EXODUS

J K Rowling owns all the rights to the books and the amazing characters she created. I write only to satisfy my imagination and use my creativity and make no money from my writings.

Let me apologize in advance as I had trouble loading this story and had to re-read and put in paragraphs by hand for half the story. Blame my computer as it has been acting up again! Some words might also be missing.

Chapter 1 – Home Sour Home

His entire body hurt. Wave after wave of pain coursed through Harry Potter's under-nourished frame. He had not eaten anything for four days and, as his uncle had told, "You won't be getting anything if you dare wake us up during the night calling out for your dead bum boy."

Harry had been having terrible nightmares ever since he witnessed Cedric Diggory being killed by Voldemort ordering Pettigrew to "kill the spare" when he was resurrected in the graveyard. Harry had been having these nightmares off and on since he had been home for the summer holidays.

Harry had been illegally entered into the Triwizard Tournament by none other than a polyjuiced Death Eater in the guise of Alastor Moody, one of Dumbledore's supposedly closest friends. Harry had only recently found out that had he wanted to, and morally and legally should have known, Dumbledore could have prevented Harry's participation in the Tournament. But Dumbledore had not. Instead he did everything in his power to force Harry into competing, causing the boy to be called a liar, a cheat, an attention-seeking brat and many other nasty things.

Once again Harry became an outcast in school, was taunted, verbally abused, humiliated and constantly hexed by his classmates. His "best mate" Ron had led the way because he refused to believe Harry when he said he didn't enter and Ron was jealous because if Harry could enter than he should have told his best mate so that he too could enter and have a chance at fame, eternal glory and winning the 1,000 galleons purse.

Ron had made his life a misery until after the first task when he decided to "forgive Harry for not letting him in on the secret." He didn't want to take Ron back as a friend, not after everything he had done to Harry, but Hermione, who was the only one besides Neville Longbottom who was speaking to and helping him, had insisted on it. She refused to help him anymore unless Ron was let back into their inner circle. He had been sorely tempted not to but, he had to admit, he needed Hermione's help in research.

But Harry and Ron's friendship was irretrievably broken and no one other than Harry knew it. He had survived the tournament and Voldemort's resurrection only to be branded a liar, an attention seeking brat with the sole aim of causing panic by spreading the dreadful lie that You Know Who was back. The press was crucifying him.

Harry had been hurt in the maze, had his blood forcibly taken for use in bringing Voldemort back, had been rough up in an unfair duel with Voldemort until he had made his escape bringing back Cedric's dead body with him. Although he was in shock upon his return, his injuries were largely ignored by Dumbledore and the others as there were cover ups to be done, official positions to be saved, and general panic going on. It had been easy for the Death Eater impersonating Moody to grab Harry and take him back to his rooms instead of the infirmary for treatment.

Barty Crouch, Jr., the Death Eater, revealed himself to Harry and was about to finish the job by killing him when Dumbledore and the others burst into the room to once again save the day. Harry was finally taken to the infirmary, but treatment was not started until he had been questioned by Dumbledore.

The rest of the term saw Harry attempting to recover from the minimum treatment he usually received in these cases before being sent back to his relatives. No mental or emotional help was given to the boy other than Hermione's constant questioning of "how do you feel Harry?" Even when he tried to tell her, which wasn't very often, she didn't really listen and told him to "seek help" and she would then urge him to "tell a teacher" meaning McGonagall (who never did and never would do anything) or, of course, Headmaster Dumbledore.

He wanted to scream at her "I have, they don't do anything, just send me back to the hell which is Privet Drive." He never did because she wouldn't listen just rant some platitudes or the repeat the "gospel according to Dumbledore" which she held as sacred.

Things just got worse and no one ever helped. Harry just continued to suffer.

Harry knew Hermione and Ron tattled everything he said or did back to Dumbledore. Ron was always rifling through his trunk "looking for things" while snagging the occasional sweet and even loose change.

The last day before leaving for summer holidays Harry had been sneaking out in his invisibility cloak to get some fresh air when he saw Ron and Ginny hidden in an alcove and Ron was saying "Dumbledore said I'd be made Prefect next year because of all the 'services rendered.'" He had then smirked and smugly said, "I can't wait to see the expression on that half-blood bastard's face when I'm made Prefect and he isn't."

Harry had no doubt who the half-blood bastard was.

Then Ron went on to say that they and Hermione would be forbidden to write to Harry because Dumbledore was ordering it. "I don't know why but I would think ('like Ron would ever think,' Harry thought to himself) he wants the git to be humbled some more. Can't let winning the tournament go to his head. We just keep him in the dark while we get to go to Headquarters for the summer until Dumbles 'rescues' the git."

Ron probably would have said more but then the sound of some students walking down the hall caused Ron and Ginny to leave quickly so as not to be discovered.

So school had ended and Harry was sent back to the "mercies" of his relatives. He always had a large list of chores to do, was hardly fed, and always verbally and mentally abused, but this year the Dursleys were out doing themselves.

They had saved the heavy cleaning and detailed outside work just for him. He was up at five to start on some of the smaller tasks before making the huge breakfast Vernon and Dudley ate. Naturally he would not get any.

He worked all day at backbreaking, mind-numbing work which was constantly being checked on and complained about by his aunt. Dudley was usually out terrorizing the neighborhood with his friends when he wasn't in bed or playing video games or messing with his computer. Sometimes he wouldn't be home for lunch so Petunia wouldn't make anything for herself and of course the freak didn't deserve food.

No matter if he was finished his chores or not at a certain time he had to clean up and make dinner. If he had done sufficient work adequately, his aunt might let him have the leftovers from dinner – if there were any left (usually only vegetables were left). If not and if she was in a good mood and Vernon had had a decent day at work, Harry might be allowed some stale bread, moldy cheese and the occasional piece of almost rotten fruit.

More often than not Harry did a bit of dumpster diving if he was sent to the shops by his aunt or managed to snag an hour or two of freedom. He had been doing this all his life and knew all the best places to "dive."

This was the usual modus operandi for his summers, but this year the nightmares had started, and since he could not cast the silencing charm around his bed which he did at school, every night he woke up the household with his screams.

Vernon would come barging in, or at least barging in as well as one could while unlocking the numerous locks on Harry's bedroom door, yell at the boy who he roughly woke up, beat him up a bit, bang his head against the wall a few times, scream out the usual, "after all we have done for you…" rant before locking him in once again and going back to sleep.

Naturally he wouldn't get any food for waking up and torturing decent, hardworking, normal people and robbing them of their well-deserved sleep with his freakishness.

But he couldn't stop the nightmares. His trunk and wand had been locked in his old room, the cupboard under the stairs, along with the sleep potions he had snagged from the infirmary. For some reason this year his uncle had frisked him, finding the hidden expandable bag Harry had wrapped around his body under his baggy hand-me-down clothes. The potions, bruise salves, extra food and his money had been in that bag.

His uncle had beaten him soundly for trying to sneak in his devil things into their normal, hard-working, decent home. He also grabbed the galleons with a greedy gleam in his eyes wondering aloud just how much he might be able to get for them if they really were gold. Harry had tried to tell him it was wizard money and they could all get in trouble for showing it to Muggles, but Vernon just knew it really was gold, knocked him down and after giving him several painful kicks in the stomach accused him of holding out on them.

He and Petunia then cautiously went through Harry's trunk to see if he had any more "treasure" he wasn't giving them. They didn't find anything, but since he had attempted to hide actual gold from them he MUST BE PUNISHED. However, first Vernon took the gold to a "special jeweler" he knew of (a fence) was told it was pure gold and what pure gold was going for in the market.

"Where did you get this boy?" Vernon had screamed at him, banging his head on the nearest wall.

"I get an allowance from the charity fund at school for books, clothes and supplies," Harry had lied, "that was all I had left for this year. I only get 40 galleons but I didn't need as many potion supplies this year which is why I had three left."

"Well this year I want 30 of those things and I want them before you get on that train. You won't be going anywhere until I get that money." He then went on with the rant, "after all we've done for you…"

Vernon had no common sense. If Harry really did get the money he would have to spend it on books, clothes and supplies and not having them would cause all kinds of questions to be asked. He sighed thinking that Vernon would only say 'you don't need any clothes you have Dudley's and you can borrow books or go without' or some such other nonsense.

Hopefully when he was "rescued" as Ron had termed it, he would get away from his relatives and could worry about the 30 galleons next year, or better yet report his uncle….. 'No,' he thought, his uncle would lie, no one, not even Dumbledore would believe him, and Harry would get in trouble for Muggles getting hold of Goblin gold.

There were times Harry just wished he was dead. He didn't know it yet but he was about to get the opportunity to perhaps get that wish granted.

Chapter 2 – Unwanted Visitors

He had been home for nearly four weeks. He had hardly been fed and so overworked that he had fainted on more than one occasion. Petunia had just had Dudley kick him awake and then informed him there would be no food because he had been caught shirking his work.

He had hardly any sleep, there dark circles under his eyes, his face was gaunt from lack of food and his was so exhausted from all the work and lack of nourishment that he could barely walk or move. He had managed to keep his nightmares from waking the Dursleys by placing a gag over his mouth before he went to sleep. This was dangerous as he could have choked or suffocated but he couldn't risk anymore beatings and he desperately needed something to eat and soon. He still woke up from the nightmares and although exhausted he just couldn't get back to sleep before his 5 o'clock wakeup call.

Vernon seemed almost disappointed the nightmares had stopped and he couldn't use it as an excuse to beat Harry. However, since Harry had been caught "holding out on them" Vernon reminded him every day about giving them the money by viciously punching him in the stomach each morning before he went to work and then again at night when he came home.

Vernon had wanted to "really teach him" by not feeding him anything at all for the rest of the summer but it had been Petunia who had actually talked some sense into her husband.

