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.

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14. Henrica Hobson comes to Hogwarts

"Mr Crow, I want some answers - and I want them right now!"

Harry didn't get time to answer the headmaster as, in a manner scarily reminiscent of Professor McGonagall, Ravenclaw's Morag McDougal displayed her fiery Scottish temper for all to see. The angry Ravenclaw jumped in with both feet and asked Dumbledore a couple of questions she thought should be answered first.

"Headmaster, as well as being Chief Warlock of Britain, you are also Supreme Mugwump of the ICW. How could you not know the history qualifications at Hogwarts were laughed at in the rest of the world. I think you should tell us why you let this continue?"

Dumbledore was so shocked that a first year would actually question him, he didn't know what to say. Where was the reverence that students would normally show him, the reverence Albus was certain he deserved. Harry actually supplied the answer before Dumbledore could speak.

"Oldest reason in the world Morag, economics. Hogwarts has seven core subjects and for the last two hundred years one of them has been taught for free. Binns is widely acknowledged as a crap teacher but he was cheap - you don't have to pay a ghost. Binns used this fact to his advantage while continuing to spread his own brand of poison."

Albus eventually got his question answered, it was supplied by Helena. "Hogwarts requires a new history professor, Binns was using his position to spread misinformation and further his own personal vendetta against the goblin nation. While we are willing to admit this was a problem you inherited, your inactions on this matter since becoming headmaster do not please us. We have lived in this castle for many centuries and have become detached from the outside world, we rely on each headmaster to keep Hogwarts on the correct path. A path that sees her graduating students sought-after the world over - not laughed at."

Harry bowed deeply to Helena. "My lady, with Hogwarts permission, we goblins have the solution in hand."

Albus didn't like the sound of this so-called solution one bit. "And what will this solution consist of Mr Crow? Are there going to be lessons on how to hug a goblin?"

"I don't think so headmaster, though Hermione and Padma could probably teach that course if you really think it's necessary?"

Neville's uncontrollable laughter set the rest of the class off as Harry turned and winked at his two mortified friends.

Filius managed to hide his amusement and ask Harry the question he was certain the lad wanted to answer. "I'm sure it's just a particular goblin Miss Granger and Miss Patil want to hug, just as I'm sure Mr Crow's plans are a lot more advanced than that. Why don't you tell us about them Harry?"

"Thank you Master Flitwick. My father didn't want his son leaving Hogwarts with an OWL or NEWT that wasn't worth the parchment it was written on. As I am fluent in several languages, it would be easy for me to study and sit the accredited French or German history exam - but what about everyone else? That just wasn't good enough, and a solution had to be found."

As Harry was spending more time with his housemates, they were getting to know him better. It was this that gave Lisa Turpin the confidence to ask a Harry a question. "Is that why you waited until today Harry, so the problem could be fixed?"

"Yes Lisa, a course that meets the European standard had to be thrashed out, textbooks sourced and translated into English before a professor could be found to teach the new course - it took a while."

Albus was shocked. "...and just who will pay for all this Mr Crow?"

Harry had a knowing smirk on his face. "Headmaster, if there is one thing we goblins understand - it's economics. We are also well aware what would happen if Hogwarts was forced to put its prices up. The professor and all the text books will be funded by the newly formed Lily Potter Foundation. Unfortunately, this will only apply to the first four years at the moment. This is purely because anyone in their OWL year or over wouldn't have time to learn the new materials - the fourth years are going to have to work their socks off for a shot at the new exam. You will have to provide a teacher for the upper years until the new course rolls out to everyone."

This was more than Albus could possibly have hoped for, but he wanted to clarify one thing before graciously accepting. "The course parameters have been set by the European Education Board?"

"Yes sir, they approved everything otherwise Hogwarts would be no better off - and we goblins would be doing the exact same as Binns. The materials will be in the library for any older students wanting to attempt the new exams but our education experts felt it might pull their other marks down if they concentrated on a new history course."

