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.



65. Cold Steel

Bloodfang was beyond angry, he was in a killing rage! That picture in the Prophet of a goblin sitting being served in a reputable British wizarding establishment, one outside of Knockturn Alley too, blew most of his arguments to smithereens and was such a coup for Ragnok's supporters. Reports coming back from Cairo also indicated his strong grip there had deteriorated badly and any influence he had left was hanging by its fingernails. On the back of Barchoke's group visiting Cairo, that little bitch, Sapphire, was now spreading her stories of how wonderful her week in Britain had been to anyone who would listen - and she was being believed.

He now regretted the decision to just have her leave the country, and the Crow whelp behind, he had still baulked at the killing of children then but the death of his brother in the pit had cured Bloodfang of that affliction. A dead friend would have had an even greater effect on the human boy than simply missing Sapphire.

The current situation was forcing his hand to act quickly, otherwise it could be too late and Ragnok would be untouchable. The human bitch's birthday would now be one of the worst days of her life, this would be the day her parents had their entrails spilled from their guts and dragged all over the floor of their home. He would be watching carefully as Crow was faced with the murder of people he considered family, just to see how he liked it.


"We all have family on that train but this must be dealt with first!" Amos hated uttering those words though did allow a few minutes for Amelia to organise an auror response to the matter.

Using those few minutes to focus her thoughts, Augusta Longbottom stood to address the chamber. "While I applaud and support the ministry's tough stance on the death eaters, I have to disagree with some of what I've heard here today. Ruling by fear is the tactics that the dark lord uses, I want no part in anything to do with that approach to government. While you can count on my unconditional support to see Lestrange and Rookwood put to death, I can't in all good conscience give that support to those same measures for this case. What I believe we should be aiming for here is fostering a culture of trust in our government, not creating martyrs to a flawed cause. The Carrows were rightfully fearful of their two guests but they didn't trust the ministry enough to help and protect them, and that should be our aim - to instil that trust in every wizard and witch in the country."

The nodding heads of people Amelia was counting on for support told her they had lost the argument, the news from the express though was putting any potential loss here into perspective.

Augusta had more for the chamber to consider. "I can speak from personal experience and say there are worse things than a quick death, personally I think life in Azkaban is a fitting punishment here. As the Hogwarts High Inquisitor and a grandmother to students on the express can I move we end the debate and vote on their punishment, I really need to be somewhere else!"

After that, it only took mere minutes for the Carrows to be sentenced to life in Azkaban. It was now time to discover just what had happened on the express.


The little girl had wedged herself into the corner of the compartment and barely moved a muscle since they left London on this life-changing adventure into the great unknown. Natalie wasn't someone who hung about with the cool kids so this company was somewhat overwhelming - though in a good way. Sensing that she was happier sitting quietly and observing all that was happening around her, the group didn't try and force her into the company but rather left Natalie to emerge from her cocoon in her own time. She had accepted some sweets from the trolley that the lady wheeled around but mostly just sat and watched as a great proportion of the students on the train seemed to pop by at one point or another on this journey - even the Head Boy and Girl!

Natalie was starting to think she was really going to enjoy Hogwarts when the train rapidly slowed down before coming to a juddering halt, the pink haired policewoman was suddenly very alert and had her wand already in her hand.

"Tonks, do you know if there were any stops scheduled?" Harry was sure of the answer before he asked, Tonks just shook her head as she held her wand ready. "This might be nothing but the ministry don't pay me to take chances, let's just be ready..."

"We're all bunched up in this carriage, it would make more sense to have some mobility."

"There's only one way in or out of here, Harry, and they will need to go through me first. We don't know what we're dealing with yet, give it a minute until ..."

They all felt the cold at the same time, it was hard not to as the windows began to ice over and their exhaled breath was now visible. These signs told Tonks exactly what they were dealing with and she withdrew her auror shield as a skeletal hand began to open the compartment door.

"Ministry Auror, the escaped prisoners aren't on the train, stand down and leave at once." She'd projected as much authority into her voice as it was possible to do with a dementor mere feet away from you, unfortunately it wasn't enough.

