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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56. Weddings and Holidays Sorted

Auror Tonks was rather confused, not a new feeling to be sure but it was a stranger to her while on duty. Usually there were precedents, procedures and her training to fall back upon but nothing had really prepared her for this situation. She'd just watched as a wizard drank a potion that looked and smelled like three day old vomit - vomit from someone who had just spent hours binging on haggis and neeps. Disgusting couldn't even begin to describe the concoction, Tonks was nearly vomiting herself just from watching him drink it.

As she walked beside him through the school grounds, it began to dawn on the auror just what was confusing her about this situation. It was the way he dealt with this whole procedure with a quiet sort of dignity - certainly not the reaction she'd been expecting.

"I think it's strange the way you seem so accepting of this, drinking that revolting potion and then being escorted off the school premises like some sort of criminal."

"Being called strange by a woman whose hair has been three different colours since we met earlier tonight is what seems weird to me - I think I'm insulted."

The smile he gave her might have been strained but it was there all the same, making the situation seem even stranger to Tonks. "I guess I'm just amazed at how accepting you are of all this, I don't think I would be." This earned a chuckle from Remus, confusing Tonks even more. "Just what part of this do you find funny?"

"Oh I was just thinking back to the last beautiful witch who asked me that same question, she couldn't understand it either. This is who I am though, the wolf only has control one night a month."

Her confusion just reached another level. "Was this beautiful witch your girlfriend or are you just trying your chat up lines on me? I have to say, being chatted up by a werewolf under the moonlight was not what I had in mind when I crawled out of bed this morning."

This actually got a laugh out of the marauder. "You're more like Sirius than you know. The answer to both your questions though would be no. The witch in question was the best female friend I ever had, I certainly loved her but she was way out of my league for there to be any relationship other than friendship. She was actually way out of James' league too but he changed enough to catch Lily's attention. When I look at Harry I might see James, but his words and actions are pure Lily - until he goes all goblin on us and charges a bloody basilisk with that sword!" Just at that, a massive black dog came charging across the grass toward them. "Took you long enough!"

The dog then transformed and Sirius was wearing a wide smile. "Well, Moony, when you're saying goodnight to your fiancee it's just not something that can be rushed. Hey, Tonks, I can take Remus from here if you want?"

"What, and have a werewolf and a grim running around Hogwarts? Not on my watch! I'll escort you both through the wards and into the safe location - that's my job here."

"Hey Moony, what have you been telling my cousin here? It's as if she doesn't trust me."

"Oh she didn't need any help from me with that one. Tonks here is smart enough to figure it out for herself."

"Beautiful and smart - are you sure you're not trying to chat me up, Professor Lupin?"

"Not tonight, Auror Tonks, certainly not tonight."

This left Sirius looking at them both with some bemusement. "Okay you two, what did I miss?"

-oOoOo-

This scheme had seemed fine when Gilderoy had talked it over with himself, it was now blindingly obvious there was something he'd forgotten to take into his calculations - it was bloody pitch dark out here. He wasn't afraid of the dark per se, it was more about the cover it provided for anything to sneak up on him unawares. Lockhart had no Idea how true that would soon prove to be.

He was originally going to attempt this from the edge of the forbidden forest, there was no way though he would be going anywhere near that dangerous place in the dark. The locked front gates of Hogwarts was about as near as he could get and, having first made sure Hagrid had spent the evening in the Three Broomsticks, Gilderoy proceeded to put his simple plan into operation.

Emptying out the sack of entrails and blood from the butchers right at the front gate, Gilderoy then cast a sonorus on himself.

"HOOOOOWWHOOO HAUUWWHOOO..."

The howl reverberated around the castle and its grounds, just as Gilderoy had hoped. When they then found the blood and guts in the morning, the werewolf would be kicked out and they would be coming crawling back to him, begging Gilderoy Lockhart to return to Hogwarts. He decided to give it one more howl before beating a hasty retreat - just in case a real werewolf decided to make an appearance.

"HOOOOOW-What the fuck was that?"

The bright flash had illuminated every detail of just what he was doing, then Gilderoy found himself being asked questions by a witch wearing a strange hat. Normally having his picture taken and being interviewed by the press were amongst two of his favourite things - not tonight though.

Rita had also cast the sonorus on herself, she wanted as many people as possible to know exactly what was happening here. "Gilderoy Lockhart, can you explain why you are standing there with your hands covered in blood while howling like a wolf?"

