Harry Potter and Future's Past

Starts out the day after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry and Hermione meet the Goddess of Love, and she offers to let them go back in time. Strictly Harry and Hermione. Minor - well maybe major Ginny, Ron and Dumbledore Bashing. Soul Bond - Time Travel

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5664828/1/Harry-Potter-and-Future-s-Past

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24. Chapter 24

"I only wished to speak to Harry and Hermione in private," Dumbledore said in his best grandfatherly voice. "Auror Tonks knew that the two would be safe in my care."

"Auror Tonks still had no reason to remove herself from this room," Amelia replied coldly. She strolled past the Headmaster and took the seat at her desk. When she was seated she looked up at Dumbledore. "Now I have work to do myself which includes Mister Potter and his friends. If there is nothing else then I bid you a good day Albus," The last part was said in a tone that guaranteed there was nothing else.

"Amelia..." Dumbledore started but the head of the DMLE held up her hand.

"Dumbledore, Mr. Potter will remain here and you will go," Amelia said sharply.

"Very well," Dumbledore replied. "If you will let me know when your interview is complete, I'll make sure he's safely returned to where he is staying."

"If Mr. Potter or his guardian wishes to contact you, they are more than welcome to do so," Madam Bones said. "I have no legal reason to inform you of Mr. Potter's movements."

"Are you so unconcerned about Mr. Potter's safety as that?" Dumbledore asked. "I think this morning proves how dangerous it is for him."

"If Mr. Black wishes an Auror escort, I will authorize it. Again you have NO legal reason to be concerned about the movements of Mr. Potter or his friends."

"Sir," Harry spoke up, "before you leave, could you tell Luna and Neville where I'm staying. I'd like them to visit this summer."

"I don't think that is a good idea," Dumbledore replied.

"Fine," Harry's eyes flashed in frustration, "then I'll be going to their houses this summer."

"Harry, I thought we had come to an understanding," Dumbledore said.

"We had sir," Harry replied. "I said I'd work with you, not that you could continue to control me. Unlike last summer when you kept me locked away all summer, I will see my friends this summer. Your choice where," He didn't bother mentioning that he'd be going to at least Luna's house this summer. They weren't sure if going to the Longbottoms would be a good idea. Neville's grandmother was too big of a Dumbledore supporter.

"I'm only trying to protect you."

"And failing miserably sir," Harry replied. "Shall I list each and every time my life has been in jeopardy? MOST of which have been in your castle sir or in a place where you were responsible for me being. So either you tell my friends what they need to know or..." He shrugged as he left the demand dangling.

Blue and green eyes met over the short distance between them. Once again it was Dumbledore who broke contact first. "Very well. Miss Lovegood, Mr. Longbottom would you join me over here for a short time."

"Thank you," Harry said.

Dumbledore took the teens aside and within a minute they were back smiling and Dumbledore had left the office.

"Now Mr. Potter…"

"Uh…Ma'am," Harry said. "Before we start, I'd like to say that I wanted to hear what the Headmaster had to say. I asked Sirius to leave and implied that Tonks should go as well, so I'm responsible for her leaving her post. She shouldn't get into any trouble because of me."

"That's all well and good Mr. Potter," Amelia replied, "but she had an assignment that she failed to accomplish," She sighed as she looked at the young Auror who sat nervously in her chair. The stern look left her face as a more concerned one emerged. "Auror Tonks, I know you're a member of Dumbledore's Order," At the look on Tonks' face she explained. "Yes I am very familiar with the Order of the Phoenix. Did you not know my brother was a member the last time? He was killed along with his family by Death Eaters."

"I didn't know ma'am," Tonks replied.

Harry looked at Amelia as a voice from three years previous came back. Mad-eye showing him a photo. "Thatʹs Edgar Bones… brother of Amelia Bones, they got him and his family, too."

"Don't forget the newspaper article back then when all the Death Eaters escaped. They mentioned the brother of Madam Bones being killed by...I think it was Dolohov."

"I remember," Harry replied as he recalled Susan mentioning people staring at her because of it.

"Not many people do," Amelia replied. "It was a long time ago and many people died in that war. I don't blame the Order or Dumbledore for their deaths, but I wanted you to know how I knew about the Order and how it works. What I need from you soon is a decision though. You must decide what is more important; being an Auror or being an Order member. I'm not saying you have to choose, but I need to know that if I give you an order, Dumbledore can't go behind my back and tell you something different. If I tell you not to tell Albus or the Order something, I need to know you won't," Amelia sat back in her chair. "You're an excellent Auror and I'd hate to lose you, especially now with our department going to be in turmoil because of Yaxley, but I can't have you being more loyal to Dumbledore than to me."

"Y...yes ma'am," Tonks replied nervously. "I understand."

"Talk it over with Shacklebolt if you want, I'm going to be telling him the same thing. Though you will need to hurry about that, he's going on another assignment soon," Amelia said. "You can even tell Dumbledore. Understand if you tell me Auror and you go behind my back I will fire you without hesitation. If you tell me Order, then I'll just suspend you until such time as you can return to your duties with a clear conscience."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome. Now I have a lot to do and need to move on to Mr. Potter," She turned to Harry. "You mentioned Dumbledore locking you away and not letting you see your friends, what did you mean by that?"

