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.



66. Birthday Greetings

Monday night felt great for the four in charge of Crow's Marauders, they'd already had a hard day with a morning of potions followed by an afternoon that contained both runes and defence - but this actually seemed more like fun than work. They were running the club members through their paces, just revising on what they had done last year. The revision was for two reasons, mostly so they could see that their students hadn't forgotten everything over the summer but also to give their new staff sponsor and four assistants a first glimpse of just what they had let themselves in for.

Henrica had decided she would help the four prefects with the new first year club, Tuesday evenings suited her timetable better too - and she'd already covered all the material with the Crows. Their new sponsor, Sirius, was looking rather flabbergasted at what these students were able to achieve while Susan, Terry, Blaise and Daphne appeared worried that they had perhaps bitten off more than they could chew. Susan and Blaise at least had the experience of watching their four friends train but they had no idea just how advanced these first years were, Susan was definitely going to mention this to her aunt in the next letter home - the head of the D.M.L.E. would be thrilled.

They ended the lesson in their usual manner, everyone sitting round and discussing what they'd just done before learning about the material that would be coming up in the next few weeks.

As the stream of happy students headed out the door, the four were then faced with a seriously happy Sirius. "Now I understand the smirk my wife has been wearing all day, she knew what I'd be seeing tonight. All I can say is that was bloody fantastic and I might steal a few of your ideas for my own classes, that five minutes at the end allowed you to see that they understood everything you'd taught them."

Hermione was mostly responsible for the academic input into each lesson, she gave Sirius their reasoning behind that idea. "We don't work with textbooks or give homework, this is the best way for us to see if they understood it. You're welcome to use it, it's what Professor Weasley does with us after every session - we just adapted his method to suit a much bigger class."

Daphne felt she had to say something, she then managed to express the views of her three cohorts perfectly. "Em, guys, don't take this the wrong way but why do you need us? You controlled that lesson perfectly and those second years aren't that far behind us in defence, they will probably be ahead by the end of the year! How are we supposed to help when they'll know more than we do?"

Seeing the genuine concern on all four of their friends' faces, Padma tried to reassure them. "Tonight was easy as this was all stuff they had done before. When we're teaching them something new we need eyes in the back of our heads and extra pairs of hands, that's where you come in. We'll work two to a group and that allows twice as many members to attempt the spells."

Terry was still concerned though. "That doesn't answer what happens when they know more than us, how can we help if we can't cast the spells that they're attempting?"

Neville had always felt he was the slowest in their group, not that this would be considered a bad thing when taking into account who the other three in that group were. It gave him an insight though into what their friends were feeling. "What if we spent some time after every meeting making sure everyone was comfortable casting whatever we were going to be working on the following week?"

This was greeted as a great idea though Blaise brought up a potential problem. "That could see us in here until past curfew, I want to help but not if it's costing me house points and detentions."

"Which is why we have a staff sponsor!" Harry indicated toward Sirius before continuing. "Professor Black can deal with that, no prefect or professor will take house points if we have a pass signed by him."

"I can do better than that, I'll take your concerns to McGonagall and get your curfew extended - only for Mondays mind you."

Hermione then rhymed off the spells they would be teaching the club between now and Halloween, knowing that they had all learned them in their normal defence class. With their concerns now quashed, the enthusiasm to be involved in this venture began to shine through from their friends. Harry assigning them partners just made it more real.

"Daphne, you'll be working with me, Blaise, you're alongside Hermione. Susan, you and Neville will make a good team leaving Terry and Padma as our remaining pair. We very deliberately continually shuffle the groups, not wanting to replace house rivalries with 'my group is better than yours', but find it better to keep the teaching pairs the same."

It had been a good meeting and all involved were now looking forward to the next one.


They were not looking forward to this, it was Wednesday lunchtime and no one would tell them who their new defence tutor was. All they had managed to ascertain was that this new tutor was definitely not Bill Weasley or Remus Lupin, that was all either of their current tutors would say on the matter.

Hermione was still trying to guess right up until the great hall doors theatrically banged wide open and a scary figure stood there. All the friends made it a point of trying to have lunch together and Susan of course recognised the figure instantly.

"What's Mad-Eye Moody doing in Hogwarts? Oh shit! I think that's your new tutor, guys. Good luck, you're gonna need it!"

