Knowledge is Power

When Hermione gets cursed at the Ministry, Harry and the Death Eaters discover the power he knows not. Unleashing this power has far reaching consequences. Weasley and Dumbledore bashing – time travel story that's hopefully different.


29. Chapter 29

As the Potters were leaving the ministry Bill and Charlie asked for a quiet word, "Harry I know I can never make up for the harm that the Weasley family have inflicted on you but I would like to start by offering you both some help with the first task tomorrow."

Harry held his hand up to forestall any revelations, "Bill I really appreciate the offer but I wouldn't like anyone to think I was cheating," Harry had to pause as Hermione's silent laughter was ringing in his head. "Let me just assume that Charlie here isn't in Britain purely for a visit and we'll take it from there."

The smile on both Weasley faces told Harry he'd judged it right, the Potters already knew what the first task entailed but the two red heads now thought they had been some help and would go away happy.

It was Joan, still in Harry's arms that spoke, "Dad, we need to go talk to uncle Neville."

They had both wondered if Joan had some empathic abilities, as she always seemed to know when someone needed a hug and was an excellent reader of people. Her instant close friendship with Millicent yet continued distrust of Ron was only the latest examples.

They found Neville and Luna trying in vain to console a sobbing Augusta Longbottom; the woman's whole world had been shattered by the revelations in the court. "How could Dumbledore do that to my Frank and Alice?" She noticed the Potters, "Your mum and dad were as close to them as you four are with each other, they would have raised you as brothers and loved you both equally. That bastard stole so much from all of us and may he burn in hell for eternity."

The three girls were attempting to comfort the distraught witch as Harry pulled Neville into a corner.

"Nev I need you to be the head of your house for a few hours," Neville looked shocked that Harry would even suggest something like that but Harry continued, "your gran is in no state to make any decisions and my instincts are telling me the time is now. Voldemort probably knew more about the arts of the mind than any other wizard and all that information is in my head, we've had mum, dad and Poppy searching for months and their research has helped us refine our plan. We were hoping to make an attempt to help them as soon as Riddle was dealt with but my gut is telling me to do it now."

"Anything you need, all that I have is yours. If you can do this I might even have to dump Luna and marry you!" Neville had Harry in a bear hug as Luna waltzed over.

"If you get to marry Harry does that mean it's me and Hermione?" The boy's laughter enabled them to wipe their eyes without embarrassing each other though Harry soon had everyone in tears as he knelt in front of Augusta.

While holding her hand he spoke with such emotion that his aura was visible by the time he was finished, "when we bought the six houses in Italy I was being totally selfish, one is ours and one for mum and dad, Remus and Pomona were gifted one as a wedding present as will Sirius and Amber. The fifth house will be our wedding present to Luna and Neville because I want to live my life surrounded by my family. There is one house left and it's for my godmother, we're going over to St Mungo's to try and convince her to join us. Uncle Frank is of course welcome to."

Augusta was confused until Harry almost made her heart explode, "We think we might be able to help them and Neville has granted us permission to try."

The old witch had to be helped out the room by her grandson and his betrothed as she'd just had one shock too many today, they walked over to the group who were waiting for them.

Charlie and Bill were chatting to Ginny but the dragon handler had to excuse himself, citing he'd left the twins at Hogwarts and the other handlers might have fed them to a particularly nasty Norwegian Ridgeback by now.

Hermione asked her husband over their bond if it was because Charlie was a dragon handler that his hint had all the finesse of a piano dropping on your head or if it was just the case that all the Weasley's were incapable of subtlety. Bill promised to let Gringotts know they might be late for their meeting as he also headed back to work.

Dan, Emma and Poppy had all been involved in the discussions regarding what they were going to attempt so were definitely accompanying them while Minerva and Filius decided they also wanted to be included. Counting Ginny there was now twelve of them who set off to St Mungo's.


The receptionist on the desk at St Mungo's was well aware she shouldn't let these twelve people into ward 49 but who could say no to Harry Potter? She certainly couldn't and had no intention of replying in the negative to ANYTHING he asked of her, the witches hand trembled as she personally pinned his visitors badge to his robes, taking as long as she dared and as many liberties as she thought she could get away with.

Joan was just itching to let this woman feel her right shoe impacting with her bony ankle but had been warned by her mother they needed to get into this room so dad would be laying on the charm a bit thick. When her dad took the jezebel's hand off his chest and kissed the back of it Joan had to be physically restrained by her granddad from attacking the harlot.