After he had fainted the second time, and finally noticing just how bad he looked, Petunia informed him that "out of the goodness of her heart" she would feed him half a cheese sandwich and maybe an apple everyday whether he deserved it or not. However, Vernon and Dudley were not to find out or the deal was off.

So Harry got to eat for a change ONLY because Petunia knew he would die if Vernon had his way and then they might get in trouble. They would also lose the money they received from the government for Harry's care as well as what the old freak with the beard was paying them. Then how would they pay Dudley's Smeltings fees? Vernon made good money but they spent it as fast as it came in, otherwise she'd like nothing more than to see the Freak die a slow and horrible death – as least as long as they didn't get caught.

She hated her nephew. Every time she looked into his eyes – Lily's eyes – she wanted to hurt him. Her parents had been so proud of Lily just because she was a witch! All right she was beautiful, intelligent and people liked her and she had married into money – FREAK MONEY – but money all the same. But she had died along with her freak husband and they had been saddled with her sister's abnormal spawn.

She had tried to warn Vernon not to sell the freak money but it had been real gold and those three little coins were worth a lot. Vernon couldn't control himself when it came to money. Now she was going to have to ask the old freak to erase his mind or whatever they called it because he would beat the boy to death and they would get in trouble with the other freaks for selling their money.

She was upset having to think about all of this. Plus she was running out of things for the freak to do. Even Vernon was. She would send him to the shops but he looked too bad. Even the neighbors had notice but she merely told them he was on drugs and they, being the upstanding, righteous people they were, were trying to wean him off so they could send him back to St. Brutus.

Ordinarily she would banish him from the house but Dumbledore had forbidden it because the Mega Freak who had killed her sister had come back from the dead and was after Harry, hence the Dursleys also, and if the Dursleys were to remain safe, the freak had to be kept inside. She didn't tell Vernon this as he would explode and throw the freak into the street just because "THE FREAKS AREN'T GOING TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO."

Just when Harry was starting to recover a bit, Vernon lost a big sale. Naturally Harry was responsible for this catastrophe and must be punished. This was the reason he was lying on the floor of his room bleeding from various cuts on his body, bruised all over and possibly having a few broken ribs. Of course he had been denied dinner and would be locked in his room for the next two days with only one bathroom break and no food because he would not be earning it by doing chores.

Dudley was spending the night at Piers' house and Petunia had promised to go to a lecture with some of her friends. She didn't want to leave Vernon alone in the house with the freak because he was drinking heavily but all her friends were going to the lecture and if she didn't go with them they would spend their time gossiping about her. She had to go and hoped the freak would still be alive and functioning when she came home.

Vernon was angry. He really needed that sale as he hadn't made many for the past six months. Their credit cards were maxed out and they had an overdraft at their bank. Some of the investments Vernon had made recently had gone sour - the damn horses kept losing. Petunia didn't know about any of this because only he handled the finances. Dudley needed ever more expensive toys and he hated to disappoint his only son.

He was considering demanding the Old Freak raise the amount of money they received for tending to the freak. If he didn't give them the raise, then he'd just throw the bastard out on the streets. Maybe he could force them to pay him in those gold freak coins as they had fetched a very good price and the freaks were probably too stupid to know just how much they were worth.

Vernon poured himself another glass of whiskey. The bottle was almost empty but he didn't feel like going out to get more. He started feeling cold. Maybe he should lower the air-conditioner. He tried to decide what to do as he gulped down his whiskey and started feeling colder. He felt sad. Nothing was going right in his life. It was probably the freak's fault so maybe he should finish his drink and then teach him another lesson and there was nothing he liked better than "teaching the freak a lesson" as it always cheered him up.

As he drained his recently filled glass he heard a noise and looked up. The door was slowly opening. He angrily walked over to the door and started shouting out threats but no one was there. Instead he felt colder and sad, so sad. He wanted to cry and he didn't know why. Then he felt something touch him and he heard a scream. It was coming out of his mouth.

Petunia came home around 11 p.m. with Mrs. No. 6. The front door to their house was wide open and there were police cars in front. She rushed to the door, pushed passed an officer and saw her Vernon lying on the floor. His eyes were wide open and he wore a look of utter fear on his face. It was evident he was dead.

Petunia screamed and then fainted.

Chapter 3 – Investigations

Vernon's unholy screams had alerted the neighbors who had called the police. The police had been there for about half an hour when Petunia had come running in so Vernon had yet to be covered up.

Mrs. Figg was there also finding out what happened. Mr. No. 6 told her Vernon was dead, but thankfully Petunia was out with his wife at a lecture. Dudley wasn't in the house and the police were upstairs breaking down a door with many locks on it and a cat flap on the door. Apparently there were bars on the window.

"That's Harry's room – they treat him horribly," she had told an officer.

They broke down the door and entered a room and found no one there but there was a lot of fairly fresh blood covering the floor.

Mrs. Figg rushed home to floo call Albus Dumbledore. He didn't answer his floo at Hogwarts so she tried Grimmauld Place. Remus Lupin answered and told the distraught old lady Dumbledore wasn't there.

"Well find him," she screeched, "Vernon Dursley is dead and Harry is missing and they found his bedroom floor covered in fresh blood but no body."

Fortunately Sirius was not in the kitchen when Remus answered the floo. He would go blindly rushing off and probably get caught by Aurors. Remus started calling a meeting of the Order. Unfortunately, Molly Weasley had come into the kitchen and had heard what had happened and she started shouting and screaming causing everyone to rush down to find out what had happened. It only made things worse, but Tonks was there so she left for Privet Drive to head off any Ministry Aurors.

Since there had been no magic detected no Aurors had shown up and Dumbledore, when he had finally arrived at the scene wanted to keep it that way. But by the time Dumbledore had gotten there Vernon had already been taken to the morgue at the local hospital and then the Aurors arrived shortly thereafter before Dumbledore could gain control of the situation.

The next morning the incident was reported in the Daily Prophet despite Dumbledore's best efforts. Now the political fun would begin.

HARRY POTTER'S MUGGLE RELATIVE KISSED BY DEMENTOR

The headline had read. Although Dumbledore's group had magically removed the blood from Harry's bedroom floor as well as the bars on the window and the locks and cat flap door, the Muggle police had already taken photographs of the scene and had already taken them back to the police station. Scotland Yard had been notified and it had been a Muggleborn wizard who was a member of the organization who alerted the Aurors, who had proof that Dumbledore had tried a cover-up.

The Muggle police had acted fast and "Special Agent Dawlish" had arrived on the scene and was helping to protect the evidence until others from the special investigation unit could arrive. A very angry Amelia Bones had just arrived at the police station to witness Kingsley Shacklebolt in the act of trying to destroy the photos and other evidence after having stunned Auror Dawlish and two Muggle policemen. Kingsley was in a LOT OF TROUBLE!

Fortunately for Kingsley he had not yet destroyed the evidence otherwise he would have found himself in a cell at the Ministry. He was only stupefied and taken back until he could be given Veritaserum to find out exactly why he was trying to get rid of important evidence in both a Muggle and Magical investigation.

Amelia Bones had just come from interrogating Petunia Dursley, Harry Potter's aunt. The woman was an abominable excuse for a human being let alone someone who was a mother. The things the Muggle had confessed to under Veritaserum was enough to turn anyone's stomach. They had her son Dudley in custody but Amelia had to calm down before she conducted that investigation.

Dawlish was revived, the evidence was copied and the Muggle police were told to place it under their tightest security (and make another copy just to be safe). They all went back to the Ministry to begin the investigation, one which could possibly bring down Albus Dumbledore.

Cornelius Fudge had been impossible to work with the past month. He was denying You-Know-Who was back mostly out of fear but also probably due to certain of his "supporters" giving him "moral support" and further convincing him that such a thing was impossible. "Once someone is dead, they stay that way!" Fudge was heard saying constantly.

Amelia had no doubt, however, that the Dark Lord was indeed back. He had been a powerful wizard and even Dumbledore couldn't defeat him. Oh there had been all sorts of rumors going around during the last war, such as Dumbledore was the only wizard old Voldie (Amelia's nickname for him) feared and that only Dumbledore could defeat him.

But apparently there had been similar rumors during Grindelwald's reign of terror before Dumbledore had defeated him in an epic duel which no one had witnessed. It had also taken Dumbledore years to get around to defeating him. If Dumbledore was the only one who could defeat Grindelwald, then why had he delayed so long letting so many good Magicals die?

She was a veteran of the last war and it seemed the same thing had happened. Dumbledore's propaganda machine had been working overtime but the fact remained that they were losing the war. One of the Unspeakables had estimated that Voldemort would win no later than the first months of 1982. Then Voldie had been defeated by a 15-month old baby, who Dumbledore had whisked away to "protect" the orphan, appointed himself the boy's magical guardian and cut off all contact with the child.

Once again no one had witnessed the death of Voldemort. The only living person who was there was Harry, a 15 month old baby who had been immediately whisked away and hidden. From reading the report on the "incident" even Dumbledore had not gone to the Potter home after the deed was done so then how did he know what happened?

When the Aurors were finally allowed to get into the house to investigate (and remove the Potters' bodies) it had already been over 24 hours since the attack. Supposedly all that was left of the Dark Lord was his outer robe, the pile of dust which had been his body and his wand. The Aurors only found the outer robe as the dust must have been blown away by the wind and elements and the wand was missing.

Amelia had always found this strange. They only had Albus Dumbledore's word for what had happened but due to his prestige it was accepted without question. People were just so glad that the war was finally over and they had survived.

Then there was the strange matter of Sirius Black but that was quickly and permanently quashed and he was sent to Azkaban immediately without a trial. This smacked of a cover up but Amelia was forbidden to investigate further.

