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.



18. Hidden Things

It was a red-faced Harry and Hermione who were sitting in their history class. Professor Hobson had a goblin memory displayer, and a crystal that contained the memory of Centurion Crow speaking from the steps of Gringotts. The player was a black pyramid shaped object that the crystal slotted into the apex of, projecting the scene in about one eighth scale - with sound.

The scene ended as Ragnok headed back into the bank, all eyes were once more focused on a stoic Harry. That attention was never going to last though, not with the beautiful Professor Hobson in the class.

"The reason I have been showing this scene to all my classes is not to embarrass a certain pair of Ravenclaws - rather to show history in the making. Now I want to hear your answers to what you thought was historic about this event. As our acknowledged experts, Centurion Crow and Miss Granger will be asked to cover any points we may miss."

Morag's hand was first to shoot up, quite an achievement considering all the boys were desperate to please their favourite professor. "Hermione was the first non-goblin ever to witness a centurion ceremony. Do you have a memory crystal with that on it professor?"

"Correct Miss McDougal, and sorry but no. Those ceremonies are wrapped in mystery and secrecy, perhaps Mr Crow could tell us something about it after we finish this. Anyone else?"

Some other suggestions were offered - including Lavender's 'most expensive collection of jewellery ever worn at the one time by a witch' - before Neville had his hand up.

"I've met Harry's father, Barchoke, and I am tutored in potions by Master Pitslay. We all remember Master Sharpshard's visit to Hogwarts but I don't think I've even seen a picture of the goblin director before?"

This earned Neville a big smile and a 'well done' from Professor Hobson, making him blush. "The fact that Mr Longbottom recognises so many goblins is practically historic in itself, the point he made though is correct. Until he appeared that day, no one outside Gringotts knew what he looked like. This is Director Ragnok's first ever public appearance outside Gringotts, and the first time the director has had his photograph taken by a wizard. What have we missed Miss Granger?"

Hermione's mind was still stuck on learning that all the classes were seeing the projection as part of their history course. No wonder Cho was drawing her daggers when Harry wasn't looking, this was far more graphic than any photograph. She would need to ask Harry about these projection pyramids, her mum and dad would be blown away watching this.

She snapped back to reality and had an answer all ready. "Well, apart from being the youngest warrior ever to be granted centurion status, Harry is also the first warrior not goblin born to achieve this great honour."

"Once more correct but not not exactly what I was looking for. Okay Mr Crow, it's left to you to tell us why this was really an historic occasion. An historic occasion that could one day affect us all."

He didn't disappoint. "Madam Bones talking with Director Ragnok is the first official contact between the ministry and the head of the goblin nation in over three hundred and fifty years."

This drew a loud reaction from Amelia's niece. "What! How is that possible?"

"It's actually quite simple Susan. The ministry decrees we must contact them through the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. For Gringotts leaders to officially contact this department would mean we accepted them classifying goblins as mere magical creatures - something I can guarantee you will never happen."

Susan Bones at least had an inkling of how the ministry worked, and wondered how the goblins had gotten around this problem. She asked and Harry once more supplied the answer.

"Oh, every month the bank clerk with the lowest Gringotts approval rating gets to take a folder full of documents to the ministry. Since nothing has been done about the past points raised, or complaints made, we are not even sure if anyone actually reads them. Every month now, at least one of those documents will be bogus. A recipe for dragon stew, the best technique for cutting toenails - complete with clippings as proof, that kind of thing. There was even a competition at school once to see who could come up with the best idea, the winner was chosen to be that month's bogus entry. The ministry think they're fooling us while we're quietly having a chuckle. Goblin sense of humour - which is almost impossible for any non-goblins to see the funny side of." Harry looked in the direction of his friends. "Believe me, I have tried."

"I think modesty is also preventing Centurion Crow from elaborating on a point we touched on. The entire goblin leadership was standing publicly and squarely behind his appointment to this post. The message this very public display sends out is that the goblins support a child born to a witch and wizard being appointed to one of the highest posts in their nation. That boys and girls is history right there. In a very public way, the goblins are showing that they see no difference between us. It is only our attitudes that define differences."

