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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62. Potter Will Die!

Harry and Hermione emerged from the beach chalet into the beautiful tropical sunshine, ready for their first morning run around the island. The couple weren't ready for the sight that greeted them, Neville and Padma were standing on the beach and clearly waiting on their friends.

"Guys, could you help me get fit? I need to do this, I need to be able to protect my family and getting fitter will help with that."

Harry really couldn't refuse, and had no intention of doing so. "Sure, Neville, as long as you're certain you want to do this."

That was greeted with a determined nod, though Hermione missed it - she was too busy staring at Padma.

"Granger, not one bloody word!"

"Sorry, Padma, but I have to - you can't run like that!"

Padma was wearing a baggy t-shirt that she'd purloined from Neville over her bikini. "Why, what's wrong with this?"

"You'll be jiggling all around the island!"

"But Hermione, Neville likes to watch me jiggle - and this is the first summer I've had anything worth jiggling. I thought it might provide him with a little bit of motivation when we start to get knackered!"

"Oh, you silly witch, you would be sore after a few miles. Come with me and I'll get you sorted." As she dragged Padma into their chalet, Hermione dropped her voice though made sure both boys could still hear. "All we have to do is run in front of them, that certainly gets Harry's attention."

As the two giggling girls left, Harry then asked Neville the question that was certainly on both his and Hermione's minds. "How did you get Padma up at this hour to exercise?"

Neville was still trying to get his head around that 'after a few miles' comment so it took him a moment to answer. "She insisted. I am hers and she's mine, so I wasn't getting to go running without her. You can't fault a Ravenclaw's logic."

"We really are two incredibly lucky blokes, Neville."

Neville couldn't fault that Ravenclaw logic either, especially when Padma reemerged in a sports bra and a pair of tight shorts. Neither noticed Dan behind the girls, both were too busy looking elsewhere.

"Take care on your run you four, Neville and Padma aren't used to it."

"Don't worry dad, we'll look after them."

Watching his daughter run along the beach with her friends was a dream come true for the father. In his dreams though, Hermione wasn't running alongside her mate with a razor sharp sword strapped on her back. Since it was both girls giggling in Hermione's room that had woken him in the first place, Dan decided Hermione's laughter and obvious happiness was well worth these little eccentricities. He also decided to head back to their bedroom and rejoin his wife in bed.

-oOoOo-

Jake left his daughter's bedroom with a wry smile on his face, Bea just loved listening to her namesake's stories about Peter Rabbit. She was only six but knew most of the stories off by heart now, Jake or Helen having read them to their little girl as bedtime stories since she was a toddler.

Thoughts of Beatrix Potter were banished from his mind, instantly replaced by something that was far more akin to Stephen King's genre of writing - a strangely dressed woman was grinning like a maniac as she came up the stairs toward him.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN MY ..." This woman pointed a stick at him and suddenly Jake couldn't move a muscle, he wasn't even able to speak as she casually strolled toward him.

"Hush now, you wouldn't want to wake..."

"Daddy, who's this?"

Jake was helpless to intercede and left absolutely horrified at this creature's actions. His sleepy daughter had just opened her bedroom door to see what her daddy was shouting at when this crazy bitch struck as fast as any snake, and was every bit as deadly as any member of that species. He would never again hear his darling Bea asking her incessant questions, his beautiful daughter would never speak again. This evil bitch had done something that just slashed open his baby's throat.

It's strange how the mind works in times of great stress and horror. As his beloved Bea slumped to the floor dying, the only thought running through Jake's brain was that her favourite pyjamas were totally ruined. Part of him knew his wife must have met a similar fate, otherwise Helen would have been storming up the stairs clasping something in her hand and ready to have a go at this cold blooded murderer.

When the crazy bitch then dipped her fingers in his daughter's warm blood to write something on the wall, he would quite happily have strangled her with his bare hands before sticking that wooden stick through her heart - just to make sure she was really dead. Jake was a quiet man who'd never courted trouble in his life, he never thought it would be possible for him to want to maim and murder someone as much as he did this creature. She then had the audacity to chat to him as if they'd just bumped their shopping trollies in Tesco.

"You're actually quite lucky, you know. Normally we like to take our time, and I'm sure your daughter's screams would have been quite delicious. Of course we would have made you watch it all, what we would have done to both your daughter and your wife..."

A gruff male voice Jake had never heard before called up the stairs. "Bella, you finished yet?"