The dementors had been enraged that two beings had escaped from them, they were desperate to capture both and administer the swift justice that awaited. A month of searching though brought no results other than to increase not only their rage but also their hunger, then a veritable feast of magical users came rushing right into their midst. They had entered the train to search for the escapees but the delicious waves of fear radiating from the young magical occupants was overpowering all their senses, it was like sitting a starving man down to a banquet and telling him he couldn't touch any of it.

When compared to the delicious and enticing bouquet of a child's fear, a mere badge and a command were considered less than nothing by a famished dementor.

On seeing that the creature was actually edging its way into the compartment Tonks attempted to cast her patronus, she'd never tried the spell so close to a dementor before though and was barely able to get a misty shield up - a shield that wasn't going to hold for very long.

The dementor was incensed that its sustenance was being denied, it pushed harder and harder against the shield until it met with something that was totally unfamiliar to its species - searing pain.

Hermione's bracelet had every protection on it the goblins could manufacture, including protecting the wearer from mind attacks. This allowed her to act while the rest of the compartment were dealing with the effects that having a dementor in their midst brought. Seeing that Tonks was struggling to hold the creature off, Hermione drew her sword and lunged forward - plunging her goblin forged blade through its cloak and felt the steel sinking into something solid. She had certainly hurt the dementor but her sword instantly became extremely cold, Hermione couldn't even let go as she now found her hand frozen to the hilt of her blade.

Natalie was sure this was the boogyman come to get her, Hogwarts was obviously nothing more than a hoax to lure unsuspecting children onto a train so the monsters could take them away. She had no idea what the policewoman was doing but even Natalie could see it wasn't working, then Hermione drew her sword and stabbed the creature. Natalie heard loud screams and it would take a moment for her to realise that she was the one doing the screaming.

Harry was also hearing screams but he knew who they belonged to, his mother was screaming for Voldemort to spare her son and Harry was rooted to the spot, it was only when Natalie's much louder screams banished the vision from his head that Harry was able to act.

Hermione's sword was buried in the dementor's midriff and was clearly hurting the creature, the ice climbing along his mate's blade and the grimace of pain on her face saw a swift reaction from Harry. He too stabbed his blade into the dementor, the difference being Harry could cast spells with Godric's sword. Knowing that dementors were all about darkness and cold, with his blade buried in its body he cast a spell that was the complete opposite - incendio!

The tactic that worked so well against the basilisk was again paying dividends, though this time there was no magical backlash to deal with, casting an incendio inside the dementor's body was devastatingly effective and started a chain reaction. From the point that Griffindor's sword entered the dementor's body, that same body began to turn to ash as the spell took hold. This effect quickly spread until there wasn't enough body remaining to support the dementor's cloak in the air, the black cloak sank to the floor before coming to rest on top of a pile of ash. The creature's deathly screams would live long in the memories of everyone who heard them, which would easily include every single passenger on the train.

Harry was in full Centurion mode now and took command of the situation. "Padma, you're with me. Neville, you partner with Tonks. Hermione, stay and guard the compartment - you're wounded." Hermione so wanted to object not being included but knew this was not the time, she took up a position just inside the door

The four were intending to make their way along the carriages and see if there were any more dementors on the train, they never even made it out of their own carriage though as two more of the creatures had obviously been attracted by the screams of their fellow dementor and were bearing down on them from either end of the train.

Tonks again tried to get the creatures to stand down but they were clearly in no mood to listen, Padma stood ready with her blade in case she was needed as Harry used the same tactics again - with the same devastating effects. Quickly turning they saw Neville had used his sword to keep the remaining dementor off Tonks but, like Hermione, his hand was becoming frozen to the hilt of his sword. Another thrust and spell from the fabled magical blade of Godric Gryffindor saw the last of the terrible trio literally bite the dust.

Penny and Percy had followed behind one dementor while Cedric and Roger arrived from the other side, all reported there were no more dementors on the express. With a jolt they were once more moving and Tonks retook command as Harry shot back into the compartment to see how Hermione was.

