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.



8. Messing With Malfoys

Bill had been shocked at the twins' tale of Ron's behaviour, Percy's nonintervention was also a source of puzzlement for the eldest Weasley son. Even taking away the fact that Ron was Percy's younger brother, he was still a Gryffindor prefect. A prefect with specific duties to watch over the first years.

That Fred and George had even begun the process of becoming friends with Harry made Ron's actions all the harder to explain, never mind defend. Bill also thought that a public apology to the young girl Ron hit with that curse was not only a fair thing to ask, it was the least he could do. He actually thought an apology should have been offered immediately, without Ron needing to be forced into it.

One thing his youngest brother did mention that generated a specific cause for Bill's concern was his letter home to their mother. Knowing her as he did, Bill would not be surprised if this resulted in a howler heading in Harry Crow's direction. He would need to visit the Burrow after class to head off the disaster that could quickly descend into. Their mother in a temper wasn't known as someone who would choose their words carefully, rather just loudly yelling the first thing that entered her head.

Bill was having to choose his words carefully in front of the class too, as it would appear he'd just made an error.

"Curse-breaker Weasley, I think you misinterpreted my answer sir. I know there are curses which no magical shields can block, I was referring to a goblin shield when I answered your question."

"I'm sorry Mr Crow but those are spells I'm not familiar with, perhaps you could show us?"

A smiling Harry stood and removed a metallic disc from his pocket, it easily fitted into the palm of his hand - until that was he twisted the disk a certain way. Seconds later, Harry had slipped a gleaming metallic shield onto his left forearm. It was oval in shape and went from slightly beyond his fingertips to just past his elbow, being about eighteen inches across at its widest point. A self-adjusting strap on his forearm and a grip for his left hand saw it securely anchored without in any way restricting his movement. The rest of the class were suitably impressed, here was a practical defence method they didn't need to know any spells to use.

Draco was already in a foul mood after having to eat his words and attend the defence class, Potter once more in the limelight was not something he was prepared to tolerate. "Do you honestly expect us to believe you can stop curses with that bit of tin? It looks like something our house elf would serve sandwiches off."

Harry ignored the sniggering being aimed in his direction. "This shield is not designed to actually stop curses, rather deflect them away from you. That takes a lot less power and really lengthens the life of the shield. A powerful dark curse would probably shatter it, but the same curse would pass right through a magical shield. This also frees up your other arm, allowing you to fight back at the same time."

The wannabe leader of the first years was dismissive of all this, and made no attempt to hide his disbelief. "Prove it!"

Harry raised his eyebrow questioningly at their teacher and got a nod of acceptance in return. "Stinging hexes ok Mr Crow?"

After agreeing, Harry made his way to the front of the class. He withdrew his knife and took up a defensive stance, awaiting the first hex.

Bill deliberately aimed his hex at Harry's chest, just above where the lad had positioned his shield. The boy though was incredibly fast, moving and deflecting the curse away from him. The high-pitched yell alerted the teacher that the stinging hex had actually hit someone else in the class. Draco now wore a rather pained expression and was currently rubbing his shoulder.

Harry glared at him. "Was that enough proof Malfoy or do we need to go again?"

Draco knew he couldn't back down, this had now become a challenge. "Nothing but a fluke, he aimed right at the shield... agh!"

Bill had fired three hexes at Harry in quick succession, all at different body parts. Harry had deflected the first one at Malfoy again, dodged the second but the third one connected with his thigh. Harry though didn't cry out, merely bowed in acknowledgement to his teacher's skill.

"I think Mr Crow ably demonstrated the effectiveness of a physical shield, and some of its restrictions." Bill was sure the lad could have dealt with all three hexes he'd fired, Harry though appeared willing to take a hit to ensure the first one was deflected back at the Malfoy boy. He decided not to mention this, instead used the hit as a teaching point. "A good magical shield would easily have protected Mr Crow from all three curses. Using a combination of both shielding methods should see him better protected in the future."

Bill was also thinking the lad would need more extensive lessons in defence than taking the timetabled class with the rest of his year-mates on a Monday and Thursday could provide. He'd obviously had some previous training and Bill would be making enquires about all of this on his return to Gringotts.

Hogwarts newest professor was just getting the class back on track about the best methods of defending yourself when their visitors arrived.

Albus thought that this would at least be better than having the lad put on the spot in the great hall, he well remembered how his own attempt at that had gone.

"Excuse us Professor Weasley, sorry to disrupt your first class but we require a few words with Mr Crow."