"Just coming, lover! He so worries about me, it's actually quite cute to see. Yes, you're really lucky that this will be quick."

Jake actually thought she was right, he did feel lucky. Lucky to be joining Helen and Bea, he certainly didn't want to live in a world without them. A flick of her stick and Jake got his wish. As his arterial blood now mingled with that of his daughter, his last thought at seeing the red writing on the wall was that the stupid bastards must have gotten the wrong house!

-oOoOo-

Dan had purchased a beach volleyball kit and Dobby had dropped it off for them in their beach chalet. The extended family all loved playing and watching, with the improvised court kept busy for most of the day. By rotating the team members so every 'tournament' was different, it was also kept a lot of fun.

Tonks was currently on court, teamed with Pansy against Neville and Parvati, when she spotted her boss approaching. The auror's senses were screaming something was badly wrong here, Amelia looked fierce enough to scare the shit out of a troll.

"Guys, I think we're going to have to leave this game for now..."

As more and more people noted Amelia's approach, they gathered around her as a group to hear what she had to say. The Head of the D.M.L.E. couldn't think of a bigger contrast, this idyllic beach setting and the dark news she was going to have to give them. With the whole of Britain soon to be aware of the news, she really had no option.

Amelia looked at all the faces gathered round in a semi-circle and actually wanted to be anywhere but here at the moment. "The escaped death eaters struck against a muggle family, mother, father and their six year old daughter were all murdered. They changed their entire method of attack so very little magic was used, and none of it dark enough to set off our detectors. They killed quickly and must have been in and out of their victims' house in a matter of minutes - with no dark mark being cast either."

Augusta was first with a question. "How do you know it was the escaped death eaters then?"

"They left another calling card, the same bloody message written on the wall that they used in Azkaban. This was the only reason we picked up on it, the muggle authorities thought it was some sort of drug fight between dealers and the attackers picked the wrong house. Cornelius is meeting with their Prime Minister at the moment to let them know exactly what's happening."

Tonks then asked the question Amelia knew would cause all the trouble. "Were this family picked at random or do they have a connection to the magical world?"

"They had no connection to the magical world but they weren't exactly chosen randomly, Jake, Helen and little Bea all had the last name of Potter."

An icy hand visited this tropical paradise and gripped all of them. Harry had been sitting on the sand beside Hermione when the hammer blow hit, he staggered to his feet and lurched in the direction of their little chalet - only to drop to his knees after about ten yards and paint the beach with the contents of his stomach. Hermione had already been moving to accompany him and was at his side in seconds, with Padma and Luna right beside her.

An elf appeared with some iced water for Harry which he gratefully accepted, he still couldn't seem to get his legs working though. Lukas soon solved that problem by scooping Harry up as if he was a small child and carrying him toward his beach chalet, Hermione, Padma, Luna and Emma all followed in his wake.

The beach chairs were soon all grouped together so they could effectively hold a family meeting, one of their own again needed help and they intended to supply every bit they could.

His father's voice had become almost a growl, displaying just how angry Barchoke was. "This was what Harry feared most, that they would target people associated with him. That's why he had all the marauders' pins changed to portkeys at the party, how can we possibly guard against this happening again? Dan, do you have any idea how many muggle families in Britain have the last name Potter?"

"It would be a wild guess, but I think it would certainly be in the thousands. The last census should have that exact information, including addresses."

Amelia felt her gut tighten at that figure. "That's far too many to effectively guard, and you can't ward their properties without a magical member of the family to tie the wards to."

The family meeting was a new experience for Xeno but he had watched as his daughter was accorded universal acceptance into this group, he certainly intended to help anyway he could and offered his opinion. "I assume the muggle newspapers will be all over this, should they strike again at another family named Potter then you could see panic start in the muggle world. This bears all the hallmarks of Augustus Rookwood, that man is exceptionally clever and wasn't even suspected of being a death eater - the ministry never thought to check the department of mysteries personnel. He was only caught because another death eater, Igor Karkaroff, gave the ministry every name he knew at his trial to escape going to Azkaban."

Sirius was sitting with his face in his hands, he knew his godson pretty well now - certainly well enough to understand his reaction to these circumstances. "This is a nightmare, and one I don't know how to help him with. All his training, physical, magical and tactical, is rendered useless - we're reduced to sitting waiting on the muggle news reporting an attack on another family with the same surname. How easy would it be to find addresses of muggles named Potter?"

The new muggle studies professor aimed that question at the one person there he was sure would know the answer, Dan didn't disappoint - though his answer brought no comfort.