Draco was desperate for this professor to notice him so just had to state what he thought was obvious. "Professor Hobson, Centurion Crow IS different. He is clearly not a goblin."

"Ok Mr Malfoy, let me ask you this - I'll even open the question up to the entire class. Do you think the goblin nation would award a dementor centurion status? What about a dragon? Griffon? Acromantula?"

"What's an Acromantula professor?"

"Imagine a tarantula the size of Hagrid and you won't be far away from describing an Acromantula..."

She was interrupted by Ron Weasley falling off his chair, giving Draco a chance to once more compete for her attention. "The answer to all of those would have to be no, it still doesn't tell us why Centurion Crow is different."

"All those things I mentioned come under the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures portfolio - as do the goblins." She loved teaching for this moment, when you could see young minds begin to make connections for themselves. "Now if we can see what's wrong with that, why can't the ministry? The answer is simple - they don't want to. The British Ministry of Magic is one of the few magical governments in the world where sentient magical beings are still treated like mere beasts."

She let this sink into the young minds before continuing. "My job here is not to cram a bunch of names and dates into your heads, more to get you realising that history is all around us every day. A very wise muggle actually produced a quote that has kind of become my mantra, 'Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it'. We are still going to focus on specific historical events, but dig deeper into each in an attempt to discover what was really going on. Only when you understand that, can you hope to avoid making the same mistakes."

The young Swedish professor could see that made sense to her students, she hoped the next bit did too. "I think one of the main reasons the history syllabus at Hogwarts was allowed to deteriorate to the sorry state it was in is that the ruling governments of the day didn't want their actions studied too closely. Every history course I've ever seen includes some relatively modern events in it."

The professor paused, wondering just how far she could take this with first years. She decided this was something they really needed to know. "Over a decade ago, magical Britain reached a condition that was a mere step away from civil war. The general belief is that this was fought by purebloods wishing to take what they considered their rightful places and rule the country - utter rubbish! The death eaters were a bunch of terrorists attempting to overthrow a country's legal government, with the rest of the magical world monitoring the situation closely in case they had to intervene. Don't get me wrong, the other governments weren't about to rush to Britain's aid - rather end the problem here before it could spread to their countries."

The young professor was used to her classes hanging on her every word, she wondered though who would ask the first question about the next revelation. "Propaganda played a large part in the dark lord's strategy, personally I think he copied a lot of the German ideas from the second world war. Replace aryan with the word pureblood and most of the ideas are the same."

Hermione's hand was up in a flash, getting a grin from her teacher.

"Professor, my friends are purebloods - and a goblin. The point is, none of them know anything about Hitler or his plans for a master race. How could this dark lord know about it?"

"Ten points to Ravenclaw for getting right to the heart of the matter Miss Granger. The answer though is surprisingly simple, the dark lord is not a pureblood..."

This caused uproar in the class until the professor held her hand up for silence. "When I tell you something, I don't want you to instantly believe me. I want you to do research and actually try to prove me wrong. What you need for that though are facts - not hearsay."

She pointed her wand at the board and the name Tom Marvolo Riddle wrote itself, the letters then shuffled to reveal 'I am Lord Voldemort'. "The dark lord was nothing of the sort, being clever with anagrams does not bestow a lordship on you. His mother was an unmarried, impoverished pureblood who died giving birth to her son, but his father was a muggle. Young Tom spent his pre-Hogwarts years in a muggle orphanage - records of his muggle school attendance and even some report cards still exist. You can check the Hogwarts roll and see he was a Slytherin - head boy too."

Neville's jaw matched those of the majority of his classmates, in that it was practically hitting the floor. That was before he turned and spotted Harry sitting there unconcerned. "You knew?"

"It's vital that you know your enemy Neville."

Professor Hobson had a lot more revelations for this class. "Now, having established his true identity, it's important to discover the real aims Tom had. Quite simply, this self-styled lord wanted to rule the world - and would go to any lengths to realise his ambition. Seeing where all the wealth and political power was held, he aligned himself with the purebloods. Not all bought into his claims though, but Tom had an answer for that too. He coined the term blood-traitor, classing any pureblood who opposed him as such."