Cornelius spotted the black-haired bespectacled boy sitting at the front of the class and waded right in. He was after all the Minister of Magic and used to getting his own way. "Harry my boy, you have no idea how distressed I was to discover just how you'd been raised. I'm here today to put a stop to this goblin nonsense, and also see you being cared for by a proper wizarding family. I'm sure we can soon clear up this momentous misunderstanding..."

The giggling had turned to full blown laughter at his last comment, causing a puzzled look to replace the minister's confident expression.

"Em...sir, my name's Michael - not Harry."

This saw the volume of laughter increase, as did the minister's confusion. "Well, if you're not Harry, who is?"

Harry stood to face this fool in the green bowler hat. "My name is Harry, though probably not the Harry you're looking for. You see, I have no need of a new family and am certainly not your boy."

Lucius was always amazed that, no matter how stupid he thought Fudge was, the man still retained the ability to prove he was even stupider than Lucius believed. Appearances though had to be maintained. "Do not speak to the Minister of Magic in that tone boy, show some respect for your betters."

"My 'betters' would know it is extremely ill-mannered to address someone without introducing yourself first, something I noticed you didn't bother with either. I would also like to point out that divination isn't an optional subject until third year, how was I supposed to know this was the Minister of Magic? If that ridiculous green hat is some sort of badge of office then you really need to rethink that image. A sword is way cooler. I am Harry Crow, son of Barchoke, Gringotts Senior Accounts Manager."

Hermione was of course sitting in her usual seat, right beside Harry. In the defence classroom, this placed her between Harry and the door. Hermione was left sitting just in front of where Harry was now standing and the young witch was already twirling her hair due to her mounting anxiety. Her best friend had basically just told-off the magical equivalent of the country's Prime Minister. Both wizards who'd entered with the headmaster appeared flabbergasted, though the lady's eyes were practically twinkling with amusement.

"Mr Crow, my name is Amelia Bones and I'm head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement."

Harry bowed to the woman and answered her respectfully. "Well met Madam Bones, I sincerely hope you'r not here to arrest me?"

Amelia actually broke into a smile at this. "Not at the moment Mr Crow. This is Minister Fudge and the other wizard is Lucius Malfoy..."

There was an instant change in Harry at this news, he immediately addressed Draco's father. "My apologies sir. At my goblin school, we were taught classes on Lucius Malfoy. Again though, only your deeds were examined in great detail which is why I didn't recognise you."

Hermione thought she had seen all of Harry's faces but here was one the young witch didn't recognise. Harry was practically fawning over Lucius Malfoy, something that went against everything she knew about her best friend. The only explanation that made any sense to Hermione was if Harry was up to something. As the senior Malfoy was lapping up Harry's praise like Pooh Bear slurps honey, she didn't think it would take too long to discover if there was a sting in the tail.

"You attended classes about me?"

"Certainly sir, you are required reading for nine year old goblins in their economics classes."

Dumbledore didn't know Harry near as well as Hermione did but even he suspected the lad was up to something. Decades of dealing with students playing pranks had given the headmaster almost a sixth sense about these things. Albus decided he wanted to know more and, at this particular time, anything that diverted attention away from him was a good thing in his book. "What did these lessons consist of Mr Crow?"

"Oh it's a well-known fact that the Malfoy family donates generously to lots of charities and good causes. It's also well-known that those donations generally go to organisations where either Mr Malfoy or his wife are in some way connected with the charity or cause, which is why they are on so many committees and boards."

This was not something Lucius tended to broadcast but wasn't too bothered about those facts being revealed here. The boy was certainly correct, those in the know recognised the benefits of having a Malfoy on their decision making panel.

Harry though wasn't finished. In fact, he was just getting started. "This is where the real genius of this economic scheme begins. You see, either Mr Malfoy or his wife then insist their charitable donation is handled by a specific consultancy firm, Scorpius Enterprises. A responsible thing to do you might say, until you discover just who owns and runs Scorpius Enterprises - Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy."

Lucius' voice had dropped to a dangerous whisper now. "How did you know that boy?"

Harry though was unperturbed. Hermione now recognised this face, it was a face that told Hermione her best friend considered Lucius Malfoy an enemy. It was also a face she hoped was never directed at her.