"I shall pass this news, and your experts advice on to the heads of house. I feel they are in the best position to judge their students' capabilities. I will abide by their recommendations. I am delighted we can work together on this matter Mr Crow."

The entire class watched in disbelief as the headmaster stood there claiming credit for something he had nothing to do with - and didn't know anything about until moments ago. The daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw wasn't for letting Dumbledore get away with that though. "Our champion approached us on this matter, and asked for our assistance. We took care of the problem and our champion provided the solution, your help was neither asked for nor required. Hogwarts accepts her champion's solution and we will inform the heads of our houses exactly what happened here today. Professor Flitwick saw most of it and I would value his opinion at this point?"

"Hearing a Hogwarts professor boast he helped the dark lord all he could so Voldemort would wipe out the goblin nation has left me feeling dirty that I even knew Binns."

The loud 'WHAT!' from Dumbledore rivalled the clang of Hogwarts for sheer number of decibels achieved.

"We all heard him say it Albus, his hatred for the goblin nation was barely below the surface but surprised even me with its intensity. As to the new history course, I think my opinion matches Mr Crow's experts. I can think of no more than a handful of older Ravenclaws who could possibly manage that amount of extra work alongside their existing exams, and think the other three houses would struggle to come up with that many between them. I fail to see the point though in continuing with a course where the pass isn't worth the parchment it's printed on. I shall be recommending to my Ravenclaws that they drop history and use the time to study for other subjects."

It was then they noticed Draco had his hand up. "Can I ask a question sir? Mr Crow claims to have found us a new professor, is this professor goblin or wizard?"

All eyes moved to Harry who quickly decided to use this opportunity to his advantage. This was something he had been mulling over for a few weeks and he'd just been handed a golden invitation to say what was on his mind. "In all honesty I don't know, and also don't really care. I just know anyone my father employs will be extremely good at their job - or they won't have that job very long. Isn't that what really matters?"

Harry knew he would take his own house with him on this one. After their first potions lesson with a goblin tutor, they would be fools to think otherwise - and fools didn't get sorted into Ravenclaw.

"If you go through life limiting your choices of who you will associate with by little things like blood purity, Hogwarts house or even what quidditch team they support, then you have my sympathies. If I did that, who would I have as a friend? There aren't exactly too many people in my position."

He glanced toward Hermione, Neville and Padma before continuing. "Take a look at my three closest friends and I, by any rights our friendship shouldn't work. An ancient British pureblood, an Indian pureblood whose ancestry is probably even older, a girl who didn't know she was a witch until her eleventh birthday and me, a child raised by goblins. We have massive cultural differences between us, differences that raise issues practically every single day. When those issues are raised, we talk about them. Padma said she preferred her flying carpet in India to a broom, I enjoyed my first broom flight but who wouldn't want a shot on a flying carpet? Some of the stuff Hermione tells us you would swear she was making up, except she promised to show us for real."

He glanced over at his friends again to see them smiling at him so Harry knew he wasn't in trouble. "We have differences of opinion, but that's all they are. Friends don't need to be the exact same to get along, just agree to differ on some things. Why should it matter if our new tutor is a wizard, goblin or even a centaur - just as long as they can teach us what we need to know?"

Albus could see the lad was impressing his peers with this line of reasoning and wanted to put a stop to it at once, he well remembered another young wizard whose personality had the power to charm the birds from the trees. "This is all very well Mr Crow but I am down a professor, when will this new History Professor be available to start?"

"Oh I would imagine within a few days headmaster, and the house ghosts have already agreed to cover classes until they get here."

Albus was left standing there like some spare prick at a wedding. This was supposed to be his school but more and more of the decisions were being taken without any input from him. He would need to corner William Weasley the next time he paid a visit, Albus desperately needed to know just what the goblins final objective was here - preferably before Albus too found himself ejected from the castle. "Carry on then." As he made to leave, Filius stopped him.

"What about the house points Binns deducted from Ravenclaw before he was thrown out?"