The receptionist didn't even notice the glares coming from the little girl as the entire party filed past her, she was in a fantasy world that had those lips kissing her body in ever decreasing circles as they made their way slowly to their intended target. The corridor had been empty for over ten minutes and she was still standing there with shudders running through her body.

Neville took his mother by the hand and led her back to bed, Augusta had finally got her brain cells communicating with each other, "Lord Potter are they in any danger from this?"

"This procedure won't cause them any harm at all."

Poppy's sigh alerted everyone that they weren't being told the full truth, "What Harry is going to attempt is to enter their minds and try to locate their consciousness, this procedure has never harmed a patient but quite a few healers who have attempted it have lost themselves and been unable to return. The procedure was discontinued as the risks were judged to far outweigh any gains."

"Harry, I appreciate the offer but I can't let you take that risk," said a shocked Neville.

Harry tried to reassure everyone, "you all saw the evidence today that Hermione and I are soul bound, she will be my anchor, my beacon to lead me home. All research shows that making contact is only half the battle as I have to convince them to leave their sanctuary and the longer it's been since the trauma the harder it will be."

Hermione showed her husband had her full backing by explaining the rest of the plan, "When Harry has made contact we have to use our patronus to generate an atmosphere of safety and love to encourage their return. Hopefully we will still be able to communicate and get our timing right."

Luna drew her wand and kissed Neville before practicing her patronus, an Old English sheepdog padded around the room. Hermione couldn't help but think how apt that was, an intelligent lively animal who was extremely loyal and protected her herd.

Neville's was a bear and Ginny kissed Harry on the cheek before a sword-wielding knight astride a white charger galloped around the room for a few seconds, not one person there was surprised that the knight bore a remarkable likeness to Harry. Joan now understood about the patronus charm and couldn't help but think hers would be along the lines of her aunt Ginny's, her dad on a horse was a powerful image but she didn't understand the sword.

Harry was sitting beside the bed with his eyes closed, concentrating on what he had to do when a familiar weight settle in his lap and a small pair of arms encircled his chest. A whispered "come back to us dad" was followed by a kiss on the cheek as he silently said the incantation.

Harry was in a very strange environment, he found himself completely surrounded by white bed sheets that were about eight feet tall. He imagined this would be the result of some advertising executive that had been given Persil detergent to try, and instead of putting it in the washing machine had spent all night snorting the white powder. To make matters worse the sheets were blowing in a wind that constantly changed direction. His sense of disorientation was causing him to start panicking until he felt the calming presence of his wife.

It was similar to talking with Amelia on the mobile from Italy, there seemed to be a slight delay, which felt really weird, as Hermione and he had got so used to flashing memories, messages and ideas to one another instantaneously now that they did it all the time without even noticing. He recognised this as some type of maze and Hermione asked if he had his wand there with him, guessing where she was going with this he drew it and placed it flat on his hand.

"Point me Alice Longbottom."

His wand span around in circles for a minute or so before settling down and giving a positive indication to the right of where he was standing, having no better clue he followed the direction his wand was pointing.

After edging his way through the maze and repeated castings of the 'point me' spell Harry was beginning to contemplate cutting curses followed by reparo charms to make his way through the sheets, Hermione's loud 'NO!' startled him so much he nearly dropped his wand.

"Harry we have no idea what damage using a cutting curse would do, you're in someone's mind."

Harry soldiered on trying to solve the craziest maze ever invented using the spell his wife discovered for the tri-wiz maze, he was starting to worry as all sense of time had long gone. The only indication that he was venturing deeper into the maze was the increased delay in contact with Hermione.

Harry moved a sheet and came upon a young round-faced woman who was sitting at her dressing table, running a brush through her luscious brown hair in front of a vanity mirror. This image appeared about fifty years younger than the Alice Longbottom he'd seen Neville leading by the arm, the sparse grey hair and clapped in cheeks had prematurely aged the poor witch who'd yet to reach her fortieth birthday.

Just one more reason to take down Bellatrix Lestrange, Alice dropped her brush when she noticed Harry's image appearing in her mirror, "Who are you? Where's my Frank and Neville?"

Back in the real world Joan was wiping sweat of her dad's brow, it was now over half an hour since he'd went into a trance, when she took a sharp intake of breath, "He's found her!"