"My relatives ma'am, but it's a non-issue now that Sirius is my guardian."

"Those memories?" Bones asked referring to the memories that Harry had given to the Minister.

"Yes ma'am but I'd prefer the matter was dropped unless Professor Dumbledore insists on making it an issue."

"Of course," Amelia replied as she stared at the boy wondering what exactly was in those memories. Finally she moved on. "The matter I brought up yesterday at the platform, does anyone else know of that, or do I need to send everyone out of the room?"

"Only Tonks doesn't know," Harry replied. "Sirius, Luna and Neville all know about it."

The pink haired Auror looked puzzled at the response and looked at Sirius who just shook his head. "It's personal cousin, nothing about you."

"Very well," Madam Bones acknowledged. "Auror Tonks, if you could wait in the reception area until you're asked back in."

"Yes Ma'am."

"And do not try to overhear the conversation," Madam Bones instructed. "I am presuming you are an Order member first until you tell me otherwise."

"Tonks," Hermione spoke up. "Harry and I would like a chance to speak to you later. I know you believe in Dumbledore and for the most part it's justified, but he's not infallible."

Tonks nodded and then left the office. Madam Bones stared after her for a short time before turning back to Sirius and the others. "Now Mr. and Mrs. Potter, you might want to know how I know." She tapped a spot on her desk with her wand and Harry's voice could be heard.

"Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, and Luna Lovegood… weʹre here to save someone."

"I'm sorry but one of the names is incorrect."

"Harry Potter, Hermione Potter, Neville Longbottom, and Luna Lovegood. We're here trying to save someone."

"You recognize it of course?" Madam Bones asked.

"Yes ma'am," Harry agreed.

"And you know about it?" Madam Bones asked Sirius.

"Yes."

"Ma'am, it's a magical bond and happened spontaneously," Hermione explained. "Though we're happy with our relationship, we're still not considering ourselves married in the full sense yet."

"Yes I saw the reason for the marriage," Madam Bones replied. She opened a drawer on her desk and pulled out a roll of parchment. "It became obvious to me that you weren't making it publicly known so I went down to records and retrieved this," She handed it over to Hermione. "I also changed the classification to level two on all documents pertaining to all of you," She indicated the four teens. "It will prevent a general request for information from reporters about you allowing them to stumble onto the information."

"Thank you," Hermione replied as she unrolled the document she'd been handed. Harry looked over and they both stared at the bold black letters on the off white parchment that proclaimed on the thirtieth of May nineteen ninety-six, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger did create a magical bond of marriage. The language was superfluous as all such documents tended to be, but its intent was clear. Here was the proof that they really were husband and wife.

"Happy?" Harry asked.

"To be your wife?" Hermione asked. "Most definitely, though it's still a bit surreal. I sometimes wonder if I'm going to wake up and we're going to be back in the tent," The last part was said silently. "Are you happy?"

"Nope,Harry replied. "I'm not happy at all."

"WHAT?" Hermione replied as a wave of insecurity rolled over her. "But...why? You don't want to be married to me?"

Harry could see the shocked look on Neville and Luna's faces as well. He smiled at Hermione and explained. "Because it only says lifetime here," Harry pointed at the word in the document. "I personally want it to say for all eternity, for that is how long I shall love you."

"You do that again and I'll hex you so far into next week you'll need the Time Turner to get back," Hermione said.

"Smooth Harry," Sirius smirked. "Though from the look on Hermione's face I have a feeling she might want a few words later."

Madam Bones cleared her throat to the attention back to her. "If you two are finished, I'd like to move on. Now what I need is a better explanation of what happened last week."

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked somewhat nervously. "We...we told you everything."

"And you lied about some of it and possibly all of it," Amelia replied. "I need to know what really happened. You see, my investigators are positive you didn't run into that trap unaware. Skilled Wizards duplicating your act of setting up the Veil Room took more than twenty minutes to do what you four did, longer that you would have had with a dozen witches and wizards chasing you," She looked over at Neville. "Longer if you start with only the dirt found in someone's pocket."

"Are you suggesting my godson and his friends are lying?" Sirius asked.

"I am suggesting they didn't tell what really happened," Amelia responded. When the four teens hesitated as they looked at each other she went on. "You four are considered heroes right now and the Minister himself is probably going to be offering you the Order of Merlin, Third Class if not second. I'm not interested in making a case against you, in fact because of that night the monster who killed my brother is dead. I just need to know the truth."

"Think we should tell her?" Hermione asked. "Everything I mean? You know she's going to ask about Yaxley next."

"I know. I don't think we have much of a choice do we?" Harry replied.

"I guess not, are we going to tell her everything, even about stealing the Time Turner?"

"We might be able to leave that part out," Harry said. "But we'll see."

"Horcruxes?" Hermione asked. "They are a big part of the proof we can offer."

"That's dangerous since she still might be a target of Voldemort, but I'm not sure how to prove it otherwise. Too many of the important memories show them. Yeah I think we have to. At least we know she's not going to run off to Dumbledore," Harry replied. "I just hope we don't end up being arrested."

"I do too. If she believes us at least we'll have saving her life on our side," Hermione said. "I like her and think she'll be good for the magical society if she's Minister in the future."