Luna had Natalie wrapped in her arms, comforting the girl as best she could. Hannah and Susan were standing guarding the door with Hermione though all three couldn't hide their relief at seeing Harry return, that and the train was once more on the move.

"The danger's past and everyone's okay, I think Neville might have the same injury as Hermione though since he stabbed one of them too. Let me look at that hand for you."

Hermione struggled to open her fingers as layers of skin were literally stuck to the hilt of her sword. Silent tears ran down her cheeks as her precious blade was eventually parted from her hand to reveal the damage, Harry was using his knife with the skill of a surgeon to remove the dead and flapping skin before taking out a small bottle of dittany oil and lovingly applying it to her damaged hand.

"To my knowledge, no one has ever put a dementor to the sword before, probably because no one would ever believe it could have any effect. What made you try that?"

"Desperation! I don't know the patronus charm and Tonks was clearly struggling to hold it off, I couldn't think of anything else to do."

Harry wiped her tears of pain before leaning in and lovingly kissing his mate. "Dementors make you relive your worst moments and my thoughts were elsewhere, hearing Natalie scream pulled me out of it. I promised her parents I would keep her safe and you know I always keep my word."

This earned a weak, chocolate coated smile from the little witch, Hannah was currently dishing out the wonderful confectionary as Padma entered with an injured Neville. Harry only needed to cut some hanging strips of skin from Neville's fingers before Padma rendered first aid using her own bottle of the wonder oil.

"Do you all carry bottles of that stuff?"

Harry had Hermione's arm now in a sling and was arranging for her to sit on his lap as he answered Susan's question. "You carry a blade then you carry dittany, accidents can happen and many a life has been saved by closing a wound with dittany until a healer could be reached."

Tonks arrived with Parvati to find Hermione being cradled in Harry's arms while she protected her injured hand in her sling, Neville had his good arm around Padma and his injured one in another improvised sling while Hannah, Susan and Luna appeared to be doing a wonderful job on calming Natalie.

As Parvati sat the other side of Neville, Tonks told them what she knew. "All the prefects are patrolling the train and we should arrive in Hogsmeade in about twenty minutes, I sent a message to Madam Bones so we can expect a welcoming committee. We have two people who need medical attention and an entire train full of students who practically had the life scared out them. I commandeered the sweet trolley and those same prefects are making sure every compartment has a share of the chocolate, I see you lot had your own stash!"

This drew a chuckle from Susan. "Hannah is a chocoholic and always has a stash, Harry's already promised to replace it."

What Tonks didn't tell them was that their four prefect friends were currently keeping the rest of the students away from their compartment, with two of them injured they didn't need gawkers. Susan had already levitated what was left of the dementor out into the corridor, they didn't want to be sharing their compartment with that for the remainder of their journey to Hogsmeade.


There was quite the reception committee waiting for the express arriving in Hogsmeade, including the Minister of Magic. Minerva had already made the decision that Hagrid wouldn't be taking the first years across the lake tonight, after their experience on the express she wanted them inside the Hogwarts wards and under the staff's care as quickly as possible.

As the express pulled into the station, an announcement was made for everyone to stay on the train until told to leave by an auror. Since Tonks was an auror, she had the occupants of her compartment up on their feet and moving as soon as the train came to a halt. The injured needed treatment and she had a report to make but not before seeing Harry safely to Hogwarts.

Spotting an auror helping students off the train, Amelia headed straight there and was instantly rewarded with the sight of her niece. She may have had Susan wrapped in her arms but the head of the D.M.L.E. was still all business. "Auror Tonks, report please. Who died?"

"Three dementors, Boss, they stopped and then boarded the express. I ordered them to stand down and leave but they ignored me, by this time the first one was in the compartment with us and I couldn't get my patronus cast. I have two injured here and really want to get my charge inside the wards, can I present my full report after that?"

She couldn't help but notice Hermione and Neville nursing injuries so Amelia quickly agreed, she would hear the entire story from Tonks once they had everyone from the train transported to the castle. The news that all the students were safe shot along the Hogsmeade platform and relief was the main emotion felt by those waiting, Augusta made her way over to the group and focused on her grandson's injury.