"Ridiculously easy. You've seen the phone book in our house, every home has one. All you have to do is open that book to find anyone named Potter in our area, all the names are listed alphabetically - with the addresses right beside them..."

At that, Dobby appeared with the phone book from Crawley and Sirius had to agree that Dan was spot on. It took the marauder less than a minute to flip the directory to the correct page and see all the information right in front of him.

Amelia was also disheartened by this news. "You say every house has one of these?"

"They're updated every couple of years and a new one gets delivered free to your house. Copies are also in public buildings like libraries and post offices, even some telephone boxes have them."

Remus summed up the bad news for all of them. "So, muggles called Potter are easy to find, and there are so many we couldn't possibly protect them all from attacks!"

Barchoke's growl was back in full force. "Amelia, I intend to use every resource I can to find these two, if we do find them though the Nation might just want to take them down. There is no greater crime to a goblin than that of deliberately harming a child, murdering a little girl just because her last name is Potter would see them fed to the Gringotts dragons - while still alive!"

Lukas had returned in time to hear, and totally agree with that opinion. "For what they did to that innocent family, and that innocent young man in there, I'll feed them to those dragons myself. He's had one hell of a shock and is trying to blame himself for the attack, the girls are having none of it. He's lying on his bed and holding on to Hermione like she's some kind of security blanket."

"He'll be okay, he was in much the same state after sneaking into Azkaban and discovering Sirius was innocent..." Loud cries of 'WHAT!' greeted Dan's statement until Barchoke confirmed it.

"It wasn't difficult, he just kept his hood up and spoke with me in our own tongue. That was nearly two years ago though, and Harry was a good bit smaller then. I don't think we could pull it off now. Hermione managed to put him back together on that occasion, she'll do so again. Harry will shortly be here and looking for answers, answers we don't currently have to give."

Draco had listened as intently as everyone there and thought something was being missed, he now felt confident enough in this company to offer his opinion too - it would certainly be a different perspective. "I think there's something that needs to be mentioned, the effect this news will have on the other death eaters. My father would have laughed his head off at three dead muggles, and taken even greater delight in knowing this news would hurt Harry too. The thing is, there are a lot more just like how he used to be still out there..." With all eyes now focused on him, Draco faltered until encouraged by Sirius.

"We all know you've made your choice, Draco, but you also have insights that none of us here do."

Taking a deep breath, he continued with what had struck him. "I was thinking of how this should be turned around in the press, rather like you did with the breakout of Azkaban. I'm not sure how it could be done but you need to discourage others from joining these two..."

Barchoke thought that was a brilliant idea and certainly supported it, he was now only half-listening though while trying to think of ways The Nation could help his children.

His children were currently lying on top of Harry's bed, enveloped in each other's embrace. Emma had eventually led the other two girls away, recognising that the couple would need some time alone to sort this out amongst themselves.

Harry's voice was barely above a whisper as he spoke. "Hermione, how can anyone murder a little girl?"

Hermione was gazing into those green eyes she loved so much and felt as if she could actually touch Harry's soul. Behind the drive and determination, the muscles and armour, there was a kind and caring wonderful young man that she fell in love with. This was Harry with his guard right down, her Harry who didn't have all the answers, a Harry she unfortunately had no answers to give.

"I don't know, Harry, I can only guess that's why they're considered terrorists. They are prepared to do anything to further their cause."

"No cause in the world can ever justify murdering a six year old little girl. They are murderers, plain and simple. You were right that day in Hogwarts when you said they shouldn't be duelled but shot in the back if we could, they have no honour and deserve the same chance they gave their victims - none!"

Hermione could see the spark return to Harry's eyes and just had to kiss him.

"Mmmm, either I need to get up to brush my teeth before taking this further, or we need to get out of here..."

A blushing Hermione reluctantly opted for the second option. "People are worried about you, Harry, it wouldn't be right to leave them worried while we're in here snogging our brains out."

"I know, but I like the sound of snogging our brains out!" Harry gave her a grateful smile for being there for him again, then he got serious. "I can't really lie on a beach while terrorists are murdering people back in Britain, having the wizarding public believe I was in hiding would be a disaster."

"What about Egypt next week?"