Again this drew gasps from her students, things like this just weren't talked about in 'mixed' company. "Traitor is a very emotive word. Even in muggle Britain, the act of treason could still see you hanged. The treason act hasn't been used for over fifty years but it's still part of their laws. Some of the most eminent magical members of this country were labeled blood traitors, simply because they opposed this maniac. This gave families they had been close to for generations the perfect excuse to stand back and do nothing, while their fellow purebloods were almost wiped out. Families like Bones, Longbottom, Potter, Abbot, and many more - all lost people to this maniac and his followers."

There were some moist eyes now as this was history that struck close to home, but Professor Hobson wasn't finished yet. "Miss Granger, sorry to keep picking on you but I need someone with a pre-Hogwarts muggle education like Tom's to answer this. Can you think of any muggles who would dress in costumes with masks to victimise a specific group of people?"

The image popped into Hermione's head instantly. "The Ku Klux Klan, they promoted white supremacy."

A flick of the professor's wand and a Klan figure was drawn on the board, alongside a death eater. "Aryan supremacy, white supremacy, pureblood supremacy, are we seeing a pattern here? Tom Riddle is an immensely powerful wizard, and also a very clever one. Taking what he had learned from both sides of the magical divide, he fabricated an entire persona. Here was a wizard who had nothing but almost ended up ruling Britain. No wealth - take someone else's, no old family name - make one up, no blood status - who's to know! He set wizard upon wizard for his own gains and almost wiped out a way of life."

Pansy nervously raised her hand and spoke when asked to. "Professor, aren't you afraid what could happen to you for saying this?"

"Miss Parkinson, when you're afraid of the truth then you're living a lie. These facts are taught in most of Europe's magical schools. Should Tom or his followers attempt to return, I for one will be standing against them. I will do so of my own free will, though it doesn't help that your ministry would have me reporting to the same department as Centurion Crow here. Now for homework..." She stopped because a hand had shot into the air. "Yes Miss Brown?"

"Professor, you said when we were finished, we could ask Harry about the centurion ceremony. Are we finished?"

Henrica Hobson had thought the material she was covering today might have been a bit advanced for these students. She was very pleased to see she had reached most of them - though Miss Brown's attention was clearly focused elsewhere. The young professor glanced toward Harry. "Centurion, I am not asking you to reveal any secrets but could you tell us anything - even about the position of centurion? This is merely a request, please don't feel you have to."

"Professor, I would hate to trivialise one of the most important history lessons we've ever had..."

"It's quite alright centurion, I think the class would appreciate ending the lesson with some lighter material."

Harry glanced around the classroom, seeing some tearful and frightened faces. The professor invited him to the front of the class and he went.

"The position of centurion is an ancient one, they existed long before the Roman armies used the term for a squad commander. It's not really a fair comparison since I don't have a squad of warriors. Professor Flitwick mentioned Order of Merlin and muggle knighthoods, neither of which is really close. The medieval knights of old are probably the nearest things I can think of to compare a centurion with. We live our lives by a strict code of honour and our blades are always ready to defend the nation."

Tracy wanted to confirm what she was hearing. "Are we talking about Knights of the Round Table here Harry, King Arthur - that kind of knight?"

"Well, Merlin was a friend of the goblin nation - as is Hermione - so I don't think that should be too surprising."

This had his best friend blushing as all eyes were now on her. In magical Britain, any comparison to Merlin was a great honour. Lavender though had another question. "Do you wear a suit of armour too?"

"I carry my armour with me at all times, goblin armour is different from the suits you'll see dotted around the castle..." Harry suddenly realised everyone would now want to see it. He shook his head before making his way back to his desk and kicking off his shoes. When the robe came off and landed on the desk, Professor Hobson interrupted.

"Centurion, just what are you doing?"

"I assumed the class would want to see my armour. I like these shoes and this shirt, I destroyed a few before getting the hang of this. My practice tunic is dragon hide and can cope with the transfiguration."

As he unbuttoned his shirt, the witches were now ogling Harry's exposed torso - but not for long. His armbands suddenly started to expand, a metallic lattice began to spread over Harry's body like a second skin. In a matter of seconds, golden chainmail armour covered every square inch of his body - with only his face still exposed.

