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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9. The Prodigal Weasley

Molly Weasley was not having a good day, it started with the Daily Prophet being delivered and went rapidly downhill from there. Her 'Harry Potter' obsessed daughter had been crying for most of the day and Molly didn't know what to do to help her little girl.

The concerned mother had objected when Arthur first brought the confiscated book home from the ministry, claiming they must have been banned for a reason. Arthur assured her it was merely a children's story book, withdrawn for copyright purposes, and began to use the banned book for Ginny's bedtime stories. Well, compared to the boy-who-lived battling dragons to save the day, Babbitty Rabbitty and the ilk never had a look-in from then on with little Ginny Weasley.

She'd accompanied her four Hogwarts-bound brothers to Kings Cross on the first of September, hoping for a glimpse of her hero. Ginny had been disappointed but consoled herself with the fact that she would be in Gryffindor next year, along with Harry Potter. Today's Prophet had shattered those youthful fantasies and broken her little heart.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Molly had just received a disturbing letter from Ron. Her first instinct was to rush to Hogwarts and start using her wand but her youngest son's ramblings just didn't make sense to his mother. For a start, he had three older brothers in the same house. Molly couldn't believe they would stand back and let their youngest brother be mistreated. Then there was Minerva and Albus to consider. The Head of Gryffindor was very protective of her charges and Molly couldn't even consider anything happening to one of her children while Albus Dumbledore was at Hogwarts. She had decided to wait and discuss the matter with her husband before taking any action.

Molly was surprised when she heard the family clock chime that someone was traveling, seconds before she heard the floo activate. She headed for the kitchen thinking Arthur must have finished early today when her squeal of delight rattled every window in the Burrow. "BILL!"

His mother's hug and relentless questions were sharply cut-off by the floo activating again and Ron stepping out. Her attention instantly switched to her youngest son.

"Ronald Weasley, what are you doing home?"

When the floo activated for the third time, discharging Minerva McGonagall, Molly's eyes narrowed as her gaze zeroed in on a red faced Ron. "Just what is going on here?"

Ron never said a word, just stood there with his head bowed. It was left to his head of house to break the awkward silence. "Molly, I need to speak to you regarding Ronald's behaviour while at Hogwarts."

Molly grabbed Ron by the ear and dragged him over to the table. "Sit there and don't move, I'll be back when I find out just how much trouble you're in. Minerva, will you come through to the sitting room?"

As they headed out the kitchen, Bill suddenly had another redheaded female Weasley in his arms. Ginny had clearly heard her mother's yell and now launched herself at her favourite brother from the bottom of the stairs. He twirled her around the kitchen before sitting his sister down on the table. "Hey Gin, you've done some growing since the last time I was home. Let me get a look at you."

Bill noticed at once that his sister had been crying and was immediately concerned, she was normally such a happy-go-lucky child. "What's the matter with my favourite sister? You and mum had a fight?"

"Oh no Bill, it was just reading about Harry Potter in the Prophet that got me upset..."

Ron may have been told to sit there but that didn't mean he had to listen this without saying something. "Why is everyone so obsessed with that prat? He's nothing special..."

"Is that why you decided to curse him in the great hall today, because you were so jealous of a nothing special prat? What the hell were you thinking? The twins told me that was the second time you've used that curse, and you didn't even apologise to the girl you hit with it."

"I didn't mean to hit her with it, I was aiming at Crow's girlfriend..."

Ginny let a shriek out at this revelation. "Harry's got a girlfriend?"

"Yeah, bint by the name of Granger. She walks around the castle all day on his arm, it's enough to make you sick."

Ginny burst into tears at this news and raced back to her room while Bill grabbed Ron by the front of his robes and hauled him over the table. "What the hell is your problem? Things not going perfect in little Ronnie's world so he decides to throw a tantrum and make everyone else miserable too? Making a fool of yourself seems to be the only thing you're excelling at, not looking good for that first Hogwarts report card Ronnie boy."