"Next week is important from a goblin perspective, Cairo is the centre of all Gringotts banking for that part of the world and we will be attending a few functions while there. They will be curious to see an Ambassador, whose non-goblin born son is also a Centurion. Then there's the Centurion's mate, a Friend of the Nation and Order of Merlin, First Class, holder. Add in Neville, Padma, Henrica and Tonks to complete a bunch of celebrities that will have the local goblins coming out to gawk. Our group is going to get insights into The Nation that will make your head spin, the repayment is we have to attend a function or two to meet and greet."

This actually had Hermione giggling. "A goblin charm offensive - I didn't think that was even possible?"

Harry answered by leaning in and kissing his mate. "We goblins can be charming when we want to be. Now, I need to visit the bathroom, brush my teeth and then go see our family."

Luna had barely taken her eyes off the door to their beach chalet so it was hardly surprising that she was first to see the couple emerge. that they were hand in hand was only to be expected, Hermione's smile though told Luna that everything was going to be getting back to normal soon.

-oOoOo-

Alecto wondered if things would ever be normal again. These two escaped from Azkaban and then just turned up on their doorstep, before moving in and practically taking over their home. Supplying clothes, food, unregistered wands and coughing up gold for books by owl order were just some of the impositions that had been forced upon Alecto and her brother.

Then these two began attacking muggles, unleashing who knows what by way of ministerial retribution. Last night, the latest Potter family to be targeted turned out to be nothing more than an elderly couple with one foot already in the grave. That didn't seem to matter though to their uninvited guests, Rookwood and Lestrange came home and celebrated as if they'd just won a great victory, they didn't even have the courtesy to use silencing charms! Alecto promised herself she would be burning those sheets when they eventually left.

If that's how they celebrated after murdering a couple of geriatrics, Alecto didn't think the house would remain standing with what they might get up to if they actually achieved something worthwhile.

The feeling of impending doom that had settled in the pit of her stomach from the moment she laid eyes on the pair of escaped convicts suddenly grew to the size of a quaffle as Alecto read the front page of this morning's Prophet - this was really bad.

Fudge had called an emergency meeting of the Wizengamot and Alecto was struggling to believe the measures they had managed to push through. That there was a kiss on sight order for the dementors on these two wasn't surprising, the rest was shocking.

The Lestrange fortune had been swallowed up by the Ministry of Magic, and would be used to help protect those citizens most at risk of attack from death eaters. While this was bad news, it was merely the beginning of the horror contained here. The ministry had also authorised its aurors to use lethal force in the apprehending of Augustus Rookwood and Bellatrix Lestrange, passing what amounted to a death sentence on both of them. The aurors wouldn't be using any of the unforgivables but would now have no worries about facing any accusations of using excessive force - they had just been given carte blanche to hit both escaped prisoners with everything they had. Any aurors coming face to face with the escaped death eaters would certainly do just that.

It was the final part of the article though that saw Alecto's breakfast threatening to make a reappearance, that same lethal level of force was also authorised against anyone assisting Rookwood or Lestrange. The minister himself spelled it out in language a four year old couldn't misunderstand.

"The ministry have been moving our country forward but also taking great care to preserve our past, this is part of our past though that we have no intention of revisiting. Death eaters serve the self-proclaimed dark lord, Tom Riddle. This is a wizard whose sole purpose is to overthrow the legal government of our country, while setting himself up as supreme ruler over all of us. This, simply put, is treason, and the penalties for such acts are clearly laid down in our laws. Those taking part in any such insurrection will be tried and, after being found guilty, put to death. Their family name will be disowned and they will lose at least ninety percent of any lands, homes, possessions and gold their family owned. Any terrorist who wants to overthrow my government will find us standing waiting and ready for them, and even death won't spare them from our retribution. Anyone considering joining these criminals in their campaign of murdering innocents, please believe this warning - it's the only one you're going to get!"

Alecto believed it, she believed every bowel loosening word of it. The Carrows may not have much to lose in the way of wealth but she had no intention of losing her life just so these two could kill some mugges named Potter - these muggles they were randomly choosing weren't even related to the brat they were supposedly trying to terrorise. Both Alecto and her brother tried to tell them that this Harry considered himself a goblin, and when did a goblin ever give a shit about what happened outside Gringotts.

At that, Amycus staggered in the door, it would seem though that pain rather than firewhisky was responsible for his condition. The quaffle in her stomach became a bludger as she listened to what her brother had to say.

"I tried to contact Narcissa Malfoy but couldn't get anywhere near the manor, the pain in my mark was nearly as bad as the night the dark lord gave it to me. I approached from three different sides and got the same result every time, Malfoy Manor now has wards that refuse access to anyone who carries the dark mark. I think those wards would be lethal if you forced your way through, that's something I definitely don't want to be trying."