"You know I have a non-interference policy on those matters professor, I dare say they were deserved deductions." Albus thought he was claiming at least a slight victory, he hadn't reckoned on the house ghosts.

Helena was first. "Mr Crow, fifty points for bringing this matter to our attention, and another fifty for resolving Hogwarts history professor problem."

Sir Nicolas then got in on the act. "Miss McDougal, fifty points for having the courage to ask the headmaster that searching question - a question we all noticed he didn't answer."

The Bloody Baron wasn't going to be left out. "Mr Boot, fifty points for asking a question that got right to the heart of the matter."

That left the Fat Friar adding numbers in his ghostly head. "Miss Granger thirty four points for being a good and loyal friend. If I'm not mistaken, that takes Ravenclaw back to where they were at the start of the period."

After just publicly stating he had a non-interference policy on house points, Albus was powerless to do anything. He left the class as the Hufflepuff ghost made the final proclamation, skulking back to his office.

-oOoOo-

As they left a class none of them would ever forget, Hermione had one final question for the wizard whose arm she was on. "Harry, what did you mean by knowing what would happen if Hogwarts put its prices up?"

Harry tried to think of an easy way to say this but eventually just told it straight. "Magical Britain is a very male-dominated culture. Most pureblood witches are destined to raise children and adorn their husband's arm at social functions, they are sent to Hogwarts in the hope of meeting that husband. If the prices were to be pushed up too far, some fathers would question the expense of a formal education. They could decide not send them to Hogwarts - just choosing a likely husband for their daughter instead."

Hermione was so shocked she dropped Harry's arm. "...but that's - that's just.."

As Hermione struggled for words, Harry tried to come to her aid. "... a different culture Hermione? I stood in front of the entire first year and said we can talk out any differences, please don't make a liar out of me."

She had only one thought on her mind. "Harry, please tell me goblin society isn't the same?"

The pleading in her voice touched something deep within Harry. He led his best friend over to a small, windowed alcove and both of them sat on the bench-seat recessed there. "Goblins are a warrior race Hermione, you need to remember that with what I'm about to tell you. There are certain restrictions that goblin culture places on its females with regard to careers."

He could see Hermione ready to comment on that so quickly continued with his explanation. "Females attend all the same classes as males do, though are more likely to be tutored in the use of lighter weapons in combat class. While they are certainly taught how to fight, it's more so they can defend themselves and their families - no goblin female can become a warrior or would ever be expected to fight in a war."

This was something Hermione could grasp. There was currently a great debate in the British Army as to whether woman could fight as front line troops. It was a debate in which there were no quick or easy answers so she could understand the goblin position on this.

Harry took Hermione nodding her head as a good sign so continued. "Goblin females are also barred from working at any of the counters in Gringotts - but not for the reason you might think. Goblins are trained in how to deal with surly and sometimes downright rude wizards and witches who use Gringotts. No goblin warrior could ever stand by while a goblin female received the same abuse, there would be heads rolling along the bank floor on a daily basis."

Hermione had now witnessed Harry's protectiveness on more than one occasion, it was a trait that made her go weak at the knees. Again, she had no problem imagining a Gringotts guard taking a blade to a wizard who happened to shout abuse at a female goblin.

"There are females whose greatest wish is to marry, raise children and be a full time mother, just like there are ones who wish to choose a career too. You told me your mother and father are forms of healer who work together. A husband and wife who were both healers would not be an unusual occurrence in our society. In the magical community, this would be much more of a rarity."

"Harry, all I really wanted to know was that the female goblins got to make their own decisions. Barring a few positions that you've explained, it would appear so."

"We are still a male dominated society Hermione, no female could head a house. At the same time, no head of house would ever have anything to do with an arranged marriage - and goblin betrothal contracts just don't exist."

Hermione's voice became a squeak as she struggled to get the words out. "Betrothal contracts?"

"Oh, the purebloods just love their betrothal contracts, I think there's about a sack full of them somewhere in Gringotts with Harry Potter's name on them. The last of the Potters is apparently quite a prize, there certainly will be offers in that sack from fathers of witches we both know in Hogwarts."

