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.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8186071/1/Harry-Crow

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7. Order of the Aves

Severus paced up and down the headmaster's office like a caged tiger waiting on feeding time. Since neither he nor Albus were able to directly approach the boy, Filius and Minerva were having to deal with the aftermath of breakfast.

Pomona had also invited herself along to Dumbledore's office, not wanting to miss a moment of this. Things had been far too serious lately and they had all needed a good laugh - especially that perpetual sourpuss Severus.

The other two heads of house had barely made it through the doors when the sourpuss was demanding answers. "Did he admit to being behind it? What was his punishment?"

Filius was enjoying himself and made them wait until both he and Minerva were seated comfortably before answering. "Mr Crow did indeed have a hand in what happened this morning..."

"See, I told you! Just like his father, but no one here wants to hear a word against him. What was his punishment? I know Albus won't let the precious little brat be expelled."

Minerva didn't know if it was wrong to enjoy this so much, and didn't really care. "Mr Crow pointed out, and we all have to agree with him, that both the headmaster and a head of house told the lad that this was normal Hogwarts student behaviour. The entire hall heard you both say that to Mr Crow at breakfast yesterday."

Severus was incensed at this, more so because he couldn't refute that it was true. "I never told him it was normal to feed potions to a professor."

Filius couldn't contain his smile as he answered the angry potions master. "You never said it wasn't."

Pomona as usual attempted to be the voice of reason. "Both pranks that we saw this morning were rather harmless. The youngest Weasley was merely stopped from eating to excess, and there are far worse things he could have done to a professor than making them laugh out loud."

Albus knew he had to intervene here or words would be said that could not be retracted. "I agree with Pomona, the pranks were not only well thought out but relatively harmless. They could easily have taken a more vindictive path. Severus, would you rather have been wearing donkey ears and braying?"

Minerva had more information for them though, and could hardly wait to pass it on. "There weren't just two people pranked inside Hogwarts today, Harry and his friends have taken on the Weasley twins."

This silenced everyone, Fred and George Weasley had earned their reputation as the best - or worst, depending on your point of view - pranksters in Hogwarts. Their head of house didn't keep the senior staff waiting any longer. "The Gryffindor guardian was quite put-out that she's the only portrait in the castle currently allowing the twins entry. The rest not only deny them access, they and the Hogwarts ghosts report any wrongdoing to the staff. Both Fred and George already have detention with Argus tonight."

Albus was flabbergasted at that news. "The castle is giving Harry that much control over what it does?"

It was a smiling Head of Hufflepuff who answered the headmaster. "I told you Albus, the castle chose Harry as her champion. To work against him could see you ejected from Hogwarts."

Severus so wanted to rant and rave some more but was forced to concede the point. With that amount of backing, the brat could have really humiliated him this morning. He still had the occasional nightmare about dangling upside down by his ankle while everyone laughed at his underwear. The very thought of what the brat's father and his friends would have done with such power sent a shiver of dread up and down his spine. Severus recognised a warning being delivered when he saw one, perhaps it was time to back-off this boy. He couldn't help but think perhaps Filius was right, you should never mess with a goblin.

-oOoOo-

By dinner time, Ron was trying a different approach. Sitting at the Hufflepuff table at lunchtime had made no difference, second helpings were still denied him. His new master plan should solve that problem, sitting once more at his own table it was time to put that plan into action. Ron began grabbing food as normal but not putting it on his plate. Instead the roast potatoes found their way into his pocket. Slices of roast beef soon followed, though he did give the gravy a miss.

No one was laughing at this. The mere thought of having to eat food that came out of Ron Weasley's pocket was spoiling many an appetite. When the food on the table began to once more start disappearing, it was a disconsolate young Gryffindor who sat there almost in tears, munching on the food he'd managed to fill his pockets with.

-oOoOo-

The twins sought out Harry and co. directly after dinner. "Ok guys, we know when we're outmatched."

"What will it take to return things to normal?"

Harry was pleased to see that at least some of this family had sense. "Two things guys, the first being a public apology to Neville for the prank."

This confused the twins so George asked for some clarification. "Just Neville? What about the rest of you guys?"

Hermione had an answer for them. "Well, technically you didn't prank us. We all knew what would happen if we ate the food."

Both twins were happy to comply with that condition and were now waiting on the hammer to fall with condition number two. Padma didn't keep them waiting but the blow was unexpectedly light.

"The second condition is that we four are excluded from your pranks for the rest of your time at Hogwarts."