"Neville, what happened to your arm?"

It was Padma who proudly answered. "Our brave Gryffindor here took on a dementor with his sword, it's his hand that we need to get looked at."

The brave Gryffindor in question was glad it was late evening to hide his blushing. "It took a Ravenclaw though to show me how it was done, it was Hermione who figured it out."

"I didn't figure anything out, I just didn't have any other option at the time!"

The carriages soon had them at Hogwarts proper and Harry knelt to have a quick word with Natalie. "I need to go to the infirmary with Hermione but you'll be safe in the castle, it has wards like your house and those creatures can't get through them. After the sorting you'll join your house, don't worry about which one because we have friends in all four of them and there will be prefects to tell you everything you need to know. It may be breakfast tomorrow before we see you again but we'll have it together - no matter what house you and Pauline are in."

The little witch surprised everybody by throwing her arms around Harry and saying thanks.

They had no sooner left for the infirmary when more first years arrived, Theo wasn't letting Pauline out of his sight so found himself being dragged toward Natalie by his little sister.

"We all heard those things scream, it must have been awful, what happened?"

Natalie now found herself the centre of attention, something she usually avoided like the plague. With Luna, Hannah and Susan there supporting her though she was able to tell her new friend Pauline what happened - and ignore the fact that everyone else was now listening too!

"That thing came into our compartment and wouldn't leave, the policewoman put up this silver shield thing but it wasn't enough. Hermione then stabbed it with her sword before Harry finished it off, they were awesome!"

Professor Flitwick had arrived and was organising all the first years into a classroom before they would be called and sorted. Hogwarts thoughtfully arranged for mugs of hot chocolate to appear on the desks as the new students began bonding, all linked by the shared experience of being scared witless on the train.


The doors of the infirmary crashed open as Sirius shot through them, he was closely followed by his wife and Remus with all three rushing over to where there were two teens they knew well occupying beds while their bonded sat beside them.

"Sticking your sword into a dementor is either the stupidest or bravest thing I've ever heard of, hardly the reactions of a Ravenclaw, Hermione."

"Gee thanks, Sirius, I love you too!"

Poppy had covered Hermione's hand with a salve and was now in the process of bandaging it up. "Her hand I can cure, Professor Black, there is nothing anyone can do for their victims after a dementor has administered a kiss."

It was Padma who then chipped in, "There's not much you could do for the dementors after these three had finished with them either!"

The three professors had to leave and attend the welcoming feast and Harry advised Madam Pomfrey to go as well, knowing Hogwarts would look after them. They weren't disappointed as a table and four chairs appeared, allowing the friends to spend a much needed quiet evening together. Madam Pomfrey would be examining Hermione and Neville again after the feast to see if they needed to spend the night, though both were confident they would be sleeping in their own dorms this evening.

Tonks was meeting with another four people in what used to be the Headmaster's office. Cornelius, Amelia, Amos and Augusta were listening as her story unfolded.

"Have you any idea why the dementor wouldn't stand down?"

"Sorry, Minister, no idea. I clearly identified myself as an auror and displayed my shield, it just pushed further into the compartment. I didn't know how I was going to contain it until Hermione struck with her sword, then Harry finished it off. The other two paid even less attention to the order to stand down, they just came right at us. We would have been in serious trouble if it wasn't for those goblin blades."

"Cornelius, we need to withdraw the dementors back to Azkaban before someone gets hurt."

This suggestion had the full backing of the Chief Warlock. "I agree with Amelia. If they were prepared to ignore an auror to attack students then there simply isn't another option."

It was a proud grandmother who added her two knuts worth. "I don't know about anyone else but the fact that we have discovered a method of killing those nightmares is a great relief. I just wish those two hadn't gotten injured discovering it."

"I'll issue the order for them to be withdrawn back to Azkaban as soon as we return to the ministry. Augusta also makes a very good point, the dementors will soon know we have a method to hurt and even kill them. Should Voldemort return, that knowledge could see the dementors stay out of the fight. This has potentially denied the dark lord one of the most potent weapons in his arsenal."