Anyone hurting his sister was always going to receive a hard time from Bill, but for one of her brothers to deliberately do so was just too much. Ron needed some facts of life explained here. "Had that curse hit Harry today, he would have made mincemeat of you. He's a goblin warrior who would have treated that curse, quite rightly, as an attack. Spitting up a few slugs wouldn't even slow him down, and he could have legally done you some serious harm. I saw him outsmart and take down an adult wizard in my class today, you wouldn't have stood a chance against 'nothing special' Crow."

Molly and Minerva re-entered the kitchen and his mother didn't hang about. "Bill, put him down."

"You're a whining little git who is an embarrassment to this family. It's time to grow up Ronnie, you're no longer seven years old - so stop acting like someone who is." Bill let his youngest brother slide back into his seat while addressing Ron's head of house. "Minerva, I don't care whether Harry allows it, I will not have him in my class. I refuse to teach Ron any magic he could use on someone else next time he has a temper tantrum. Excuse me ladies, I have a sister this prat upset, she needs a big brother who will actually comfort her."

Molly knew Bill was Ginny's favourite brother for a reason, he was very protective of her. That Ron had managed to cause so much trouble in so little time was another subject they would be discussing when Arthur got home. "Ron, you have been suspended from Hogwarts for the rest of the week. You will be allowed to return on Sunday but will be on probation for the rest of first year. Should you be in serious trouble again during your probation, you will be expelled from Hogwarts. You have carried out magical attacks on two people in the space of a week, just what are you playing at?"

"Oh right, blame me for everything. Don't bother about what's happening to me? I even got my wand broken!"

Minerva was in no mood to make any concessions here. "Mr Weasley, in both cases you were the aggressor. Your wand was indeed damaged in a tussle with Mr Crow, but only after you had cursed one of his friends in the corridor. You seem to think Ronald Weasley should be immune to retaliation - or punishment. If you return to Hogwarts with this attitude, I guarantee you will not be in the castle for long. Excuse me Molly but I must return to Hogwarts. I hope you and Arthur can talk some sense into him, I would hate to see a Weasley being the first student expelled from Hogwarts in fifty years."

Molly was battling her temper as Minerva took the floo back to Hogwarts, she didn't want to start anything without Arthur's presence to reign her temper in if she was going too far. "Ron, go to your room. We will be speaking when your father gets home."

Ron tried his best pleading voice. "Mum, I didn't have any lunch. I was in the infirmary..."

"RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY - get to your room before I take my wand to you. You bring shame to this family and all you can think of is food? Get out of my sight."

Ron might be thick but even he wasn't stupid enough to argue with his mum when she was in this mood. He shot out of there and went straight to his room.

-oOoOo-

Bill entered Ginny's room to find his sister lying crying on her bed, clutching something to her chest. "Gin, please tell me what the problem is, I hate to see you like this - and I need to head to Gringotts shortly."

"Oh Bill, it's all falling to pieces. Harry's not a Potter, he's not even a Gryffindor and already has a girlfriend."

As Ginny continued to sob, Bill slid the book out her grasp. The image of a bespectacled, skinny young boy with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead jumped off the cover, and gave Bill a huge clue to what he was dealing with here. "You know Harry looks nothing like this? He doesn't wear glasses and there's no scar - he's also a far handsomer young man than this..."

Bill had instantly grabbed Ginny's attention - and saw his sister's tears dwindle at the same time. "You've met him?"

"I was brought back from Egypt to be his defence tutor at Hogwarts, I left him less than an hour ago."

Ginny's tears had all but disappeared now, her curiosity easily kicking self-pity's arse. "What's he like? Tell me everything...does he really have a girlfriend?"

"He's like you Gin, much too young to be thinking about girlfriends and boyfriends. His best friends are Hermione and Padma, both of whom were trapped in the Hogwarts infirmary by a troll. Harry raced to their rescue and killed that troll with his sword. The real Harry is much better than any story Gin, he also hates all that boy-who-lives rubbish."