Fred and George had a quick confab before replying. "If we can have a proviso in there about pranks that affect the entire school, then we have a deal."

"It would be too difficult to leave you four out, but we're more than happy never to target you lot again."

They could here the admiration in Fred's voice as he complimented the group. "Your prank on Snape was beyond brilliant. No one in their right mind would want to mess with the mini-marauders."

As they shook hands on it, Hermione had a question. "Why did you call us the mini-marauders? I've never heard that name before."

"The marauders were a group of four friends that were the greatest pranksters Hogwarts has ever seen. With you being four firsties trying to pull pranks, I thought it was funny."

"Yeah George, shows what we know - they out-pranked us!"

Neville's parents had both attended Hogwarts, it was more in hope than any expectation that he asked the next question. "Do you know who the marauders were?"

"Sorry Neville, all we know of messrs padfoot prongs moony and wormtail is their wonderful pranking legacy."

"We've not been able to find out anything else about them."

"Well, that ends my interest in the mini-marauders. The last thing I need is another name."

Padma was finding she loved teasing her friends, and couldn't resist this opportunity. "I don't know Harry, the thought of a nickname is quite appealing."

Hermione seamlessly joined right in. "Yes, we could call you something like budgie!"

Padma immediately caught where Hermione was coming from and played right along. "Oh, that would work. He's so colourful and chirpy, Harry really couldn't be called anything else."

"You could even claim it's your goblin sense of humour." Hermione then emulated Padma in giggling at Harry's pretend pout.

Neville was enjoying the teasing amongst his friends but let out a sigh at his perceived fate. "If we're going with a bird theme, I suppose that means I'm a tit then?"

Padma was first to spring to his defence. "Oh no Neville, I see you more as a Robin. Proudly displaying your Gryffindor red and ready to defend your territory."

Neville was blushing at that but had a suggestion of his own to make. "Well, I think Padma should be called Dove. We have them at the manor and they have such a sweet and gentle nature."

Hermione was smiling at her two now blushing friends, she had a question of her own though. "That sounds great but what about me?"

Harry, Padma and Neville all spoke as one - 'Owl!'

It was left to Harry to offer up an explanation. "Owls are birds associated with wisdom, certainly fitting for you. In goblin mythology, the owl is revered as the goddess of all birds. You really couldn't be anything else."

Hermione's blushes now clearly outshone her friends as the twins had a good laugh at their expense. "Okay, scrap the mini-marauders. Messrs budgie, owl, robin and dove shall henceforth be known as the order of the aves!"

That had everyone chuckling before Fred got serious. "Guys, what has Ron got to do to lift the prank. It's getting embarrassing watching him."

Harry suddenly wasn't so forgiving. "He deliberately fired that disgusting curse at Hermione, that's going to take at least an apology."

Both twins were nodding in agreement with that condition, thinking it more than fair.

Harry though wasn't finished. "My friend Padma is a beautiful young witch. Our entire year group watched as slugs popped out her mouth and ran down her chin. I think nothing less than a public apology is going to do for that."

Again Fred and George thought this was a fitting and fair resolution to the problem, they also knew that their younger brother would never carry it out. Ron could probably be persuaded that mumbling sorry to Hermione in private was the right thing to do, but there was no chance of him doing the whole public thing. "Harry, I'm so glad you don't do pranks."

"Yeah, you would put me 'n Fred out of business!"

"As I said guys, goblins don't do pranks. That doesn't mean I won't help Owl, Robin and Dove with any little projects they might have."

Both twins groaned before George replied. "Harry, only you could class pranking Snape as 'a little project!' "

-oOoOo-

Monday morning brought the now usual spectacle of Ron Weasley playing 'searching for seconds'. He'd arrived this morning armed with a four foot pole with a hook-like appendage fashioned onto the end of it, only to discover that once more Hogwarts was smarter than he was. Yet again the food began disappearing from his extended reach when the magical castle thought he'd eaten enough.

Fred and George at least managed to deflect some of the attention away from their younger brother by making a very public apology to Neville. That they performed this task in their own inimitable style was a given. Both were on their knees in front of the younger Gryffindor, seamlessly switching between bowing and apologising.

"Forgive us oh great prankster..."

"We knew nothing of your prowess when committing our diabolical deed..."

"Had we but known we were in the presence of pranking royalty..."

"We would never knowingly prank a member of the order of aves..."

"Forgive us o' mighty one..."