Moody decided everyone must have had a good look at him by now so bellowed the length of the great hall. "I'm here to train four students on how to kill death eaters, I want to see these four in front of me, now!"

In the silence that followed, the entire hall heard Padma's whine. "But I've just sat down, I haven't had my lunch yet."

Harry cringed, knowing this was exactly the reaction this person was looking for, his years of training with Master Sharpshard allowed him to spot the similarities. He expected a tirade to follow that remark and wasn't disappointed.

"Little girl, do you think that line will work on death eaters?" A little girl's whine coming from this scarred and wizened old auror was really freaky and at the same time frightening too. "Oh please Mr big bad death eater, I haven't had my lunch yet! Could you come back later? I'll be ready to fight then."

After that, Moody's own voice seemed gruffer than ever. "These murderin' scum will kill you in a second, if you're lucky! They'll probably choose the time and place, and the cowards always try to stack the odds in their favour. I'm here to help you turn those odds to your advantage, but if you would rather finish your lunch?"

Neville was on his feet as this old geezer made his betrothed look a fool, Harry's hand though was on his arm. ""That's exactly what he wants, Neville, to needle you so you end up fighting on his terms and by his rules - we've been taught to be better than that.""

The four were now moving toward their latest tutor but even that wasn't enough to please him. "I thought you four wanted to learn? If I don't see some enthusiasm soon then I might just go back to the ministry, I'll probably do that anyway after I see just how pathetic you lot are..."

"...and we'll probably let you, then hire someone who doesn't leave part of himself behind every time he gets into a fight. Your appearance hardly inspires confidence in your defence abilities, far less does anything for your capability to pass whatever knowledge you have onto others."

Hermione's retort had the hall holding its breath waiting to see what reaction it would generate, Mad-Eye roaring with laughter wasn't in anyone's top five of guesses.

"Oh, you have spirit, missy, I'll enjoy breakin' it - now move and show me this trainin' room I've heard so much about!"

The quartet broke into a jog, leaving their new tutor behind allowed them a little time to plan.

""He'll try to antagonise us, hoping for reactions. We need to stay focused and hope he underestimates us. He's also on our patch, Hogwarts can help and that will certainly be something he won't expect.""

They all started adding to Harry's outline, forming a plan of attack as they ran.

""He doesn't look too mobile, we want some rough terrain...""

""Cover would also be good, let us try and pin him down...""

""That's an artificial foot, and probably leg too. Some sand would certainly slow him down...""

As Moody pushed open the door he thought some bastard had tampered with his hip flask, he had to be hallucinating because this just couldn't be real - his peg leg sinking into the sand though told him otherwise. The scene looked like part of a ruined ancient village that the desert was slowly reclaiming, and there was no sign of his new students anywhere. They were definitely here though, Granger's voice was echoing all around him.

"Okay, old man, show us what you got and you just might get the job!"

That she'd cast that charm on her voice so he wouldn't know where it was coming from had a wide grin forming on Moody's face, he had a feeling he was going to like these kids.


"Amelia, I feckin' love those kids! By the time they come of age you'll need at least twenty good aurors to have any hope of takin' them down." He took another hit from his flask before continuing. "My only problem is I've got them again tomorrow mornin' and I ain't as young as I used to be, bloody wore me out they did."

The head of the D.M.L.E. had rarely seen the Master Auror so impressed, though she too had watched them train. They were sitting in her office and both had known each other far too long to stand on ceremony when there was no need to, she immediately voiced her concerns. "I hope you didn't hurt any of them?" The wicked smile on that battered face had her worried, though needlessly.

"Amelia, I had to raise my level of spells three times. You know the best bit, they raised theirs right back at me! Those two girls are scarily clever, powerful too! Longbottom also has power to spare, along with loyalty that would put a Hufflepuff to shame. Crow though, that lad is on a whole different level. That goblin he calls father is one sneaky bastard, Crow seems to have learned to be the same on his father's knee. He's so feckin' sneaky he convinced that old hat to put him in Ravenclaw, the mark of a true Slytherin. When he whips out that sword though, Merlin! Give me a few years with them and old Tommy boy's arse is toast."