Alecto pushed today's Prophet across to her brother while wondering how Bella would react to these double blows. Describing Bellatrix Lestrange as mercurial was a real understatement, she could transform from laughing to lethal in the blink of an eye. When Bella was in a lethal mood, only the dark lord could control and focus her ire on a victim of his choice. With only the four of them in the house, that ire would have to go somewhere.

Not for the first time, Alecto found herself wondering whatever possessed them to join the ranks of the death eaters. They had seen no power, glory or wealth head in their direction, instead they were now saddled with crazy Bella and her bedmate living under their roof. As if that wasn't bad enough, Alecto was beginning to wonder if they would survive Bella hearing this news.

-oOoOo-

Severus had heard his name called out and a cold shiver of dread ran down his spine, four warriors wanted him to accompany them to an as yet undisclosed location. They gave him a moment to inform his supervisor what stage the potion he was working on had reached before escorting him from the lab.

His nerves didn't improve any when he was shown into a plush office and recognised the goblin who had summoned him, it would have been difficult not to know the most recognisable goblin in Britain.

"Ambassador Barchoke, how can I be of help?"

The goblin kept the death eater waiting a moment for an answer, and then asked a question of his own. "You have four years of your sentence remaining to be completed, are you still enjoying your time as a guest of Gringotts?"

After having to deal with the dark lord, Severus was a master at not letting his emotions show. That wasn't to say he didn't have those emotions though, and his current emotions were mostly fear. He was quite proud that his voice held steady as he answered. "I am certainly enjoying my time spent as a guest of The Nation, you have been such generous hosts that I am hoping some arrangement could be reached after my allocated time is over."

"I can make that happen, I can even arrange for you to speak goblin like a citizen!" Barchoke left those temptations hanging just out of reach, before showing Snape the other side of the coin. "I can also arrange a transfer to the dragon pits where you will spend the next four years, if you survive that long, working at manually mucking out the pens. The choice of potions lab or the dragon pens is entirely in your own hands. I obviously want something you have, give it to me and we will have a deal. Refuse and you are no longer of any use to me, you will leave this office and begin working in the pens today."

There was not one shred of doubt in Severus' mind that this goblin was anything but one hundred percent serious, he just hoped that he actually had what Barchoke wanted. He had learned that goblins weren't ones to accept excuses, if he didn't have what Barchoke wanted then it would be the dragon pens for Severus Snape.

"Again, how can I help?"

"Lestrange and Rookwood have gone to ground, I want to unearth them. What I want from you is the names of every death eater you know, and the locations of any safe houses. Give me this information and you can go straight back to the potions lab..."

Barchoke never reiterated what would happen if Severus refused, he didn't need to.

"...if this information helps us catch these bastards, I can guarantee your stay in The Nation for as long as you want. I can also guarantee you would be speaking our language fluently as one of us within a week of their capture."

There was parchment, ink and a quill already sitting at the desk, Severus was soon using all three to regurgitate every name and location he knew of.

The goblin hid his smile well, Barchoke hadn't had a lot to smile about lately. These bastards thought they could terrorise his son by killing muggles and writing on walls, it was time to go on the offensive. He had Rita standing by, waiting on this death eater's list, she would then use her unique talents to pay these people and places a flying visit.

Rita was well aware of the danger involved but her emergency portkey would rip through any wards the death eaters have should she need to get out fast. She was also being well paid for sticking her nose into this dangerous situation. With the promise of the ministry reward should she locate them, and a front row seat at their capture, Rita would be able to quadruple her earnings from Barchoke with an exclusive article on the demise of the death eaters.

He had also been instrumental in arranging another article that would appear in tomorrow's Prophet, one more step in the process of applying pressure to these bastards in the hope they got careless. Barchoke wanted them brought down in the worst possible way and would happily wield a blade himself if necessary.

The goblin would need his caring face for later when the muggle born parents were meeting in Gringotts, they didn't need much convincing to attend. The muggle press didn't know anything about death eaters but had dubbed Lestrange and Rookwood as 'The Potter Killers', with Ministry of Magic supplied pictures of the duo plastered all over their front pages.

The story the press had been fed was very close to the truth, here were a pair of terrorists that had killed while escaping from a classified maximum security prison. They had been sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in this prison after a young couple called Potter were brutally murdered, the Potters were survived by their baby son - now a teenager and the main target for these killers.