The photographer's flash went off again as his camera caught the panicked look in Lockhart's eyes. A panicking Lockhart was only ever going to react one way, by drawing his wand and casting the only spell he was proficient in - also forgetting he still had the sonorus cast on himself.

Everyone within a quarter mile radius heard him scream 'obliviate' while his wand was pointing at Rita Skeeter.

Rita though had been studying her 'victim' for a while and knew his modus operandi inside out, she should since Lockhart talked about it to himself. With only his portraits for company Gilderoy would chat away to himself all day long, allowing Rita to discover most of his secrets and be here tonight. Disillusioned in the dark, they had followed and waited on Lockhart putting his scheme into operation before she and the photographer revealed themselves.

Knowing her latest victim's modus operandi also meant Rita had talked with her powerful friend on just how to protect her memories. The warm fur hat she was wearing was nothing more than camouflage for the goblin wrought and charmed protective steel helmet that was under it.

That protection very effectively kicked in and blasted Lockhart's spell straight back at him, with the photographer's flash indicating that he'd at least caught part of that action. The photographer's latest picture would actually show Lockhart's curse rebounding and knocking him flying into the entrails he'd spread along the grass. Being a careful man, the photographer took another picture of Lockhart lying there amongst the blood and guts - just in case.

Tonks arrived a few moments later and confirmed this evening was just getting stranger. A clearly dazed Gilderoy Lockhart was sitting in a pile of blood and guts, smiling as if he hadn't a care in the world. "Oh, hello - my, you're pretty! What's your name...what's my name?"

This drew a groan from the auror. "Bloody hell, must be my night for getting propositioned. Can anyone tell me what the hell happened here?"

-oOoOo-

The front page of the Prophet informed the entire country just what was going on there, the picture really was worth a thousand words. Lockhart was sitting in a gory mess of his own making while smiling like a loon, Auror Tonks had her wand covering him while Rita Skeeter could be seen writing notes.

Rita explained that she had been researching material for a book on Lockhart, pointing out that these investigations were uncovering truths that showed a much darker side behind the award winning toothy smile. When her research uncovered his plot to discredit someone who was quickly becoming one of Hogwarts favourite professors, Rita had felt compelled to act even though her research was far from over. While she hinted that doing her public duty might cost her in book sales, she never mentioned the large payment from the Prophet for this story nor the free advertising for her yet to be written book this article just provided.

What Rita did clearly state though was her thanks to goblin craftsmanship and ingenuity that protected her memories from Lockhart's attack - an attack that was also clearly displayed in a smaller photograph. Her research had led to the knowledge that the memory charm was really the only spell Lockhart was proficient casting, so she had obviously taken precautions to protect herself. His own spell rebounding saw the once famous wizard now unable to remember his own name, leaving Rita very thankful for her borrowed protection.

How a person can accomplish everything that Lockhart claimed to have done in his books while really only being able to cast one spell would be revealed in her forthcoming novel - a true biography of a wizard who had conned all of them.

The mood inside Hogwarts was that of jubilation and relief, they were ecstatic that Lockhart wouldn't be returning - ever! There was also a fair mixture of relief in there as well, relief that there hadn't really been a werewolf roaming the grounds last night.

Harry's comment to the Ravenclaws that Auror Tonks securely locked Professor Lupin off the Hogwarts grounds and that Lord Black had spent the entire night watching over his best friend was soon spread around the castle. Rita was correct in that Remus was becoming popular as a very good teacher of his subject, whether that popularity could have survived Lockhart's attempt to discredit the werewolf is thankfully something they would now never have to find out.

That Lockhart was now in St Mungo's still not knowing his own name was considered poetic justice by most who had ever sat through one of his classes. Roger's comment that perhaps they could post all those questionnaires about Lockhart they were forced to complete back in September to St Mungo's, to see if it would jog his memory, raised a few laughs.

Padma though had to have the last word. "Since Rita Skeeter is hinting that most of what he wrote was actually done by someone else, those questionnaires didn't really apply to Lockhart anyway."

-oOoOo-

Bill had worked the four of them hard this morning without receiving one complaint, they appeared to be so glad to see him back in the castle that they just got on with the lesson and did their best. At the end of the class, all four also took time to talk to him about the marauders and what they had planned for this week. As usual, Bill made a few suggestions that Hermione carefully noted in the ledger they used for club business.