"Now scooping a good portion of that charitable donation back into your own vault could be forgiven, if that was all the Malfoys were up to. Fraudulently refilling their vaults is not even the tip of the iceberg. They also 'recommend' the people to carry-out whatever work gets done or to provide materials needed with what's left of their donation. That these recommendations just happen to be the Malfoys' 'friends' would suggest to me there are switch-backs involved too. A switch-back is when money is paid illegally to win a contract to do work. This usually sees a contract awarded to a firm who are never the most economical option, and rarely the best at what they do."

Lucius Malfoy was now clearly livid but it was Amelia who asked Harry the question he was expecting. "Mr Crow, isn't that privileged information the goblins are handing out?"

Harry was quick to answer. "Oh no Madam Bones, all this information is already available inside the ministry. It just involves different departments, and there is a real lack of communication between them. I really have no idea whether Mr Malfoy uses his influence to ensure that lack of communication continues but that is neither here nor there. You see, we were all laughing at how easily Mr Malfoy could publicly make a large donation to charity, and then privately ensure a large proportion of it ended back in his own vault when our tutor pointed out what was really going on..."

"I think we've heard quite enough of this fantasy..." Lucius' growl intimidated no one. Even in full death eater regalia, he wouldn't have been able to intimidate Harry into stopping speaking. That both Amelia and Dumbledore clearly wanted to hear more certainly didn't harm Harry's case.

Hermione recognised this Harry as the one that took down the troll, he appeared calm on the surface but she was aware just how quickly he could spring into action. That he was subtly moving so she was no longer directly between him and Malfoy was another clue. She had her wand in her pocket but, for all the training she had, that's where it was going to have to stay. If a fight started, she was grabbing Padma and dragging both of them under the desk.

Harry continued as if Lucius hadn't spoken. "You see, every single contract of work Scorpius Enterprises awards goes only to those organisations that are owned and run by former death eaters. Mr Malfoy is secretly funding the death eater movement in readiness for his master's return."

The minister exploded at this. "These allegations are preposterous boy! Lucius Malfoy is an upstanding member of the British magical community and you-know-who is dead..."

Harry cut right across the minister, and almost started a riot in the class. Just speaking the name out loud got a reaction, that was until people began to understand what Harry was actually saying. "Voldemort is not dead and was here inside Hogwarts last week. The senior staff fought him in the corridor the Headmaster had warned us all not to go near, at least you were right about the most painful death bit awaiting anyone who went there headmaster. Why do you think Quirrell isn't teaching this class? He was possessed by Voldemort and let that troll into the castle as a diversion, Professor Quirrell died when the Headmaster cast Voldemort out of the castle."

Hermione was watching the adults reactions to these revelations since Harry's eyes never left Lucius Malfoy. At the mention of Voldemort, Lucius was quite green about the gills. The Minister of Magic actually looked like someone who'd just wet themselves while Madam Bones appeared extremely angry, thankfully not at Harry. It was Dumbledore's reaction that drew her attention though, he was focused on Harry as if attempting to see right through her best friend. It was also clear to Hermione that the headmaster wasn't seeing what he wanted.

"Harry, how could you possibly know all that?"

"Hogwarts chose me as her champion Headmaster, that means she keeps me informed of things the castle thinks I need to know."

The Grey Lady passed through the wall to float at Harry's side. "Our champion speaks the truth. My mother helped build Hogwarts to teach all of this country's magical children, not as a plaything for the current headmaster. I give you notice Albus Dumbledore, the castle will no longer support you dragging her children into danger. But for our champion's swift action, three of our youngest would be no more. This is your final warning."

"ALBUS DUMBLEDORE! Why am I finding out Voldemort is back from an eleven year old boy?"

Hermione quickly changed her opinion. Madam Bones wasn't extremely angry, the witch in question was right royally pissed-off. Hermione was even more grateful that anger wasn't directed in Harry's direction.

Cornelius was finally stung into action. "That's quite enough Amelia, all this talk about you-know-who being back stops now. He's not back, he can't be back."

"You saying that minister doesn't make it true, just like Malfoy here saying he's not a death eater doesn't make it true either."

"I'm warning you for the last time boy..."

Harry moved closer to Malfoy. "I'm sure Professor Snape will have some veritaserum in his department, a few drops would end this argument once and for all. How about a magical oath that you were never willingly a death eater? Personally, rolling up your left sleeve would be enough proof for me..."

Malfoy's control finally snapped and he went for his wand but, since Harry had deliberately provoked the death eater, he expected nothing else. Harry's custom-made knife had its point digging into Lucius' chest, directly in line with his beating heart, before the death eater could even think about getting a curse off. "If you intended to use your wand for a magical oath, go right ahead. Otherwise, try anything and I'm pushing this blade home. We'll all get a chance to see just how pure Malfoy blood is when it's pumping out your chest."