It had been said that the boy was being raised in a loving, nurturing home and being trained in magic as well as in all of the duties and responsibilities to which the heir of an Ancient and Noble House should be getting trained in. However, once the boy had shown up at Hogwarts, it was evident to anybody with a brain who had a look at the boy that this was not the case. The child was under Dumbledore's thumb and was held a virtual prisoner by the Weasleys.

Amelia's niece Susan had tried to make friends with the boy, but Ron Weasley and later the Muggleborn Hermione Granger, kept the boy to themselves. According to Ron Weasley (who had apparently inherited his big, fat, bigoted mouth from his bitch of a mother), Harry Potter only wanted the Weasleys as friends as "Potter was very particular who he associated with – and that means you can all go to hell."

The other Weasley brothers, Percy and the Terrible Twins, backed their brother up, the Twins going so far as to "prank" people unmercifully if they tried to even get near to Potter. Yet strangely enough, the Twins never "pranked" or "retaliated" against those, such as Malfoy and other Slytherins, who publically insulted or tried to harm Potter. That did not make sense.

Susan had told stories of how Potter was truly isolated. He was never left alone outside of his House. The rumor mill had thrived, Potter got himself into all sorts of "adventures" each year, most of which were bad as Susan said, and there were nothing really told at the end of the year when such adventures seemed to sort themselves out.

Amelia herself had been trying to contact the boy ever since his return, but without success. Even Fudge hadn't been allowed access to the boy until just before the beginning of the boy's third year when Sirius Black had escaped. Apparently, there was an indication of the boy being abused as he had used accidental magic to blow up his Muggle aunt-in-law and the obliviators had to be called in to fix things.

Fudge had been "allowed by Dumbledore" to let the boy remain at the Leaky Cauldron until school had started up, but only because of Black being on the loose and then only on condition that the boy not be contacted, interviewed or talked to by anyone. Fudge had to swear on his magic otherwise Dumbledore had threatened to blame Fudge for Black's escape.

Amelia hadn't been privy to all the particulars or terms worked out between Fudge and Dumbledore, but she and the rest of the Aurors had been given specific instructions which would not be deviated from under pain of termination of their position at the Ministry.

Yes, many things did not add up. Dumbledore was responsible for a lot of underhanded manipulations but Amelia's hands had been tied. The only reason now that she was allowed to investigate the matter was because Fudge was currently engaged in this power struggle with Dumbledore AND there had been Dementors in the boy's home. His Muggle uncle had been kissed and Potter was missing. In his miserable excuse for a bedroom, his blood had been liberally found and there had been no trace of the boy, nor had there been any magic performed in the house.

When the definite signs of abuse had been found in the house and the Squib interrogated, Fudge had finally given Amelia permission – ordered her actually – to find out everything concerning the Boy-Who-Lived's treatment. This probably wasn't due to any concern for the boy, but because Fudge wanted Dumbledore neutralized.

It had been a long, depressing 30 hours since the Dementors had struck and the boy disappeared, and there would be more time needed just to process the abuse, interrogate the cousin and Muggle neighbors and assist in the Muggle investigation and cover up.

Then Amelia had had to interrogate Kingsley Shacklebolt, one of her best Aurors, about why he had been caught attempting to destroy evidence regarding Potter's home life. This was vital information even if there had not been a murder by Dementor. This was a blatant case of child abuse made even worse as it was abuse of the Boy-Who-Lived.

The information obtained from Kingsley under the influence of Veritaserum had revealed that he was a member of the Order of the Phoenix. Apparently Dumbledore had decided to once again establish his personal vigilante organization. Amelia remembered that fiasco from the last war. Her own brother Edgar had been a member and had lost his life.

The Order was poorly managed by Dumbledore but he had managed to attract some decent wizards, like Edgar, who had wanted to help Britain by fighting against Voldemort. It had been a disaster and Amelia had always blamed Dumbledore for Edgar's death. She always would.

Now Kingsley was a member and had revealed the names of the other Aurors who were members. It not only angered but saddened her to find out that Aurors who should know better were members as well as one of the newest and just qualified junior Auror, Nymphadora Tonks. The girl had so much promise as well as being a rare metamorphosis. She was the only child of Amelia's good friends Andromeda and Ted Tonks. She knew they didn't approve of Dumbledore's personal group and wondered if they knew their child was a member.

She was too exhausted to do much more as she had been going non-stop for 30 hours. Instead she ordered that those now compromised Aurors were to report for a "meeting" tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. It would give her 8 hours to go home, check on her niece, have a shower and maybe grab a few hours of sleep before she faced another grueling day.

She just wished she had some idea what had happened to Harry Potter. Death Eaters could have the boy or he could have been captured by Sirius Black. At least (hopefully) he hadn't been kissed by a Dementor as his body would have been left in that bedroom of horrors.

Amelia wearily flooed home. Apparently Susan had been waiting up for her as the girl was asleep on the couch and had woken at the sound of the floo activating.

"Auntie – I'm been trying to contact you since last night. A house elf brought Harry Potter here last night. He was in bad shape and I called Healer Ambrose who fixed him up but he begged us not to notify anybody…."

"WHAT?" Amelia shouted.

"He asked us not to notify anybody – especially Dumbledore – until he talked with you."

"Where is he?"

Susan took her to one of their guest bedrooms. Healer Ambrose was an elderly witch and family friend who had retired after the last war. She was lying down on a cot in the room to keep watch on the Potter boy. She had treated Potter for his immediate injuries and gave him pain potions so he could sleep. However, the boy himself asked her to not treat his bruises or cuts or anything else unless it was life-threatening so that Madam Bones could have photographs taken as evidence.

Healer Ambrose had done a through diagnostic exam and the magical parchment it was printed on was over 20 feet long and dated back to his birth. There was a separate parchment listing all of the blocks, charms, curses and glamours which had been placed on the boy.

Just looking at the emaciated boy lying in the bed in one of the guest rooms was enough to anger Bones. After she read the two parchments she was beyond furious.

She then summoned three of her most trusty Aurors and one Unspeakable. After she had let them through her wards, she made them take an oath not to reveal what they were going to see and investigate until she gave them permission. She emphasized that NO ONE, especially Dumbledore and Fudge could be trusted.

Only the Unspeakable hesitated for a moment until she assured him it was really necessary and she would take full responsibility for everything. After the four swore she led them to the guest room and in the hands of Healer Ambrose.

She was now living on strong coffee and pepper up potions as there was no way she could sleep until a few answers were given. Fortunately her house elf Booey had forced her to eat a large, very healthful meal to keep up her strength.

She then had to have a talk with Susan. Susan knew better than to tell anyone, even her very best friend in the world Hannah Abbott, about anything which concerned her Aunt's work. Susan was a very good girl but her shock at seeing Potter was starting to wear down her usual poise and understanding.

Like most of Hufflepuff House, she had at first been angry about Potter stealing Cedric's thunder until she really stopped to think about things. Although there were rumors about Potter's adventures at the end of every year, nothing was ever confirmed. Also Potter himself never said anything but Weasley did. Of course when Weasley told the tale – always when Potter and Granger were not around – it was he Ron Weasley who did all of the heroic things and led the adventures.

No one other than first years ever believed anything Ron Weasley said. By the time they were second years, they knew better. However, Weasley seemed to think that everyone believed and admired him. No one could get near Potter to ask him anything as he was always was accompanied by Ron and Hermione Granger.

Although Susan and Hannah had tried to approach Granger during the rare times she was not with Harry and Ron (usually in the ladies' loo), she refused to comment on any adventures. Since Hermione Granger was known for never shutting up, this could only mean she had been silenced, probably by Dumbledore or at the very least McGonagall.

She was usually very rude in the best of times, especially to Hufflepuffs. On occasion she might be seen conversing with a Ravenclaw or two, but as soon as she was asked about anything Potter, she just walked away.

It was a fact generally acknowledged by most of the school that Weasley and Granger considered Potter their private property. It was also an open secret that they were in Dumbledore's pocket and regularly reported Potter's every move.

That was all Susan had ever been able to tell her Auntie concerning Potter's activities in the school. However she had been able to report back the treatment he received from other Houses, especially Slytherins, or rather Malfoy and Snape.

It was evident that Potter knew nothing about anything in regard to his heritage, his position and the potential political power he would receive once he became of age. He was constantly insulted by Malfoy – as was all of the "Golden Trio."

But Potter should not have been subject to the abuse and insults of Malfoy. Potter was the last heir of an Ancient and Noble House, a House far more important and with more influence than House Malfoy. Had he wanted to – or more likely knew about it – Potter could have brought down the wrath of his House on House Malfoy. He could have brought House Malfoy before the full Wizengamot and demanded sanctions and many other things in defense of his honor.

But he never did. Instead he was just subject to all the insults and abuse and then in many cases, he got into trouble because Snape "conveniently happened by and was told that Potter had started this and that and Malfoy was being abused" blab, blab, blab, blab. Snape would then gleefully and unfairly punish Potter.

According to rumor, sometimes this abuse was in full view of the public or at least there were enough witnesses to back up Potter and accuse Malfoy but NO ONE EVER DID. McGonagall knew as did Dumbledore, yet Potter was allowed to be insulted and unfairly punished. That could only mean that Dumbledore ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN OR WANTED IT DONE. It also had to mean that . .BETTER. He had never been informed of his rights, privileges and true station in life.

Potter was constantly being set up and WRONGED and apparently there was nothing that anyone, even Amelia Bones could do about it as Dumbledore was known as Potter's Magical Guardian and had full control over the boy. He could and did misuse his sacred trust concerning Potter and again, there was nothing which could be done.