Hermione's mouth was suddenly incredibly dry but she had to know. "What do you think of that?"

Harry shrugged. "I'm a goblin warrior that has been given a mission, a mission I need to complete before I can live my life in peace. Until Voldemort is no longer a threat, I won't even consider anything like that. When he's gone, I know exactly what I want though."

Hermione had stopped breathing as she desperately waited for Harry to continue. He appeared to be staring at something that wasn't there while she just wanted him to end this agony.

"My father told me my dad and mum were, as well as being a powerful and formidable couple, very much in love. That's what I want." He looked to his best friend for her opinion, to see Hermione wearing the biggest smile he'd ever witnessed. "Do you think that's silly Hermione?"

She slowly and deliberately wrapped her arms around him, her head was beside his as she whispered in Harry's ear. "That's what everyone wants Harry, but I can't think of anyone who deserves to find it more than you."

"So, we okay?"

"Of course we are silly, cultural differences that we talked through. I would never make a liar out of my best friend. Was getting rid of Binns the end of it Harry?"

Harry couldn't shake his head because it was currently nestled very comfortably next to Hermione's, he still had to give a negative answer though. "Both my father and the director see this as nothing more than a few steps on a long road..."

She then asked the question that had been eating away at her for a while, here was Hermione's opening to have it answered. "...but why you Harry? Why do you have to be the one risking yourself to do these things?"

Harry still had her wrapped in his arms, he kept Hermione there as he answered. "That's simple Hermione, because I'm the only one who can. We goblins have been complaining about Binns for generations, that we had to make those complaints to the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures should tell you how successful we were. The boy-who-lived was able to see Binns driven from the castle in a single afternoon. We may not see goblin / wizard relations where we would want them in our lifetime, but our children and their children should benefit from these changes."

Hermione was in Harry's arms, now her favourite place in the entire world. Hearing him say 'our children' just turned her entire insides to mush. She knew he didn't mean it that way but a girl could dream, a certain girl also needed a long talk with her mother first chance she could get.

Harry enjoyed Hermione snuggling into him so continued talking to prolong this condition, he had no idea his best friend would quite happily stay there for the rest of the day. "I can only work on the wizarding attitudes, my father and the director have probably the more difficult task of convincing the rest of our nation better relations with the magical community is something we goblins should want. Of those seven 'goblin rebellions' Binns had built his history course around, two of them were actually started by goblins. What he didn't teach though was that this pair of rebellions were actually put down by the goblin nation, with the guilty being punished. We still have a few goblins who hold on to their hatred every bit as bitterly as Binns - though not after death."

They sat quietly, content just to be holding each other for a few minutes. "You know Padma is going to tease us mercilessly for this?"

Her question drew a chuckle from Harry. "Don't forget Neville, he's getting just as bad. The two of them have Parvati and Lavender almost sick with jealousy by acting like a couple."

"I wonder if Padma's name is on one of those betrothal contracts?"

"I don't know, but it's something I'll have to deal with when I become head of the Potter family. No pureblood would ever accept a rejection of their daughter from a goblin, so that is something I'm going to have to do myself."

"Oh my, I think I would be mortified if you had to reject me."

A moment of silence followed that remark before Harry managed to answer. "I don't think I could do that to you..."

Hermione was once more having trouble breathing with a mouth that would match the Sahara for moisture content, did Harry really just say that? "Do I need to talk to my father about a contract?" She had made the quip only partly in jest.

Harry held her closer as he whispered his answer. "Only if you want to be the same as all the rest."

Both had a rough last few hours and neither wanted to be the one to break their hold. This was how Padma and Neville found them almost half an hour later. Their friends didn't tease, just handed over the food they had brought wrapped in napkins. Eating in the great hall with everyone staring at you was overrated anyway.

-oOoOo-

Barchoke marched down the corridor to the director's office. He didn't have an appointment but also didn't think that would matter today, the letter in his hand was all the appointment he needed.