It was almost ten seconds later before Hermione could confirm the news; Joan seemed able to read emotions from Alice as well as her dad and may prove a quicker link. Hermione was struggling to remain in contact with Harry and the real world at the same time.

Harry could see she was very anxious and could understand that reaction, time didn't seem to have any meaning in here so he was trying to prepare for her shock when learning that thirteen years had passed since she last saw her husband or son.

Harry took a deep breath to steady his nerves, "Hello Alice, I'm Harry Potter and my best friend Neville Longbottom asked me to fetch his mum, my godmother so she could meet his beautiful betrothed."

The fear in her eyes was plain to see as she stuttered, "Where's my Frank?"

Harry sat down crossed legged, trying to make himself look as unthreatening as possible. "I really don't know how to tell you this so I'll just come right out and say it. You're currently in a bed in St Mungo's where you've been for the last thirteen years, I'm in your mind trying to bring you back to Neville, and Frank is in the same condition and lying in the bed next to you."

This information floored this version of Alice Longbottom as she struggled with what that would mean, "Why didn't you try Frank first?"

Harry got the impression she was stalling for time, "What would have happened if I'd woke uncle Frank first? When he came round and saw you lying there he would have kicked my arse for not waking you first. When he wakes you have to be sitting there waiting on him or I would never hear the end of it." He had no memories of the Longbottoms but it just sounded right.

Alice almost smiled as this young man had described perfectly how her husband would react, "I would like to leave here but I don't know how, and I'm frightened."

Harry tried to offer reassurance, basically he would tell Alice anything to get her out of here and she could shout at him later if she liked. "Things have changed a lot since you've been here, Neville and his betrothed, Luna Lovegood are very powerful and together with my wife and I have wiped out the death eaters."

Joan was concentrating before saying, "Now, it has to be now!"

Remus had insisted the group learn the charm but could never have foreseen the use his students would put it to, Neville thought of actually being able to talk to his parents and his patronus literally had his mother in a bear hug. Luna used the memory of Neville asking for her hand and a Old English sheepdog was licking her future mother-in-law's face, Hermione just needed the memory of being in bed with her husband last night and the silver otter was swimming over Alice's legs. Ginny had the most trouble with perfecting her patronus, flying or Quidditch memories just didn't cut it, the memory of Harry bringing Bill to the Institute because of her nightmares was such a wonderful thing for a friend to do that she refused to be embarrassed by her form. Harry Potter was Ginny Pomfrey's knight in shining armour so what other form could her protection from evil take. Her knight added to the positive energy that was radiating around Alice Longbottom.

Alice was glowing as she asked Harry what was happening. "That's your son and his betrothed casting their patronus charms to guide us home."

Harry could see his godmother was desperate to leave but was still hesitating, her last experience before retreating to here was excruciating pain that she never wanted to experience again. "I want to believe you but what if it's a trap?"

Harry could sense it was now or never and he would have to take whatever risk he thought necessary, "You knew my dad was an animagus?" he asked.

Her nod led to the appearance of prongs and she couldn't take her eyes off the stag.

Alice whispered "James!" as the sheets began to disappear revealing a door that prongs sheparded the hesitant witch towards, as she walked (was pushed by prongs) through the door Harry vanished, regaining his body.

Harry couldn't remember ever feeling this exhausted in his life, he was both physically and magically drained. The fact that he and his wife were back on the same instantaneous wavelength brought a smile to his face though he was aware that Hermione was just as cream crackered as he was. Joan was still residing on his lap while Ginny and Emma holding on to him were the only reasons he was still upright in his chair. Hermione had her dad and Luna helping her as she had been feeding power to Harry over their bond and was now more than ready to just curl up with her husband and spend the next twenty four hours asleep.

The sound of sobbing interrupted their mental checking of each other as they both glanced over to see that Neville had replaced his patronus in having his mother in a bear hug, a hug that was being returned for the first time since the young wizard was a toddler.

For the second time in a matter of hours the sobbing was coming from Augusta Longbottom but this time it had a very different timbre as her greatest wish was coming true right in front of her eyes. One look at the Potters and it was patently obvious that her son wouldn't be returning to them today but she was a patient witch, she'd waited thirteen years so another few days should be easy. It would also give her grandson time to get to know his mother before finally being able to speak with his father.