Susan had told her Aunt that many times during one of the confrontations, Potter had tried to ignore Malfoy and walk away. However, it was then that Ron Weasley forced a confrontation and it was usually only Harry who got the detention and/or points taken away.

It was understandable that Malfoy could insult Granger all he wanted because she was a Muggleborn and he was the worst example of a bigoted Pureblood and his father was definitely a Death Eater "who got away" as were others in his House. Despite all of Dumbledore's sanctimonious preaching, he really did nothing to help Muggleborns and he merely used them as a political platform. That also was an open secret among those who "really knew" what was going on.

Ron Weasley was…well a Weasley. The Weasleys were diehard Dumbledore supporters as the Prewetts had been. Molly Prewett Weasley was the last of the Prewetts and after brothers had been killed "fighting for Dumbledore" in the last war, once the war ended she used her brothers' deaths to gain "points" with Dumbledore.

Although Arthur Weasley had been a sympathizer and follower of Dumbledore, Molly had not allowed him to openly fight in the war as "he had a family" so he worked on the sidelines helping, spying but not actively fighting in the skirmishes as her brothers had.

The Weasleys had a reputation and not just as blood-traitors. "Blood traitor" was merely a term coined by the more radical Purebloods like the Malfoys, Lestranges and other known Death Eaters or Voldemort sympathizers. It meant nothing really other than you were a Pureblood who hadn't joined up with Voldemort. It wasn't even an insult unless you allowed it to be one.

The Bones could be called blood traitors because they did not follow the Dark Lord as most people openly didn't. Only a fool admitted to following Voldemort as it was against the law to be a Death Eater.

In reality, the true definition of a blood traitor was a Pureblood or even a Half-blood who did not follow the old, sacred magical traditions, such as celebrating the high holidays. It was due mainly to Dumbledore's manipulations and the laws he passed or championed that was slowly but surely doing away with the religion of Magic.

It was again an open secret that Dumbledore was trying to mold magic to his goals and ideals. It was Dumbledore who had started the movement to make magic more "acceptable" to Muggleborns. His "vision" would see Magic and the Old Ways transformed and bended to Muggle acceptability.

It was even still whispered – whispered because it had to be, unless you wanted to get in serious trouble – that it was one of Dumbledore's dreams to eventually reveal the existence of the Magical World to Muggles after he had made the Magical World more "acceptable" to Muggle sensibilities.

Every Magical government in the world rejected this notion as it was basically suicide. But Dumbledore wanted it to be done and tirelessly fought and worked for it. After defeating Grindelwald, his political power and prestige had been so great that he had come very close to achieving his goals until he was stopped by a general public outcry.

However, he didn't give up and just started chipping away bit by bit at the ancient structure of Magic. That was why his most important position was that of Headmaster of Hogwarts as he could control and mold young minds and impress his ideals on future generations.

Thus, at Hogwarts, the ancient, holy celebrations of Yule and the Winter Solstice became Christmas and Samhein became Halloween and were now celebrated according to the traditions of Muggles. Once upon a time, the holidays were to be celebrated according to a person's belief. If you were a Muggleborn, you celebrated Christmas if you choose to or you opened yourself up to learn and participate in the Yule celebrations. You could even do both. It was that way at Hogwarts until Dumbledore became Headmaster and within a few short years, the Old Ways and practices were forbidden.

Even Purebloods and Half-bloods could not celebrate them at Hogwarts. The school winter break became known as the "Christmas Holiday" and anyone staying at Hogwarts had no choice but to celebrate Christmas. It was the same for the spring break or Easter Holiday. But at least one could still go home for the original winter and spring holidays and celebrate them in the privacy of one's home.

Samhein you had to stay at Hogwarts and it was forbidden to celebrate the old rites at the school. Anyone "caught" doing so would receive a month's detention and have 100 points deducted from their House.

Dumbledore had pushed through all of this legislation and as Headmaster of Hogwarts, his word was the law. Although there was a very outdated Muggle Studies course offered at Hogwarts from third year and up, the Introduction to Magical Heritage, a once mandatory first year course directed to Muggleborns so that they could learn of their new heritage, was the first course done away with by Dumbledore as soon as he became Headmaster.

The Muggleborns never knew what Dumbledore's true agenda was because they were not taught it. There were no books outlining it and any book which had been written which didn't meet with Dumbledore's approval was immediately removed from the Hogwarts Library. It was the same with books for sale at Flourishes and Blotts. Even Hogwarts, A History had been "updated" or rather rewritten to meet with Dumbledore's approval.

Had she known Hermione Granger would have been outraged to learn that Dumbledore had authorized a book burning of many books which he considered "dark" or "evil" or, in his opinion, were just "not appropriate" for young minds. But what about adult minds? His political power was such that he had his way. His campaign was similar to what the Nazis had done in the 1930's, but Hermione Granger had no way of finding out about this atrocity.

Now the books containing the true history of Magic, at least in Britain, could only be found in family libraries or in books stores found in places like Knockturn Alley, a place where no "good children" would be found.

This was the real reason why the Weasleys were called blood traitors because they had basically denied their true magical heritage. They never practiced the Old Religion, performed the old rites and rituals, celebrated Yule and Samhein. They celebrated Christmas and Halloween and called anything not specifically approved by Dumbledore as dark.

The Weasleys were "Muggling" themselves as some people called it. They did not believe in any type of religion other than the "Cult of Dumbledore" as people like Amelia Bones called it. Molly Weasley was a perfect example of a "Dubbly" which was another name given to his followers before Voldemort.

A young, talented wizard by the name of Tom Riddle had tried his hand at politics trying at first to block Dumbledore's political views and policies. He had had many supporters but Dumbledore had seen all of his political aspirations totally crushed just as he had crushed the talented wizard's magical career.

Amelia didn't know all of the details, only what her parents had whispered, but Riddle had supposedly bested Dumbledore's academic achievements, had the potential to be more magically powerful than Dumbledore once Riddle reached his magical maturity and…well Dumbledore was jealous or it had been something else.

Whatever it was, Amelia never found out as her parents had died rather young for magicals and any research into the life of Tom Riddle had been…lost. Lost as in there was hardly any information available about him other than he had attended Hogwarts, had been a brilliant student but had lacked backing, been denied a job at the Ministry, couldn't find a mentor for an apprenticeship, acquire the backing for a Mastery and had been forced to find employment in a shop – in Knockturn Alley.

Rumor also had it that Tom Riddle had turned into Voldemort, but again, Amelia could find no solid evidence to prove the truth of that rumor.

There were just too many cover ups, misinformation, abuse of power and personal agendas going on that some days Amelia felt like packing up, taking Susan and moving to another country. She would have done this during Susan's third year when that idiot Fudge had 100 Dementors "guarding Hogwarts" looking for Sirius Black.

However, since the end of the first Voldemortic War laws had been subtly passed forbidding leaving the country, especially if you were a Pureblood. If you did, you lost all of your property and any wealth you were unable to get out of the Gringotts Britain branch. The law was passed due to so many people leaving Britain during the first war. It was considered "Un-British" and cowardly.

Amelia had fought against these laws along with many others but the Death Eaters who got away, like Malfoy, had used their power and prestige to introduce such laws and DUMBLEDORE HAD APPROVED OF THEM. His excuse was similar to the Purebloods and his backing had made it possible to pass the laws.

Since the Ministry would benefit by confiscating the property and money, they were more than happy to support such laws. It was just an abuse of power, plain and simple as well as forcing people to stay in Britain. The next war would force people to choose a side. One couldn't be neutral and couldn't leave without losing everything.

At the moment and for the foreseeable future, there was nothing that could be done.

Chapter 4 – Tale of an Orphan

Amelia managed to get a few hours of sleep. It was not enough but would have to do for now as Harry Potter had finally woke up and he wanted to speak to her.

The Aurors and the Unspeakable had done their investigations, had doubled the defenses around Bones Manor and, according to the Unspeakable, made the place, at least for the moment, impenetrable from phoenix entry. That had been the last desperate request of Harry Potter before he would allow himself to be put to sleep.

It was the general consensus of the Aurors, Healer Ambrose and the Unspeakable that all of the illegals things done to Potter could eventually be removed, but it would take some time and cause the boy a lot of pain. For the moment Potter was safe from being found by the Ministry and Dumbledore but the boy was terrified that it wouldn't last and that Dumbledore would find him and return him to the hell that was his life at Privet Drive and…Hogwarts.

Harry didn't know that his Uncle Vernon was dead until Amelia told him. The boy expressed no sorrow and showed no real emotion other than what could be called relief. He did ask if his Aunt Petunia and cousin were safe and again showed no emotion at all when told they were in Ministry custody. He just accepted the fact that they were alive.

Harry asked if Amelia Bones, Healer Ambrose, the Unspeakable and two of the Aurors (the third had to report for duty to avoid suspicion) would listen to the story of his life. When they agreed he then asked if Amelia thought Susan would be willing to listen as he wanted someone from school to know the truth for once.

He mentioned that he did know that she and many others had been trying to talk to him over the years but that Ron and Hermione always drove them away. He wanted to first apologize to her for his friends' bad behavior and to impress upon Susan that it was them and not him who chased away his school mates.

Amelia went to get Susan and told her about Harry's request. Amelia had to practically restrain her niece from running down stairs and reminded her that everything was confidential until further notice and not even Hannah could know. Susan understood completely and agreed to take an oath if necessary.

Once they were all assembled, Booey served refreshments as according to Harry it was going to be a long story. He was fully aware and in fact requested that everything he said would be recorded. Thus the tale of the orphan began.

Harry started at the very beginning including the memories of his mother's screams and death, the maniacal laughter of Voldemort, the flashing green light, the motorcycle and then his first memories of life with the Dursleys.