Moody being optimistic was hard to believe but this was totally unexpected - he seemed so positive too. "Do you really think so, Alastor?"

"They took me down, Amelia, when have raw recruits ever done that?"

Amelia was left sitting with her mouth hanging open, Alastor Moody was a legend that even her year group hadn't been able to get the better of, that four students just into their teens managed that feat was staggering.

"Of course I was holdin' back but I got the distinct feelin' Crow was doin' the same. If that boy ever really lets go, I wouldn't want to be on the other side of him."

She still couldn't believe what she'd just heard. "They took you down? How the hell did they manage that?"

"By usin' their minds as well as their magic - and don't forget those blades! They used every advantage they had and ran me ragged, I could see what they were doin' but couldn't really stop them - not without seriously injurin' at least one of them that is. They also seemed to know that a trainin' exercise is different from a real fight. I will certainly be buyin' Arthur's boy a drink, Bill Weasley is a feckin' genius to have them working together like that. If all the students left Hogwarts as well taught as those four we wouldn't need an auror trainin' programme, couple of months to learn the law and just throw them out there - they would be ready."

His good eye was almost tearing up as he paid the four students his highest compliment. "I don't even have to install 'constant vigilance' into them, those kids watch each other's backs at all times. I kept tryin' to isolate one of them but the other three would be on me in a flash, any time I thought I had them walls would suddenly appear out the floor and I would be foiled again. Those four could beat Voldemort right now if he was stupid enough to fight them in that room, I won't make that mistake again."

Amelia had even more good news for her old mentor and friend. "Those four have instigated a programme where they're teaching the younger kids what they've learned. Susan wrote me and said it was unbelievable, she's helping out this year and now expects to ace her Defence O.W.L.

He was quiet for a moment before answering. "I always expected to die on the job, Amelia, today gave me my first sign of hope that I could one day retire and spend my time tryin' to perfect my rum recipe. The only thin' stoppin' me from havin' a right good rum samplin' session tonight is I need to face those four tomorrow, they won't catch me out again!"

Knowing her old mentor, Amelia could confidently predict there would be payback on the menu for those four tomorrow.


The four friends couldn't have cared less what was on the menu for lunch, they were all shattered. This was such an unusual sight, Roger just had to comment.

"What the hell happened to you lot? Did I look like that after our first session?"

Padma's head was resting on the table by now so Hermione answered. "Our tutor decided he would try and work us to death. When he gave us a task and we completed it, he just upped the ante and then had us do more even quicker!"

"...and that was before Harry pissed him off!"

Hermione was quick to defend her mate from Padma's charge. "Harry just did what we usually do, how was he to know that Moody had only borrowed those duelling dummies?"

Neville was staring at his betrothed, thinking she had the right idea and he was seriously considering joining Padma in getting his head down. "Moody had never seen a sword used on a duelling dummy before, his reparo didn't even come close to fixing them. He then had us running while shooting at targets, of course he was firing curses at us as we were doing this."

"Moody really impressed me with the amount of swear words he knew, Master Sharpshard would be hard pressed to match that quantity and quality. I'm now beginning to think this free period after our extra defence class on Thursdays was well planned, there's a couch in the Ravenclaw common room with my name on it."

"Our name on it, Harry, and that sounds a wonderful idea."

"Bugger that! A wonderful idea would be bringing that couch down here, not having to drag myself all the way to Ravenclaw tower. Just the thought of facing all those stairs makes this table feel like a comfortable mattress..."

"That's because Neville cast a cushioning charm on it for you!"

"Now, Hermione, just because I have such a considerate and caring betrothed there's no need to let your jealousy show. Neville honey, I'll kiss you for that later."

"It will need to be later, I think Neville's fallen asleep. C'mon Hermione, let's face those stairs and keep our date with that couch. Could someone please make sure we're awake for defence?"

Padma managed to mumble something along the same lines before she too succumbed to her exhaustion.


Their exhaustion was still evident as Remus started his defence class, the professor's enthusiasm though soon captured the students' attention - especially the subject matter. Remus had a boggart in the class, stored in an old wardrobe that once held professors' robes in the staffroom. He explained to everyone that they would face their greatest fear, and carefully took them through the steps and spell needed to overcome the boggart.