There was not one shred of doubt in her mind that the Potters would be able to bring her Frank back to them, they had just destroyed one man who thought he was a god and tomorrow would put an end to another who strived desperately to become one. Augusta thought if any being could ever attain that goal it would be these unassuming teens, fortunately all they wanted was to be left alone to be with their friends and family which the elderly witch considered goals worthy of any gods.

Poppy was being foiled from performing diagnostic scans because of all the other bodies in the way, Neville didn't appear to have any intention of letting his mother go any time soon. Joan and Ginny were hugging Harry while Emma held him by the shoulders; Hermione had a crying Luna hugging her while her father supported his daughter as she tried to recover from her exertions.

Poppy would also have had a great deal of trouble reading the results as tears streaming out your eyes was not contusive to analysing complicated results. A much younger Poppy Pomfrey had danced at the weddings of the Longbottoms and the Potters and had been the presiding healer at both Neville and Harry's births. She was also the only person in the room who realised the enormity of what the Potters had went through to accomplish the miracle that she'd witnessed here today.

All her years of dealing with children told her that the six in this room were an exceptional group, putting your life in someone else's hands creates a bond that reaches beyond magic. This group had performed that feat for each other multiple times with even Joan being saved in Argentina and the great hall of Hogwarts, the little witch was ready to face any fate that court handed out today rather than move away from her father. Poppy reckoned you would need a muggle computer to accurately work out the life debts shared out amongst them, her Ginny alone owed three that she knew of.

Dobby and Winky popped in with the Elvin brew that was better than any pepper up potion available in St Mungo's and it had an immediate effect on both Potters, Poppy was then able to move the others out of the way to perform her scans, quickly establishing that other than being exhausted both Potters had a clean bill of health. Luna managed to get Neville to release his mother long enough for Poppy to examine her, the healers suggested course of treatment that required Alice to get some sun, good food and be surrounded by her family was whole heartedly endorsed by everyone.

The six-way huddle that commenced in the centre of the room by the youngsters left the adults feeling superfluous as the six seemed to be communicating their feelings silently, they were now so close that words sometimes got in the way. The gratitude of Neville and Luna didn't need them nor did the love of Ginny and Joan have to be spoken. Neville then proudly led the group over to his mother's bed.

"Mum this is Luna, my betrothed. You've met Harry and this is his wife Hermione with their daughter Joan and our best friend Ginny Pomfrey. You know Minerva, Filius and Poppy with the two at the end being Dan and Emma Granger, Hermione's parents."

Alice hadn't taken her eyes off Harry as her mouth tried to form words for the first time in over a decade, Winky reappeared with a goblet and asked Poppy's permission to administer the potion to Alice, with a nod the healer confirmed her absolute trust in the elves. After taking the potion Alice Longbottom regained a bit of colour in her cheeks before managing to croak "Thanks Harry!" Her glance shifted to the bed next to her as the man who was her husband lay there with no interest whatsoever in what was happening around him.

"You're very welcome aunt Alice, I'm afraid my wife and I are exhausted and will need a day or two to recover before making an attempt with uncle Frank."

Dobby re-entered the room, "Harry Potter sir, Director Ragnok has postponed your proposed meeting till nine tomorrow morning, he advised you rest until then."

Hermione couldn't help it, "that wouldn't have been at your suggestion by any chance, would it Dobby?"

Harry's laughter at the now blushing elf was quickly followed by, "Dobby you are the best, and Winky you're a very close second. Our day is now free until the ceremony tonight and I for one intend to spend that time in bed with my wife."

"Slightly TMI there son," joked Dan.

Harry was getting the hang of this family thing and revelling in it so joked right back, "Dad I'm so tired that you'll just have to wait until another day for more grandchildren."

Hermione decided to join in, "I just may have to trade you in for a younger, more athletic model Potter." Her witty quip was kind of spoiled by the rather large yawn she performed in the middle of it.

"What about Frank?" Alice croaked though her voice was slightly stronger this time.

"We'll take you both back with us," Neville declared.

"Can we do that?" asked Minerva, "We needed Harry to cause a distraction so we could sneak in here, I don't think they'll be too pleased if we make off with a couple of their patients."

Alice's eyes nearly popped out her head as she watched Harry remove a device from his pocket and start talking to someone inside it, "Hi Amelia, we're currently at St Mungo's where we managed to coax Alice Longbottom to come back and join us. We want to take the both of them with us to the Institute and I thought I'd better check with you before some bureaucratic arsehole tries to hit us with kidnapping charges…Amelia? She hung up!"