"True," Harry sighed. "But if we do end up in Azkaban, that eternity is going to be a long long time," He turned to Sirius and saw he was about to say something. He knew his godfather was about take the blame. "No Sirius," He said with a shake of his head. He looked at Neville and Luna as well. "We're going to tell her everything. How we know about Umbridge, what happened last week and Yaxley. It's the only way. "

"Are you sure?" Sirius asked.

Harry nodded and turned to Amelia Bones. "Ma'am, you might want the Pensieve, Veritaserum and a lot of time, because you're not going to believe us otherwise."

"Even then she might not," Hermione added under her breath.

Madam Bones looked questioningly at Harry for a few seconds before she got up and went to her door. "Auror Tonks please requisition Veritaserum immediately. When you return you are to secure this room. If anyone comes into my office before I'm ready and that means Dumbledore or the Minister himself you will be fired. Is that clear?"

"Yes Ma'am," Tonks replied. "Uh...Ma'am, I don't need to talk to anyone. All I've ever wanted to be is an Auror. I'd still like to be a part of the Order but I'm concerned that there might be a conflict where the Ministry is not acknowledging the truth like You-Know-Who and Sirius."

"Remember that Albus had the proof of both of those things. If he'd brought his pensieve and the memories to me, things might have been a lot different. I would hope anyway."

That gave Tonks pause and she nodded. "I'll not let you down again Ma'am."

"I'm sure you won't," Amelia replied then she sighed. "Tonks, no one is perfect. Looking back, I obviously failed somewhere this past year as well. Come to me if you find yourself in conflict. I value an honest opinion."

"Yes Ma'am," Tonks replied with a look of relief. "I appreciate that."

Amelia nodded then turned and disappeared into her office. It was less than ten minutes later when Tonks delivered the truth serum and disappeared back out the door.

Two hours later Amelia Bones ordered a platter of sandwiches to be delivered for lunch. She had been very skeptical when Harry and Hermione had told their story but given what had occurred she'd agreed to view the memories and conduct the questioning. Now, as she bit into her sandwich she knew she fully believed them. As outlandish as their claims had been, to have two different perspectives of the same events along with Veritaserum accounting from each of them with no disagreements would be nearly impossible to do.

"As you can see," Harry said as he nervously swallowed a bite of his cheese sandwich, "Dumbledore was dead, the Ministry had fallen and we did what we needed to do. Too many people died and when Miranda gave us the option, well I admit, it was mostly about Sirius and our friends but we took the offer," He hesitated before asking. "Are you going to arrest us? I mean about things we've done?"

"Arrest you?" Bones asked in surprise. "It would be a bit hypocritical of me to do that when I'm thankful I'm not going to be dead in a few days," One of the memories had been the Daily Prophet with the story of her death, both from Harry and Hermione reading it. She reached into her drawer and pulled out a planner. "Though you'd probably already have saved it this morning," She said as she opened it to her calendar. She pointed to the date three days in the future. The name Yaxley was written in the evening. "Yaxley wanted to speak to me about a rumor he'd heard. He said he might possibly know about another You-Know-Who supporter. He suggested my place that evening to be away from people who might listen in," She looked up. "To tell you the truth I thought it was a weak attempt on his part at a date."

"But the story said Voldemort did it," Harry said.

"Yaxley would just have brought down the wards. Much easier from inside them," Hermione explained. "Voldemort could easily apparate in then and the fight begins."

"Exactly," Amelia said. She sat back and looked at the two teens. "I understand why you didn't bring this to the Ministry earlier, but I am glad you are willing to trust me now. I should apologize that I didn't respond to your needs at the castle earlier this year."

Harry shrugged. "It's been two years since that really happened and ever since you did get involved you've been fair."

"Thank you. As far as Umbridge, she will get the Veil herself if I can help it," Madam Bones said. "What about You-Know-Who?"

"Ma'am why don't you say Voldemort? Or Tom Riddle?" Harry asked. "If the very person who is supposed to be leading the people who are fighting against the man can't say his name; how does that give the people confidence?"

"Social conditioning is a difficult thing to overcome," Bones replied honestly. She sighed and nodded. "But you're right."

"As for Voldemort, we don't know exactly what the final conflict will take, but as we told you, those things will be destroyed well ahead of time. If that snake can be killed it would help," Hermione said. "Maybe you can have someone check on Bathilda Bagshot, though that probably happened after Dumbledore died."

"As soon as my department is in order, I'll do that," Bones replied. She saw that each person's plate was now empty. "Well I guess we can finish this up. Show me everything you remember from the final battle that has Death Eaters in it. If I can see who they are, it might make my internal investigation a little easier."

"Wouldn't some of them be imperiused?" Neville asked.

"Definitely, but it would give me a place to start," Bones replied. "I just wish we had a way to find out if someone is currently under control."

Hermione's eyes flew wide as she remembered something from just over a month previous to her and Harry. "Goblins," she muttered.

"What?" Bones asked.

"The Goblins. They have magic that cancels polyjuice potion and wipes out Imperius control. It's part of their theft prevention system at Gringotts. They call it Thief's Downfall," Hermione explained. "Something like that would be perfect here."

"And you know this how?"

"We...uh had to break in there," Harry explained. "The goblin who was helping us told us about it."

"You broke into Gringotts?"

"Yeah, one of those things is in there; in Bellatrix's vault. But it didn't go as we wanted and had to end up busting out of there."