"A Hogwarts uniform wasn't designed to let armour grow under it. Shirts tend to rip unless loosened, and shoes burst at the seams."

Terry was looking at Harry in awe. "Can you still fight in that? It looks dead heavy and cumbersome."

He glanced toward Hermione. "Should we give them a demonstration?"

"I've never fought in a skirt before..."

"You might have to one day, an enemy won't allow you time to change clothes."

Henrica established control of the situation immediately, wanting to know exactly what was being proposed before it went any further. "Just what are you suggesting centurion?"

"Sorry professor, I should have asked your permission first. I'm teaching Hermione how to use a sword, I was suggesting a quick practice to show how my armour performs as I fight - with wooden practice swords of course."

Hermione took her goblin shield out her pocket, expanded and slipped it onto her arm - just as the bell rang for the end of class.

This drew groans of disappointment from the class, though Harry did supply an answer to Terry's question. "The armour isn't really heavy though it is taking a bit of getting used to, it feels a bit like moving in water at the moment. I use it in our sword practice and am building up to wearing it while running. I hope to have it mastered by the Christmas holidays."

"Speaking of holidays centurion, I'm hearing you might have just changed my summer plans?"

"Sorry professor, that was not my intention. I know you'll be busy at the start but you would be more than welcome to join us near the end of it."

"Why thank you centurion, that is a very generous offer I might just take you up on. I can just as easily write lying on a beach as stuck in an underground room."

As Harry was putting on his robe, he once more received jealous stares - but this time from the boys. He could feel Hermione bristling with indignation on his arm as they left the class, though had no idea what he'd done to deserve it. Neville gave him his first clue.

"Are you really going to spend part of the summer holidays with Professor Hobson - on a beach?"

Harry decided to go with his usual approach - the truth. "As you've just seen, Professor Hobson is a brilliant teacher. To lure her to Hogwarts, my father had to offer something she couldn't get elsewhere. The professor will be spending her holidays with us in Gringotts..."

Hermione stopped walking at this, causing Harry to enquire what was wrong. Her reply of 'nothing' clearly wasn't right. "I thought you'd be pleased, this is what you wanted?"

"Harry, if this is more goblin humour, I'm not seeing the funny side here."

"I thought we agreed it had to be an outsider, someone who could highlight the differences. I also thought she did a brilliant job of that just now."

"Harry, you're not making any sense..."

"My father got permission from the director to allow Professor Hobson to stay with us - while she studies our culture before writing a book on goblins. It was only this unique opportunity that convinced her to leave her last school and come to Hogwarts. She will spend the next few summers at Gringotts."

It was like watching a light switch on for Hermione as she realised just what was happening, a broad smile spread across her face as she once more started walking with Harry.

"Are we ok?"

"Of course we are Harry, I'm really sorry about that. I was just being silly, but we talked the problem out and got it sorted. I think it was watching the rest of the boys practically fall over themselves to please Professor Hobson, and then imagining her coming on holiday with us - I said I was being silly didn't I?"

Here was the information Harry was missing, and he was soon smiling himself. "Hermione Granger being silly, I don't believe it. It's Professor Hobson's Veela heritage that has all the boys tipping over themselves - it doesn't affect goblins."

This raised a number of questions for Hermione but she chose to leave them for later, the young witch felt she'd made enough of a fool of herself already today. The jealousy had engulfed her without warning or any real cause, on either Harry or the professor's part. She was getting used to other students hitting on Harry but Hermione thought it may have been triggered by the fact she could never hope to compare with the stunningly beautiful professor. The very idea of being on a beach with the blonde witch sent shivers of dread through her young body. A smiling Harry on her arm was quickly banishing those thoughts away, and showing them for what they were - pure silliness.

They reached the great hall and had hardly sat down when they discovered just how quick the Hogwarts rumour mill actually operated. Roger appeared to have been delegated to ask the question that every male Ravenclaw suddenly wanted to know the answer to.

"Harry, did you really invite Professor Hobson on holiday with you?"

Again Harry went with the truth. "She's working on a project for my father over the holidays. Since we'll be on a beach, I didn't see anything wrong with inviting her along too."

One of the sixth year boys shouted down the table to Harry. "Is your father looking for anyone else to help with the project? I'll work for free?"