Bill could see his sister was hanging on his every word so tried to steer her away from this unhealthy obsession she appeared to have. "The twins are already becoming friends of his, purely because they treat him as Harry Crow. He'll still be there when you go to Hogwarts next year Ginny. Just remember, he's real and this book is just stories the author made-up. Oh, and you'll need to be at least twenty six before I will even consider letting you have a boyfriend!"

At that, Ginny jumped into his arms. Bill thought at least he'd managed to cheer his sister up. He did think that she was much too young to be thinking about boyfriends, and what he said about Harry was also true. He didn't have the heart to tell Ginny that when Harry was old enough to start thinking about such things, it was already obvious who his thoughts would be turning to.

-oOoOo-

Bill found his mother in the kitchen, nursing a strong cup of tea. "Minerva tells me you're tutoring at Hogwarts?"

"Yeah, the director himself asked me to return to Britain and do this. I actually need to head off to the bank now, there are some meetings I really must attend. Once my schedule settles down a bit, I hope to have more time to spend at home."

"You're not staying here?"

Bill was shaking his head. "Tutoring Harry is only part of my work, they have other stuff for me to do that I've still to hear about. They badly wanted me to take this job so included a flat for me to use as well. I still intend to be home for dinner as often as I can though."

This had Molly smiling for the first time today, having her family around the dinner table was her favourite thing. "She also told me you witnessed what Ron did today, I have no idea what to make of this."

After watching the prat upset Ginny, Bill wasn't for pulling any punches. "Ron sees me as a curse-breaker, he ignores all the hard work I put in to get where I am. Charlie works just as hard at his profession, and we've all seen the hours Percy puts into his studies. Oh, the twins tell me he has a very pretty distraction at Hogwarts, the fifth year Ravenclaw girls' prefect apparently said yes when Percy asked her to be his girlfriend. Our Ron has always been a shirker, expecting everything to drop into his lap. If he doesn't grow out of that habit real soon, he's in for a rude awakening."

Molly was nodding in agreement. "I don't know where he picked the habit up from, none of the rest of you are like that. Even Fred and George work hard at being the biggest pair of scamps they can be. I hope your father has some ideas because I don't know what to do with him. His education is hanging by a thread and all he was concerned about was missing lunch."

-oOoOo-

Albus was pouring a second firewhisky for the minister, while wondering if he should employ Abe? All these shocking revelations were quickly turning his office into a bar, and his younger brother was the recognised Dumbledore family expert on those.

"He can't be back Albus, this has to be some horrible mistake?"

"Minerva's reaction was pretty much the same as yours Cornelius, and she saw him with her own eyes. As much as we don't want it to be true, it doesn't change the fact that it is."

"If this gets out, it will make today's headlines appear like a picnic."

"Not if we're ready Cornelius, the good news is I think we have time to prepare." Fudge was now sipping his second drink, after having gulped the first one down. Albus took this as a good sign so attempted to steer the Minister of Magic in the direction he wanted the ministry to go.

"We need to quietly beef-up the auror department, in both training and manpower. When the story eventually reaches the public, as we both know it must, you can rightfully say that the ministry are not only prepared but ready to respond to the threat. I will give you all the backing I can within the Wizengamot."

The minister liked the sound of that, Dumbledore's idea made him appear like a man of action. That he would actually have a plan in place beforehand to deal with a problem would also make a welcome change. "What can we do about the Potter situation? I need to have some answers for the press or I won't be able to do anything, the public will have me out on the street."

"I suggest we tell them the truth."

This confused the minister until Albus told him the truth. Well, this version of the truth might be slanted in Albus Dumbledore's favour - but the old wizard never told any lies. "After the Potters were murdered, I left baby Harry with his Aunt, Lily's sister. I thought he'd be safer growing up in the muggle world, away from all the madness that's become attached to being the boy-who-lived. What I hadn't counted on was them not wanting the boy, I just couldn't believe they would give their own flesh and blood away."