"You should make the Goblins stop abusing their Dragons," Luna said. "The Dragon they rode out was nearly blind."

"You rode a Dragon out of Gringotts?" Amelia asked in disbelief.

"We didn't have much choice," Hermione grumbled. "Just figure out a way to let Dumbledore into Bellatrix's vault soon."

"I'll try but Goblins are not generally helpful," Amelia replied as she still tried to visualize the dragon. "Are there any other ideas you have?"

"Wait..." Harry said. "In the future the Ministry had a taboo on the use of his name. 'Voldemort' I mean. Since only those who opposed him would use his name, anytime anyone used it, a team of bad wizards, called snatchers, showed up. Can you do that?"

"It can be done, but didn't you tell me I should use his name?"

"No, I mean yes," Harry replied. "Can you make any word Taboo? Such as Imperio?"

Amelia smiled as she realized what he was suggesting. "That is an excellent idea Mr. Potter."

"How about all of the Unforgivables?" Neville suggested.

Madam Bones didn't have a chance to answer because there was a knock on the door. After a glance around she called "Yes?"

Tonks stuck her head in. "Ma'am, I'm very sorry but Mafal..." She didn't get to finish as a tiny witch with flyaway grey hair and glasses appeared and ducked under Tonks' arm. When Tonks pulled out her wand Amelia waved her off.

"Madam Bones, I really must speak to you about Potter," The little witch said emphatically. "It's only been a day since he is out of Hogwarts and he's already doing improper magic again. I sent out owls but..." Her voice trailed off as Harry stood up from his chair and faced her.

"Hello Mafalda," Amelia said to the lady. "You know Harry Potter don't you? Harry this is Mafalda Hopkirk from the Improper Use of Magic Office."

Harry nodded at the lady. He'd already recognized her since the previous year they had stunned her before Hermione had taken her place to sneak into the Ministry. "I've received a couple of correspondences from her," He said, then to Hermione. "And watched you be her."

"Mafalda, I have already investigated the incident; it was a case of self-defense this morning in a Death Eater attack. Please recall your owls."

"Uh...yes ma'am," Hopkirk replied acting like she didn't want to recall her owls.

"In fact consider Mr. Potter and Miss Granger as authorized but restricted when it comes to magical usage."

"But..." She started to protest, but then stopped. "Yes ma'am."

"That's all Miss Hopkirk," Amelia said curtly.

The small older woman left quickly.

"She does her job well but she can be a bit overzealous," Madam Bones said then explained her orders. "It's obvious from what you've shown me that you're both are old enough to do magic. Unfortunately I have no reason to remove your trace and even if I did, it would just call unwanted attention to you. Restricted use means you are allowed to do magic but a list of the spells you do will be compiled. No one really examines those records though unless an incident occurs."

"Thank you," Hermione replied. "We'll not abuse your trust."

"I hope not," Amelia Bones replied. "Understand though that you can't be vigilantes. The thing last week, well I understand why you did it especially since it showed He-Who..." She caught herself and then continued, "I mean Vol..." She paused and swallowed before trying again, "Voldemort was alive. We have confessions from the captured Death Eaters that they would have killed everyone but you Mr. Potter. The thing this morning, was it planned?"

"No ma'am," Hermione exclaimed. "But we did know there was a threat as soon as we heard Mr. Weasley mention Yaxley's name. We were surprised that no one knew he was a Death Eater."

"Harry then told me," Sirius interjected. "I jumped Yaxley at the same time the other Death Eaters showed up."

"You were in your Animagus form?" Bones asked. That fact had come up in the original questioning.

"Yes."

"We combined to take out the one Death Eater and Hermione hit the fat one with a cutting hex while I made sure Sirius was okay. When I turned back he was about to kill Hermione. I just reacted. I truly wasn't trying to kill him though I'm not sorry I did."

"As I told Shack, I'm not going to fault defending yourself or your wife. It just appears Mr. Goyle made..."

"Goyle?" Harry asked. "Greg Goyle's father? That's who the Death Eater was?"

"Yes, his name is Gregory Goyle Senior. Why?"

"We know his son, not friendly though. He's always been a goon for Draco Malfoy," Harry replied.

It was two thirty when the teenagers finally left Amelia's office. Harry and Hermione said goodbye to Neville and Luna, promising they'd see them soon. When they entered the receptionist's office they weren't surprised to find Emmaline Vance waiting with Tonks.

"Dumbledore said to make sure you go directly back," She said as she stood up.

Harry was about to retort something when Sirius spoke up. "Emma, I know you mean well, but when it comes to Harry I will decide what he does, not Dumbledore. He is my responsibility."

"But Dumbledore said..."

"I don't give a rat's arse what Dumbledore said," Sirius exploded causing Vance to back up a step. "We are going to Gringotts next. You are more than welcome to join us but the first time you mention Dumbledore's name we'll leave you."

"Vance..." Hermione suddenly said. "She was in the same newspaper, she died as well."

"We'll get Sirius to keep an eye on her."

As they both glanced over at Harry's Godfather, he was looking at someone else.

"Isabelle is that you?" Sirius asked.

A witch who looked somewhat familiar raised her head from the magazine she was reading. Her eyes were damp as if she'd been crying and she gave a weak smile until her eyes saw Harry and she frowned. "I read you were innocent Sirius," She said as he made his way over to her with the rest of the group following. "I'm sorry I believed the stories."