The twins had timed it to perfection, these were the last legible words to leave either of their mouths before they began braying and grew donkey ears. It took Neville three attempts to accept their apology because he was laughing so hard, this was greeted with a round of applause before everyone returned to their breakfast.

The hall was in a buoyant mood for a Monday morning, the arrival of the Daily Prophet changed that. The story had finally broken!

Boy-Who-Lives Rejects Wizarding Heritage

If ever a front page newspaper headline was designed to cause outrage amongst its readers, Harry thought this was it. The article then went on to proclaim its horror - on behalf of their readers of course - that the saviour of their world no longer even called himself Harry Potter. Their young hero now answered to the name of Crow. The newspaper then explained how this travesty had occurred - the boy-who-lived had been raised since that fateful Halloween inside Gringotts by the goblins!

The Prophet had no answers to offer its readers as to how these unprecedented circumstances had evolved, just question after question they were demanding answers to.

Why had the Ministry of Magic stood back and allowed this abnormality to happen to their favoured son?

Albus Dumbledore had claimed for ten years that Harry Potter was safe and well, did he know the child was living with the goblins - and what part did he play in that despicable decision?

The story then descended into hearsay about Harry's first week inside Hogwarts, a few facts stitched together to push whatever agenda the paper wanted. They correctly identified that Harry had been sorted into Ravenclaw though glossed over the whole Hogwarts champion thing. Their preference was clearly to concentrate on how he had 'apparently' deliberately spurned advances from children of prominent wizarding families. The troll incident was certainly covered, though again only the fact that Harry killed it with a goblin blade was considered worth the mentioning.

The paper certainly generated the reaction they wanted from Harry's best friend, but Hermione's outrage wasn't focused where the Prophet would expect. "This is utter rubbish! Can they get away with printing this?"

Padma was also shaking her head. "Oh, you obviously haven't read the best bit yet Hermione? The paragraph near the end where it calls on all the young witches of Hogwarts to show Harry the 'benefits' of rejoining wizarding society. As an extra incentive, it points out that the lucky young witch who lands the famous wizard would one day be incredibly wealthy - and Lady Potter!"

Hermione could hardly breath as she turned to Harry for some sort of confirmation, the young witch wasn't sure just what she wanted him to say.

Harry could only go with the truth. "The head of the Potter family will become Lord Potter, and be wealthy enough to make the Malfoys appear paupers. Not that they would ever flaunt their wealth - things like that are only done by people trying to impress."

Hermione sat there with her mouth open. The best friend, who she'd been crushing on since laying eyes on him, was some multi-millionaire lord, and one that every girl in the school would now be chasing after.

Harry could see what was happening and decided to put a stop to it at once, he stood and offered Hermione his hand. "My Lady?"

Hermione's eyes nearly popped out of her head at the double meaning now contained in those words. She took his hand to stand and was soon in her usual position, on Harry's arm.

"You said yourself Hermione, the whole thing is utter rubbish. I'm still Harry, and still your best friend."

Hermione held onto his arm with both hands and rested her head on Harry's shoulder in relief as they made their way out the hall. Hermione was so overcome with relief, she didn't care that every pair of female eyes were now on them - far less what kind of statement they were making. She was on Harry's arm and the world was once more fantastic in Hermione Granger's opinion.

Padma and Neville soon joined them, as did the rest of the first years who were all heading for the greenhouses.

Draco was also smiling, though for a far different reason. His father had cautioned him to sit back and observe, sending home any information he discovered. The head of the Malfoy family had decided he would wait until the story publicly broke before making his move, figuring that he would have more opportunities of manipulating things they way he wanted then. After seeing today's Prophet, Draco knew his father would shortly be bound for Hogwarts.

Albus was also expecting visitors after reading how the Prophet chose to break the news. Cornelius would soon be making his way to the castle and the headmaster didn't really know how he was going to deal with the problem. Nothing in all his years had prepared him for a situation like the one he now found himself in. Albus was going to have to play the entire thing on the fly - he couldn't remember when he'd last had to do that either.

Ron Weasley was the only first year not heading to herbology, rather the Gryffindor set off toward the owlery. Ron thought his meal time problems were far more important than any class about stupid plants. His twin brothers had told Ron what was expected of him to end this torture. He knew within himself that was never going to happen so it was time to call for reinforcements. Ron decided this time there would be no messing about, he was going straight to the top. It was time his mother found out just how much torture her youngest son was being forced to endure inside Hogwarts.