What Cornelius wasn't saying was that those four students had probably saved the ministry from a backlash that could have seen heads roll, dementors kissing students on the Hogwarts Express would certainly put a major dent in their popularity rating. Those four apparently didn't know the meaning of the word impossible, trolls, basilisk and dementors had now all fallen to goblin steel wielded by wizards and witches. Once more the 'Heroes of Hogwarts' had risen to the occasion and saved the day.

"Since we caught the Carrows, there hasn't been a sighting of Lestrange or Rookwood anywhere, it doesn't make sense to have dementors combing the country for a couple of escaped prisoners who have possibly fled abroad." All could see how unhappy Amelia was at having to voice that last conclusion, she really wanted those two caught. "Harry's had a guard all summer and I think it would be prudent to keep a small auror presence in the castle while he's here..." Amelia never got to finish as she was interrupted by an excited auror.

"Madam Bones, I would respectfully like to apply for that duty."

"It was you I had in mind for the position, Auror Tonks, but I was going to ask the Hogwarts High Inquisitor for her permission first."

Augusta had seen the chemistry building between her defence professor and the vivacious young auror, she would be delighted to have her presence in the castle and would sort out the specifics of how they would handle the situation later.


"I thought you handled that situation wonderfully, lover, I would probably just have taken my wand out and started cursing."

"A confundus charm on a piece of parchment means they will think we have the correct documents and these glamours will save us from being recognised. We'll be in France inside an hour."

The plan to escape Britain on the first of September worked like a dream, the ministry would have all their focus on a train and the Carrows trial. That they were using the muggle channel ferry to cross from Dover to Calais would mean there would be no record of them leaving. They also chose the last ferry of the day in the hope that security would be even laxer. They watched as the famous white chalk cliffs receded behind them, both silently promising they would return with their master and make the country suffer tenfold for all the pain that had been inflicted on them.

They would proceed cross country and spend their nights under the stars, for a couple that had each spent the last decade entrapped in an Azkaban cell camping was certainly no hardship. Just having company when they woke in the morning was a luxury both swore never to take for granted.

Augustus once more impressed on his impulsive mate that they would only get one shot at this. Their master had been missing for twelve years, it was far more important they took their time and did things properly - rather than rush in and increase the likelihood of failure and their capture. It was always a delicate operation trying to convince Bella not to go with her impulses but so far he was succeeding in curbing her more psychotic tendencies. She would have used the cruciatus on a muggle daring to search through her things, a simple confundus charm left the customs official happy - and still alive.

Like any other normal couple on the ferry, Bella and Augustus stood holding hands as the ship ploughed its way through the choppy waters of the busiest stretch of ocean on on the planet. Unlike those other couples though, these two had torture, murder and mayhem on their mind. Like a certain headmaster who left the country last year, both also swore they would be back.


Neville was delighted Padma was back at his side, a tearful Parvati had been waiting for him that morning in the common room and refused to let go of his arm until they met up with the Ravenclaw contingent who were also on their way to breakfast.

"Why is it always you guys who have to put your lives at risk? We had a dementor pass our compartment but it didn't try to come in..."

Padma was on Neville's arm but now had her free one around her clearly upset twin. "Pav, we don't go looking for trouble. Just like yesterday, trouble seems to know where we are and invite itself in for a visit. Once the dementor entered our compartment things went from bad to worse in a matter of seconds, we really didn't have a lot of options other than those we took."

"Those dementors had me reliving every bad thing in my life, and then we heard the screams - I just knew it would be you four that were involved again. I felt so alone, and then there were even more screams. Why does it always have to be you?"

Padma looked toward Neville for some inspiration but he could only shrug his shoulders. "Hey sis, as Padma says, we just deal with whatever comes along as best we can. We were late getting back from the infirmary last night and you had already gone up to bed, Madam Pomfrey only allowed us to leave after Hermione and I promised that we would report back there right after breakfast."

Harry was only paying minimal attention to Parvati's emotional meltdown and, not for the first time, wondered how two sisters could be so different. His thoughts would turn to his mother and her sibling - stopping that wondering in its tracks. He wouldn't be able to settle until he could see for himself that little Natalie was alright. Luna had told them she made Hufflepuff and Pauline was sorted into Slytherin. He knew that Susan, Hannah and Cedric would all keep an eye on her, and Theo would certainly watch over his sister in Slytherin, he just wanted to see for himself that she was happy.