"Well innocent of all the things I was accused of anyway," Sirius joked. "So what are you doing here? What's the problem?"

"I...I work here or did," She replied. "I'm here..." again her eyes moved toward Harry and then back to Sirius. "I'm here to see if I still have a job."

"What do you mean?" Sirius asked, "The Isabelle Grealsom I knew never got into trouble. No matter how much I tried."

"It's...it's Edgecombe now. You remember I married Thomas," The witch replied.

"You did didn't you?" Sirius replied. "That was a long time ago. You had a kid too."

"My daughter... she knows Mr. Potter," The last was said hesitantly.

Sirius looked at Harry questioningly. "You mean Marietta?" Harry asked. When the witch nodded he explained. "She's the one who told Umbridge about the DA," Harry looked at the witch and now could see the resemblance. "That also means you were the one who locked down the Floos for Umbridge."

"I had to," Isabelle answered. "My husband is...I mean was sick and the potions he needed are controlled by the Ministry. When Umbridge wanted my help she made it clear that she had the ability to...to prevent Thomas from getting more. I had to help her. I told Marietta not to go against Umbridge. Not that it matters now I guess," Her eyes filled with even more tears. Sirius conjured a handkerchief and handed it to her. "Thank you," She said as she dabbed at her eyes.

"So how's Thomas?"

"He…he took a turn for the worse and...and he...he..." Isabelle couldn't finish the sentence.

"He died?" Sirius asked softly.

Isabelle Edgecombe nodded. "It was the strain I think. Madam Umbridge came and threatened us when Mari embarrassed her in front of the Minister. Said she was going to have me fired and make sure that Thomas never received another potion. She wouldn't even let me contact my daughter to ask what happened. Thomas seemed to go downhill from that day on though. It was only a couple of weeks later that...that it..." Tears now streamed down her face. She made a couple of gasps before regaining herself and dabbed the tears away. "I couldn't even take time off when it happened. Umbridge said if I did, I'd not only lose my job but she'd make sure I went to Azkaban."

"For what?" Hermione asked incredulously.

"It wouldn't matter would it?" Isabelle answered as she turned her reddened eyes at Hermione. "It would be for whatever the Senior Undersecretary decided it was for."

"That's...that's..." Hermione started.

"That's Umbridge," Harry finished. "Ma'am, you wouldn't happen to be muggleborn would you?"

"How'd you know?" Isabelle asked suspiciously.

"Just a hunch," Harry replied. "Sending muggleborns to prison seemed to be her favorite pastime. Like a power game with her. Controlling people."

"I probably don't have a job anyway. Anybody who helped Umbridge..." She didn't finish as this time she buried her face into Sirius' shoulder who gingerly put his arm around her. He looked questioningly at Harry.

Harry looked at Hermione. "Do we help her?" He asked.

"Marietta still should not have done what she did, but I don't want her mother to lose her job if it really was Umbridge controlling the situation," Hermione replied. "Just wished she'd told us."

"How could she? She didn't have a memory of doing it, did she? Even sounds like she didn't know her father had died. Give me a minute," Harry went back and knocked on Madam Bones' office door before sticking his head in. "Ma'am, I understand that Ms. Edgecombe is being investigated."

"Yes, the Minister suspended and ordered a review of everyone who assisted Umbridge. Why?"

"I think she was pressured by Umbridge who took advantage of her husband's health," Harry replied. "Could I request that she get a fair hearing? If the Minister is concerned about what I think then make sure he understands I don't hold a grudge against Ms. Edgecombe if she truly was just a pawn to Umbridge. I'd really like her case to be carefully examined."

Amelia nodded and made a note. "Anything else Mr. Potter?"

"No, thank you."

When Harry returned to the group he nodded at Sirius who was still holding Isabelle. Sirius dabbed a couple of tears from Isabelle's face before speaking. "I think everything will be fine Isabelle. Just go in there and tell them what happened. Be honest and it'll work out."

"I asked Madam Bones to make sure you were treated fairly," Harry added. "What happened with Marietta shouldn't affect your hearing."

The witch looked at Harry for a few seconds before finally replying. "Thank you."

"We have to go," Sirius said. "It's been a long day and it's not over yet," He gave Isabelle another hug. "I really am sorry about Thomas. If you ever want to talk about it or just need someone to conjure a handkerchief for you, send an owl."

Isabelle Edgecombe swallowed and a faint smile appeared. "Who would ever have thought Sirius Black would be willing to listen to someone?"

"I spent too many years talking to myself," Sirius replied. "I might have learned the value of another person's voice."

"Thank you."

"Anytime."

*** E E ***

Voldemort was sitting upon his throne-like chair waiting. He knew it was just a matter of time before Harry Potter himself would be kneeling before him begging for his life only to have it taken from him. It had been only a few minutes since Goyle had shown up and said they'd found Potter. He had said Yaxley had a plan to capture him while not drawing suspicion upon himself, all he needed was another Death Eater. Voldemort had sent Gibbon with Goyle. While he waited, he contemplated what he'd do with the body of the Boy-Who-Lived. "The fountain in the Ministry," He thought. "His body placed there to be found so the whole magical world will know there is no 'Chosen One' and no hope for them."