The words were no sooner out his mouth when Amelia came barrelling through the doors, abruptly stopping when, instead of the usual dead eyes that greeted all her previous visits she was confronted by her former auror smiling at her.

"Hello Amelia, you head of the DMLA yet?"

Even hard-nosed Amelia Bones had tears in her eyes, "It's so good to hear your voice again Alice and actually I'm minister of magic, thanks to this godson of yours." She turned to the couple, "Harry, Hermione please don't take this the wrong way but you both look like shit!"

"You should have seen them before they got some elvin pick-me-up," Poppy chimed in.

Harry chuckled, "that's what I love about you Amelia, you always call it as you see it. We want to take them both home with us, it'll be a few days before we're fit enough to make an attempt with Frank but I don't want them poked and prodded by healers who've ignored them for so many years."

Amelia spoke directly to Alice and asked jokingly, "Do you really want to leave with these reprobates?"

Alice took Neville's hand, "More than anything in the world I want to get to know my son and this beautiful girl who's joining our family."

Amelia had expected no other answer, "As far as I'm concerned that deals with any legal stuff. I'm assuming from the state of you two this is another situation where it wouldn't matter if our healers were to observe the procedure as they wouldn't have the power required to carry it out."

Hermione nodded, "Harry lost all sense of time and contact with his body, he had no idea how much power it was taking to do what he was trying. Casting your patronus while in someone else's mind was instinctively brilliant love but almost drained both of us. Without our bond even Harry wouldn't have had the power to pull it off and might not have made it back."

Harry lovingly kissed his wife then addressed the elves, "Dobby, Winky can you arrange to get everyone back to the institute?"

The elves once again put their own interpretation on their instructions, "Just as soon as we get you both home and into bed," answered Dobby while both elves took the Potters and popped to Italy.

Everything was quiet until Alice commented, "there must have been some amount of changes because I've never seen elves that dressed or acted like that."

"Those are two special elves," answered Amelia.

"They have to be," said Luna so softly that they almost had to strain to hear, "because the people they look after are just about the most special couple you're ever likely to meet."

There was not one person in the room that disagreed with the blond witch.


Hermione awoke to find herself wrapped around her husband and thought she could quite happily stay here forever. Since they were dressed in their usual bedtime attire of nothing at all she could tell from Harry's reaction that he thought it was an outstanding idea.

Unfortunately they both chickened out at the thought of telling Joan she wouldn't see her aunt Millicent tonight and Minerva might need some back-up while breaking into her old office in Hogwarts. Dad's joke about her being a cat burglar had been one of his better attempts at humour but unfortunately his audience at the time had consisted of wizards and witches who hadn't a clue what he was talking about, his grouse about wizarding wit though had everyone laughing which just pissed him off more.

They were going to have to settle for a shower though she was pleased that this also drew a reaction from Harry, it was nice to see his energy levels were on the up.


Graham Bulstrode thought his chest would burst from the pride he felt for his family, his wife was on his arm as their daughter with her betrothed walked in front of them while the entire great hall of Hogwarts was on it's feet cheering for Millicent.

He noticed that neither his wife or daughter paid any attention to the dignitaries who were waiting for them at the top table but instead concentrated on the group at the end of the Gryffindor table which currently had a young black haired child bouncing up and down on top of it from excitement.

They had barely taken their reserved seats when the minister rose and approached the podium.

"I am aware it's customary for the presentation and speeches to take place after the feast but we're breaking with that tradition tonight so the young lady being honoured can get it out of the way and enjoy her meal."

This drew a few laughs from the hall.

"At Halloween both Millicent and her betrothed Ronald Weasley were kidnapped by a death eater while visiting Hogsmead. Miss Bulstrode awoke to find herself bound, without a wand and in the middle of a graveyard. Hearing cries as her betrothed underwent torture she firstly freed herself then looked for a weapon, using the branch of a tree she firstly killed the magically enhanced poisonous snake that was Voldemort's familiar before seriously injuring Bellatrix Lestrange. Freeing her unconscious betrothed she proceeded to carry him away from there while being pursued by Lord Voldemort himself. The courage and fortitude this young witch displayed that night more than earned her the right to become the youngest ever recipient of our nation's premier award, The Order of Merlin – First Class!"

The hall erupted in cheering as Millicent made her way forward and had her medal placed round her neck by the minister before being invited to say a few words.