He could not remember when certain things started only that he just always remembered having to "earn his keep" and the words of abuse hurled at him. He remembered being hit, pinched, slapped, punched and sent to his cupboard for the least infraction and sometimes for no reason at all.

He recalled the starvation and the deliberate withholding of the food he knew he had rightfully "earned." It was one of his uncle's and cousin's favorite games, taking his food away or promising him food, especially special food which he never got, then pulling it away or Dudley just grabbing it and stuffing into his mouth.

"Food was the most powerful thing my uncle used to 'teach me a lesson' or to 'put me in my place' as I needed food to survive. They always laughed when they heard my stomach growling. It amused them to have me cook all this food and not to be able to touch any of it. I was rarely if ever allowed to sit at the table and eat. Usually I had to stand there and watch them eat. Dudley would make 'yummy noises' I guess you'd call them. He would say things like 'hmmmm, this is so good, but you will never know as you can't have any of it.'"

Susan was fighting back tears throughout the food narration. Fortunately she was sitting in the back and Harry wasn't looking at her so he couldn't see. She knew this was difficult for him and she didn't want him to be any more embarrassed than he already was. How it must cost him to reveal this to strangers and one of his classmates.

Harry told them about his cupboard, even how his first Hogwarts letter had been addressed to the "cupboard under the stairs" and that "they knew, they knew I lived in a cupboard and did nothing."

He told of having to wear Dudley's old, raggedy, torn, stained clothes which were many sizes too big, yet no one, not even his teachers, noticed or questioned why he was dressed the way he was, especially when a five year old has no choice in what he wears or has the money or opportunity to buy his clothes.

He mentioned that he never had a thing of his own until he got his Hogwarts uniforms and the first pair of shoe he had which fit were his school shoes. He had to beg Hagrid to be allowed to buy some underwear that fit him and a robe and slippers because Hagrid said he was only allowed to buy what was on the list.

Amelia asked him why he had to ask Hagrid and was then told of being "rescued" by Hagrid. "I don't mean to be rude, but I am trying to tell you everything from the beginning so that I don't leave anything out."

Thus he continued once again from the beginning.

"I didn't know my name until I went to school. I was only ever called boy or freak and sometimes bastard and…much worse. My uncle didn't want to send me to school as 'freaks don't deserve to go to school' but my aunt told him that the British government knew I was there since they were getting money from the government for my keep. I wasn't supposed to ever know about the government money and was only told I cost them so much of their hard-earned money and was a constant burden…but I knew."

"My Aunt also said that I could do Dudley's homework and school projects for him so he could relax – but this was much later when they noticed I was smarter than Dudley. A flobberworm is smarted than my cousin but if I did better than him in school I was beaten for cheating and trying to show Dudder's up. I rarely got to do my homework because I had to do Dudley's and the teachers never noticed his homework was done in my handwriting."

Harry told of the beatings, abuse, insults, "Harry hunting" and the lies his relatives constantly told about him. There was the occasional teacher who tried to help him, but they either never followed up or were fired or transferred. "Strange, don't you think?"

He told them in great detail all of the chores he had to do to "earn his keep" and remembered that he had his first "cooking lesson" when he was not quite four years old. Booey the house elf bristled upon hearing this (she was eavesdropping). To think that a wizard and a wizard of the station in life as Harry Potter would be treated in such a way was a disgrace. Most house elves (unless they were a Malfoy elf) were treated much better than poor Harry Potter.

He told them about Mrs. Figg the neighbor who watched him on occasion. He wondered if she was a witch because just before he started his second year at Hogwarts he was at the Weasleys and learned about floo travel and had recognized the strange pot on Mrs. Figg's mantel as being floo powder.

He finally came to Hagrid's arrival and subsequent rescue and of his taking him to Diagon Alley. At this point Amelia interrupted him to ask why Hagrid had been sent. "Because Dumbledore decided that Hagrid would be my introduction to my new world."

Harry then told of his theory that Hagrid was sent to tell him only what Dumbledore wanted Harry to know, to emphasis that Gryffindor was good and Slytherin was bad, how great a wizard Dumbledore was, to let him see Harry getting the special package and many other things.

"I found out much later that all other Muggleborns and/or Muggle raised children, are contacted by a teacher, usually McGonagall, Flitwick or Sprout. There are also many books and pamphlets they are supposed to buy to introduce them to the Magical World. I was told nothing of this."

"I wasn't aware that there are clubs at Hogwarts that you can join, like the Herbology Club, the Gobstone Club, etc. Nothing! I have been told nothing, yet Ron and especially Hermione knew and always have."

He gave his theory about his "running into the Weasleys" and how Molly and family had been lurking outside the platform shouting about Muggles, etc. and how "everywhere else was full" and all of the things which happened on the train. He spoke about his three meetings with Draco Malfoy and even revealed to the shock of everyone how the Sorting Hat wanted to put him into Slytherin but between Hagrid's and Ron's "warnings" and downright indoctrinations and Malfoy's horrible behavior, he begged the Hat to put him anywhere but Slytherin.

"I've always wondered since then that had I not met Malfoy and he hadn't been such a…a – please just add in the profanity of your choice – well I just might have gone to Slytherin. Of course Snape would have probably been even worst to me than he is now."

Harry told everything which had happened to him starting first year, then Dobby, then second year and Lucius Malfoy and the diary, the Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart, third year and Aunt Marge, not being told anything ever about Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, the Dementors, the "rescue" and as well as all the summers with the Dursleys. He spoke of the Quidditch World Cup, of being forced into participating in the Tournament and his treatment by the school.

"I think Susan could tell you better what the Hogwarts students and the students from the other schools really thought about me. I was even more of a pariah than usual and had I but known that there was such a thing as an oath on my life and magic, I would have sworn one before the entire school to prove my innocence. But I did not know, although everyone else, including Hermione did know and could have saved me a lot of abuse and…heartache… had just one person told me about it."

Then he told the true story of the Triwizard Tournament. Ron's betrayal and slander campaign, the tasks, the Yule ball, the fake Moody and the…cemetery and resurrection. Again, had Harry been allowed to swear an oath or take Veritaserum or knew about a pensive – any of these things could have proven that he was speaking the truth.

He told about Fudge ordering Crouch, Jr. to immediately be given the kiss and how Dumbledore didn't know that one of his oldest and dearest friends was being impersonated for an entire year.

Poor Susan had begun crying when Harry told about him asking Cedric to take the cup with him and share the prize. "I was just trying to be a good sportsman and give Cedric the glory which he truly deserved to have and yet, all that I did was to cause his death. I will never, can never, ever forgive myself for that. I deserve all of the nightmares I have been having and I wouldn't have hesitated for a second to have been the one to be killed instead of Cedric."

The story was finally at an end. It had taken about three hours to tell. Then Harry told them all of his fears and doubts, and then begged – he actually begged for them not to turn him in to the Ministry and especially not to Dumbledore.

"If you do turn me into Dumbledore, I will swear now on my life and magic - or at least I would if I had my wand – but I will swear that if you turn me in to Dumbledore I WILL KILL MYSELF. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but I WILL DO IT as I just can't continue to live, or rather exist, like this."

"Ever since I got to Hogwarts I have been told that I 'owe my parents' for their sacrificing their lives thus allowing me to live. It has been drummed into me that every time I do or don't do a specific thing, act in a certain way – 'like a true Gryffindor' – then I am dishonoring my parents' memory and making their sacrifice worthless."

"I sometimes think that I was expected to 'pay back' my parents for their sacrifice by offering up my life someday for something. If nothing else, then all of the abuse and suffering hurled at me was supposed to be some kind of…penance or atonement for me causing my parents' death. I now feel the same way about Cedric."

"Potter," said the Unspeakable who had been silent until now, "Please know that any real parent would gladly give their lives so that their child may live. You don't 'owe your parents' anything. It's the same thing with Aurors, or at least the decent ones. An Auror swears in their oath of office that they shall willing give up their own lives to protect the public, especially children."

"Yes sir, I know," came Harry's plaintive response. "I knew that when I was growing up with the Dursleys but they…well I told you about them. However, things were 'insinuated' to me a lot and at times…at times said directly to me. It was just more of the same old same old guilt trip I lived with every day."

Amelia quickly added, "James Potter was an Auror and both he and his family were on Voldemort's list of those to be killed. James and Sirius Black were constantly publically taunting and insulting Voldemort, his Death Eaters, sympathizers, any and all Slytherins and even neutral families who did 'follow Albus Dumbledore' and I should know because I was one of them."

"Even though I was their immediate supervisor James and Sirius constantly 'pranked' me – 'all in good fun' they said – and kept demanding an explanation as to why, since my brother Edgar was a member of the Order of the Phoenix that I wasn't. I had to discipline them on more than one occasion. Even though Edgar was not an Auror, he and his entire family were targeted because Edgar was an Order member."

"Never think for one moment that you caused your parents' death. James Potter and Lily would have been killed in any event as would you if only as an afterthought simply because James was an Auror and was so publically anti-Voldemort."

"But I've always been told…"

"Well you've been told wrong Harry," said the Unspeakable. "I read the investigation report of the 'scene' and there were anti-apparation wards placed on the property and not by Voldemort. The floo was closed down and your father was found on the floor of the foyer whereas his wand was lying on a table in the living room. The last time James used his wand was to cast sparkles, no doubt to entertain you. He fought no great duel with Voldemort and why he left his wand on a table and then go to apparently investigate why the front door had been blown open…well that was a stupid thing to do even for a Gryffindor."

"Your mother's wand was not found anywhere and there wasn't even a broom to be found on the property, something which was strange considering James' addiction to Quidditch."

"In other words Harry," said Amelia, "the house was a setup, just one big trap for Voldemort to walk into and not walk out alive. The only escape route was to leave the premises and then apparate away or fly a broom but with no brooms in the house…it was very strange."