Once in the director's presence, Barchoke wasted no time in passing on the news - or the letter. "Director, my son has done it!" The pride in his son's achievement practically radiated off Barchoke, if it was possible for a goblin to glow then he managed it.

Ragnok read the letter and his delight matched that of Barchoke. "Bloody Binns' grandson finally ejected from the castle! This is a great day my friend." Even at this early hour, Ragnok shouted for goblin grog to celebrate this famous victory. When both of them had a tankard, Ragnok offered a toast.

"Almost ten years ago I named your son Old Crow because I found it amusing. Like a true goblin, by his achievements he has turned the joke back on me. I find myself having to rename your son, from this day forth he shall be known as Centurion Crow." Ragnok took a deep swig of the potent brew to seal the deal before noticing his drinking companion wasn't reciprocating the toast.

Barchoke was actually down on one knee with his head bowed. "Director, I beg of you, please don't do this. My son faces enough resentment amongst the nation without adding to his burden."

"Do you not think the goblin who rid us of Bloody Binns spawn should be rewarded?"

"Yes director but..."

"...but nothing Barchoke. You have raised a fine son, a proud goblin warrior. His tutors and trainers return glowing reports, you yourself marched proudly into this room to boast of his achievements. His work inside Hogwarts has been exemplary, and raised our profile to heights we never thought possible. I know as a father you want your son to make his own decision and I promise to honour that, but I for one would be happy if he chose to stay with Gringotts."

Barchoke was never so glad to have a tankard of grog in his hand, after hearing that he certainly needed it. He couldn't drink it now though until the director was finished presenting his argument.

"I know your original intention was to have your son taking his place in wizarding society, giving the nation a voice at the very top of their culture - that is still a worthwhile aim. Don't you see though, your son rejecting that life to live amongst us could have just as profound an effect on our community." The head of the goblin nation began listing his reasons for a statement that was every bit as shocking as when Barchoke first proposed Harry Potter being raised as one of them. Both goblins in the room were also aware that one of them had very nearly lost his head that day.

"He has already killed with his blade in combat and righted a historic wrong, he could be every bit as great a hero to our nation as the boy-who-lived is to the wizards. Master Sharpshard thinks that when your son masters his magic, no goblin will be able to stand against him in combat. That in itself is an achievement which deserves to be rewarded. Now will you stand and toast your son's success with me? We have a ceremony to arrange, let's invite his young friend along and nail our intentions to the wall for all to see."

Barchoke knew one tankard wasn't going to be enough, he would need to write to Harry though before he drank any more. "Director, you do me and my family great honour. Awarding my son this rank, and inviting his friend to the ceremony will certainly start the cart rolling. Here's to smooth track and a safe arrival at the destination we both want." The shocked goblin then drank deeply of the now much-needed brew.

-oOoOo-

Eargit delivered her letter to Harry before popping onto the table beside Hermione, the witch had Moonlight in her lap and the wise bird knew this would mean more scraps. She wasn't disappointed as the first piece of bacon came her way, the young kneazle wasn't in the slightest bit jealous - appearing to know there was plenty available for both familiars.

"A snowy white owl and a jet black cat, they couldn't be more different yet get along fine together. Do you think we can add their example to us four Harry?"

Harry hadn't heard a word, his entire attention riveted to the parchment in his hands. He'd now read the relevant section three times and it still didn't make sense. "WHAT THE..."

"Harry? Is everything all right?"

"I honestly don't know."

"How can you not know?"

"I mean I need a few minutes to figure this out. This is life changing Hermione, and not something you expect with your breakfast on a Thursday morning."

Nothing in Hogwarts could be kept secret and Harry's voice had been loud enough to attract attention. Soon the entire hall knew Harry had received disturbing news from home. Dumbledore sensed an opening so headed over to the Ravenclaw table. If the boy was upset, he might let something slip. The head of Harry's house followed on right behind the headmaster though.