Millie took a deep breath and began her speech, "I feel a bit of a fraud standing here accepting this award but when I mentioned my concerns to Harry he just laughed. He pointed out that I chose to do what was right rather than what was easy, something if I may say he has plenty experience with. I've also noticed when he makes his choices it usually leads to one of two consequences with people either wanting to kill him or kiss his arse, since it would appear that nobody is about to kill me and my arse is already claimed then I should be ok."

The great hall reverberated with laughter and Millie would swear she could feel the heat coming off Ron's blushing face behind her.

"Seriously though I wouldn't be standing here now if Lord Potter's party hadn't turned up at that precise moment and blasted that demented squirrel tit over tail to allow us to escape. Circumstances have conspired against them receiving the awards they so richly deserve, not least of which is the fact that they are now all Italian citizens but if I may I would like to accept this award on behalf of everyone who was in that graveyard and fighting against the dark side that night."

The applause was thunderous and continued for about five minutes with only Millicent's pleading restoring order to the hall.

"This award comes with a cheque for five thousand galleons which I feel unable to accept, instead I would like the gold to be donated to the Granger Foundation to aid with the construction of the new orphanage as both my betrothed and I wish to help these children any way we can."

Ron shot to his feet but this was not the boy of a few months ago who would have been ranting about throwing gold away, this Ron was applauding her decision like a maniac with tears running unashamedly down his cheeks with the pride he felt for his Millie.

After the feast Millicent introduced her father to the Potter party, Graham was as unsuccessful as his wife in trying to thank lord Potter for everything that he'd done for his family and asking how he could repay the debt of honour owed.

Harry held out his hand, "Mr Bulstrode all I ask is your hand in friendship, there can be no debts of honour amongst friends."

Hermione was trying not to laugh as the sight of Victor Krum with two hangers-on for back-up heading towards the Gryffindor table, it reminded her so much of the ferret and his fawning followers who used to make the same journey with the exact same 'you should be bowing in my presence' attitude.

Victor was not a happy world-renowned seeker, he'd been upstaged just as thoroughly tonight as on his first visit to this blasted school. Didn't these people know that he was the main attraction and automatic centre of attention wherever he went?

He didn't understand how this boy had defeated Dumbledore on his last visit so, following his normal procedure for everything he didn't understand it was filed away in his brain as unimportant. Viktor decided it was time to impose his presence on these proceedings and when he saw Potter talking to the beautiful medal winner the opportunity was too good to pass up.

Hermione's mental warning to her husband about the incoming trouble was balanced with the fact that Amelia, Minerva and Filius had just slipped away to perform their feat of espionage, a small distraction that took everyone's attention away from the missing minister was just what the doctor ordered.

The Bulgarian seeker was supposedly talking to his followers but his voice was deliberately pitched as if he was making an announcement to the whole hall, which is exactly what he was doing.

"You know it always amazes me how beautiful girls seem to attach themselves to losers."

The sound from Ron's mind was almost audible as his hero crashed and burned from a 'Wronski Feint' without the aid of a broom from atop the incredibly high pedestal the Quidittch obsessed red head had placed him on.

Hermione though was quick to respond, "It would appear that your unaccompanied presence here belies that hypothesis."

Victor's confused look went unaided from his companions while the Potters were having a conversation over their bond, "I don't remember him being such a dick the last time?"

Harry supplied the answer, "That's because the last time he had a headmaster looking out for him, a whole school fawning over him and the most beautiful girl in the school as a date for the ball!"

Harry decided to help Krum before he hurt himself trying to work out if he'd been insulted, "Darling you have to remember they come from a school where the headmaster is a cowardly death eater, social niceties and polite conversation won't be high up in their curriculum."

Even Krum recognised the sarcastic comment as an insult but Harry continued before he could say anything.

"What my beautiful wife was trying to explain to you morons is that your theory on beautiful women can't be true since you three don't have any yet are the biggest losers in the hall." Harry got right in Krum's face, "Hermione and I were going to take it easy in the competition as we don't need more fame or gold but the thought of children admiring a wanker like you is unacceptable to us so you're going to be exposed for the mediocre wizard that you are."

One of Victor's friends proved that his brain cell count actually reached double figures by grabbing the seekers arm as he tried to draw his wand on Harry; Krum was left with just a closing threat to try and restore some credibility to his tarnished public image. "Just watch your back Potter!"