There was a short kerfuffle behind which ended with a slap and a yelp Harry was coming to recognise. "It's only Draco trying to interfere. I slapped him one and now Neville's got him covered."

Harry's eyes never left the senior Malfoy but he was sorry he missed Hermione slapping Draco. "Thanks Hermione, nice to know someone has my back."

Amelia's wand had Malfoy covered the instant he reached for his, she was delighted to see the young lad had the drop on the arrogant arse. Like Harry, Amelia was certain Lucius Malfoy was a death eater but was powerless to intervene because of his ministerial contacts. She didn't believe a young boy should have to solve their death eater problem but wouldn't lose any sleep if he skewered Malfoy today.

Cornelius didn't know whether to shit or swear but Albus couldn't stand there and see a young man become a murderer, even to rid the world of Lucius Malfoy. "Mr Crow, I can't allow you to kill him."

"Had he drawn a wand on me inside Gringotts, Malfoy would already be dead headmaster. His blond hair would be streaked with red as his head rolled along the bank's floor."

Lucius was frozen to the spot. Draco had written home that this boy had slaughtered a troll with a blade, one glance into those blazing green eyes told him this boy wouldn't hesitate to carry out his threat. The wicked looking knife currently pressing between his ribs certainly lent credence to his fears, Lucius felt closer to death than at any other time in his life.

Dumbledore also recognised Harry was ready and prepared to carry out his threat. "That may be so, but we're not in Gringotts at the moment."

"Very true sir, so please answer me this. What is the punishment for an adult drawing a wand on a student inside Hogwarts? Considering we have the Minister of Magic, Chief Mugwump and head of the DMLE as witnesses, I don't think even Malfoy here could get away with his 'I was under the imperious curse' lie again."

Albus felt every pair of eyes, except Harry's, on him and hated saying what he had to. "I'm sorry Mr Crow, the best I can do is have him escorted out of Hogwarts."

"Hogwarts shall ensure he never sets foot in the castle again young champion."

"Thank you Helena, do you have any other options for me Madam Bones?"

Amelia also hated having to give her answer but would never shirk her duty. "I'm sorry Mr Crow, technically Malfoy has committed no crime - yet."

"So the ministry has left me with the same option his master came up with, letting his curse bounce of me and kill the piece of shit. Now Minister, perhaps you will understand why I have no intention of 'ending this goblin nonsense'. Tell me sir, was Malfoy here one of these 'proper wizarding families' you were so desperate to have me raised by?"

Cornelius appeared to recover some of his bluster after being addressed by the boy-who-lived. "Put that weapon down at once boy, the only one breaking the law here is you."

Harry then heard a welcome voice behind him. "I've got your back Harry, Malfoy moves a muscle and I'll take his head off!"

This seemed to make up Harry's mind. "Thank you Curse-breaker Weasley. Nice to know there's one adult in this room I can rely on to protect me." Harry's knife flashed as Lucius let out a yell, he was cut from his left shoulder to wrist. The cut wasn't deep, having the sleeve of his robes sliced open was probably more painful to Lucius. "You should get Madam Pomfrey to look at that. She won't be able to do anything about your dark mark though, otherwise Snape would have had his removed years ago."

Even with the blood leaking out the wound Harry had just caused, and Lucius dropping his wand to cover the dark mark with his right hand, couldn't totally disguise that disgusting tattoo. Everyone in the room clearly saw it. As they were mesmerised with Malfoy's left forearm, Harry had sheathed his knife and now had Godric's sword in his hand.

"Goblins value honour and justice above all, no amount of gold can make up for loosing either one. The man whose sword this once was epitomised both of those traits, which is why the goblins forged him this magnificent blade. These are values the wizarding community appears to have forgotten."

Harry turned his attention back to Malfoy. "When your master comes back, tell him I'll be waiting to finish the job. This time that coward and all of his followers will be dealt with." Any one else, apart from Albus Dumbledore, saying something like that would either be laughed at - or rushed to a specialised ward in St Mungo's. Harry standing there wielding his magical blade appeared to radiate an inner power, a power everyone in that classroom could see and even feel. Suddenly the castle naming him as her champion made perfect sense.