Albus started with an obvious question to get the boy talking. "Any news of when the new history professor will be arriving at Hogwarts Mr Crow?"

"Tomorrow, and actually it's Centurion Crow."

Filius immediately had his right hand in a clenched fist and placed on his chest above his heart, he then bowed his head to complete the salute. "Well met Centurion Crow, and may I be the first to congratulate you."

With Professor Flitwick congratulating Harry, Hermione's worry meter slipped down about four notches, she was now more confused than concerned. "Centurion, like in the Roman army? Do you now have a hundred goblins under you?"

Harry was still struggling to come to terms with this news so it was left to their head of house to explain. "A centurion is a warrior who, by his actions, has done the goblin nation a great service. He doesn't have warriors under his command as such, though a warrior would obey if a centurion gave a direct order. The nearest thing I can think of to compare it with would be an Order of Merlin - or something like a knighthood in the muggle world. I think Harry will be the youngest ever recipient of this great honour, have they arranged the date of the ceremony yet?"

"My father says it's all in hand. Master Flitwick, can you spare the time to have a meeting before classes start? Hermione should be included to, since she's going to be receiving an invitation from the director to attend the ceremony."

Flitwick's "WHAT!" rivalled that of the headmaster's in their history class for sheer volume of noise, the difference this time was that the entire hall heard and fell silent. Eargit shot into the air and circled above while Hermione comforted Moonlight, both familiars had reacted badly to the loud shout.

"So, me attending this ceremony is not what normally happens? I should be getting used to it by now, hanging around with Harry."

Filius was delighted to see how well the girl was taking this, he needed to let her know just how momentous this was though. "Miss Granger, I think you will be the first witch or wizard ever to attend one of these ceremonies. I myself have never seen one."

Albus was quick to react, he really didn't need more positive attention for the goblins. "If Miss Granger is going to be in any danger, then I'm afraid I can't allow her to attend..."

Dumbledore may have been quick but Harry was lightning. He was on his feet and facing down the headmaster. "Since Hermione has already been attacked twice in your school, I hardly think we need to take safety advice from Albus Dumbledore. When her parents sign the permission form, you have no further say in the matter headmaster. This does not concern you."

Albus knew he had made a terrible mistake, he was currently standing toe to toe with a first year but unbelievably was in deep trouble. While still quick, he was a wizard with well over a century of years under his belt. Young Harry on the other hand had speed to burn with reflexes to match, and Albus had foolishly placed himself in easy range of that deadly knife. Visions of wands lying sliced clean through on that toilet floor sent shivers down the headmaster. The elder wand may be the most powerful of wands, but it was still made of wood and wouldn't survive an encounter with a goblin blade. It was actually Filius who saved the situation escalating to that point, and Albus having to back down from a first year in front of the entire school.

"Miss Granger will be treated with the utmost respect while inside Gringotts, to do otherwise would see the offender pay a very high price. She will be attending as the guest of the director, to even insult her reflects badly on Ragnok - certainly not good for any goblin doing the insulting's health. Add to that, the bracelet she wears tells everyone she is under the protection of a very powerful family." This last fact was news to everyone bar Harry, even Hermione.

Filius explained the bracelet's significance in goblin culture to the entire hall, all of whom were now listening intently. "Professor McGonagall is known for wearing a piece of her clan tartan as part of her robes, the filigree design on the bracelet provides the same function. To a goblin, it's as easy to read as tartan is to a Scot. To treat Miss Granger with anything less than the respect she deserves would see that goblin incur the wrath of not only the director, but one of the goblin nation's most powerful families too. I agree with Centurion Crow, she will be far safer inside Gringotts than her time at Hogwarts has been."

Albus was forced to accept this, he had no means of refuting any of these claims. The headmaster attempted to at least save some face. "Please arrange for the appropriate paperwork to be in Hogwarts well before this ceremony takes place..."

Harry wasn't prepared to let the headmaster off with even that much. "My father will be contacting Professor McGonagall shortly with all the details, and the completed paperwork. Master Flitwick, my father also wishes to invite you to the ceremony."