This declaration of intent was rapidly accompanied by a rather loud double click as Victor found himself staring down the barrel of a pump action shotgun from the distance of about six inches.

Emma's voice left no room for any doubt, "Watching his back is my job sonny, you make a move on it and I'll cut you in half. If you sneak around trying to ambush my family I will have no hesitation in killing you."

His two companions pulled a white faced Victor away from the confrontation; as soon as they turned round a little wandless magic from Hermione left three sets of Bulgarian butt cheeks on display for the whole hall to see. The riotous laughter that greeted the sight of their bare nether regions was the perfect cover for their team to slip back into the hall, they were smiling for a much more noble reason though Hermione noticed that it didn't stop Amelia and Minerva checking the Bulgarians out.

Graham Bulstrode couldn't believe his eyes, a muggle woman had made a famous pureblood wizard perform a humiliating climb down then her daughter completed the rout by vanishing part of their clothing without needing a wand, just who were these people?

Ron seemed to read his mind, "Brilliant but scary, both mother and daughter!"

Graham had thought Ron was a selfish arsehole but his daughter was clearly in love with the prick so for her sake he'd tried to make the best of it, the young man appeared to have done a bit of growing up recently though facing death could have that effect. He was listening as the young girl called his daughter 'aunt Millicent' and chatting away as if they were close family, "Your former friends are really something," he said to Ron.

"Yea and I owe them a major apology but I need to work out just how big an arsehole I've been before I'm ready for that. They'll never forgive me and I can't blame them for that, the best I can hope for is to be tolerated because they like Millie. She and Joan get on so well and I can see Millie working for the Potters when she's older, those children from the orphanage made a big impression on us both."

Graham thought there might be hope for this young wizard but like fathers the world over his opinion matched that of Lady Potter, Millicent was much too good for Ronald Weasley.

Minerva whispered to Harry that it was almost like the book was helping them and wanted to be copied so, having got what they came for they promised Millicent they would see her tomorrow and left for mum and dad's with Minerva, Filius and their precious cargo heading back to the institute.


Harry and Hermione were in Gringotts while mum and dad played the proud grandparents and showed Joan the sights of muggle London, though the Gardiner credit cards took a bashing in Hamleys as they bought toys for all the kids.

The Potters had calmed down some since the incident at the Institute and decided to financially destroy just the five ex-governors but make it blatantly obvious what was in store for any one else who decided to go after them. Purebloods tended to put all their eggs in one basket and, as long as it was generating income leave it like that for generations.

When your sole source of gold is printing and Lovegood Press suddenly opens a printing business with the latest equipment and their own newspaper to advertise the fact that their charges are almost half of yours then that river of gold becomes a drip almost overnight.

When that same newspaper then identifies you as one of the people who tried to force sixteen children into a situation where they would loose their magic just so you could retain what little power and influence you had left then 'deep shit' was one of the milder terms for the amount of trouble you were in.

The goblins were very impressed at just how ruthless the Potters were and estimated that their initial outlay would be recovered in about two years then the businesses, suppliers and even land they bought dealing with the five individuals would start returning a profit. This was manna from heaven for the war like creatures, destroying your enemy AND making a profit, they were very happy to be on the same side as the Potters.

Ragnok proposed looking at just how much it would cost to gain control of some of the key areas of wizarding life then if the Potters were threatened in the future they would have the means already in place to bring magical Britain to it's financial knees.

The goblins were aware that there was no innovation in magical Britain, the idea of something new being able to do a job better, quicker and cheaper was an alien concept to the purebloods who controlled their society. Investing in the future didn't really apply when you were living about a century in the past.


The morning had been good for them but now it was time to put their game faces on, standing in Hogsmead awaiting a portkey bringing the rest of their party here from Italy. They had deliberated over allowing students to attend finally deciding that the ones who had taken an oath that morning in the great hall could accompany them, Cedric wasn't being allowed anywhere near Hogwarts until after Riddle was dead.

It was a beautiful late autumnal day in Hogsmead with the Scottish air so clear you could see for miles, but with the usual deceptive chill that ate into the marrow of your bones. The Institute had purchased heavy winter cloaks for everyone attending and had them made in navy blue so they wouldn't stand out just as much in the crowd though their distinctive snowy owl logo proclaimed to everyone who they were. Living on the Amalfi Coast left them freezing in what the locals would consider nothing more than 'a lovely fresh day,' neither Potter was looking forward to swimming in that bloody freezing lake for the next task.