They were basically offering the muggle born families free protection from the killers that were plastered all over their news media. Since everyone involved basically wanted the same thing, to keep them all safe, Barchoke thought it would be a very cordial and somewhat short meeting.

-oOoOo-

Cornelius was currently briefing Amelia and Amos on a very cordial meeting he and Arthur had with representatives of the muggle government. "They seemed impressed with our suggestions, offering to foot the bill though easily sealed the deal. Arthur will be working closely with their team but everybody in Britain with the surname Potter will be relocated by next week."

The sheer amount of organising this would take left Amos questioning that timescale but Cornelius was confident it would be achieved.

"They are being moved to holiday locations all around the country - in some cases moving abroad or staying with relatives. With families who want to move permanently to another home, their current properties will be purchased immediately - giving them funds to purchase another. Their government is sorting out any employment issues the adults might have while the children are all on holiday from school. With the massive amount of publicity surrounding these murders, everyone desperately wants to be seen to be helping."

Amelia had a fierce grin as a thought just struck her. "I'd pay a month's salary to see that bitch Lestrange's face when she discovers her former vault is helping to pay for all this."

"Barchoke assures me the Lily Potter Foundation will pick up any shortfall, he's as keen as we are that no more Potters should die."

"I was the one who had to give Harry the news of the first murders, his father will do anything to prevent a repeat of that scene. Can I assume we have no problems if the goblins get to them first?"

The minister was quick to reassure Amelia that certainly wouldn't be a problem. "I don't care if these two are shot full of centaur arrows when we get them, I just want them taken care of."

Amos then had a question that he thought Amelia would be able to answer. "Cedric says their holiday to Egypt is still going ahead, do you know if that's right?"

"Yes, they came home early from the island and are giving Japan a miss but Cairo sounds wonderful, I'm really sorry to miss it. I can't really cancel all auror leave and then bugger off on holiday myself though."

Both Cornelius and Amos knew there were department heads in the ministry who wouldn't dream of imposing the same standards on themselves as those of their subordinates, just as they knew Amelia wouldn't even consider doing otherwise.

Amelia then had to leave, she was standing in for the exceedingly busy Arthur Weasley as the ministry's representative at the muggle born meeting soon to be held in Gringotts.

-oOoOo-

Gringotts had really went out of their way to impress the muggle borns' parents by allowing their meeting to take place in the Grand Chamber. Harry led his family over to the tableaux he'd championed at his Centurion inauguration, he and his father respectfully stood in silence with their head bowed for a few minutes.

Emma was captivated by the tableaux, the highly crafted blend of sculpture and painting bringing the scene to life in a way that was almost religious. She had no trouble comparing this to some of the great religious paintings from history - this certainly should be considered as a work of art. Emma thought she understood why Harry was drawn to this scene, it somewhat mirrored his own experiences. Wizards trying to impose their will on people by a campaign of terror before being brought forth to face justice, that women and children were involved as victims just made the comparison all the more poignant.

Along with Luna and Tonks, Emma led Harry and Hermione to seats in the audience while Dan and Barchoke made their way to the stage. Harry was delighted when Amelia and Professor McGonagall joined them on stage as the meeting was now ready to start, Colin and his family had headed straight for them and he was currently having his ears talked off by two hyper-excited Creevey brothers.

Minerva was going to open the proceedings, thank everyone for coming and then pass over to Amelia for the ministry's view of this. Barchoke would cover the technical side of the procedure before Dan dealt with the practicalities of muggles living in a warded house.

Minerva had met most of the parents of the muggle borns before, it was usually her who followed up on their Hogwarts letter. She thanked everyone for attending and gave a very brief explanation of just who Lily Potter was, and why the foundation was set up. Amelia followed with a short history of the dark lord and his death eaters, one part of her presentation though really struck home with the parents.

"These terrorists targeted the muggle born families last time with devastating effectiveness, probably because they had infiltrators inside the ministry supplying them with those names and addresses. The ministry is now protected by the very same wards that we are today offering to erect around your homes, no death eater will ever set foot there again - we want you to accept the same level of protection for your family."

A goblin addressing muggle parents of witches and wizards inside the Gringotts Grand Chamber ticked so many 'first' boxes that Barchoke didn't even bother counting. He apologised beforehand if anyone had any experience of wards but was going to treat this as if this was their first introduction of the term.

