward to going back to Hogwarts?"

"Oh, I am. It's just all this talk of family, there's only me and my father."

"Luna, when we found out you'd been petrified, Harry was ready to take the castle apart stone by stone to find out what did that to you. When he says family, you, Miss Luna Lovegood, are certainly considered part of that family."

"Really?"

"Really, really."

Luna's eyes now sparkled to match the wide smile she was wearing. Since her mother died, Luna had longed to be a family again. It would seem she was now part of this one too, something she was very happy with.

-oOoOo-

It was no coincidence that the trial of Lucius Malfoy was held on the same day the children returned to Hogwarts. Like Amelia, a lot of the Wizengamot members would have just waved their young loved ones off on the Express, and then left for the ministry to try the bastard who attempted to murder every single one of those very same children.

Malfoy was guilty, of that there was no doubt. In the past though, that wouldn't necessarily mean Lucius would be punished. A new wing at St Mungo's wouldn't get him out of this one though, not that he had access to funds to even attempt a deal like that. Today was all about showing the British wizarding public they could trust their ministry to make the hard choices and protect them. Since a lot of the parents were in London anyway to see their children off, the public galleries were packed to capacity. They were currently watching a Lucius Malfoy who had certainly lost his sneer of superiority. To be fair, sitting chained to a chair inside an iron cage while awaiting trial for the attempted massacre of the nation's schoolchildren would have that effect on most people.

Sirius, Ramrao and Barchoke sat together at the trial, listening while Lucius under truth serum congratulated himself for slipping the diary to the wog witch that was a close friend of Crow's. It was only after returning home and reading the Dumbledore expose that he realised the diary was a horcrux. His house elf was then sent to infiltrate Hogwarts and retrieve the horcrux, only to return empty-handed. It wasn't until after reading about the chamber incident in the Prophet, Lucius realised he'd slipped the diary to the wrong Patil witch.

He confirmed that no one else knew what he had done, and it was purely concern for their son that saw his wife withdraw Draco from Hogwarts. Lucius then condemned himself to the entire magical population of Britain, including any death eaters still at large, by confirming it was pure self-preservation that sent his elf off to Hogwarts. While the Malfoys were denied access to their funds, the dark lord's return would be an utter disaster for them. It was also noticed that Lucius was the only Malfoy in the Wizengamot Chamber, not even his wife was here to offer any support.

With Malfoy's goose well and truly cooked by his own confession, Amelia then showed Auror Tonks' memory to all the people crammed inside the chamber. The ministry wanted everyone to see what the outcome of Malfoy's ministrations could have been. To those intently watching the events unfold, Tom Riddle's appearance was every bit as terrifying as the basilisk.

The vote on his guilt was a mere formality, a unanimous answer quickly being returned from the Wizengamot members. It was then left to Amos to pass sentence.

"Lucius Malfoy, you have been found guilty of unleashing a terrible horror into Hogwarts, with callous disregard for the welfare of the children being taught there - your own son included. It is nothing short of miraculous that there were no fatalities - otherwise I wouldn't have hesitated in using the death penalty for this case."

This drew gasps from around the Wizengamot Chamber as people realised this was not Albus Dumbledore they were now dealing with. Amos Diggory appeared not to be the forgiving sort, even the Lestranges had escaped the death penalty. The attack on the Hufflepuff students though had badly shaken the Chief Warlock, his own son had been mere yards from the point of the basilisk attack.

"You will spend the rest of your life in the high security wing of Azkaban. It was also my intention to fine the Malfoy family rather heavily, and use that gold installing wards at Hogwarts to ensure nothing like this could ever be repeated. Thanks to our friends from the goblin nation, and those four brave and generous students who destroyed the basilisk, our children today return to a much safer Hogwarts. I still intend to impose a financial penalty though, twenty percent of the Malfoy fortune will be awarded to the ministry. This will be allocated to the DMLE, its purpose to help equip and train more brave aurors like the ones who protected our children at Hogwarts."

This proved a very popular decision, the profile of the DMLE had never been higher.

Edmund watched with everyone else as a sobbing and broken Lucius Malfoy sank into the floor. Personally,he thought the death penalty might have been kinder than spending the rest of your life in Azkaban. The twenty percent fine meant he would leave his daughter's betrothal to Draco intact for the moment, the news flashing around Platform Nine and three quarters that the Longbottom lad had just gotten betrothed also affected this decision.

He would call in on Narcissa before going home, give her the expected news about Lucius and then see what future concessions he could wring out of the Malfoys. If Edmund even suspected Draco was as stupid as his father, his betrothal to Pansy would be over before the blond ponce could spit. Lucius may have wormed his way into high society but the Malfoy name could become poison for many years to come.

Edmund would have to give serious consideration to whether he wanted his grandchildren lumbered with such a disadvantage. Thankfully he had a few years yet before finalising any arrangements. Narcissa would know all this, and also that should Draco's match to Pansy be dissolved, she would certainly struggle to find another suitable betrothal for her son. Edmund should be able to squeeze more Parkinson control over the Malfoy fortune, Narcissa wasn't really in any position to refuse.

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