-oOoOo-

Professor Sprout soon had them all working so there was no time time for any comments about today's Prophet, Harry was quite happy with that. After the lesson, he overheard the other three Ravenclaw first year boys discussing what they thought was going to happen after lunch, it was now common knowledge that Professor Quirrell had 'left' Hogwarts.

Harry thought this might be good opportunity to start working on those 'snubbing' rumours. "Guys, my father is arranging a private defence tutor for me. If you want, I can ask them if it's okay to up the numbers a bit?"

Michael, Anthony and Terry were all keen but Malfoy had overheard. It was with a superior sneer he addressed Harry, loud enough though to ensure everyone else heard. "If you think any 'proper' pureblood witch or wizard would ever stand for a goblin teaching them, you really are as big an idiot as Weasley claims Crow."

Padma was quick to jump all over Malfoy at his implied insult. "My family were recognised as pureblood witches and wizards while your ancestors were still herding goats in the French mountains. We apparently have different opinions about what constitutes a proper pureblood. Daddy having plenty of money doesn't change the fact it was only a few generations ago that the British branch of the Malfoys were chased out of France with their tails between their legs."

Draco was livid and moved threateningly toward Padma, only to find his way blocked by both Neville and Harry. This was Hogwats first glimpse of Neville standing up for himself and it took everyone, including Malfoy, by surprise.

"Like Padma says, we have a different definition of what a proper pureblood is. While your ancestors were herding those goats, The Longbottoms and Potters were already magical lords in this country. By any definition you care to make, my blood is classed as purer than yours."

Padma was standing beside Hermione and couldn't help but whisper to her, "Told you Robin was a good name for Neville."

Neville though wasn't quite finished yet. "If the defence teacher Harry's father provides is half as good as Master Pitslay, then I'll be first in line for that class too. Goblin or not, it's whether they can teach that counts - and even a house elf would have to be better at teaching defence than Quirrell."

Neville had effectively cut the legs from under Malfoy and the blond Slytherin was let to storm away as the Ravenclaws, Gryfindors, - minus a missing Ron Weasley - and the Hufflepuffs all quickly confirmed to Harry they would be delighted if he could arrange for them to join his defence lessons.

Malfoy's posse, and the rest of the snakes, accompanied him as he stormed off. The other Slytherins had been deliberately non-committal though, preferring to take the Slytherin approach and see who could be teaching them first. Tracy, Daphne and Millicent had barely poked their collective heads into the great hall when they were doing an about-turn and heading back to ask Harry if they could join the lessons too.

Harry was pleasantly surprised and said he intended to include them when he asked the new tutor. When the group of friend reached the great hall, the mystery of the girls' sudden change of heart was there for all to see. The wizard standing beside McGonagall was clearly on good terms with the professor as they stood and chatted, while every witch in the castle suddenly wished they were in the Deputy Headmistress' shoes and talking to the handsome wizard.

He was rugged, tanned and appeared to be in his early twenties. With dark red hair that was shoulder length and held in a ponytail, the wizard was at least six feet tall and his dragon hide jacket really emphasised those broad shoulders. As McGonagall led him over toward Harry, they caught a glimpse of a dragon tooth earring too. Hermione suddenly had a warm and fuzzy feeling deep in her bones. Apart from the colour of his hair, this was probably a close approximation of what Harry would mature into at the same age. This had the young witch smiling to herself and holding her best friend's arm even tighter.

"Mr Crow, I would like to introduce you to the last Gryffindor who held the position of Hogwarts Head Boy - William Weasley."

"Hi Harry, hope you don't mind if I call you that? I'm a curse-breaker for Gringotts and Ragnot himself pulled me back from Egypt to tutor you in defence. Once he made me aware of the actual situation here, well I couldn't really refuse." What Bill wasn't saying was he'd fought this assignment tooth and nail, until told the prophecy. Any complaints about teaching some snot-nosed kid went right out the window after that. His entire argument that raiding tombs was a better use of his hard-won skills just didn't hold water when compared to training the boy prophesied to fight Voldemort.

Harry though got the message that this person had been trusted with the prophecy. "Pleased to meet you sir, Harry's fine and thanks for doing this. I don't know what Hogwarts has arranged as cover for Professor Quirrell but I said to my classmates I would ask if they could join the class too?"

Bill's smile had most of the witches in the great hall swooning. "Harry, for what I'm being paid for this, you call the shots. If you want me to take all the first years, that's fine with me."