"Wards are basically like an invisible shield that we place around your home, a shield that can then be adjusted to meet your own requirements. Although barring anyone with a dark mark is a compulsory function of these wards, you still get to decide which witches or wizards are allowed in your home. I'll now place you in Dan Granger's very capable hands, he and his wife are both dentists while their daughter Hermione is the first witch in their family."

Dan stood for a moment before speaking. "I know exactly how you're all feeling at this moment in time, my wife and I were faced with exactly the same decision almost two years ago. Accepting our daughter is a witch was easy compared to the thought that she could be in danger because there were certain people who wanted to see her new best friend murdered."

He actually smiled at the memory of that meeting. "Harry's father told me that Gringotts was covered in these wards but the ones on our house would protect something far more precious than gold, how can any father argue against logic like that?"

This raised a few laughs before Dan delved into the practicalities of having these wards. "We have a ledger in the house that Hermione has to enter a witch or wizard's name before they are allowed onto our property, only certain owls are allowed through too - unless they are also entered in the ledger. Apart from sleeping safer at night, I haven't found a downside to these wards and forget they are there for most of the time. I also know that, should someone be foolish enough to attempt to break through our wards, a squad of goblin warriors would be on my doorstep long before they managed their task."

Amelia stood again and told their audience she had the very same wards erected on her own home and, like Dan, slept sounder at night because of them. She then asked if they had any questions, making it plain that only questions on the warding of their homes would be answered - she had no intention of letting them focus on the 'Potter Killers'. That last bit disappointed a lot of people yet, since they were about to have their families protected from this very real threat for free, there were no complaints.

As the meeting ended, there were goblin tellers present to book appointments for each family to have their home warded. Professor McGonagall led Harry, Barchoke and the three Grangers over to greet the McDonalds, introducing Roy, Mary and little Natalie.

Roy was like a fish out of water and appeared to be searching for any point of common reference he could grasp. That this boy's mother and girlfriend were both like his Natalie, the first witches in their family, helped. He also couldn't help but notice how many of the other kids had made their way over to the lad to say hello, and a few even thanked him for cutting his holidays short to do this. Roy decided the best way to deal with his misgivings was just to put his cards on the table right up front, not knowing this would only endear him to his goblin hosts.

"I'll give it to you straight, sonny, I was brought up to believe that no one gives you something for nothing. I want to know right now what this will really cost my Natalie?"

Harry had signalled for Luna and Colin to come over, Colin's family coming along too.

"This is Luna Lovegood and Colin Creevey, last year's recipients of the Potter Scholarships. I would ask the same of Natilie as I did of them, they should do their best while at Hogwarts and then act as mentors for the following year's students. I hope to create something here where all scholarship students look after the younger members, nothing more but certainly nothing less."

Seeing the sparkle in his daughter's eyes at that helped Roy and Mary, as did meeting the Creeveys and Grangers. This meeting was certainly settling some of their fears, the professor then put most of the remaining worries to bed.

"I was aware of Centurion Crow's ambitions for this project right from the start, and thought his goals were admirable. I then spent the year watching closely as they then overachieved in every single one of those goals. The entire first year fell under their spell and now act like members of a family, they all look out for each other and last year saw them set the best disciplinary record for a year group at Hogwarts in the castle's long history. This scholarship program is helping reshape Hogwarts, and I'm positive Natalie will fit right in and really enjoy her time with us."

Harry then switched his attention fully to the little girl who was almost hiding in full sight, standing behind her parents and with her long black hair pulled over to practically obscure her facial features. "What do you think about this, Natalie?"

Her voice was quiet but all could hear the doubt contained there. "Am I really a witch?"

It was a sympathetic Hermione who held her hand out to the younger girl, physically drawing her out of her parents' shadows. "I know exactly how you feel. I was worried it was all some cruel joke someone was playing on me, right up until I held my wand in my hand. Then I knew it was real, and I actually was a witch. We're meeting Pauline Nott, the other scholarship student, and a few of our friends when we leave here but I think our first stop after that should be to get you your wand. What do you think?"

The excitement fairly sparkled in the young witch's eyes as the Creeveys and McDonalds warding appointments were quickly arranged, now it was time for Natalie's magical adventure to begin.

-oOoOo-

It wasn't excitement that sparkled in Dragontooth's eyes, rather pure, unadulterated hatred as he paced up and down in agitation - only the fact this was their apartment stopped him breaking anything.