"Also, no one from the Ministry was allowed in to investigate for nearly two days. I wasn't on the investigation team but my colleague who was said there was evidence of powerful spells cast on your room as well as others throughout the house, but they had been removed. Only an expert would notice something like that and definitely not an Auror which is why my colleague had been sent along."

"It was a trap Harry, and your parents and you were the bait," Amelia said gently. "Know this beyond any shadow of a doubt and NEVER, EVER let anyone tell you different. . . . . . . !"

He then broke down and cried. None present would know it but this was the first time he had cried since he was six years old and Vernon had carved the word "freak" on his inner leg. Vernon swore to him that if Harry ever cried again no matter what the circumstances, Vernon would carve that word into his penis. Vernon said it with such a gleeful expression on his ugly face that Harry knew, he just knew that Vernon would be doing a lot of terrible things from now on to make Harry cry and thus to make his threat good.

Thus, despite all of the terrible things Vernon, Petunia and Dudley did or said, Harry never, ever cried. He only cried now because Vernon was dead and couldn't make good on his evil promise and because he had finally let lose all of the emotions and trauma which he had been holding in over the years.

Amelia reached out and hugged him. It wasn't the crushing, slamming type of hug which Hermione bestowed on him, nor was it the suffocating, bone breaking "hug" Molly Weasley gave him, no this was a real, true, comforting hug, the first one in living memory which Harry had received.

Amelia let him cry while she gently rocked him, softly saying a few comforting words, which were again something which Harry never heard. Hermione and Molly never comforted, they just asked questions and demanded answers but never gave him a chance to respond nor would either of them have listened if he had.

Healer Ambrose and Susan was now hugging each other and trying to silence their tears. One of the gruff Aurors was fighting back tears and the Unspeakable was crying but it was not seen due to a few hastily cast charms as well as his hood hiding his face.

After a bit Amelia noticed that Harry had stopped crying and had fallen asleep. As she held him, she swore that if it cost her life, she would protect this boy, this abused orphan child and see that he would never be harmed again.

She would succeed in some ways but fail in others as the forces of evil were assembling and they were not being led by Voldemort.

Chapter 5 – Double Murder

Harry Potter would be staying at Bones Manor for as long as it took to save him. Healer Ambrose would also be staying there taking care of Harry until he was physically well enough for all of the potions to be flushed out of his system and the spells, hexes, charms and blocks removed from the boy by the Unspeakable.

Susan was spelled to not be able to reveal anything that had happened in the past three days. Also she was administered a potion by Healer Ambrose which caused her to be sick. The excuse for not seeing Hannah for the past three days was because she hadn't been feeling well. She went to Hannah's to spend some time and do a bit of swimming but by then the potion had kicked in and Susan was seen to be undeniably ill.

She had the excuse to go home and stay there as she might be contagious. The next day Amelia contacted Julie Abbott, Hannah's mother and told her that Healer Ambrose was conducting tests on Susan as she was showing some disturbing symptoms. It was probably nothing contagious but Amelia told Julie that she was desperately hoping that Susan was not coming down with a certain rare disease that ran in the family.

"Oh please don't tell me you suspect it's the rot?" asked a worried Julie. The "rot" was a now rare disease which ran in the family of Amelia's mother. It weakened the bone marrow of its victim and although it was curable if caught early, it was very painful and a long recovery period was needed. Even after the person recovered, their bones would always be severely weakened. It was an ironic disease to get for someone named Bones.

Amelia told Julie she refused to even consider the idea of Susan getting the disease, but it didn't hurt to be careful. Since Healer Ambrose was retired she could devote herself to taking care of Susan and would be taking her to St. Mungo's for special treatment.

Naturally Susan didn't have the disease but the symptoms could be faked and would serve to give Healer Ambrose a reason to stay at Bones Manor and care for Harry. If it became necessary, Susan would have an excuse to not return to Hogwarts for at least a year as Amelia was still involved in investigating the "Potter disappearance" and was going to be starting a special investigation of her own concerning the Voldemort cover up.

If Fudge continued in his foolish campaign to cover up the truth, it would allow Voldemort to gain power. Fudge had reduced the funding for the DMLE "to save money" and there had been no new Aurors hired for two years because of the "joy of peace time" as Fudge called it. Since Fudge was in denial, he would probably further cut funding and might even reduce the Auror staff to further "prove" that Potter was lying.

If that was indeed the case, then Amelia might have to make a painful decision. She and Susan might be leaving Britain to avoid the doom and disaster that would happen when Voldemort revealed himself.

At the rate things were going, it might be sooner rather than later as Fudge was blaming Amelia for not finding Potter. She had made a full report concerning Dumbledore's attempted cover up, but that had only fueled Fudge's demand that the boy be found. Amelia knew it was not because he feared for the boy's safety and that worried her.

An Auror team had found undeniable proof that yes Dementors had been sent to Surrey and had killed Potter's uncle. All Dementors stationed in Azkaban had been present and accounted for so that left only two possible conclusions. The first was that there were rogue Dementors which the Ministry didn't know about or, the second and most likely conclusion was that the two Dementors permanently kept at the Ministry had been sent to Surrey to kill Potter.

Fudge quickly suppressed the information. That could only mean that it was true and that someone in the Ministry had tried to kill the boy. Fudge gave Amelia and the Auror team direct orders that "it had never happened" and that Vernon Dursleys had not been killed by Dementors but had had a stroke or some other Muggle thing which merely resembled a Dementor attack.

This was going to be the official Ministry position and the Daily Prophet would print an immediate retraction to correct this mistake. It would also be announced that Potter was missing and an investigation was being conducted to find out the real reason. From the way Fudge was insinuating, he had something planned and whatever it was would not be to the benefit of Harry Potter.

Amelia was correct as a mere three days after the retraction was printed Fudge announced a news conference. As Head of the DMLE Amelia had to be present but she had not been told why a news conference was being held or what it was about. She found out like the rest of Britain, much to her utter disbelief and shock.

Fudge had finally found a way to stop the vicious rumor started by the insane, attention-seeking Potter brat. He announced to the public that thanks to a careful investigation done by some "competent Aurors" – the truth had been found out. When he said "competent Aurors" it had been a noticeable dig directed to Amelia and her personal staff. It would be mentioned as such in the next edition of the Daily Prophet.

The "truth" which had been found out by Fudge's personal special investigation team – the "competent Aurors" - was that Harry Potter had caused his Uncle Vernon's death because his uncle had caught him running away from the law. It seemed that Potter had been alerted that he had been "found out" and the truth was going to be revealed.

Amelia hated it when Fudge did his dramatics, or in other words, was building up to the excuse (or rather big lie) he was going to give the public for his incompetence or a mistake made by one of his lackeys. But now he out did himself.

It seemed that Fudge finally had the "proof" he had been looking to refute the lies Potter had been telling since the end of the Triwizard Tournament. Apparently Potter had accidentally killed Cedric Diggory to keep him from getting to the cup first and had made up the whole ridiculous story to save himself.

"In short," Fudge announced (although it was too late for it to be considered short), "Potter had been responsible for Diggory's death, had told his wild story hoping it would cause mass panic and he wouldn't be investigated, realized he had failed, been tipped off that he was going to be arrested and tried for his crimes, his uncle tried to stop him and Potter killed his uncle trying to make look like a Dementor did it."

"Potter used a special dark spell to kill his uncle, a spell which Potter knew of because it can only be said in the dark, evil language of the snake, which as everyone knows, Potter speaks as he is the Heir of Slytherin and had set the great monster hiding in the Chamber of Secrets free in his second year and had nearly killed several Muggleborns and one Pureblood girl."

"Albus Dumbledore had covered it all up, but thanks to some conscientious heroes – who wish to remain anonymous – it was finally reported to the Ministry and enabled us to learn the truth."

Flashbulbs were going off, quills were furiously writing and questions were on the tips of the tongues of the reporters waiting to be asked as Fudge paused for his words to sink in before he continued.

"As it stands now, Potter is being hunted for the murder of Cedric Diggory, the murder of his Uncle Vernon Dursley and for attempting to cause mass panic with his atrocious lies."

Fudge then asked for the public's cooperation in apprehending Potter, although warning he was very dangerous and that the public should just alert the Aurors. He announced a reward of 1,000 galleons to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of Potter, as well as the usual political drivel he said at press conferences.

He then answered some of the questions asked by the press before abruptly ending the conference. He then called a staff meeting which Amelia was obliged to attend.

At the meeting he outlined his plan for Potter's arrest and that the boy should be brought in "dead or alive" by any means necessary. Amelia couldn't resist saying, "This is the Boy-Who-Lived after all, so are you sure you really mean 'dead or alive'" she asked.

"YES I MEAN DEAD OR ALIVE," he snapped back harshly. He then gave the same outrageous reasons he had stated at the news conference, said a few other stupid things before dismissing most of the staff.

He did hold back Amelia and Rufus Scrimgeour as he wanted to impress upon them just how important finding Potter was not only for the public safety but for their personal careers. He strongly hinted that if Potter was not found and found soon, like before the next Hogwarts term began, then one or both of them would be out of a job.

So officially began the hunt for the lying, murdering, panic monger, Harry James Potter. Amelia led a long and careful search but to no avail. No trace of Potter was found.

However, one week before Hogwarts was to start, Fudge announced that he had information that Potter had managed to flee Britain. He had been tried in absentia and convicted on all accounts. Fudge was requesting all Magical governments to assist in the capture and extradition of the mass-murdering (who knew two murders made a mass?) fiend. He could be delivered to the British Ministry of Magic dead or alive and whoever turned Potter in – whether dead or alive – would receive a 5,000 galleons reward.