A portkey delivered the fourteen students, Pomona, Remus, Sirius and Amber right in front of the Potters and Grangers, the eight were suited up for battle under their cloaks and the party made it's way to Hogwarts.

Harry saw the danger coming hurtling towards him but couldn't do a thing about it, when a half-giant decides you need a hug the only options available are to grin and bear it. Only Hermione's introduction of their daughter saved Harry's ribs as Hagrid kneeled down to talk to Joan and was immediately wrapped round her finger, she spent the rest of the journey sitting on Hagrid's shoulder as he pointed to various things and told her stories of her parents but it was when he mentioned showing her some unicorn fawns that Harry knew these two would be friends for life.

There were lots of good-luck hugs and kisses as the party made its way to their reserved seats in the stands while Neville and Luna refused to leave them, following Harry and Hermione to the tent that had been set up for the competitors. There was a ring of aurors around the tent but none of them fancied telling any of these kids what to do, memories of their ministry demonstration was still fresh in most of their minds. A couple more good luck kisses and both Potters entered the tent with their friends standing guard outside, if there was going to be trouble the four of them wanted to be able to get together as quickly as possible.

Inside the tent they quickly eyed-up the opposition, Victor was still seething from last night, Fleur seemed caught between attempting to flirt with Harry and worrying about what awaited them in the arena which gave the witch a constipated expression that both Potters were sure was not her intention. Bole on the other hand was as green as his robes, the Slytherin beater was clearly 'bricking it.'

When the officials entered with a bag for them to draw their dragons, their comment of 'ladies first' saw Fleur push Hermione out her way and try to get to the bag, she found herself unable to move though and a voice filled with menace whispered in her ear, "Unlike you, my wife actually is a Lady!"

Hermione chose first, getting a Welsh Green wearing number three before Harry released the French girl to allow Fleur to choose her dragon.

Harry drew a Hebridean Black wearing number one and was now anxious to get this show on the road though he did notice that the Hungarian Horntail hadn't come out the bag so that meant Tommy boy was number six with the nastiest dragon, poor dark lord just couldn't seem to catch a break.

When Harry's name was called he shared a kiss with Hermione then strode out into the arena, scanning the crowd he quickly spotted the Institute group with Joan waving madly and Amber on the mobile to Italy, providing commentary for those who couldn't make it. The dragon was in the far corner of the arena, eyes constantly searching for danger as she protected her eggs.

The crowd were waiting to see how Harry would tackle this challenge but none were prepared for what they saw in front of them, Harry conjured a fifteen-foot toad, bedecked in a pink fluffy cardigan and bearing more than a passing resemblance to a certain Madam Umbridge. Any adult in the audience who'd ever met the vile woman was now rolling about laughing and when the creature shot it's tongue out to hit the surprised dragon on the snout the rest of the audience joined in with the laughter.

The toad repeated the process and the dragon moved to take a more aggressive stance, it's body language understandable to every living creature with a brain – 'do that again and I'll rip your head off!'

This was exactly what the toad was waiting for though and as its tongue shot out again it missed the dragon completely but snagged the now exposed golden egg, one second it was on the nest and the next the toad had it in its mouth. Its tongue shot out one final time to deposit the egg straight into Harry's hand just before the enraged dragon pounced on the giant conjured amphibian.

The poor dragon received another shock though when, with the noise of a fifteen-foot Whoopee cushion being sat on by a dragon the toad rapidly shrank in size until it was whizzing through the air. As it reached the correct dimensions it became a real toad, still wearing a fluffy pink cardigan and landed on the lap of one Dolores Jane Umbridge. Harry casually left the arena to thunderous applause mixed in with deep belly laughs, he noticed Joan and Ginny leaving their seats and Millicent with Ron following them.

The judges were forced to give him full marks though the next contestant, Barnabas Bole wasn't so fortunate. His Chinese Fireball just stared at the Hogwarts champion and he wet himself before fainting in a crumpled heap, he had to be levitated out the arena and out the competition. It was kind of fitting that Dumbledore's champion didn't even manage to fire off a spell before ending up lying unconscious in a puddle of his own piss.

As they were preparing Hermione's dragon Harry was suddenly very worried, if Joan had been heading down to meet him she should have been here by now. He left to search for his daughter but what he found made his blood turn to ice, someone was going to die for this.

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