This generated some laughter though Roger summed it up perfectly. "Merlin Harry, if you thought you were popular before, this is going to eclipse everything. What's getting out of Snape's potions class compared to time on a beach with Hottie Hobson!"

There was no laughter this time, just a lot of wizards letting their imaginations run away with them - and a lot of witches scowling at them for doing so.

That Harry sat unconcerned chatting with Hermione and Padma over lunch settled the last of his best friend's nerves, and left Hermione wanting to hug the life out of him.


There were no smiles in the private conversation Harry had later that night. Getting goblin suspicions confirmed by Hogwarts meant that there was now a fair bit of planning to be done.


The twins were rather upset when they discovered their eldest brother was in the castle but would miss their game against Slytherin. "Sorry guys but I am working. If the game's still going when our lesson finishes, I'll certainly be there to cheer Gryffindor on."

They both looked to Harry for help, only to be disappointed. "Sorry too guys, training comes first. Your brother is a brilliant teacher and we need all the defence training we can get."

Bill led the four friends out the hall just as the quidditch captains were calling on their teams to make their way down to the pitch.

The door of the classroom had hardly closed when Harry turned to his three friends. "I'm sorry for deceiving you like this but there is no lesson today. There's a mission I must carry out inside Hogwarts and, with the entire school out at the quidditch pitch, this is the perfect time."

Hermione was on him in a flash. "This obviously has to be secret but please tell me it's not dangerous?"

"Curse-breaker Weasley and I are going to look for something. The only danger we can see is the possibility there may be some magical traps around the object, something that he deals with on a daily basis."

"Oh good, that means we can come and help?"

Bill started laughing. "...and that is why I don't gamble with goblins. Harry here wanted to bet me that would be your response but I wasn't buying into that."

While this was greeted with a smile from Hermione, Padma wanted to know exactly what they were signing up for - and just what they were looking for.

"The item is the diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw."

This drew gasps from the two female claws, Padma found her voice first. "I'll say this for you Harry, you don't do things by half." Spotting Neville's confused appearance, Padma helped their Griffindor friend out. "It's a tiara Neville, something like the one Hermione wore to the centurion ceremony. Our Harry here is conveniently ignoring the fact that it's been lost for centuries - and believe me people have been looking for it. The centurion here expects to get his hands on it while a school quidditch match is taking place - rather ambitious don't you think?"

This drew a smile from Harry. "Not if you know what room it's in. Apparently though the room is vast - and full of junk. We can split into two teams of three but only Curse-breaker Weasley is to go anywhere near the item."

This again drew Hermione's attention. 'Why, is it dangerous?"

"It could be, the last person to handle it was Tom Marvolo Riddle. We're taking no chances and it will be sent straight to Gringotts to ensure it's safe."

Neville had a couple of questions of his own. "Is the castle okay with you removing it - and how do you make two teams of three when there's only five of us?"

"Hogwarts told me where it was Neville..." Harry didn't need to answer the next part as Professor Hobson entered.


Hermione couldn't stop running her free hand up and down her new robe. Harry had been so sure they would want to accompany him that, not only did he invite Professor Hobson along, he had protective duelling robes made for the three of them. Like Harry's tunic, they were all made from dragon skin. Her other hand was of course on Harry's arm, that they had stopped and Harry was currently talking to a stone wall had Hermione slightly worried. She should have known better.

"Hogwarts, your champion needs access to the room of hidden things."

A large oak door appeared to melt out the stonework and they entered a cavern full of - everything!

This was where Bill took charge. "Padma, Neville, you're both with me. Everyone get your dragon skin gloves on - and be very careful. If you see a tiara, do not approach and under no condition is anyone to touch it. Henrica, send up red sparks if any of your team spot it and we'll come running. Let's do this search in an orderly fashion so that, should we run out of time today, the search can continue when the next quidditch match is scheduled."

Hermione's eyes were scanning the vast cavern, and not just for a tiara. "There is hundreds of years worth of stuff in here, some of this could be valuable."

Harry noticed her eyes were fixed on an old bookcase as she said this. "Yes, and some of it could be dangerous. This is a mission Hermione, you need to focus."