They were all lined up to take turns at facing the boggart but Harry's mind for once was elsewhere. He'd known pretty much what was coming this morning, Moody would have to reestablish his authority and would do so by pushing them as hard as he dared. The session was as brutal as any Harry had ever taken part in, physically and magically draining. What had humbled Harry though was the way the other three just kept going, giving everything they had and then some.

They must have been hurting more than he was yet Padma still found the energy to joke with Hermione before she fell asleep at the Ravenclaw table. He had practically to carry his mate up those last two flights of stairs but thought spending time sleeping on the sofa with Hermione in his arms was well worth the effort.

This was what Harry couldn't get out of his mind, while he pushed his body to its limits in preperation to face his nemesis those three were doing the same purely to ensure he wouldn't face his destiny alone. As friends, Harry didn't think he could find better ones anywhere on the planet.

He was drawn out of his musings by a loud girly shriek, only to see Ronald Weasley facing a giant spider. For some reason clothing the enormous arachnid in the most hideous shade of orange seemed to allay his fears. The boggart's attention was now focused on Harry and he had no idea what to expect, father suddenly standing there was a complete surprise - though it was the words this representation spoke that froze Harry to the spot.

""How could I ever love a human child? You were a business deal, nothing more!""

Barchoke then morphed into Sirius but the words were every bit as hurtful. "Why would I want anything to do with you, I'm going to have children of my own."

Sirius morphing into Hermione finally produced a reaction, just not from Harry. Before the representation could say a word, the original was there with her sword in her hand. "Get lost, bitch, he's mine!"

Her sword swipe produced the unusual effect of turning that Hermione into Harry, a Harry wearing an evil smirk on his face. "Surely you don't think I could really love someone as plain as you!"

The next thing the class heard was a growled 'riddikulus' as Godric's sword banished the doppelganger into the wardrobe which, due to the power of the spell, also flew across the classroom and smacked into the wall. Hermione felt an arm slip around her waist as she was gently pulled back to rest against her mate, she then heard the words that meant so much to her.

"You are mine, and I am yours."

Hermione whispered them back before Padma, in her own inimitable style interrupted. "You might want to tag a few more words on there, something like 'you are my witch', then Hermione might actually remember she was one!"

This raised a laugh and relieved any tension in the classroom, Hermione played along as she sheathed her blade. "Okay, use sword for dementors and basilisks, wand for boggarts and annoying best friends - got it!"

Remus too had been stunned into inaction at Harry's greatest fears being broadcast to the class, it was now time to take back control though.

"Class return to your seats, I might be able to coax that boggart out in time for next year's class but certainly not today."

Seeing that Remus was playing the incident as a bit of fun, Susan decided to help. "Sir, next year will be Crow's Marauders, there's no way that boggart will come out to face that lot."

Pansy too got right into the spirit of it. "You'll have our Marauders the year after that, they're frightened of nothing!"

Morag had something that was worrying her though. "That's if Professor Lupin is still here. There's supposed to be a curse on the defence position at Hogwarts, no one has lasted more than a year in the job for decades."

"There was a curse and it's been dealt with..." Harry suddenly found all eyes back on him as he realised he must be tireder than he thought to let that slip. He decided just to explain his remark to the class.

"Every headmaster of Hogwarts couldn't resist tampering with the castle's wards, supposedly improving them, we were left with a right mishmash that allowed poison to be delivered by owls to students. Hidden away in this jumble was one that wasn't cast by any headmaster, it was basically a bad luck jinx focused on the defence department. Hang around the classroom and office long enough and it was sure to have an effect on the professor, the new ward scheme obviously doesn't have that."

"Why thank you, Centurion Crow, it's really nice to know I may still be here this time next year - or until one of you lot want my job. I suppose I could handle being replaced one day by a marauder..."

Remus was a very popular professor so that suggestion was rapidly shouted down before he got his lesson back on track, tacking careful note of how Harry was handling the boggart situation. He held the four back at the end of the class for a moment, just to ensure everything was fine.

"Harry, you know those fears are groundless, right?"

"Yeah, Remus, I know. Still - a bit of a shock though."

"Not when you think about it." Padma was looking quite thoughtful as she expanded on that. "Parvati may be scared by mummies but the thought of anything happening to Neville terrifies me."