As they were getting ready to leave, Harry then totally surprised their tutor.

"Assistant Ambassador Weasley, your brother Ronald wanted to thank my father for pushing yours away from that killing curse. Could you pass that message on to my father for me please?"

This so dumbfounded Bill, he really had to ask for confirmation. "Ron actually said that?"

"Oh yes, just after he apologised to me for acting without thinking - again. He really seemed to mean it this time too! Well, see you tomorrow."

The four walked away, leaving a completely flummoxed Weasley behind.

As they headed off to their dorms for a much needed shower, Neville nodded his agreement of the way Harry had handled that situation. "It's a Weasley family matter, Harry. You provided the information without expressing your opinion, it's now up to them what they do with Ron. Had you asked if he could stay in Hogwarts, with your father saving Mr Weasley they would have felt obliged to say yes."

This drew a hurumph noise from Hermione, "I just don't get all this life debt malarky, how far do you take it? You and Harry have now both stopped Voldemort, does that mean the wizards and witches of Britain owe you both life debts?"

Padma just couldn't resist. "No, it means they're owed Orders of Merlin, First Class. Just as well us girls already have our dates snagged for the next Merlin Ball, these two would be fighting the girls off with beater bats."

Neville was gaining the confidence to tease right back. "I won't be going to any balls without my beautiful betrothed on my arm..."

"See, Hermione, get them young enough and any wizard can be trained..." Padma was now squealing with laughter as Neville began to chase her along the corridor, leaving Harry and Hermione in their wake.

"Neville's right, Harry, you did the best you could. In all honesty, you did more than he deserves. Let the Weasleys deal with their own problems, we usually generate enough of our own to be getting by with."

Harry slipped his arm around her waist and offered a gentle kiss. "I certainly can't argue with that, nor the fact we both need a shower..."

It was Hermione's turn to chase Harry along the corridor, not for saying she needed a shower but rather for ruining a lovely moment.

-oOoOo-

Ronald Weasley was enjoying a lovely moment, or rather a lovely dinner. What made it especially lovely was that he never expected to be eating it, not in Hogwarts anyway. He was sure Bill was going to smack him one earlier as he verbally tore strips off his youngest brother, just as he was certain that he would be heading home to the Burrow today. Turns out Ron was wrong on both counts.

Bill though had left him in no doubt whatsoever that he was now standing on the very edge of being withdrawn from Hogwarts, for Ron to remain in the castle would take a marked improvement in behaviour, study habits and academic achievement. He had of course agreed to everything but Ron had his own plans, plans that being home schooled would destroy.

If he wished to meet his own goals then his behaviour simply had to improve, there was no other option. He would have to try and control his temper, certainly not an easy task. His study habits too would have to be worked on, he needed to be here for seven years and the only way to do that was to pass some O.W.L.s. Other than making it to seventh year, Ron had absolutely no interest in academic achievement. His intention was to take the easiest subjects he could and scrape passes with as little effort as possible.

Ron's master plan for Hogwarts would kick into gear next year, but only if he was still here. He was honest enough to know he would never make prefect, and certainly not head boy but that left one very important position open to him - Quidditch Captain.

He would try for the team next year, though didn't expect to be picked - it was more to declare his interest. He hoped to be playing in fourth year but certainly expected to be on the team by his fifth. By seventh year, McGonagall would simply have to give him the badge - there were no other options available to the head of Gryffindor. Neville would probably be prefect but he didn't even watch the quidditch matches, Dean was still hung up on some muggle game while Seamus was already more interested in booze than brooms. As for the girls, Parvati and Lavender would be more concerned about breaking a nail than catching the quaffle.

No, Ron was certain the quiddich captaincy would eventually be his, all he had to do was stay in Hogwarts until his older competition left. With that captaincy would come scouts and Ronald Weasley's path to fame and fortune would be right there waiting for him. A decent playing career would open the door to his real goal, a coaching job.

Yes, Ron had his future all planned but first he needed to keep his head down and ensure he stayed at Hogwarts.

-oOoOo-

It was great to get away from Hogwarts for the weekend and see their extended family again, Grimmauld was taking on the mantle of a second home for some of them now.

Moa and Lukas were delighted to be back in London and included in that family, with the veela hugging the children two at a time and finding it hard to believe how much she'd missed everyone. "I'm surprised you were all allowed to leave Hogwarts for the weekend."