Harry was just about to ask Professor McGonagall if this would be okay when they were rudely interrupted by the youngest Weasley currently attending Hogwarts rushing into the great hall.

"BILL! This is fantastic, I just wrote to mum this morning and now you're here. I don't know what the curse on me is but I'm sure you'll break it - I'm starving to death in Hogwarts."

The elder Weasley was embarrassed at this loud and rude interruption during what was effectively his work. "Sorry Ron, I've no idea what you're talking about. I'm at Hogwarts to teach Harry here defence."

Ron's expression of betrayal was soon replaced by one of utter rage. "That's just not fair, He gets everything. Not this time Crow, eat slugs!"

His actions had been so unexpected that there was no time for anyone to react, and Harry so close that Ron knew he couldn't miss this time. Unfortunately, his spellotaped wand had other ideas. The spell backfired from his damaged wand, blowing Ron onto his arse.

McGonagall was outraged, and didn't care who knew it. "Mr Weasley, never in all my years at Hogwarts have I encountered someone as single-mindedly stupid as you. It would seem you didn't learn your lesson the last time you used that curse so something different will have to be tried..."

The first slug escaping Ron's mouth halted his head of house's tirade, for the moment. "Percy, take your brother to the infirmary. Inform Madam Pomfery that under no condition is he to leave there before I have another word with him."

As Ron was led away, McGonagall had a moment to get her temper back under control. Gryffindors attacking anyone unprovoked was always going to get her ire up. Doing it twice, with the second time being right in front of her, was going to see Minerva heading for the Burrow later. First though, she had a situation to deal with.

"Mr Crow, I really appreciate your suggestion about allowing the rest of first year to attend. It has my blessing since the alternative at the moment is a study period in the library. I can also assure you that the youngest Weasley brother will learn to keep his wand in his pocket - or he will not be in Hogwarts much longer. William, can I suggest you have lunch with the twins and discover what's really going on here?"

The twins sheepishly approached their eldest brother and head of house, having never seen McGonagall so angry before - not even at them. "Sorry Harry, Ron's always had a wicked temper. We'll bring Bill up to speed on what the problem is here."

Neville headed off with them to the Gryffindor table while the Ravenclaw trio sat at their normal spots. It was a smirking Rodger who once more dispelled any lingering awkwardness. "I'll say this for you Harry, things are never dull when you're around."

There was real sincerity in Harry's voice as he answered. "Roger, you have no idea how much I'm wishing for a couple of dull months. You know the kind of thing, no one firing curses at you, no trolls needing slain and my name not plastered all over the papers. Is that really too much to ask?"

The older Ravenclaw was now laughing at that. "For you Harry, probably."

Cho was still getting teased by her friends over her first attempt to talk to Harry. There was something she really needed to know though so risked it again. "Harry, do you think your tutor will be teaching any of the other year groups?"

Harry thought for a moment before replying. "I doubt it Cho, Gringotts curse-breakers are some of the most highly trained and specialised workers they have. The bank will certainly have tasks for him the rest of the week. For Mr Weasley to even gain entry to that program makes him pretty special, I can't believe my father managed to get a curse-breaker as a defence tutor."

Cho couldn't hide her disappointment. "I can't believe he's a Weasley, none of the rest of them look like that."

One of the seventh year girls soon put Cho straight. "His younger brother Charlie was Gryffindor Quiditch Captain. A brilliant seeker and the hottest thing I've ever seen sitting on a broom." Her flushed cheeks left no one in any doubt exactly what she meant by hot.

With a comedic sense of timing that had half the Ravenclaw table doing spit-takes, Padma couldn't resist commenting. "I wonder if Ronald was dropped on his head as a baby?"

As everyone was laughing, Hermione had a thought. "I wonder if the prat will be so quick to use that foul curse again after experiencing it first hand?"

Padma agreed but also thought this was a golden opportunity to tease her friend some more. "I couldn't help noticing you looked pretty pleased to see our new defence tutor too?"

"Oh absolutely Padma. Did you see the way the rest of the witches in here reacted? If they're all drooling over Professor Weasley, perhaps they'll leave Harry alone."

Hermione's answer may have somewhat shocked Padma but it brought the first genuine smile to Harry's face since the Prophet had been delivered this morning.

-oOoOo-

The same issue of the wizarding newspaper was lying on Ragnok's desk, both goblins present having already read it.

"Well Barchoke, the game is now afoot. We will soon discover if your son is as profitable an option as we hoped."