"Well I was just about cheering when Harry banished that thing back into its lair, I was dreading facing it..."

"...and what frightens my big, brave Gryffindor?"

Knowing he was now caught, Neville let out what had been the cause of a few nightmares. "Your father telling me that, because you're an identical twin, I had bonded to both you and your sister. The Patil twins have never been identical to me and I do like Parvati but I could never marry her, yet I knew seeing that in class today would really hurt her. I must have a bit of goblin in me because I only ever want to marry one witch, my perfect Padma."

She leaned in and kissed her mate gently on the lips. "I must have some goblin blood too because this witch doesn't share, not even with Parvati. I wish I wasn't so knackered or I could drag you into a broom closet and show you just how much I mean that."

"You must be tired to forget there's a professor standing here, now get straight to dinner and then an early night - you lot look done in."

Hermione though was shaking her head. "We've got a revision meeting for our potions lesson tomorrow, you don't turn up for Master Pitslay's class unprepared." With that they headed off to dinner as Remus thought he better have a quiet word with Sirius, what happened here would soon spread throughout the castle. At least the Barchoke droppleganger spoke in goblin, and no one who understood that language would ever breathe a word of what was supposedly said by Harry's father.


Harry wasn't surprised when he received a letter from his father mentioning the incident in defence class, he knew the extended family now in the castle would have passed that news on. It felt good to have so many people looking out for him, and his father also raised something he'd been struggling with. "Father says hello, and wonders if there is anything in particular you wanted for your birthday? I had been wondering myself what you would want to do to celebrate it?"

She had obviously been thinking about this, Hermione didn't really like being the centre of attention and her choice reflected that. "We're going to have a lot of fuss the following week with the Merlin Ball, what I would really like is a quiet evening with just the four of us. I really enjoyed our meal in the infirmary and this time I would be able to use my knife and fork, we would have to explain my decision to Luna, Parvati, Susan and the rest ..."

Harry put his arm around her. "First rule of birthdays, the birthday girl gets what SHE wants - leave the rest to me."

At that, Tonks approached with Bill and asked if she could speak with them before their lessons began. They had just reached the room when Bill had a question he'd been desperate to ask them. "What the hell did you four do to Mad-Eye? He sought me out to shake my hand, and then slapped a bottle of very good rum into it."

"We just did what you taught us...and we might have beaten him in a fight."

This had Bill laughing. "He fought you in here ...and of course you didn't tell him this room would help you four?"

This had Tonks staring at the four in disbelief before remembering the reason why she was here. "With escaped death eaters still on the loose there won't be an extra trip to Hogsmeade before the Merlin Ball, Halloween though is traditional. Hogsmeade full of Hogwarts students will be a tempting target, and one I'm determined to see protected. I was wondering if The Nation would consider allowing goblin warriors to supplement the force of aurors the ministry will have on duty in the village that weekend?"

"I think that is a brilliant idea! Assistant Ambassador Weasley, I won't be available for lessons that weekend, I intend to be on duty." Harry then turned to Hermione. "We could visit my parents the weekend before Halloween, it's probably safer to do that anyway in case anyone stakes out the cemetery on that day."

Padma then had a suggestion. "Can we wait until nearer the time and decide if we want to go to Hogsmeade? With Mad-Eye going to be hammering us twice a week the thought of a weekend off is very appealing. Hermione would be very welcome to come to Hogsmeade with us too, the bigger the group we're in the better."

Tonks was delighted her idea was so well received. "I'll put it to Madam Bones and Bill can take the idea to Barchoke, we still have weeks yet to organise this. Should we keep it as a surprise?"

"NO!" The four had spoken almost as one but it was left to Harry to explain their reasoning, making their tutor proud. "Keeping it quiet would be the equivalent of using the Hogwarts students as bait, not something we want to be a part of. Even one student injured in an attack would be classed as a failure, we want this publicised so no death eaters come within a hundred miles of Hogsmeade over the Halloween weekend."