She currently had her arm around Hannah and that's where her answer came from.

"After last year, they'll probably make it a school rule that Harry has to be out the castle every Valentine's Day. McGonagall couldn't wait to accept our permission parchment."

This drew some laughter but Hermione wasn't even smiling. "Someone trying to poison your boyfriend with chocolates full of love potions is no laughing matter, the people who ate them certainly didn't find it funny. Thankfully, Amelia got the law changed and the new wards at Hogwarts would filter out any parcels that contained poisons."

This was something Susan agreed passionately with. "it wasn't funny at all, girls and boys fighting over the same person isn't my idea of a prank."

The story was soon explained to those who hadn't heard it before, Luna was particularly puzzled. "Why would you eat something if you didn't know who sent you it?"

She found an arm snaking around her shoulders as Harry gave her a comforting squeeze. "That's exactly what I said and did, Luna, something everyone here needs to take to heart."

They all moved to put their stuff away in the rooms they had stayed in over the Christmas holidays before gathering for their family meeting, there was a lot to discuss.

Emma and Dan had brought the large book of Potter properties to help plan their summer, some that didn't quite make it last year would certainly be getting considered for these holidays. Harry already knew Rome was out, Sirius had asked to borrow it so he could take Henrica there on honeymoon.

It was Sirius who got the ball rolling as all the adults had their diaries out, the Ravenclaws were working off a holiday planner that Hermione had already prepared. "The express dumps this lot back in London on the nineteenth of June, my fiancée and I are looking to hold our wedding on the twenty sixth of that month." Sirius was being deliberately formal, trying to contain his excitement at the surprise he now had for his future wife. "The wedding will be in Lulea, and of course everyone here is invited."

Henrica was staring dumbly at her parents for confirmation, their wide smiles had her heart doing backflips that her future husband would be so considerate and thoughtful. That was until her father spoke. "Sirius has been back and forth to Sweden, making sure all the arrangements are in place. He's even rented out half a dozen holiday homes so everyone will have somewhere to stay while they attend. Your mum's not been able to talk about anything else, so of course half the country now knows about your wedding. By the twenty sixth, the entire region of Scandinavia will know every detail..."

Henrica missed her mother playfully having a swipe at her father, she was too busy rewarding her fiancé.

Since Sirius was now otherwise engaged, this left Barchoke to fill in the blanks. "Lord Black has those properties rented for the week before and after the wedding, with Gringotts supplying the portkeys to take us there and back. You may only be able to stay for the weekend but it was easier to book the block of homes for the two weeks."

This was met with nods of appreciation from all the adults. Whether they arrived on Friday evening before leaving on Sunday would depend on what other holidays they planned here.

Harry had been thinking about that and offered his suggestion on the matter. "I think the way we did it last year was brilliant, one week busy and then one week relaxing. What I would like to say though is that we should keep those relaxing weeks to just us. Luna, your dad is counted as one of us too, and like his daughter is welcome anytime."

Hermione didn't know someone could blush and smile at the same time but Luna managed it. She then expanded on Harry's suggestion. "We've all got friends that could be included in some of our holiday, it's just we want to keep the quiet times to just us."

This was where Dan felt he had to say something. "I agree with that idea but we may have to limit the numbers, depending on the amount of adults available. Emma and I accompanied these four to Florida last year and had a great time, I really don't think we could keep an eye on eight of you - never mind anyone extra you might want to add."

This again made sense to those sitting around the room, though Hannah, Susan and Parvati all clearly wanted to visit this other world their friends had told them about.

"Since it will obviously be after the wedding, Moa and I would be more than happy to help out any way we can. Spending time with people you like while seeing different parts of the world is not exactly a hardship for us. Put both of us down for whenever we're needed."

This was a very popular announcement though Harry then gently explained the situation to the Hobsons. "It's not a case of 'need', Lukas, you and Moa are invited to anything and everything that we decide over this weekend. That goes for Luna's dad and of course Alice and Frank. We're just hoping that work schedules can be arranged so that we can all take part in pretty much everything we decide."

Hermione's grin was goblin worthy as she revealed one of their hopes. "Can you imagine certain Slytherins coping with Florida?" Padma and Neville were holding onto each other while laughing at that image, the rest weren't sure just what Florida entailed so didn't want to say too much.

Parvati though had a question for them. "Who do you mean when you say 'certain Slytherins'?"