Cornelius was having trouble believing that himself. "They actually gave him away?"

"They didn't want the boy but thankfully also wanted to avoid a muggle orphanage." The very thought of Harry Potter having the same upbringing as Tom Riddle sent a shudder through Albus. "His uncle managed to take Harry to Diagon Alley where he wandered into Gringotts. The muggle wanted to just dump the baby on a counter and leave him there but the goblins weren't having that."

"They should have contacted the ministry at once..."

"Think back Cornelius, what state was the ministry in? That's why I left Harry at his muggle aunt's in the first place. If we didn't know who we could trust, how were the goblins supposed to choose a safer option than keeping Harry themselves? They clearly knew how important the child was."

"When did you discover this and why didn't you do something about it?"

"It wasn't until the Christmas holidays later that year that I had an opportunity to return and check on the child, only to discover that he was no longer there. They had signed something called an escrow agreement that legally handed responsibility for Harry over to the goblins."

"Surely there must have been something you could do?"

"Of course I headed straight to Gringotts, only to be informed the contract was unbreakable. Needless to say I wasn't happy with that, I ended up being barred from Gringotts the same day." If the minister left Hogwarts with the impression that Albus had fought for Harry's freedom until the goblins kicked him out, that was okay with the headmaster.

"I still think the goblins should have informed us of what was happening..."

"Cornelius, I have met the goblin Harry calls father, they are as close as any father / son I've seen. In any fight against the dark lord, Harry is going to be our best weapon. Attacking that goblin, or even Gringotts, in public or the Prophet could see us lose that weapon forever."

This now had the minister's entire focus. "What should we do then?"

"We thank the goblins for looking after young Harry, and helping the lad become the outstanding young man he is." This had Fudge totally confused until Albus explained his reasoning. "The escrow agreement ends when the head of the Potter family decrees it to be so, or when Harry finally comes of age. That is all the time we have to ensure that Harry makes the decision we both want, and then takes his rightful place in our society. We have both now seen how Harry responds to a heavy-handed approach, we have to change tactics or risk losing him forever."

"The Prophet reported that he rejected approaches from respected families, how are we to influence his decision if he continues to ignore us?"

"The boy is very friendly with a muggle born witch he met on the train, and has since grown closer to Miss Patil and Mr Longbottom. The only approaches I know he's rebuffed were from the Weasley and Malfoy boys, both were rather heavy-handed. He's mixing quite well with his peers but when anyone pushes him, he pushes right back."

This brought up the prickly issue of what to do about the senior Malfoy. "If we put Lucius on public trial, it might start the very thing we're trying to avoid - mass panic over you-know-who's return." It also went unsaid between the two wizards just how close Cornelius was to Lucius Malfoy. A public trial could also see the minister out on the street.

Albus was perfectly happy for Cornelius to retain the Minister of Magic position, provided he was doing what Albus Dumbledore wanted the minister to do. "Lucius is not a particularly powerful wizard. His main threats are his influence and money, you can seriously damage that influence Cornelius. After all, you are the Minister of Magic."

"I know this Albus but that doesn't affect his finances. He's more than spiteful enough to place his great wealth behind someone else, a rival ministerial candidate inside the ministry."

"Ah Cornelius, you're forgetting what else happened inside that classroom. Lucius Malfoy drew his wand on a young goblin, a particularly well-connected young goblin - who also has a powerful father. I feel sure the goblins could be persuaded to attack Lucius where it will really hurt him, financially."

The sly old wizard could see Cornelius liked this idea. It would get him out from under Malfoy's influence without the threat of Lucius mounting a challenge on his position as minister.

"Do you really think the goblins would assist us in this?"