Fudge took the opportunity to assure the public that Potter would be apprehended, they would be safe and to repeat once again YOU-KNOW-WHO WAS DEAD AND WOULD STAY THAT WAY, so not to worry and definitely not to believe the lies of the Boy-Who-Lied-and-Murdered. As far as Fudge was concerned the "Potter problem" was over and done with and that was that, so there!

Amelia was then called into Fudge's office but delayed a bit as she was desperately trying to control her temper and not curse the hell out of Fudge. As she was going into Fudge's office she was all but knocked over by a very angry Albus Dumbledore, who slammed the door in her face, after he finished evicting the others who were present in Fudge's office.

The office had to have been silenced otherwise there would no doubt be a lot of shouting, yelling and screaming (the latter on Fudge's part) being done and the door was definitely locked. To make matters worse, that dreadful Delores "Umbitch" was standing outside the door screaming out her demand to Amelia, Scrimgeour and a few others to break down the door and rescue the Minister and arrest Dumbledore and send him immediately to Azkaban.

Amelia was going to say something she knew she would regret but was beat to it by a few others, including the head Unspeakable who sent a very nasty stinging curse at the toad look-alike.

After exactly 38 minutes (Amelia timed it) an irate Dumbledore stormed out of the room followed by a very frightened Cornelius Fudge (who had apparently soiled himself). Dumbledore announced that a new press conference was going to be called but then Umbitch started her ranting and pandemonium broke out. After another 27 minutes, Amelia was allowed to leave but was told to report back within an hour to attend the press conference.

Amelia had a massive headache. She went to the Healer Auror and received a pain potion although she had to fill him in on all the gory details. By then she also needed and received a calming draught.

The new press conference was basically held by Dumbledore who severely berated Fudge and took the time to demand that the Wizengamot be assembled to vote on a no-confidence regarding the Fudge administration. That meant that Amelia had to stay around for the Wizengamot assembly, the vote, and the defeat of the vote by a very slim margin. Lucius Malfoy had managed to rally (i.e., bribe) his forces and barely win the day for Fudge.

But it was only temporary as Albus Dumbledore was not going to be denied his revenge. It was now a total all-out war between the two. Had Potter been found, Dumbledore would have played the game he was planning to originally use to out Voldemort but now that Potter had seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth, another tactic had to be used, so Dumbledore quickly regained all of his offices and full powers because he was now after Fudge's blood.

Naturally Amelia (and most of Dumbledore's own people) would never know the latest "let's use, abuse and torture Harry Potter" plan but what was going to finally bring Potter out into the open was based on the latest information Snape had given to Dumbledore.

Voldemort was planning on sending Potter messages via some physic link he had discovered he had with the brat. He was going to be sending him "dreams" and to lure him to the Hall of Prophecies to retrieve the second half of the prophecy which had caused his parents death and Voldemort's "first death" or whatever you wanted to call it.

Dumbledore had been delighted with this information as he had personally blocked some of Potter's magical talents and potential abilities. His ability as a natural Occlumens had been blocked to make it easier for Dumbledore to read the boy's mind.

Wherever he was hiding, he would be helpless to defend himself especially considering the "special link" Dumbledore knew that he and Voldemort shared. The boy would have to come back to Dumbledore for "help and protection" or go insane. At the very least he would be in constant and excruciating pain so that "would teach him" to flee from Albus Dumbledore's control.

There would only be one way for the boy to escape. Potter just might be dead. As much as he hated to think about it, Potter being dead would explain why not even Fawkes could find him.

The wards on Privet Drive had fallen when Potter left. All of Dumbledore's tracking implements had been destroyed and Fawkes couldn't find him via the usual means. Fawkes was linked to Harry Potter due to his tears running through Harry's veins and one of his feathers being the core to Potter's wand. Of course, Harry didn't have his wand as Vernon had locked it and all of Harry's possessions in the cupboard.

The Goblins would know if Potter was dead but they were refusing to tell Dumbledore despite his claim of being Harry's Magical guardian. All they would say was that Dumbledore couldn't have his usual access to Potter's trust vault as the boy was declared missing and due to certain…irregularities, Harry Potter needed to come into Gringotts in person and a blood test had to be done on him to make certain that the "real Harry Potter" was still alive.

Dumbledore had never heard of such a thing but when dealing with the Goblins, there were times when you had to abide by their rules and this apparently was one of them. It could be due to the fact that the since Potter had disappeared, the Ministry had been trying to gain access (or rather confiscate) the trust vault so the Goblins had put it in lock down to protect it.

But for some reason Dumbledore could not – would not – even consider that Potter was dead. It would ruin all of his plans and that would not be allowed to happen. Oh Potter was destined to die but not until Dumbledore decided that it would happen.

He had been furious that Fudge was still in office but that was only a momentary setback. Fudge would be out of office within the month even if…extraordinary means had to be used to accomplish this. He had "arranged" for such things to be done in the last war, and he would use such means again.

He would have to put one of "his people" in the office otherwise Tom would have little trouble taking control of the Ministry especially since he was in hiding. Dumbledore couldn't play his games this time as without Potter to use for his own purposes, it just wasn't feasible.

The only question was who to put in the office? He needed a very faithful follower or at least someone he could control and not the likes of Lucius Malfoy.

Molly Weasley would suggest (or rather demand) that her Arthur should be the new Minister of Magic. He would obey Dumbledore without question but due in large part of his being such a true and faithful follower, he was married to Molly Prewett and in politics and society she was nothing but a detriment.

He would have to make his decision soon because he couldn't get rid of Fudge until he had the ideal candidate and after this latest escapade of Fudge's (no doubt urged if not actually planned by Lucius), the man was endangering everything.

Albus considered Amelia Bones. She wasn't a follower, but at least she wouldn't be a lackey controlled by Malfoy and thus Voldemort. She was a brave, honest, thoroughly dedicated person who would do her best to maintain order and cooperate for all the right reasons. If only she was more trusting and willing to follow him. If only she would join the Order, then she would be his to command.

Of course, her niece was coming back to school next week and once the girl was safely in his domain, the Aunt might be persuaded to be more cooperative if her niece could be used to his advantaged. Yes, he would put Amelia Bones on his list and use the niece to keep Amelia… cooperative.

So, the new plan was (1) find Potter; (2) replace Fudge; (3) put in a amenable, suitable candidate of his own as Minister of Magic; (4) have Snape brew a few special potions; (5) find a way to lure Voldemort out in the open as soon as possible; and (6) FIND POTTER!

Chapter 6 – A New Job

Amelia Bones didn't know who she hated more at the moment – Cornelius Fudge or Albus Dumbledore. Even You-Know-Who was placed farther down on her hate list because after she decided whether Fudge or Dumbledore would be "No. 1" Lucius Malfoy and Delores Umbridge was closely vying for positions 3 and 4. She just might throw in Rufus Scrimgeour in position 5 and demote Voldie to six. Or maybe 7 because that miserable, irritating whelp of Molly Weasley, Percy, was starting to grate on her nerves even more than his bitch of a mother usually did.

She was currently nursing her fifth cup of coffee and it wasn't even lunch time yet. She usually didn't drink that much coffee but she was pretending the coffee was fire whiskey as that is what she really wanted and needed today.

Fudge was still on shaky ground as Dumbledore had not forgiven him from trying to get rid of Potter. Fudge needed something to get his reputation back which had suffered greatly from the "Potter fiasco" as it was now being referred to instead of the "Potter problem" or whatever else it was being called by others.

Amelia had been called to Fudge's office as soon as she had arrived for work. It seemed his latest plan was to find Potter. At least she had gotten him to admit that he didn't know where Potter was, that the boy's fleeing to another country had only been a ruse to bring him out into the open to "clear his good name and prove his innocence" and that Fudge really, really, really needed the boy to be found – alive – so that Dumbledore would stop trying to have him ousted.

Naturally Amelia didn't believe for one moment that Fudge was only trying to bring the boy out to "clear his name" and nobody in their right mind (who knew Fudge at least) would believe it either. No, Fudge had tried to kill the boy to shut him up and Amelia knew it. Fudge knew she knew it and she knew that Fudge knew she knew it as did Dumbledore.

She had wondered many a time how Fudge could sleep at night considering some of the things he did, but then she remembered what her grandfather used to tell her. "If you don't have a conscious you can do as many horrible things as you want to and sleep like a baby." That had to be the answer.

Then to make matters worse, Fudge had hinted that if she found Potter well, there was a big promotion for her. Of course, the only "promotion" she could get, considering she was already Head of the DMLE, would be to become Minister of Magic. Apparently Fudge didn't realize that when he hinted but then he probably wasn't planning on giving her a promotion anyway as he had also hinted that if she didn't find Potter and find him soon – alive – she would be out of a job.

The man was truly an idiot.

Then she had been summoned – yes summoned – to Hogwarts by Albus Dumbledore himself. To his office, immediately, drop everything she was doing no matter how important and come to his office now. At the great risk of not being offered a lemon drop, Amelia had to send a message to Dumbledore that she couldn't possibly come as she had just received an important assignment from Minister Fudge and she had to devote her entire attention to that assignment, mobilize her forces, etc.

She had just sent the reply off and her staff had arrived for a meeting when Fawkes the phoenix flashed into view, grabbed her and flashed her out of her office, away from the meeting and into the presence of his master who, with eyes twinkling in overtime, calmly offered her a lemon drop and tea.

Much to his surprise, she told him what he could do with his lemon drops and his tea. He ignored her anger and proceeded to inform her that he was considering her to be the new Minister of Magic and started advising her of what he would be expecting from her when much to his great surprised she whipped out her wand, stunned the old bastard, yelled a threat at the phoenix before stunning it unconscious and then went back to her office and meeting using Dumbledore's floo.