"We were thinking of Pansy and Draco, Blaise would be your call. We would never make you choose between him or Lavender, we just thought she would appreciate something like sightseeing and shopping in Paris more."

Hermione's answer just kicked the excitement in the room up another level as she enlarged then stuck her holiday chart to the wall so everyone could see it. It now had the wedding date confirmed and the blocks either side of it colour coded for Lulea. The ministry ball and a certain joint birthday party had already been fixtures on her chart before today. With the wedding now confirmed, Hermione ran her wand over the chart and highlighted two three week blocks, one in July and the other in August.

"We hope to spend the week before the ball and the one before returning to Hogwarts in Kingussie, leaving us these two blocks to plan for holidays. Ideally, we would like to return to Florida for the first week again and the island after the ball was just wonderful. If we can all agree on what to do for the other weeks then everyone will be able to schedule their summer."

Augusta had really enjoyed her summer last year, with this one already certain to be better. She was first to put her options to the group. "Like last year, I would be delighted to accompany everyone on the quieter weeks. Florida might sound fun to our younger members here but to me it just sounds exhausting." This drew some laughter and Neville sprung to his gran's defence, citing she wasn't that old. "I also have another reason. We won't be visiting your mum and dad tomorrow, Neville, - they'll be visiting us. The healers want to see how they are after getting out for a few hours so they're coming here tomorrow afternoon. They should make the ball and may even come on holiday with us - not Florida mind you!"

Neville was out of his chair and hugging his grandmother, Padma had also followed her betrothed to do the same. There was hardly a dry eye in the house though Hermione did try to get everyone's attention back, she knew Neville would need a moment to get himself together after that.

"Okay, so we have Lukas and Moa for all six weeks, Augusta for the quiet weeks and father, will you be the same?" Just the thought of spending time with his children, and people he had genuinely grown to like had Barchoke quickly agreeing he would be there for the quiet weeks too. As names began appearing on Hermione's chart, she turned her attention to her mum and dad.

"We can't really take the whole summer off but, if we make Sweden a weekend, then your mother and I should be able to swing both three week blocks."

Moa was quick to offer reassurances the children would be fine and well looked after in Lulea, no matter how many decided to stay - or for how long.

The Patils' were the next names to appear on the sheet of parchment. They too were having to make the wedding a weekend jaunt, though would then accompany their children for the first block of the holidays. They would also be going to the island, no one who'd visited there last year wanted to miss that.

Sirius' announcement that Lord and Lady Black would be delighted to join the party for the last block had Henrica rolling her eyes while the rest chuckled at her antics. Remus was still in Hogwarts so his participation would be discussed when they returned but Amelia also put her name forward for the last three weeks too.

Hannah rather shyly asked if her parents could be included in Florida, to provide an extra set of adults. She couldn't contain her wide smile when their names quickly appeared on the parchment for that week. One glance at Hermione's chart was enough to see that the adult supervision would be more than enough to cover all the friends spending their holidays together, a few nods and the parents had all agreed to that - creating a real mood of celebration. Then Emma placed the book on the table as Padma emitted a squeal more reminiscent of her twin sister. This saw some glances being sent in her direction but she was unrepentant.

"Once you all see what's in that book, you'll be squealing too!"

As they began to search for another four destinations to fill the holiday chart, Padma was proven right on more than one occasion - and not all of those squeals came from a Hogwarts student.

-oOoOo-

Padma enjoyed spending some time alone with her sister, they were both in their room at Grimmauld. "What was father desperate to speak to you about?"

"Oh, can't you guess? He's had a few more betrothal offers for me and wanted to know what I thought."

Seeing that Parvati didn't seem too excited by that prospect, Padma wondered what the problem was. Her enquiries just received a set of shrugged shoulders.

"This time last year I would have been talking your ears off about this, and been so excited I wouldn't be able to sit down. I think that diary changed all our lives, betrothals now don't seem the be all and end all I thought they were. Sorry, sis, I wasn't including you and Neville in that - we can all see how happy you are."

"I guessed you didn't mean us, Pav, but I thought this was what you wanted? I know father wouldn't betroth you to someone unsuitable, mother would never let him."

Sitting with her head down, Parvati knew she owed her twin an explanation. "It was my desperation to find someone for myself that saw me trapped by that bloody diary, it also showed me how immature I was being. Being possessed by a dark lord is a sure way to make you grow up."