With that settled, Tonks stayed just to see how good these four really were - she was astonished. Individually she would still be able to take them in a fight - Harry would certainly be a close run thing - they didn't fight as individuals though and that's what would have surprised the hell out of Mad-Eye. Bill had them working like a combat team - it suddenly struck the auror that's exactly what they were! Bill was training the four of them to survive encounters with death eaters and Voldemort himself - Tonks felt like crying. She really liked these teens but they were training for a job that they shouldn't have to do, going after the bad guys was the task of Tonks and her fellow aurors. She silently swore to be there at their side if the worst ever happened, she had no way of knowing she'd just joined a long list of people who'd sworn the exact same thing. It was going to be a crowded battlefield if they all managed to keep their promises.


It didn't matter how crowded their timetable became, Harry intended to keep his promise and look out for Natalie and Pauline. This was proving rather easy to do as both girls were settling in well to Hogwarts, Luna and Colin - with lots of help from Ginny - were seeing to that. They were sitting in a large group after dinner chatting as the two girls were describing their favourite classes, Remus, Henrica and Sirius would be pleased to know they were such a hit with the younger students.

Harry thought this would be a good time to break the plans for Hermione's birthday next week and found less resistance than he anticipated.

Morag summed up the feelings of the other Ravenclaws. "It's Sunday and we start the week off with double potions, and we only find out on the Friday what potion Master Pitslay is going to have us brew."

He hadn't thought about that before so Harry promised to ask if they could find out both future potions on a Monday. Luna and Parvati were also rather philosophical about it too. "We have the Merlin Ball the following Saturday and you four are so busy an evening by yourselves will be good for you."

Harry then had something to add that really pleased the two first year girls, once again the goblin tailors would be arriving to provide clothing for their entire year group to wear at the Merlin Ball. New dresses and their first ball saw both girls excited, the promise of a dance with Harry had Natalie and Pauline counting the days.


After counting the days it was finally here, Hermione was fourteen! The birthday girl was greeted first by Padma and Luna, the latter presenting her with a gift that was a miniature Moonlight formed out of black glass - Hermione loved it. Harry was waiting for them at the bottom of the stairs, supplying her birthday kiss before offering his arm as they headed off to meet the rest of their friends at breakfast. They had given their exercises a miss in honour of her birthday, and to give their bodies a rest from their new training regime.

She received lots of gifts and cards, there was even a giant one signed by every member of Crow's Marauders that she found really touching. Hermione knew her 'main' presents would come at dinner tonight but she was still overwhelmed at the thoughtfulness of people - Draco actually gifted her a rare book from the Malfoy library. There was even a letter and small gift from Sapphire, all the way from Cairo.

It was the gift of another book though that really made Hermione's day, the cover was black dragon skin with the lettering done in gold. Such a simple title but it had the birthday girl so excited, 'The Nation' by Lady Henrica Black was worth its weight in gold to someone who would one day marry a goblin.

"Oh thank you, Henrica, I love it already."

"It's not being released to the public until Halloween, I know you'll have it read by then and point out any mistakes I've made before it goes to print. There are only four copies of that edition, Sirius, my mum and The Director have the other three."

Hermione was already working out where she could find an hour today to just curl up and begin reading a book she'd looked forward to getting her hands on for almost two years.

With no training today, they held their potions study group in the great hall after lunch, the Weasley twins and Neville were now able to attend too. Old Sluggy was hovering around the edges of the group, desperate for any sort of invitation where he could show off his knowledge - no such invitation was forthcoming. He was even ready to butt in a few times but the question asked would be quickly answered within the group. When it became embarrassingly clear his expertise was neither needed nor wanted, he slinked away back to the dungeons.

The goblin tailors had been inside the castle yesterday to provide the new first years with clothes for the Merlin Ball, they also supplied Hermione and Padma with new dresses, one for tonight and another for the ball. The girls took Harry's breath away as they walked down the stairs to greet him, they had the same effect on all the Ravenclaw wizards currently in the common room too. That Hermione was in purple while Padma wore a dusky pink was as much as Harry could tell you about the dresses, apart from the fact that they emphasised both girls' beauty in a way that did something to his insides. That both girls also had their swords on their hips wasn't worth commenting on, they always had their swords there.

The Lady Ravenclaw and Sir Nicolas were providing the chaperon service tonight, Augusta knew both girls would be perfectly safe but this saved her from any charges of favouritism towards the couples.