An hour passed and then another but still Voldemort did not worry. He knew Yaxley was one of his best inner circle members and must be using caution in executing his plan. It was after three hours that the door opened and a terrified young man entered. He was one of the younger recruits. A man whom Yaxley had recruited in his department just a few months previous. Voldemort had to think before his name came to mind. "Flint. Yes Marcus Flint."

"My Lord," The young man said as he dropped to a knee and bowed his head.

"What word do you bring?" Voldemort asked his Death Eater.

"It's Yaxley sir, he...he was captured," Flint replied as he kept staring at the floor. "His mark was found. The whole Auror department is in an uproar."

"And Goyle? Gibbon? What do you know of them?"

"Goyle is dead m'lord," The young man said. He was visibly shaking now. "Gibbon was captured."

"How?" Voldemort's voice was cold.

"They say Potter killed Goyle sir," Kneeling on the floor as he was, Marcus Flint only heard the angry hissing words of the Death Curse. He raised his eyes in surprise just in time to see the green light that stole his life. The body that his soul once inhabited fell silently to the floor.

As Voldemort stared at the lifeless form in front of him he grew more and more unsettled. He knew there was more to the prophecy about Potter. That was the whole reason for the events last week. But now, in the last week the boy had been directly responsible for the death or capture of fifteen Death Eaters including some of his most faithful servants. "Sixteen now," Voldemort corrected himself as he looked at the body lying on the floor. He started pacing as the anger left him to his cold thoughts. As the Dark Lord paced the hall, his mind wandered over the past week. He could still see the Boy-Who-Lived in front of him in the Ministry. Potter's words came back to him. "I knew you didn't have Sirius, so I came prepared. I didn't walk into a trap, THEY DID!" Voldemort had already suspected the boy had used their connection to discover the truth, but he was positive he'd shut down that connection. "Was that what happened this morning?" Voldemort asked himself. "Did he use our connection? Does he know my plans? Did he lead my people into another trap?" Something that hadn't occurred except in regards to Albus Dumbledore happened. Doubt flooded Voldemort's mind about Harry Potter.

Minutes turned to an hour and the Dark Lord still paced the room. He didn't even glance at the corpse that lay beside his throne. "I cannot risk another loss to Potter," He finally concluded. "I must discover his weakness," Voldemort walked over to the body lying on the floor and pulled back the sleeve that covered the cooling arm. He touched the red mark and sent his own magic into it. He then sat down and waited.

The first Death Eaters who arrived saw the body but made no reaction. No questions would be asked and no explanations given.

"Remove it," Was the only command given and Flint's body was hastened out of the room.

"Goyle is dead, Yaxley and Gibbon were captured," Voldemort told the gathered Death Eaters. "If they know of you, you are in jeopardy. Mask your marks."

"What of our plans for the west?"

"Yaxley and Gibbon didn't know of those," Voldemort replied but then hesitated. "What if Potter knows?" He thought for a few seconds before continuing "Are the Giants ready?"

"Yes m'lord."

"Then let them attack alone with none of you supporting them, day after tomorrow," The Dark Lord commanded. "If the Ministry is prepared, then I'll know it's Potter," He then turned to his followers. "As for Harry Potter, stop all searches for him. If you do see him, report to me, but do not attack him unless I command it. Is that clear?"

"Yes m'lord," echoed through the room.

When his Death Eaters were gone Voldemort still had an unsettled feeling that he was missing something. He checked his occlumency and made sure that his mental controls were in place, finally believing his thoughts were secured, he settled onto his throne to think things through.

*** E E ***

The trip to Gringotts went without incident, though when they entered the bank Sirius was stopped almost instantly by a Goblin.

"Are you needing our wagering services again Mr. Black?" The goblin asked with almost a smirk in his voice. "We are always ready to assist men like yourself."

"I'm sure you are," Sirius replied with a smirk of his own. "But I'm fine. Thank you," He said before he led his group along.

'What was that all about?" Harry asked.

"Their definition of men like me is gullible," Sirius replied with a wink.

"You mean because of the bets you made?" Hermione asked.

"Somewhat, but you see, I came back yesterday morning. I was going to double my bet like I mentioned but..." Sirius stopped and grinned. "No, you don't need to know that yet. I'll tell you later."

"What did you do?" Harry whispered.

"Me?" Sirius asked innocently. "It was the Goblins trying to rip me off. I can't be held responsible if I just let them."

"You let them rip you off?"

"Yep," Sirius replied with a larger grin. "You too of course."

Sirius refused to say another word no matter what Harry and Hermione threatened. He just kept a smile on his face and repeated. "You'll see."

"So how much does a new wardrobe cost?" Sirius asked when they stopped at Harry's Vault.

"I don't know, but it's not going to be cheap," Harry replied. "I thought I'd get a thousand galleons and convert it to muggle money."

"That will be too much," Hermione said. "Well I guess it all depends on where we shop. Maybe it's time my favorite book got a new cover."

"What?"

"Nothing, just thinking of my father," Hermione replied. "Though the money shouldn't make a difference, if dressing you a bit nicer is what it takes for him to see past the exterior and sees who you really are, it might be worth it."

Harry wrapped his arms around his wife. "You're worth it. Whatever you think will work, I'll try. I don't want to come between you and your parents."