Padma now had her arm around her twin as Parvati told the only person she could really talk to about what was on her mind. "I now have a famous sister, who has an even more famous betrothed - with best friends people are already trying to get close to." She held her hand up to stop Padma interrupting. "I'm not complaining, sis, just pointing out a fact. I also have thousands of galleons in Gringotts, again thanks to you and your friends. Parvati Patil is now very desirable - and that's my problem. I want someone to like me for me."

"What about Blaise?"

"Oh, we get on fine, and at least he was interested in me before all of this. If he comes to Florida that will give mother and father a chance to see for themselves what he's like. After the ball, Father might approach the Zabinis about a contract between us. With an Order of Merlin, First Class, in the family, the Patils now have options that weren't open to them before." Parvati's smile robbed those words of any jealousy or hurt, both sisters were well aware what would have happened if Padma hadn't come down to the chamber.

"...and what do you think about being betrothed to Blaise?"

This rather caught Parvati on the hop, and made her think about the possibility of that happening. "Blaise is really nice and treats me well, with Neville and Harry watching his every move I can understand that. With you and Hermione snagging your two guys, I would place Blaise right at the top of everyone else - that was why I asked him out in the first place. I know I'm the Gryffindor but I don't think I would be brave enough to do what you and Neville did, my insides were churning waiting on the result of your bonding so I don't know how you felt."

"I was terrified, I think Neville was too. When I felt the bond forming I've never been happier in my life. Getting betrothed was never top of my to do list, getting betrothed to Neville was simply amazing. Take your time with Blaise, I'll even speak with father and get him to hold off with the betrothal offer until you feel ready - if you want? I'm sure we could get Harry to invite him for another week too, if you're serious about Blaise?"

This got a smile from her twin. "That actually sounds good but can we wait until after Florida? Spending a week in his company should give us both a better idea of where we're going. I also want to see how Blaise reacts amongst everyone else, I like our extended family and any boyfriend is going to have to fit in. Veela, muggles, goblins and a werewolf added to us being from India might be too much for a Slytherin pureblood to accept."

This had Padma chuckling, "We are a rather weird lot, aren't we? I wouldn't change it though."

-oOoOo-

Harry and Hermione were currently talking with a couple of those muggles and a goblin. They were desperate to find out about their house in Kingussie but were surprised when Emma was the one doing the talking, she even had some obligatory photographs. "The house is badly in need of renovation but the countryside around it is simply stunning. It reminded me of some Victorian landed gentry who would use it as a hunting lodge for their guests, there were certainly enough stuffed animal heads hanging from the walls to support that idea."

While noticing the visible shudders this produced in Harry and Father, Hermione still had another question she wanted answered first. "Mum, you've seen our house?"

Barchoke immediately took on the role of mediator. "My daughter, you have stayed in our dwelling at Gringotts. I believe the word you used to describe it was spartan. We wanted to make the house into a home ready for the summer. While we goblins can easily handle all the structural repairs the building required, to do any decoration I needed help. It was certainly a help to get all the carcasses out of the building. We goblins only mount the heads of thieves and criminals as a warning to others, not animals we have killed."

"Dobby took the mounted heads and sold them, turns out they were all antique. It gave you two quite a budget for redecorating though probably not that much where Harry's concerned." Dan's levity lifted the mood once more as both Harry and Hermione hung excitedly on his every word. "There's twelve bedrooms, a number of reception rooms and a lovely big dining room. Plenty of room for the people who are here this weekend to stay but not really suitable for a massive party. Barchoke, your mum and I intended to take you both there on Sunday for a look before you head back to Hogwarts."

Harry was looking at the photographs while Dan spoke, their new home would certainly be more than suitable for him and Hermione. After a quick apology to her mum, Hermione was also devouring the photographs with her eyes. The building had a kind of grey, rugged exterior. Then again, it needed to have to survive life in the Scottish highlands. Her eyes were drawn to all the fireplaces, almost one in every room, imagining spending her evenings sitting in front of a roaring one with a good book. "Is there a public room that could be turned into a library?"

Emma had samples of materials, colour charts and even pictures of the style of furniture that might turn this wonderful house into a home. Her daughter's question though just started her laughing while thinking of the old axiom - the more things change, the more they stay the same. "Oh I think you should be able to fit one in. Now, about colour schemes, I thought that something like this would work well..."

At this point, Dan and Barchoke withdrew, wondering if the now totally absorbed trio even noticed they'd gone.