If Albus was right, and he was sure he was, the goblins had planned today's entire performance in the hope of achieving an opening to do that very thing. He would quite happily take the credit in the minister's eyes because that gave Albus another lever to manipulate Cornelius in the direction he needed him to go. "I'm certain I can convince them to aid us in this matter."

It was a puzzled minister who asked the glaringly obvious question. "How can you do that Albus when you're currently banned from Gringotts?"

Albus was now really regretting how he'd handled that interview with Barchoke. Filius' assessment of the situation had been uncannily accurate. Barchoke had obviously known what was about to happen and had traveled to Hogwarts in the hope of working with its headmaster. Albus had grossly underestimated the quality of the players he'd sat down with and, as a result, found himself kicked from the game. He had no idea how much of their plans had been revealed today, though a motivated and trained Harry was certainly making a lot more sense to the headmaster than his original option. Had a Dursley raised Harry Potter arrived at Hogwarts, Albus was sure they would have found dead bodies that day in the infirmary. With three of the heads of houses clearly in Harry's corner, Albus badly needed some way of getting back to the game table.

Surprisingly, Cornelius' question gave Albus the answer he was looking for. "I have known the Weasleys for generations, and William since he was a baby. I'm positive I can convince him to aid us in this endeavour."

"He works for Gringotts Albus, the goblins don't take kindly to their employees working for someone else. You could destroy that lad's career."

"Sometimes, for the greater good, sacrifices have to be made." Albus could see this didn't sit too well with Cornelius' somewhat skewed morals, he decided to make the deal more palatable for the minister. "William is a highly-skilled former Hogwarts head boy. Should he need a career change, there will always be a position available for him in the castle."

The headmaster was now thinking there could be a hidden bonus for him here. Should William lose his job at Gringotts, Hogwarts would acquire a ready-made defence professor while Albus Dumbledore would have the young wizard's gratitude. Those were the kind of schemes Albus favoured. Where everybody appears to win but he comes out on top, with information he badly needed, a new defence professor and another person left thinking they were in his debt.

-oOoOo-

With Hermione on his arm and both his friends beside him, Harry was able to walk into dinner as normal. It was already obvious that the story had spread but they decided to ignore it. Harry was filling his plate when Roger attempted to break the awkward silence that had grown around the trio. "So Harry, did you have a nice boring defence lesson?"

"Oh same old same old Roger. I had a few discussions on defence and I think I managed to get my point across."

This had Roger laughing. "Harry, you're too much. Take down Lucius Malfoy, in front of the Minister of Magic! Hogwarts certainly knew what it was doing when she made you her champion." This statement was met with general approval at the Ravenclaw table. They'd all heard the rumours concerning Quirrell and Voldemort but considered themselves safe inside Hogwarts. After all, hadn't Dumbledore chased him out the castle?

Roger then turned his attention to Hermione. "Nice handprint on Malfoy junior Hermione, you and Harry here seem determined to put some colour into his cheeks."

"Well, now he knows I've got Harry's back." Hermione's statement said a lot more than that. Every witch in Ravenclaw recognised exactly what she was saying, Hermione was not for being parted from Harry without a fight.

Padma was chuckling to herself at her friends antics'. If these two got any closer, you would soon need crowbars to separate them. The play on Harry's name kept Padma amused for the rest of dinner time. Her friends were happy so death eaters and dark wizards could be forgotten about for now. She would need to write home though, her parents needed to know that information. The Patils would not be welcome in a Britain run by people like the Malfoys.

When Parvati asked for a quiet word, she thought nothing of it. That opinion soon changed when she heard what her sister had to say. "There's a group of girls who don't like how close Hermione is to Harry, they intend to have a 'talk' with her about it."

"What! Are they out of their tiny minds? Harry will go nuts if they as much as upset Hermione, Merlin help them if anyone goes for a wand. Who's involved in this?"