"I have every confidence in him director, he will do us proud."

"He'll need to, otherwise Gringotts could soon find itself embroiled in a war."

"With respect Director, we both know without my son's intervention that outcome is inevitable. Should the dark one return, the ministry would soon fall to him. His gaze would then turn in our direction, and our kin have fought wars rather than bow to better wizards than that self-proclaimed lord, Voldemort. A war against we goblins would be used to cement his hold on the magical community, they wouldn't dare oppose him with a 'goblin rebellion' then in progress."

"I am well aware of this Barchoke, it was my main reason for accepting your plan for the prophesied child. Unlike you, I can't afford to show any sentiment on Crow's behalf. Despite his tender age, he is a goblin warrior on a mission and we have to remember that. Goblins are barred by treaty from directly interfering in the affairs of wizards. If the ministry should take the view that we have broken that treaty, then there could be a war."

Barchoke attempted to sound more confident than he was. "That outcome would require the ministry acknowledging Harry Potter is now a goblin, something they will never do."

"They are far more likely to attempt to wrestle control of your son away from you, are you certain that all the loopholes in that scenario are covered?"

"Yes director. If things start proceeding in that direction, Harry has the power to close that avenue of attack off permanently. That will be an unfortunate occurrence but not the disaster the ministry gaining control of him would be. We've effectively shut Dumbledore out but then the old wizard's actions were easy to predict."

"That is exactly my point Barchoke. It's very difficult to predict what that idiot Fudge will do because it depends on who has the minister's ear at the time."

This was what had the father so worried. "We hope to take away the minister's biggest influence next, and release the fox amongst the chickens to add more confusion. It sounded good when we planned it, sitting here while everything is out-with my control is not easy."

Ragnok could see the apprehension in the senior accounts manager, torment about the child he had raised as his own. "You can be proud of your son Barchoke, we both know he will do his best. Curse-breaker Wesley's presence is also a welcome boost. There is genuine animosity there between the Weasleys and one of the main antagonists. He should be another asset on site for us."

Barchoke knew all this and agreed with everything the director said, he also knew that both of them were left hoping that Harry's best was good enough. He was after all only eleven.

-oOoOo-

Albus was finding it hard to believe that an eleven year old wizard was causing him so much trouble. He currently had the Minister of Magic, the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Lucius Malfoy, a member of the Hogwarts board of governors, asking questions that he really had no answers for. Well, no answers that they wanted to hear.

The minister demanded to know when Hogwarts began accepting goblins as students.

"I was denying the boy access to Hogwarts as Harry Crow but the castle over-ruled me, making him a Hogwarts champion before passing over the sword of Gryffindor."

Cornelius was not impressed with that answer. "I find it hard to believe that a stone building could possibly do something like that..."

The sorting hat was on its usual shelf in the Hogwarts Headmaster's office. It wouldn't normally speak between sorting ceremonies but was quick to spring to the defence of the Hogwarts Champion. "...and I find it hard to believe the boy who used to wet himself every time one of his professors asked him a question ended up Minister of Magic. Tell me young Cornelius, have you recovered from your little problem?"

The hat's intervention brought every one up sharply, though Amelia Bones had a few follow-up questions for Dumbledore. "Would the Sword of Gryffindor be the goblin blade in question that brought down a troll? While we're on the subject, where did this incident take place?" Her niece Susan had written home with some fanciful story that Amelia had dismissed as the infamous Hogwarts rumour mill working overtime.

Cornelius was not renowned as a patient wizard and had recovered from the hat's jibe. His patience was especially stretched due to being bombarded with owls demanding answers, answers the Minister of Magic fully intended to get here today. "Enough of this Dumbledore, I'm a busy man. Let's get the lad up here and see what he's got to say for himself."

Albus was loath to admit he couldn't do something, particularly inside Hogwarts. He didn't have any other options though but to speak the truth. "I'm sorry Cornelius, I can't do that. For Harry to be in this office, his father must be present too. This is goblin law and there's nothing we can do about it."

"So, the rumours are true. Albus Dumbledore is barred from Gringotts and persona non grata amongst the goblins?" Lucius couldn't quite hide his delight at the humbling of the headmaster.

The minister though hadn't traveled to Hogwarts only to be denied by a technicality. "Can I assume that you can be in a classroom with the boy, with present company of course?"

Again Albus didn't have any other answers or alternatives so they all ended trooping off down to the defence classroom.

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