Hogwarts had provided an intimate setting of a table for four beside a small dance floor, there was a gramophone sitting at the side and the entire scene was lit by candlelight. They all took their seats and Harry offered his first gift before the meal was served.

"This is your real gift from Sirius and Henrica, the book was just an extra father rushed through so it would be ready for your birthday."

Hermione unwrapped the box, only to find it contained a rather plain hand mirror. She had no idea what to say when Harry asked her a question. "Who would you most like to speak to right now?"

That was easy. "My mum and dad!" At that the mirror appeared to tremble before an image of her mother appeared, with her father quickly looking over her shoulder.

"Oh Hermione, Happy Birthday!"

She couldn't take her eyes of the images. "Is this a recording?"

It was actually her father who answered. "No, love, it's real and you look beautiful!"

She now had tears of joy in her eyes. "Thanks dad, it's great to see you guys again."

"We miss you too. We don't have Sirius popping in and telling us all the latest news from Hogwarts anymore so he arranged this. Isn't it wonderful, we can chat whenever we want."

"It's brilliant, mum, and I'll thank him from all of us later."

Dan was struggling to believe the beautiful young woman in the mirror was actually their little girl, she seemed all grown up already. "So, what have you guys been doing today?"


""Everyone knows what they're supposed to do so let's go!""

The hired muscle Bloodfang had brought with him tonight knew how to do their job. More importantly they knew how to keep their mouths shut, they also knew he would arrange to have them permanently shut if they didn't. He hadn't wanted to be anywhere near this house tonight but Bloodfang couldn't really send a boy to do a goblin's work. Dragontooth was actually quivering with excitement beside him as the first pair of muscle went through the fancy glass doors as if they weren't there - when hit with a battleaxe they soon weren't.

These muggles had such strange ideas, what was the point of having doors that could be so easily broken into - you might as well start making glass hammers. The other pair of muscle were also in the house before he and his son entered, the human bitch was screaming already and they hadn't even started yet - something his son couldn't help but point out.

""Save some of that screaming, bitch, you're going to need it when we make this the most memorable birthday your daughter's ever had...""

All six of the goblins were soon flying across the room before hitting the walls as a weirdly dressed house elf stood there snapping its fingers. Where did these muggles get a house elf?

"You will not hurt Dobby's family." Being a house elf, Dobby's magic wouldn't let him attack these goblins outright, it didn't stop him assisting his mistress and master though. Dobby thought the best way to assist them was to hand Dan his shotgun, loaded of course.

Dan was incensed that these goblins would not only break into his home but threaten his wife, when Dobby handed him his shotgun there was no hesitation. The first goblin had bounced off the wall and was now charging with the massive axe that had just made short work of their French doors held ready to strike, a shot to the chest from a distance of less than eight feet blew him back into the wall where he left a bloody smear. The shotgun traversed almost automatically to the goblin who was nearest Emma, that goblin too was blasted back hitting his compatriot on the way. The noise of the shotgun being fired inside the house was deafening but Dan clearly heard Emma's shouted order as he was in the process of handing his gun to Dobby for reloading.

"Dobby, get us out of here!"

Given a direct order, Dobby had no choice but to obey. He grabbed his mistress and pulled her over to where the master was standing with a now empty gun.

Dragontooth could see their entire plan disintegrating before his very eyes, there would be no recovering from the shame of being outwitted and defeated by a couple of muggles with a house elf. He had the family sacrificial dagger in his hand that Dragontooth was supposed to use for the first time tonight when killing these muggles, seeing them escaping saw him lose all reason and throw the blade. He let out a victory yell when the three disappeared and his blade went with them, he must have hit someone. His victory yell was short lived though as he heard his hated nickname being shouted from somewhere, he walked over to the table where a mirror lay. Picking it up, he could clearly see an absolutely enraged Crow screaming at him.

""You fucking cowardly bastard, I warned you what would happen the next time you messed with my family. I will cut your ears off and wear them on my belt, you will live only long enough to see this happen and your father will die shortly after he has witnessed his son's total disgrace and death. I'm coming for you, Dragonbreath, and this time there will be no one to save you.""

The mirror slid from the goblin's hand and smashed on the table, ending Crow's tirade but not the threat. His father was trying to pull him out this muggle house but Dragontooth knew they were both already dead.

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