"As far as we know, it started in Slytherin. They took to heart what the Prophet said this morning. They want to see Harry becoming a Potter, but with a pureblood witch at his side. Gryffindor was approached by Hufflepuff to see if we were interested..."

Padma wanted an answer immediately. "And what was Gryffindor's reply?"

"Do I want to get closer to him, absolutely - but not like this Padma. We watched Harry against that troll, and then again today in defence. Harry Crow is not someone you want as your enemy. You're his friend, we've both seen first-hand how protective Harry is of those. Hermione is his best friend and I pity anyone who lays as much as a finger on her, we both know they won't get any pity or mercy from Harry. Gryffindor house wanted nothing to do with this, and gave the puffs something to think about."

"Do you know if Ravenclaw house was approached?"

"I think they were looking at the older year groups. I'm pretty sure most of the first years would give them the same answer Gryffindor did. You guys are too well-liked for anyone to go against. That and Harry can be rather scary at times."

"Were the first year Slytherins involved?"

"We heard it was the second years, with even a couple of third years interested. I don't think they got anywhere near the response they expected, I just wanted to pass this on to you. If they go ahead, they'll try and get Hermione alone. Keep an eye on her Padma."

The sisters hugged before heading off to their respective houses. Padma wasn't sure if she should say anything, why worry Hermione when the whole thing might fall flat before it got off the ground? She decided to stick even closer to Hermione for the rest of the week and see what happened from there.

-oOoOo-

Bill was shown directly into Barchoke's office and, after the courtesy of greeting was over, proceeded to tell the goblin exactly what happened in his son's defence class today. He also tagged on the bit in the toilet though left out the confrontation with Ron before the class started.

Goblins were normally very good at hiding their emotions but Bill detected a mixture of pride and relief from this important figure inside Gringotts.

"Curse-breaker Weasley, you are an astute young man. By this time you will have figured the increased pay and supplied accommodation is not just for teaching some eleven year olds defence. I am really pleased that you have already offered Harry and his three closest friends extra lessons, saves me having to make the suggestion. Where we go from here depends entirely on how much I and Gringotts can trust you?"

Bill was now sweating. For a goblin to bring up the issue of trust was either very good, or incredibly bad - there was no middle ground. "Master Barchoke, I have always given of my best in my work for Gringotts, I have no intention of changing that. If the issue of trust regards your son, I feel there are some questions I would like answers to before offering further commitment. Today was a plan well executed for aims I totally support. I think before I can honestly commit myself further, I would need to know what the ultimate aims of Gringotts are here."

This worryingly drew a smile from the goblin. "You were not our only candidate for the position you now find yourself in, but you were my choice. Even asking those questions confirms my high opinion of you is justified. Our first goal is the total destruction of the creature who calls himself Voldemort, taking as many of his followers with him as we can."

"Master Barchoke, that is a goal that will have my full support. Anything I can do to bring this about, Gringotts can trust me to perform with every fibre of my being."

"Well said Curse-breaker, we will go into what else is required of you in a moment. The only other goal that Gringotts has here is a long-term objective to promote goblin / wizard relations. We have no wish to rule over anyone, just not be treated as nothing more than a financial version of a house-elf. Those poor creatures may have a need to serve wizards, goblins do not."

"Again, a goal and views that have my total support. My only concern in this matter is your son. Harry is after all only eleven, this is a mighty big responsibility to place on anyone's shoulders - far less one so young."

"That is a concern for more than just the two of us in this room. Harry needs someone he can talk to, discuss things with while in the castle. You have no idea how pleased I was to see he had made some close friends, especially Miss Granger. You will have observed from your time working with us that goblins are not a race that outwardly display their affections. Seeing my son accepting, and revelling in, being wrapped in Miss Granger's arms was a welcome sight for these old eyes. Harry though needs something else too, he badly needs an adult in that castle he can trust. We are hoping that can be you? Whether your relationship becomes that of a mentor or an older brother figure would be left up to you and Harry."