The Hogwarts Champion then addressed the Minister of Magic. "My father has already confirmed to Dumbledore that the decision on whether my future lies as a goblin or a wizard is mine, and mine alone to make. I'll tell you something for free Minister, from where I'm standing at the moment that's not a hard decision for me to make. The ministry has no legal or moral grounds to remove me from my father, the person who raised an abandoned toddler when every adult in this room failed me. If you attempt to destroy my life, I will respond as any goblin would - by fighting back with everything that I have."

Fudge was about to start shouting when Harry silenced him by the simple act of pointing his sword in the minister's direction. "Tell me this Minister. Should the fabled boy-who-lived leave Hogwarts and return to Gringotts, citing Minister Fudge's interference as my main reason for rejecting wizarding society to live the rest of his life as a goblin, what would be the public's reaction?"

Cornelius Fudge now had a complexion that exactly matched his lime green bowler hat.

"Thanks to this blond bastard and his masked buddies, my father is all the family I have left in the world. He's fought two duels to the death against goblins who believed a wizard had no place in goblin society, please don't doubt for a second I wouldn't do the same for my father. I am my father's son Minister, and proud to be so."

Harry returned his sword to its scabbard while bowing to Bill. "Curse-breaker Weasley, I thank you for your support and please don't think I counted you as one of those adults who failed an orphaned toddler."

Bill returned the bow without taking his eyes or wand off Malfoy. "Harry, I think I was ten at the time so no harm done. Please know though that this time around I'm old enough and would be honoured to stand by your side. Weasleys always stand on the side the light, so you can count on my wand in the fight against Voldemort."

Harry then bowed to Amelia. "Madam, a pleasure meeting you. I know that in any fight against Voldemort, Amelia Bones would be at the heart of that battle. Should you wish to speak again, please arrange it through Professor McGonagall or my head of house. Your honesty and regard for the law are well known within Gringotts, as are the restrictions you are required to work under. I hope what has been learned here today may help with those restrictions."

With that, Harry marched out the classroom.

Harry's parting words were like an explosion of understanding for a few of the adults in the classroom. Albus and Amelia got it at once with Bill only a few moments behind. The goblins were barred by treaty from interfering in wizarding affairs yet were currently sitting on an active volcano, one that was soon due to erupt. They knew Voldemort wasn't dead, and also that his vile organisation was sitting ready for his return, yet couldn't do anything with that information. Harry Crow had just laid it out for them on a silver salver. Leaving behind a bleeding Malfoy, standing there with his dark mark clearly visible, and a minister who was almost catatonic with the thought of his precious public approval rating plunging into minus numbers.

Amelia was so impressed, she wanted to run after that boy and kiss him for this gift. If the young witch who almost bowled her over following Harry out the door was any indicator, he would soon be getting kissed by someone a lot nearer his own age.


Hermione had learned her lesson from the troll debacle, she had no intention of letting Harry have time to formulate any wrong ideas about this. She quickly grabbed both of their defence stuff and chucked it into his bag before tearing out of there after him. She thought Dumbledore was going to say something about her leaving too, but then the headmaster seemed to change his mind. He would need to have taken his wand out and restrained the determined young witch, Harry needed her and this time she intended to be there for him.

Hogwarts had also learned from the troll incident, leaving her champion alone for the entire evening was not a mistake the castle intended to make again. The portraits and the Fat Friar quickly led Hermione straight to him, she didn't even hesitate when seeing it was a boy's toilet. She burst in and heard retching noises coming from one of the cubicles.

Harry was throwing-up into one of the toilets when he suddenly felt someone slowly rubbing his back. "It's okay Harry, I'm here for you."

Those words, combined with Hermione's soothing actions were better than any potion from Madam Pomfrey for settling his nerves and stomach. It still took a couple of minutes for him to be able to answer her though. "Won't you get into trouble for leaving the class, and being in a boy's toilet?"

"I just watched my best friend rip the Minister of Magic a new one so figured, what the hell! You only live once so why not throw a little danger in there. And anyway, the Fat Friar was going to get Moaning Myrtle to stand guard for us. Trust me, no boys will enter this toilet with her there."

"How did I come across back there? I was hoping for someone who was in control and desperately trying to avoid being considered some psychotic nutter."

"I thought you were wonderful but can I ask you something, just how long have you been planning that?"

Harry couldn't help but smile, not surprised that Hermione would see through him and pick up on their scheme. "So much for spontaneity, its over-rated anyway. Father and I actually had about six plans depending on the circumstances. I couldn't believe my luck at how it played out, Curse-breaker Weasley and Madam Bones were unbelievable bonuses. We needed Malfoy's deeds and dark mark made public, he's the lynchpin in the death eater organisation. One of the plans had me slapping Malfoy senior and challenging him to a duel..."