There was a large group waiting on their arrival in the great hall, all their friends wanted to check on how they were after their latest adventure. Pauline and Natalie were mixed in there too and both girls had smiles on their faces.

"I had to tell the girls that breakfast together was out, we need to be at our own tables to receive our timetables. I suggested we all have lunch together and then they can both tell us what they thought of their first class in Hogwarts."

Harry quickly agreed to her suggestion. "Thanks for that, Susan, I wasn't at my best last night. Okay girls, looks like we have a date for lunch!"

It was two happy and giggling new first years who now made their way back to their respective tables as Hermione leaned into Harry. "You know that by using the 'D' word you've just made those girls the envy of all the witches... You do know, and that's why you used it!"

"They had a hard day, yesterday. If a simple thing like that can make them happy then why not? We're just going to be sitting in Hogwarts and eating lunch."

She then had a confession for him. "I remember a certain first year who thought spending an evening with Harry Crow was heaven, it was only an astronomy class but I thought it was the most romantic night of my life."

This earned Hermione a kiss as Harry led her over to their usual seats at the Ravenclaw table, Professor Flitwick was already there and had timetables for his now famous trio.

"You will notice that the extra defence tuition you requested will take place on a Wednesday afternoon and a Thursday morning, I was asked to pass on that the timetabled session set for this morning has been canceled - since two of you are injured. I also need to tell you that Auror Tonks intended to visit all your parents before this morning's edition of the Prophet gets delivered, we all felt that your latest exploits might feature heavily in the paper and we didn't want them to hear the news that way."

All three paled at that, their parents reactions to the news would be rather predictable. It soon turned out to be a sensible precaution as the Prophet had the story splashed all over its front page, though readers could be forgiven for thinking it was the back page as the entire article was written as a sports report. The headline set the tone of what was to follow.

Hogwarts Heroes 3 - Dementors 0

The article was riddled with sports puns with Hermione and Neville now having a 'move' named after them, apparently anyone attempting to repeat their feats would be performing a Granger Gouge or a Longbottom Lunge. These though were only the appetisers for the main course, you needed Crow's Cremation Curse to finish the dementor off.

"Am I glad I never had to stick my sword into one of them, Merlin knows what they would have concocted to rhyme with Patil."

"Well, if you had stabbed it in the throat my guess would have been pain in the neck! Then again, I think you should be called that anyway..."

Luna burst into fits of laughter at Hermione's joke and Padma's pretend pout.

"Yeah, laugh it up, Granger. Just because it says in the paper that your mate is hot doesn't buy you any favours here, I happen to think my lunging Longbottom is the sexiest thing on two legs."

That this lot were again on the front page and once more joking about it meant that normal service had returned to Hogwarts - normal since Harry had arrived that is .

Minerva then stood to give a few announcements that weren't made at the welcome feast. "Last year we held a Merlin Ball in Hogwarts to celebrate one of our own having received this most prestigious of awards, with now six award winners in Hogwarts it is something we very much want to repeat this year - the event will take place on the last Saturday of this month."

This drew much cheering from the assembled students, forcing McGonagall to wait on some quiet to impart the next piece of news. "The more astute amongst you will have noticed I said six holders and no, I didn't miscount. Auror Tonks has been assigned to Hogwarts as a security consultant for the foreseeable future."

This again drew much cheering as Tonks was a popular figure inside the castle. Apart from the Florida group who had holidayed with her, she also taught last year's defence classes on those occasions when Remus was indisposed with his furry little problem.

It was a bunch of happy students who headed off to their first class of the new academic year, a far cry from how they were feeling after arriving at Hogwarts last night.

Parvati accompanied Neville over to the Ravenclaw table and her mood had changed too, she was livid. "I've now got a double period of divination with that prat, Ronald, but I don't need to be a seer to know there's a good slapping in that boy's future."