Bill now understood why the issue of trust was mentioned, this was huge. "I am honoured you would even consider me for this role. Can I ask more about Harry? What training has he already had, how did he respond to that training? Those types of thing."

Barchoke had to think for a moment, more so he could sort his own thoughts on the matter. "My son is a very driven individual who doesn't understand the meaning of defeat. When he was younger, he obviously noticed he was different from everyone else around him. As you can imagine, this caused a few difficulties at our school. When he got into fights though, Harry would never stay down. He always struggled to his feet and fought back as best he was able. This earned him respect and soon, he was the one doing the 'knocking down'."

Having observed him taking a curse to ensure Malfoy got hit, Bill had no trouble believing that.

"I have never believed in keeping things from my son, he knows Voldemort targeted him because of the prophecy - and his parents gave their lives protecting him. Learning that his only living relatives totally rejected him deeply affected my son."

This drew a loud 'what?' from Bill before Barchoke continued. It was clear that even the memory of this angered the goblin. "That fat illegitimate son of an forest troll sat right where you are now and dumped Harry on my desk like so much soiled laundry. Not gutting him where he sat remains one of the greatest regrets of my life. This knowledge has haunted Harry though as he appears to fear rejection above all else, that was why I was so delighted to see him as attached to Miss Granger. He needlessly worries that one day I will reject him too, that day will never come. Whatever decision Harry makes about his future, he will always be my son. Nothing in this world is more important to me than him."

This was what Bill needed to hear. The thought of that young boy being used as a goblin weapon was not something that sat well with the eldest Weasley boy. Training young Harry to survive a prophesied fight against a dark lord was an entirely different matter.

He then listened intently as the proud father told of how his son's skill with a blade, and lightning reflexes had eventually won him much respect in a nation of warriors. That Master Pitslay considered Harry his prodigy, even traveling to Hogwarts to continue his potions tuition was another proud boast. "You will never have to motivate Harry, rather try and not let my son push himself too hard. His teachings in defence have mostly been of the physical type, we didn't have too many options when it came to someone who could fire curses at him with a wand - not without putting the secret that Harry was living in Gringotts at risk."

Bill was now looking forward to teaching Harry and his friends but Barchoke wasn't finished yet. "In order to survive death, Voldermort undertook the vilest of magic and split his soul. A horcrux had attached itself to my son - something that Dumbledore ignored. It was quickly removed and destroyed after Harry arrived at Gringotts. Another was discovered in a convicted death eater's vault, it too had his soul portion removed and then banished forever. Our nation then went quietly hunting for more, uncovering another at his grandparent's hovel. Since then, nothing."

As part of his curse-breaker training, Bill had learned about horcruxes. He shared the goblin view that an individual who could make one was abhorrent - this was a crime against mother nature herself. It hadn't been considered possible for an individual to make more than one, so this was a shocking revelation. "Have we any idea how many he made?"

"No, though him surviving the death of Quirrell last week confirms there is at least one more still out there. Apart from that one fact, all we have is speculation and guesswork. That same speculation and guesswork places a high probability that their might be another one hidden inside Hogwarts. Harry's status as a Hogwarts Champion will surely help us there, I can't imagine the castle will want to have a piece of the darkest magic imaginable within her walls."

"Does Dumbledore know about this? Doing anything under his nose just bumps up the degree of difficulty by a large margin."

"The Director and I both think it's only a matter of time before Dumbledore approaches you, with an appeal to keep him informed about Harry and Gringotts."

"Master Barchoke, I can assure you and the director that Albus Dumbledore will learn nothing from me."

"Actually, curse-breaker, the Director and I would prefer if Albus Dumbledore learned quite a bit from you. Of course, we will tightly control exactly what the meddling headmaster learns."

Bill's jaw nearly dropped to the floor as the full implications of what it would take to earn his new salary and accommodation hit home. It was becoming painfully obvious that tutoring Harry was only going to be a small part of his new duties.

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