Hermione couldn't hide her horror at that outcome. "Harry, could you beat him in a duel?"

"Hermione, I'm eleven - he would kick my arse. He let me get close today which was a big mistake. With a blade, I could carve my initials on his forehead before he could say ouch! For a wand duel, I had intended to sucker him into accepting and then nominate our head of house to fight for my honour. Master Flitwick was a duelling champion on the European circuit and Dumbledore is probably the only person within a hundred mile radius who could hope to match him."

"So you had no intention of killing him, that was all a bluff?"

Harry looked straight into Hermione's eyes and answered her as honestly as he could. "That was never part of the plan Hermione but if he'd tried anything stupid...thanks for taking care of Draco for me."

Hermione understood what Harry was saying and accepted it, she'd seen the same thing with the troll. He'd done everything he could to avoid killing the creature but when that didn't work, Harry thankfully hadn't hesitated. "As to Draco, I don't know what came over me. I just saw him rushing at your back and reacted, he doesn't respond too well to getting walloped in the face. Neville then sat on him and promised more of the same if he didn't behave."

Bill ignored the ghost's flirting and headed straight into the toilet indicated by the portraits, declaring himself for Harry meant the castle was willing to help Bill aid its champion. The sight that greeted Bill warmed the eldest Weasley's heart. The curse-breaker was slowly getting used to the reaction of adrenalin leaving your system after being in a life-threatening situation, an occupational hazard in his job. The first few times though his actions had mirrored Harry's. He'd never had someone rubbing his back and offering comfort while he threw up, Gringotts curse-breakers didn't go in for much of that touchy-feely stuff. He conjured a glass and then filled it with water. "Here Harry, drink this."

As Harry was drinking, Hermione asked the question they both wanted the answer to. "Sir, what happened after we left?"

"Oh, Malfoy demanded I lower my wand or he would see me sacked from Hogwarts. When I explained that I worked for Gringotts, and was only in Hogwarts as a tutor for you since Voldemort killed Quirrell, well you can imagine the uproar that caused. I did advise him to complain to my superiors at the bank, he would probably get me a raise."

This got a giggle from Hermione and even Harry smiled. "Dumbledore then took the minister up to his office for a pick-me-up, I don't think he was talking about a lemon drop. You really kicked Fudge where it hurts, his public approval rating. I also think Dumbledore was desperate to get away from Amelia Bones before she could ask any more questions, she had her sights on someone else though. As soon as the minister left, Lucius was invited to accompany her to the ministry." Bill was smiling at the next bit. "Apparently some new evidence has just been revealed that casts doubt on his claims not to be a death eater. She did promise to return, I got the impression she wanted to speak with you and then rip Dumbledore's head off."

This had both Harry and Hermione smiling too but Bill had more to say. "Harry, what you did in there today was brave, bold and bloody brilliant. I left Hogwarts and went straight to work for Gringotts so I have more than a fair idea of what really went on in that classroom, I take it from Miss Granger's expression that she is aware of the situation too?"

"My friends needed to know what they were getting into, I told them when we all had lunch with my father last week. The senior staff are also aware of the situation though Dumbledore and Snape are not trusted by Gringotts."

Bill was nodding, having already been made aware of some of that. "What I was going to say was that your current defence lessons are fine for getting to know your classmates but you need more..."

Hermione couldn't believe she actually interrupted a teacher but this needed to be said. "Sir, I sat there today and felt useless. I didn't like it. Harry warned us it might be dangerous to be around him and we all accepted that. What I'm trying to say here is, if there are any extra lessons on how to defend yourself I so want to be included. I'll bet Padma and Neville will say the same."

"Four is a small enough number to work with so I have no problem with that, should I take this suggestion to your father?"

This certainly got a smile from Harry. "Yes please. Could you also tell him what happened today, I know he's been really worried about it."

"Okay, providing you and your friends get down to dinner. What you did today was brilliant but now you need to follow through. There's no point of making such an impression only to go and waste it by hiding out in a toilet. Your other two friends are waiting outside, Miss Patil won't enter a boy's toilet and Mr Longbottom's not yet got the confidence to deal with Myrtle."

Hermione helped Harry to his feet and then gave him the hug she couldn't because of his previous position. He needfully hugged her back before straightening out his clothes and offering Hermione his arm. Harry didn't know if he would be able to eat anything but respected the advice he'd been given. It was time to go down to dinner.

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