"Too late for that," Hermione said. "No, I shouldn't say it like that. Mum is fine and Dad is just being a dad. He wants to protect me. We just need for him to realize it's not you that I need protecting from."

"Then I will do my best," Harry replied. "So will a thousand work? I figure it's better to have too much than too little."

"It should be fine. If it's not we'll go back another time."

"Glad that's settled, but understand that it comes out of my vault," Sirius replied. "I'm your guardian now, which means I'm responsible for clothing you. You can grab some money from yours for other things, but clothes and school supplies are now my responsibility."

"You know I can afford it," Harry argued.

"Maybe, but it's a matter of principle," Sirius argued. "Throw me a bone," He smirked at his pun. "Let me do my job."

"I just wish they had something like a debit card around here," Hermione said. "Or even a checkbook," She turned to the goblin who'd escorted them and asked the question only to receive a look of disdain.

"Muggle plastic money? Parchment with a few words written on it that is given before gold is exchanged?" The goblin sneered. "We work in gold, silver and bronze. The only thing in written item we work with is a transfer note that you can use to pay for major purchases. But that gold comes out of your vault the instant we hand it to you. You lose that piece of parchment and it's gone."

"Oh..."

"Guess I'll be lugging the cash around with me," Harry said when he heard what the Goblin said.

"I guess," Hermione replied." But that's dangerous and carrying that much money will draw attention to you. Maybe my parents will help. You can give them the money and then we can buy what we need with their debit card."

Harry made sure Hermione took a large amount of galleons from 'their' vault and a short time later they arrived at the Black Vault. When they entered Harry stopped and looked around. It wasn't quite as large as Bellatrix's vault but it was close. Piles of coins and jewels were everywhere. "This is a reasonable amount of gold?" He asked.

"What?" Sirius asked.

"Dumbledore...he said it was a reasonable amount of gold added to my vault."

"He always was a master of the understatement," Sirius replied with a shrug. "Don't worry. You'll still get it someday."

"I'd prefer you alive so try not to get yourself killed."

"Sunburn on a beach remember."

"We're halfway there. Just have a snake face to take care of."

"Just don't get careless," Sirius said. He turned to the Goblin. "Take a thousand," He looked at Harry and then turned back to the Goblin, "make it two thousand Galleons out of here and convert it to muggle money," He looked questioningly at Hermione.

"Twenty and fifty pound notes should be fine, but that's definitely too much," She said, but Sirius was already instructing the Goblin.

"And have it ready when we're ready to leave the bank. Do not give it to me in front of anyone else," Sirius finished up.

"Yes Mr. Black," The Goblin replied.

"Don't need Tonks or Vance wondering why we need muggle money do we?"

"But that's ten thousand pounds," Hermione argued.

"Better too much, than too little," Sirius said. "Look around, it's not hurting me any. Go live it up a little; Merlin knows you need the fun."

They left the bank a short time later with a hundred and eighty fifty pound notes and another fifty twenty pound notes along with bags filled with galleons.

While Harry and his escorts wandered into Quality Quidditch Supplies, Hermione ducked into the apothecary for her needed potion supplies. Soon they were headed out of the Leaky Cauldron and back to Grimmauld Place.

*** E E ***

Fleur was the only one at Grimmauld Place when they arrived. "Ze Weasleys are still at St. Mungo's," She explained. "Mr. Weasley will be fine zey say but 'e must spend ze night."

"Thank you Fleur," Harry replied as he remembered his own experience with severe bone healing, or regrowing in his case.

"Eet is nozzing," she replied. "I just wish…" She looked away for a second before shrugging. "Zey did not want me zere and wizout Bill I could not insist."

"Bill's working?"

"Oui. 'E could not get time off."

"We can take you down if you want," Harry said. "They won't argue if you're with us."

"Non, but zank you," Fleur replied with a shake of her head.

"You don't have to stay here," Sirius said. "You and Bill can find a place of your own. I think Harry proved this morning, he can take care of himself."

"Oui, Missus Weasley was very adamant about what 'Arry did. Even so, I must remain. I will not...not run away," She looked at Hermione. "And you Miss Granger, I understand zere is a relationship now?"

"Yes," Hermione replied as she moved a bit closer to Harry.

"Zen I wish you ze best. You are fortunate zat Molly likes you zough she did 'ave a few words last night about your... your exuberant display at ze platform yesterday."

"Thank you," Hermione replied. "I'm not going to worry about what Mrs. Weasley says. If I wish to kiss Harry I will. I'm not going to look over my shoulder to see if she's watching," Then she smirked. "Then again maybe I will."

"Zat is good," Fleur replied. "Maybe I should be less concerned but eet is 'ard for Bill."

"I think someday Mrs. Weasley will realize you truly love Bill and will come around," Hermione replied.

"I 'ope so."

"If you'll excuse us, we need to start studying," Harry said and led his wife up the steps. Sirius followed behind. When they were in Harry's room, Kreacher appeared almost instantly.

"Kreacher did as Master Sirius commanded," The old elf said. "Kreacher checked the trunk of the youngest blood t..." Kreacher caught himself. "There were four bottles in her trunk. What does Master Sirius want Kreacher to do?"

Sirius looked questioning at Harry and Hermione.