"Filthy humans in our Grand Chamber! I saw it for myself and still can't believe it. They should have been slaughtered and served up to the dragons for daring to even look upon the sacred carvings, and those who permitted this atrocity should have their ears and noses sliced off - forced to forever live with their shame."

He spun round to face his father. "Of course, they were there - the ugly bitch and her parents. Please tell me it will be soon, Father. The shame that she cut me burns worse than any wound, I want my revenge."

Bloodfang was every bit as incensed as his son, just not as impulsive. "Patience, patience, patience - have you learned nothing? Everyone is on high alert at the moment because of these escaped death eaters, we need to let that settle before we act..."

"...but father, I had the perfect time all picked out. The ugly bitch's birthday is in September, we could ruin this and every birthday she has left with the memory of her slaughtered parents."

Bloodfang liked that idea, he liked it a lot but wasn't prepared to commit to that date just yet. "We'll see, we'll see."

This appeased his son, 'we'll see' usually meant yes and Dragontooth could hardly wait for his revenge on the ugly bitch - and Crow.

-oOoOo-

Nothing was going to appease Bella this morning, it was almost as if someone had designed today's edition of the Prophet to push all of her buttons at the same time.

Details of how the muggle government were rapidly protecting everyone in Britain named Potter were hard to swallow, that Lestrange gold was helping to protect those Potter muggles started her blood on its journey toward boiling point. The Muggle Born Protection Act, again with the name Potter behind it, only increased the temperature of that volatile substance. Seeing pictures of the brat in Diagon Alley, casually shopping without a care in the world, practically had steam coming out her ears. That the Longbottoms and her fucking nephew were in the pictures too almost had Bella totally losing it, turning the page to see some goblin and the minister presenting McGonagall with her master's precious cup was always going to launch her right over the edge.

A scream of rage rang out as her borrowed wand incinerated the offending newspaper, and also burnt a hole right through the table it was sitting on. "My master's precious possession, they fucking gave it away! I'll kill them - I'll kill all of the fuckers and get it back..."

"It won't do you any good, you know..."

In the blink of an eye, Bella had swung her wand to point at her mate. "...and what do you know of it? You're supposed to be so fucking clever yet the bastards are one step ahead of us at every turn."

"Somehow the goblins discovered our master had made horcruxes, they've been searching for them since that Halloween night. They are so confident in themselves, they've even allowed details to be published in a book. The little bastards would surely have found one stored in a Gringotts vault and removed our master's essence from it, that was nothing more than a piece of gold they handed over to Hogwarts." Rookwood was also certain that specific picture was included in the newspaper purely to garner this very reaction from Bella. Her racing off on a berserker killing spree could see all of them doomed.

Bella's splintered mind had jumped off in another direction entirely though. "...that stupid bastard, Lucius, he must have known all this - and yet he still served them one of our master's most precious possessions up on a plate! I should have taken my time killing the bastard, his death was far too merciful - no wonder my fucking sister hides behind wards that keep me out. I'll deal with that bitch and her 'Potter loving' spawn too!"

All could see the killing lust broadcasting from every pore of Bella's features, Rookwood attempted to give that killing lust some less dangerous focus - less dangerous to them that is. "What we do now is switch tactics and targets. Back to what we do best, the four of us turn up unannounced and kill every fucker in the targeted place!"

Augustus could see he had reached Bella with that, she would contain her rage until their attack tonight - then they would need to begin searching for their master. Even in her clearly emotionally distressed state, Bella had still hit on the truth of the matter. This was not the ministry they were used to dealing with, the ministry's cooperation with the goblins was bad news for their cause too. Without their master's immense powerful backing, Rookwood knew it would only be a matter of time before they were tracked down.

Tracking was also at the forefront of his thoughts. If they could now ward against the dark mark, the next logical step would be to discover a way to track it. He had been ordering books on arithmacy and runes to help him devise such a system, though Augustus intended to use their dark marks to locate the person who permitted them the honour of bearing them. After tonight's attack, he would need to turn all his attention to that.

Neither he nor Bella had been paying any attention in the direction of the Carrows, otherwise they couldn't have missed the siblings' clearly horrified expressions.

Alecto and Amycus wanted nothing to do with any raid or murdering muggles, they also knew better than to disagree with Bella when she was in this kind of mood. Only a complete moron offers death an invitation, and that's what would be coming their way if they dared to voice their opinions. They may survive this raid - they certainly wouldn't live through saying no to Bellatrix Lestrange when she was bubbling with anger and had a wand already in her hand.

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