She nodded in understanding as they began to search the part of the room assigned to their team. Professor Hobson playfully nudged her before asking in a conspiratorial whisper, "Is he always this intense?"

"Oh no professor, this isn't Harry being intense. Wait until we meet a troll, then you'll see intense."

Henrica was laughing at the young witch's comment, that was until she discovered Hermione wasn't joking. Perhaps she should have studied her job description more closely before accepting this post.

Bill was beginning to think they would have to wait until the Ravenclaw / Hufflepuff match at the end of the month before resuming their search when a spray of red sparks lit the roof of the chamber. The trio quickly headed in the direction the spell had been cast from.

The other team were standing well back, heeding Bill's warning but Padma headed straight for it. Harry and Hermione were physically holding her back while Bill scanned the area.

"It's emitting a powerful compulsion charm, I want everyone further back."

The three friends and Professor Hobson soon had Padma out of range, earning an embarrassed apology. "I'm sorry, I just don't know what came over me. How come I was the only one affected?"

Harry answered while watching the curse-breaker work. "Hermione's bracelet would protect her, as would my armour. Neville's got his mind on other things..."

Neville was standing beside Professor Hobson with a goofy grin on his face, enticing giggles from both girls. Those stopped as Curse-breaker Weasley appeared to have disarmed any traps, he reached out and grasped the legendary item. As he put it into the container he'd brought with him specifically for this purpose, it was then slipped into his bag.

As they were leaving the room, they found the Grey Lady and the Bloody Baron waiting on them. Harry immediately bowed to both. "My Lady, your mother's diadem has been found. It will be taken to Gringotts where the disgusting taint will be removed from it. Once restored to its former glory, it can make a triumphant return home."

The ghost smiled for the first time in living memory. "Hogwarts is very pleased with the actions and deeds of her champion. A burden I have carried for centuries will soon be lifted, the house of Ravenclaw is in your debt."

"There can never be a debt between us my Lady, that I am considered worthy for the house your mother founded is all the payment I will ever need."

Bill was glancing around anxiously. "Harry, I think I should get this out the castle at once, before a meddling old headmaster pokes his crooked nose in."

Henrica agreed. "Go Bill, I will escort them back to the great hall, and cover should anyone enquire why we're up on the seventh floor."

Bill left but Helena had one more surprise for them. "Young champion, the room you have just left has the ability to become whatever you request. It's getting rather cold and dark to be running outside at the hour you both do, the room can provide you with somewhere light, dry and sheltered to run."

"You mean the room can change to whatever I want?"

"It's the room of requirements, so called because it can change to meet the user's requirements. You just need to tell the room what those requirements are."

Harry bowed deeply once more. "That truly is a gift beyond measure, I offer you my thanks Lady Helena."

The quidditch match was over and the great hall was full by the time they made it down. From the celebrations coming from the Gryffindor table, it was easy to see how the result of the game had gone. Neville was in no danger of being teased about missing the match, walking into the hall in his new duelling robes was not the reason though. It was the blonde professor at his side that halted any inclination to tease, even the quidditch obsessed Oliver Wood would admit spending the morning with Professor Hobson was preferable to watching a mere school game.


Minerva was sitting in her school apartment, drinking a cup of tea while reflecting on the busiest and most revolutionary term she could remember at Hogwarts. That this revolution could be laid at the feet of a green-eyed Ravenclaw was beyond doubt. Revolutionary was really the only word to describe the effect he'd had on transfiguration. It was still a week to the Christmas holidays yet her first years were already well into second year transfiguration tasks. That they didn't use any of the prescribed spells, or the specified wand movements left her unsure of what the future held.

Here was a class who would ace the practical tests but all fail the written papers, simply because they didn't use any of the prescribed course work. They spent their time studying and practicing the actual magic involved, rather than writing essays on procedures they didn't use. Since even the slowest in the class were now well ahead of where they would normally be on her usual teaching schedule, what possible grounds did she have for objecting? - Not that Minerva had any intention of doing so.

The new history course was also having a big impact on the school, as was the professor teaching it. Henrica had earned Minerva's respect by standing toe-to-toe with Dumbledore and not backing down an inch. He'd quickly demanded she stop teaching the students about Voldemort, only to be refused in no uncertain terms.