It was a delighted head of Ravenclaw who once more gave the centurion salute before leading both of them to his office.

Hermione was on Harry's arm but with Moonlight cradled in her other, they had barely left the hall when she asked the first question. "What just happened in there Harry?"

"Remember I said I had to do this because only I could? I think the director has just changed the rules and now wants me to help change goblin minds too. I want to talk it over with Master Flitwick but I think I'm right. The director inviting you along is the biggest clue. He's deliberately showing me choosing Gringotts doesn't mean I would lose my friends, and publicly throwing his backing behind that. This ceremony also very publicly places the director behind me being considered a goblin. A centurion is something every goblin warrior dreams of becoming, I just can't believe it's happening to me."

Hermione wasn't too troubled by this news. "I've already told you Harry, if you leave then I'm coming too. I haven't seen anything since our first night in Hogwarts that would make me want to change my mind. Considering you didn't even get house points for saving us from that troll, I would say you deserve this - except I'm beginning to think this centurion thing is even bigger than I first thought."

Filius was also running the facts through his mind, and coming to the same conclusion as Harry. If this came down to a tug-o-war between the two cultures, the poor boy's eventual decision had just become an impossible one.

-oOoOo-

Bill could tell the gloves were now off, Harry's news had inserted a touch of panic into the headmaster's manipulations. "Albus, you have to understand I was not the only person considered for this job, this is a fantastic opportunity for me. What you're asking would finish my career if word ever got back."

"My boy, what you fail to see are the wider implications we're dealing with here. Transfiguration is changing as Minerva becomes more and more enchanted with the goblin method of performing this task. Your defence classes are coveted nearly as much as those private potions lessons that are taught by a goblin. Tomorrow, we have a new history professor who will introduce a new course, both course and professor are bought and paid for by the goblins."

Albus followed this up with an impassioned plea. "They are using Harry's influence, and the Potter gold, to undermine our society in a way that's just as dangerous as any dark lord. Their influence has now spread over four of our seven core subjects - five if you count Filius teaching charms - and I need to know what their intentions are. Surely there is something you can tell me?"

"I can tell you they want Voldemort gone, something I know we both agree with."

Albus only nodded and let the silence draw out, wanting more information than that. His patience was finally rewarded.

"They also have a plan concerning the school that I think you should be part of, I was told no. They suspect that there may be a horcrux hidden inside Hogwarts, Harry's hoping his status as her champion will help him find it. If he discovers one, my job is to safely transport it to Gringotts..."

"If you discover one, I want to examine it."

"Sorry Albus, my instructions are explicit. Protect Harry at all costs, and get any horcrux to Gringotts immediately. The goblins have a procedure to deal with these things so you can rely on them to do it safely."

"Do you know if they have destroyed any more?"

"I was told about the one that had been inside Harry, nothing specific outwith that. I do know they have a small team dedicated to researching and then running down any leads on these abominations. At the moment, that team's best guess at a horcrux location is Hogwarts."

It wasn't much but at least he would be told if a horcrux was removed from Hogwarts. Now that he had breached the wall of William's defences, the next piece of information should come easier. Soon, he would know everything that the goblins trusted their curse-breaker with. If it became necessary to expose that information to others, William would make a fine defence professor when the goblins threw him out. He would even have accommodation in the castle, and away from his mother. After receiving a howler from Molly when she found out Voldemort was in the castle, Albus thought getting out of the Burrow would surely be a plus point for the young man taking the job.

-oOoOo-

The new history professor wasn't a wizard but Harry didn't think Draco would be complaining. Professor Hobson wasn't a goblin - or even a centaur, she was a five foot six Swedish blonde in her mid/late-twenties. Her face and figure were such that the seventh year males were considering if dropping grades on their other subjects might be worth it to be in a classroom with the hottest witch in Hogwarts. No, Draco would certainly not be complaining about the latest goblin import to the castle.

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