"Why, what's he done?" Padma appeared ready to chase after him before Neville's good hand rested on her shoulder.

"Nothing, love, he was just mouthing off as usual."

"He was calling Neville stupid for dropping classes yet only ending up with one free period a week, I'll show him what mental really is if he says any more." Parvati had to shot away at that to find the divination classroom.

Harry's timetable was sitting on the table in front of him and today would now be a very quiet day. "We have the morning off, due to you two being injured, then our one and only free period after lunch. The only class we've got today is a period of defence with Remus."

Padma was also studying their identical timetable. "We have extra defence on a Wednesday afternoon, I don't fancy having a marauders class after that. Today would probably not be suitable for the same reason, it's looking like Monday or Tuesday would be best."

"I had a quick glance at Luna's timetable, they have astronomy on a Tuesday so that's out." Hermione's news effectively slotted this year's Crow's Marauders meetings into Monday nights.

All four headed off to the infirmary, they were still discussing their club as they walked.

"Any more thoughts on the helpers?" Padma didn't think her sister would be quoted, in truth she doubted Parvati's commitment.

"I think we had all pretty much agreed on who the eight would be, Susan, Hannah, Draco, Pansy, Blaise, Daphne, Morag and Terry. Sorry Padma, there were people higher on the list than Parvati who didn't make it."

"It's fine, Harry, that's a good list. How are we going to split them?"

"I was thinking three of the girls would work with the first years, help balance that it's four wizards leading the class, that's as far as I got."

Neville then had a suggestion. Why don't we all sit down tonight at dinner and sort it out then?"

No one else had anything better so that's what they decided.


Ragnok couldn't believe how well his previous decisions had just played out. "Your daughter really attacked a dementor with her blade?" It was understood that the Director meant no disrespect with that rhetorical question, it was rather a hard concept to accept far less believe. "That three Friends of The Nation assisted a Centurion in destroying a trio of those foul things is a feat that deserves its own tableau in the Hall of Heroes, that they have provided us with a means for defeating dementors is a blessing that merits its own reward."

Barchoke was certainly aware this unbelievable news would further their case for gradual integration benefiting all parties involved, it would also diminish Bloodfang and his ilk's credibility as they lobbied hard for the status quo - or even taking steps back toward medieval times. What really worried the Ambassador though was that all their success lately was backing the opposition into a corner, and that just might make that opposition dangerous.


Albus was studying the news coming out of Britain and could see dangerous times ahead. The alliance between the ministry and goblins was paying dividends that no one could have foreseen, it was the unofficial alliance of Longbottom and Potter that really piqued his interest though. That both boys had also chosen their brides made for a very strongly bonded quartet. He still intended to get close to the boy and help in the battle against Voldemort, the other three being so close just made that task a lot more difficult.

This was something he was going to have to ponder later as duty called, it felt good to be working again.


Sirius was also enjoying working again, especially after just taking his first class. The new Muggle Studies Professor was sitting beside his wife having lunch and watching the relief on three students' faces as Tonks told Hermione, Harry and Padma about visiting their parents with the news of what happened on the train. As the auror made her way to the staff table, a devious plan formed in the marauder's mind.

He turned to Henrica and made sure Remus could hear every word. "I know we are married now but I feel I should still ask, would the beautiful Lady Black allow me the honour of escorting her to the Hogwarts Merlin Ball?"

Henrica just kissed his cheek by way of an answer, she too had figured out what he was up to.

Remus knew exactly what his fellow marauder was doing and decided to act on the advice he was being offered in Sirius' own inimitable style. As Tonks sat down beside them for lunch he made his move. "Auror Tonks, could I please have the honour of accompanying you to the Hogwarts Merlin Ball?"

"Why, I would like that very much, Professor Lupin." While using all her abilities to appear composed on the outside, inside Tonks was doing an upbeat version of her happy dance. Those dementors could be close enough to waltz with her now and this very happy auror was certain she would still be able to cast her patronus, that her patronus had now become a wolf was not something she wanted to discuss at this particular moment. She had a date with Remus for a ball and was going to be based in Hogwarts all year, she was a very happy witch.

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