"I'm here to teach a curriculum pre-approved by my employer before I started, I will not have my students failing exams because the headmaster decides I should not pass on the relevant information to them. I would also like to point out that neither you nor Hogwarts are my employer, I work for the Lily Potter Foundation. Should you wish to change anything, you would need to contact them. I believe the foundation is currently administered by Gringotts Senior Accounts Manager, Barchoke."

Minerva couldn't help but smile at that memory, or the effect that name had on the old wizard. Albus had stormed away after that, 'thwarted again' was the phrase that came to Minerva's mind. She had also noticed the young witch keeping the company of William Weasley when he was in the castle, much to the chagrin of the students.

Filius was also walking just that little bit taller with the prominence his house was currently enjoying. The head of Ravenclaw was also crossing swords with the young centurion in an effort to teach him how to fight with blade and magic at the same time. He proclaimed Harry's control of both was growing at an exceptional rate.

Even Severus was less dour than usual. With Severus, that was probably as good as it was going to get. His acceptance of Harry as Lily's son seemed to have done wonders to his demeanour, the Weasley twins leaving his potions class would also go down as a red letter day for the head of Slytherin.

Even Albus appeared to have temporarily curbed his attempts to manipulate the lad, perhaps his continual rebuffs were finally beginning to take their toll? Minerva doubted it though, and thought next week's presentation to Centurion Crow at the leaving feast would at least be entertaining. That white owl of Harry's was always delivering mail so his father would be well aware of what was happening, the Gringotts presence now in Hogwarts was also considerable. Albus appeared to think he was dealing with a young boy who could be easily swayed, he didn't seem to take into account the support team Harry had around him. Minerva would also consider that support team now contained three Hogwarts heads of houses, a knock at her door was just about to prove her wrong.

She found a rather nervous Severus standing there. "Can I come in a moment Minerva? I have a rather delicate matter I would like to discuss with you."

Minerva invited him in. Rather than try and guess, she waited on Severus bringing the matter up. Just as well, they would have been Dumbledore's age and she still wouldn't have guessed correctly.

"I have something I would like you to pass on to Centurion Crow from me. Seeing that picture of him taking those flowers to his mother's grave, and then setting up a foundation in her name, set me thinking. As you know, Lily and I were as close as he and Miss Granger - before I ruined it. What I do have are years of memories that I feel her son should have. I arranged a lot of photographs I had of Lily into a small album, I would really appreciate it if you could pass them on to her only child."

Minerva had to sit down at that revelation. "Of course I will Severus, that is very thoughtful of you. I perfectly understand why you wouldn't have any pictures of Harry's father, would you mind terribly if I added some to your gift?"

Severus took a moment to think about Minerva's offer before nodding. As long as he didn't have to see them, that was something he could live with. He handed over the leather bound album that had an embossed lily on the front before bidding Minerva a good evening.


Rita Skeeter wasn't having a good evening, she wasn't having a good anything anymore. She had stood firm at her questioning by the DMLE, claiming a journalist had to protect their sources and methods. Her lawyer had charged a fortune to point out that Rita hadn't broken any laws - or at least they couldn't prove that she had. Those bastards at the Prophet had dropped her quicker than the presses could print extra copies announcing that very fact to the world. With no one else now willing to employ her, Rita was sitting in the corner of the Leaky Cauldron. All alone, and nursing a drink at her own pity party.

Her party was gate crashed by a wizened old goblin with an exceedingly gruff voice. "You can sit there for the rest of your life feeling sorry for yourself, or you can pick your skinny arse up and get back at the bastards who did this to you."

Rita sharply snapped back at the old goblin. "I don't recall asking for your opinion?"

A smile with many missing teeth now greeted Rita. "I wasn't offering my opinion, I was offering you a job." This instantly focused her attention, as did the small sack of money Whitefang dropped onto the table.

"You posses an ability to obtain information no one else can get, the person I'm working for would like to see you use that ability on certain targets. He even has a project that involves writing - you interested?"

The money rapidly disappeared into Rita's robes and she was soon following Whitefang out of the pub.

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