"Can you keep an eye on her; let us know if she uses any of the potions?" Harry asked.

"Kreacher can do that," And the elf was gone with a crack.

"Can we go on to my house?" Hermione asked. "It's later than I thought it'd be and I want to show you around before my parents show up."

"Sure."

"Feel free to spend it all, more if you need," Sirius replied as he handed over the notes the goblins had given him. "I don't want to see you in those clothes again."

"No problem there," Harry replied.

"Well this is my home," Hermione said slightly nervously as Harry climbed out of the cabinet a minute later.

"Nice garage," Harry smirked as he looked around.

"Prat," Hermione said as she walked over and pressed a button that raised the garage door. "I'll show you the outside first," She took his hand and led him into the driveway.

Hermione's home was a two story brick house with high hedges surrounding the decent sized gardens. There were flower beds and trees, though attractive they were not meticulously maintained as the Dursleys kept theirs. Even the grass was in need of being mowed. The house itself sat back from the road giving an impression of seclusion in a residential neighborhood. It was a neighborhood that bore little resemblance to Privet Drive. It was obviously an affluent neighborhood; one where the residents had enough money that they didn't have to pretend to have more than they did. Each of the houses were unique in their design, something else that made it distinctly different from the neighborhood where Harry had lived.

"It's brilliant," Harry said as he looked around.

Hermione gave his hand a squeeze and then pulled him toward the front door. When they entered, they found the house was spotless.

"Dobby and Winky have been busy," Hermione explained. "They wanted to clean so Mum and Dad are letting them."

"If it's what they want."

Two cracks were heard then and the elves stood in front of them. "Master and Mistress need anything?" Winky asked excitedly.

"Not right now thanks," Hermione replied. "I'm showing Harry my home. You two have done a wonderful job. It's very clean."

"Dobby and Winky are just doing our jobs," Winky replied.

"Well take some time off now and enjoy yourselves."

"Dobby and Winky are enjoying ourselves," Dobby exclaimed as he brandished a duster. "The loft is very dirty, but it will be clean in just a short time."

"No I mean..." Hermione started and then saw the look of happiness on the elves' faces and sighed, "you two do whatever you want that you consider fun."

"Thank you Mistress Hermione," they both answered and with another crack they were gone.

The house was fairly large. Dining room, kitchen, a large living room and a study made up the majority of the downstairs, while the upstairs held the four bedrooms.

"And this is my room," Hermione said as she led her husband into her bedroom. The walls were powder blue while the trim was white. The bed was a double width bed with bookshelves at the headboard. A white comforter with small blue flowers stretched out over it. A matching dresser sat against the wall between the two windows covered in white blinds. There were, of course, several bookshelves, one fairly large and two smaller ones. Between the smaller ones was a roll-top desk. Hermione pulled out a key and unlocked the cover that hid the top of the desk.

Harry was surprised to see a computer monitor sitting in the recessed area of the desk, especially in contrast to the transfiguration and charms books leaning against it.

"You use a computer?"

"Not really," Hermione replied. "Dad bought it when I got home from fourth year as a welcome home present, but that was right after Voldemort came back and well I never did much with it. Besides I don't think Professor McGonagall would appreciate my homework typed and printed do you?"

"It might be amusing," Harry replied. "Dudley has a computer. Well actually it's his third one. He broke the others like everything else he's ever owned. I never got to touch it."

Hermione saw the wistful look in Harry's eyes as he looked at the computer and smiled. "Well it is 'our' computer isn't it?" She asked. "What's mine is yours didn't you say?" Well have a seat," She opened the vertical door on her desk and touched a button on the tower computer that sat there. As the DOS Operating system finished loading and Windows 3.1 started up she went on. "There are some programs and games, but there's also a really fun screen saver program. You can set it to Flying Toasters or an Aquarium. It's fun to just watch them."

It was four thirty when the Grangers returned home. The garage door had been left open so Mr. Granger realized his daughter was there with 'the boy'. He was surprised when he didn't see them in the dining room, kitchen or living room. It was only after he'd walked up the steps did he hear their voices coming from the closed door to his daughter's room. He inched closer to listen.

"It doesn't go there," He heard Hermione say.

"What about there," The boy's voice replied. "Can I put it there?"

"Don't...I told you not to touch that," Hermione's voice said with a sigh. "Can't you keep your fingers off of it? See what you've done, you've made..." her voice became inaudible as she must have turned in a different direction, a couple of seconds later her voice became stronger again. "Yes you can put it there but wait, let me do this first."

Richard couldn't believe what he was hearing. Visions of strangling the boy rushed through his head. He immediately pushed open the door and stormed into the room. "WHAT IS..." He started and stopped, mouth opened as he blinked in confusion. The two teens were at Hermione's desk. Hermione had a rag in her hand wiping a fingerprint off the CRT monitor while Harry was playing solitaire.

A/N: I obviously took liberties with Edgecombe, but after I wrote the part on the train I started wondering about 'Her parents have forbidden her to do anything that might upset Umbridge. You see ‐ her mum works for the Ministry.' What if there was more to that story? What if there would be serious repercussions if Umbridge was upset. I also started to wonder, did Marietta ever get her memories returned? I mean did the girl have the pimples on her face and no clue to WHY she had them? Did she remember the lessons she learned in those meetings that she forgot had occurred?

 
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