-oOoOo-

The healers didn't want Frank and Alice's first time out of Gringotts to be Longbottom Manor, fearing too many memories might actually hinder what they were trying to achieve here. Getting out of their room and meeting people was just wonderful for the couple, that they got to see their son and his betrothed with all their friends already made their visit a success.

Behind their smiles both Dan and Emma thought Frank resembled someone recovering from a stroke, they decided to pass on all the information they could find on that subject to the healers looking after the couple. It might be nothing but they couldn't ignore something that was so obvious to them.

Neville was simply ecstatic, for the first time in his life he was seeing his parents outside of a hospital room. That Padma and all his friends were there too just added to his emotions.

Hearing of their plans for the summer, Sirius and Henrica found themselves being congratulated on their upcoming marriage. Alice was being carried along with the excitement and enthusiasm in the room but she had to protect her husband and not commit themselves before they were ready. She would hate to say yes and then have to disappoint Neville. "The ball and then a birthday party the following night might be too much excitement too soon for us but this island sounds like something we could look forward to."

Neville would have been happy with a lot less than that so there were no complaints from him, nothing was going to put a dent in his good mood today. Rather than crowd the recovering couple, everyone then withdrew to leave the Longbottoms having tea with the Patils as the two sets of parents began to get to know one another.

Harry found himself being wrapped in a tearful Emma's arms after they left the two families to their tea. "Harry, every time I see Frank and Alice, I can't tell you how proud I am that you made it happen. There are just no words..."

"Neville would have done the exact same for me if the positions were reversed, I'm also getting to go on holiday with my godmother and godfather - how special is that?"

"What do you make of that, Luna, it looks like I don't count anymore!" Everyone could see Hermione was joking but the witch in question certainly offered no complaints or resistance when her bonded took her in his arms and showed everyone just how much Hermione meant to Harry. Neville may be the happiest person on the planet at the moment but Harry wasn't far behind his friend.

-oOoOo-

Peter was studying copies of the Prophet he'd lifted out the rubbish on a very rare spying mission to Diagon Alley, they were painting a picture of the British magical society he didn't like. The ministry had finally gotten its act together and their alliance with the goblins was set to change their world beyond recognition.

Peter certainly wasn't the most powerful Gryffindor of his year group, nor the smartest. Then again, he was up against Remus, James and Sirius. Peter was certainly clever enough to see what the ministry was up to here and, while he hated what it would force him to do, he thought it was pure genius on their part.

The dark lord had coined the term 'blood traitor' to tarnish those families who had the correct bloodline but didn't agree with his philosophy - the ministry had just gone one step further. Their use of these new goblin wards to stop marked death eaters entering the ministry building was brave, bold and brilliantly executed. By targeting individuals instead of families, they had avoided a pureblood backlash. Giving those same individuals the chance to take truth serum and say they were forced to accept the dark mark under the imperius left them with nowhere else to go, it was either leave the ministry or a one way trip to Azkaban.

The ministry had just created a whole different class of sub citizen and the wizarding public backed them all the way, these death eaters had made their choice and were now no longer welcome in their society. Peter could only see these wards spreading and wondered how long it would be before the first business or shop had them installed. It was also entirely plausible that Gringotts would erect the same wards at the bank that protect the ministry, denying those carrying the mark access to their gold too.

Peter read the issue where just about every reporter the Prophet had was at the ministry, waiting to see what the first day of the new wards would bring. The Prophet was proclaiming a stunning victory for the ministry since there was not one incident - everyone marked had stayed away. The Prophet had no option but to proclaim this, since nothing happened and they had no story otherwise.

It was time for Peter to leave Britain and he had his escape route all planned. The Channel Tunnel wouldn't officially open for another year, the tunnels themselves were complete though. There would certainly be precautions in place to stop rats infesting the tunnels but then again, he was no ordinary rat. His main worry was currently that these goblin wards would be erected across the entrance, with the ministry appearing to be on top of things Peter thought it would only be a matter of time before someone decided to do it.

He would need to leave and find his master, only at his side would Peter be safe. The ministry wanted him and so did the death eaters, he was the one who led their master to his destruction so he would find no succour amongst his former colleagues.

That the public now knew his master wasn't dead meant the ministry would be seriously looking for him, Peter would have to get to the dark lord first otherwise someone very dear to him would perish - himself.

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