When the meeting was over and assignments given, she had tried to finish up a few odds and ends when Percy Weasley knocked on her door, didn't wait for permission to enter and just walked in, talking quickly and carrying a large packet of parchments which he informed her contained things which the Minister wanted her to look into. He then wanted a report by the end of the day on how the search for Potter was going. In fact he wanted one every day until Potter was found.

Weasley then proceeded to inform Amelia that the Minister was going to be holding several meetings all week long at which her presence was required. He handed her the list she glanced at it and then actually threw it back at the insufferable prat and told him to ask the Minister whether he wanted Potter found or the other work done. Also she had no intention whatsoever to attend the so-called meetings she was being summoned to as out of the 8 "meetings" 4 were social events which looked to be some sort of campaign fund raisers.

Weasley made the mistake of informing Madam Bones that these were orders from the Minister of Magic himself and not suggestions and if she knew what was good for her she would obey them all.

Percy Weasley never knew exactly what hit him only that he never wanted to experience such a thing again. Had he the time he might have considered going home to his mummy to cry and receive comfort, but that idea was quickly quashed as he found himself running away as fast as he could. He was also being followed by a very angry witch who could probably scare You-Know-Who if he was alive - which he definitely wasn't.

Amelia pounced on Cornelius Fudge, gave him a piece of her mind, told him what he could do with his meetings, and threw most of the parchments back on his desk as they had nothing to do with her department. That was when Delores Umbridge made her appearance and threw her two knuts in trying to defend and protect their beloved Minister.

That was also when Umbitch got her "pink cardigan handed to her" in a way she would never forget. Being Delores Umbridge, she wouldn't forget and she would be plotting how to get revenge, except considering who she was dealing with, she would definitely have to be very, very careful if she was to get away with it.

Rufus Scrimgeour had followed her into to her office as she was coming back from the confrontations and shutting the door, he immediately started asking if she would back him as he was intending to run for Minister after Fudge had been ousted. Although on the verge of losing control, she merely told Scrimgeour "Wait to see if he is ousted before you start campaigning because if he finds out he will fire you first."

It was sage advice as Fudge would do such a thing. Besides there was no way Amelia Bones would support the likes of Scrimgeour for the office of Minister yet she couldn't admit it as the man would take offense and become an enemy.

And that was why she was on her fifth cup of coffee. She paused to wonder if Dumbledore was still stunned or if he had taken the hint. She finished the coffee thinking that she would find out eventually and since she had a lot more to do, she better start doing it before some fool came in and forced her to really break out the fire whiskey.

At least she had made the decision about Susan. Healer Ambrose had officially filed with St. Mungo's the report of Susan Bones having contracted a case of the "rot" and would have to be treated for at least the next six months. It was all so nice and legal that not even Dumbledore could protest it.

It also gave Susan the excuse not to attend Hogwarts at least for the first term. Instead she would be doing private studying as this was her OWLS year. No one would know that she would be doing her private studying with Harry Potter.

The wards on Bones Manor were so good that even Voldemort's minions couldn't break through them and, just to be safe, Amelia had a Fidelius also placed on her home so even Aurors who had formerly been assigned to guard Bones Manor on occasion, were now barred from the home. Nobody, not even a Ministry employee or members of her own staff, would be getting into her home without her permission.

Fudge had complained but he was won over as Amelia told him it was not only to protect her niece and herself but since the wards were so good, much money would be saved as there would be no Aurors having to be paid to guard her. Since "it had been proven without a doubt that You-Know-Who was still dead and would remain so" there was no need for a high profile a person such as Amelia Bones to need extra protection. Therefore, no money would be wasted to provide unneeded protection from a danger that didn't exist.

However, the protection money which Amelia had lost had not been saved, it was merely re-assigned. For some strange reason not known to Amelia and definitely not advertised to the general public, the protection on the home and person of Minister Fudge had been doubled. Fudge agreed it was an excellent idea and immediately assigned her Aurors to increase his security to protect him from… whatever. No doubt he feared that the lying, mass-murdering, panic-inducing, maniac Harry Potter would "get" him or something.

Then on August 30st "IT" happened. Two bounty hunters came in with a body they said was Harry Potter and they came to claim the 5,000 galleon reward. Apparently, Fudge had forgotten to contact all other Magical governments and law enforcement agencies cancelling the dead or alive reward.

Oops! Well not even Fudge could think of everything had been the excuse. Then later that day, two "freelancers" showed up with another body and on the 31st, three "conscientious citizens" produced TWO bodies, certain that one of them was Potter's.

None of the five bodies was Potter's, some didn't even look like him and only two had attempted to recreate (badly) the famous scar. There were just five bodies that seven individuals (five of them adults) "found" (like in a morgue) or "created" (liked killed) and hoped that they could pass it off as Potter's body to collect the very enticing reward.

It was a scandal which Fudge could not talk his way out of, especially when somebody (Rufus Scrimgeour?) leaked it to the news media of Britain and the Continent. At least the dead or alive bounty was finally called off.

Due to the scandal and successful vote of no confidence, Albus Dumbledore missed the September 1st sorting, feast and first three days of the school term due to the vicious political in-fighting and grabs for power. It would go down in history as the worst fight in centuries and by September 5th there was still no resolution.

Fudge was out, but the position was temporarily being held by Dumbledore himself because there had been no majority vote and he hadn't approved of the candidates who came closest to winning. None of the leading candidates were "his" so using his power as Head of the Wizengamot and the ICW, he declared something akin to martial law until more "suitable" candidates were running.

Lucius Malfoy was running. Usually he stayed in the background because despite his wealth, connections and political power, due to his unfortunate history of being an Imperiused Death Eater he didn't stand a chance. But Voldemort had ordered him to run this time even without a chance at winning. The more candidates running the more divided things would be and the longer Britain would be without a Minister of Magic.

But even Voldemort had been surprised when Dumbledore and "taken temporary control" of the situation and seized the post himself. He had always refused to run, pretending that he was just a simply Headmaster and educator whose main concern was for the education of the next generation and he didn't delve into politics.

Of course this was ludicrous considering that Albus Dumbledore was Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. He was the most political person in Magical Britain and everybody over the age 18 knew it. People in other countries as far away as North America knew it, but Dumbledore liked to "pretend" that he wasn't the most powerful wizard in Britain. Dumbledore had been furious when Amelia Bones refused to run. She refused to run only because she refused to be a Dumbledore sycophant.

This time she couldn't run because as Minister she would be forced to have a full Auror guard with access to her home and then Harry Potter would be discovered. Even if she was Minister of Magic, she had no doubt that Dumbledore would have her arrested for keeping the boy out of his control. Who knew what retaliation he would be capable of and Amelia feared more for Susan than her own life. For safety and security, two of the Aurors who knew where Potter was had been voluntarily obliviated for their own good. Only Amelia, Susan, Healer Ambrose, Auror Covey and Unspeakable No. 3 knew about Harry's location. Unspeakables were only known by a number and not a name for security reasons. But No. 3 was the most trustworthy, competent and high up Unspeakable in the Ministry and he simply refused to be obliviated. Besides, sad to say if something happened to Amelia, No. 3 would take care of both Harry and Susan as Unspeakables were not to be cowered and didn't fear anybody in the Ministry not even the likes of Albus Dumbledore.

Now that Dumbledore was "temporarily in power" he started incorporating several significant changes. Since Britain was under martial law, Dumbledore had "special powers" which he could enact and enforce as he saw fit. He even drafted a few new laws and was pushing them through the Wizengamot. Any sensible person realized that he had every intention of staying in temporary power for a very long time. The election was put on hold until those suitable candidates could be found. Amelia knew that Dumbledore was quite capable of delaying the elections for as long as he wished and probably would. A definite clue to this was he had started undertaking an evaluation of every department in the Ministry and all personnel. Apparently he was looking into who he could trust, use and bring over to his ways of seeing things.

Naturally the DMLE was the first department reviewed with Amelia being the first person and Scrimgeour the second. The first thing he asked was if she believed Voldemort was back. She replied that she did because of how badly Fudge had been trying to cover it up and because there were rumors that the dark mark was fully visible on the arms of known Death Eaters. She passed the "first test" on Dumbledore's list.

Then he asked about the Potter investigation and she told him all that she had the DMLE doing to find the boy. Again, he found her efforts acceptable, except for the fact that Potter hadn't been found. He then went over the rest of the department with the proverbial fine tooth comb. He could find no complaints with her running of the department especially considering she had had to put up with Fudge all this time. As usual she had been doing a truly excellent job. However, probably to punish her for not running for Minister (under his patronage) he informed her that if she did not find Potter or at least make a significant amount of progress in finding new leads, then he would have no choice but to relieve her of her duties and demote her or perhaps even discharge her from her job.

She had expected he would try something like this but it still hurt when she heard it. She merely nodded that she understood and was dismissed. So she did the only thing she could do, she handed over the investigation to Scrimgeour and then did the rest of her duties to the best of her abilities. It was noted that she was practically living at the Ministry so devoted and hardworking she was. Before she knew it, time had passed and the Christmas holiday was at hand. The election was still post-poned despite the complaints and lobbying done by the Malfoy group and other candidates. Dumbledore showed no sign of leaving his temporary post or any of his other positions.

It was rumored that Minerva McGonagall was working herself sick due to the pressure of being a full time teacher, Head of Gryffindor House, Deputy Headmistress, Acting Headmistress and also being forced to see to certain things in regard to Dumbledore's post at the ICW. The only reason she had not already collapsed was because Flitwick, Sprout and Sinistra were helping her as best they could, but everyone at Hogwarts was stressed to the breaking point. Dumbledore didn't care. All that he concentrated on was his plans concerning Voldemort and, reorganizing the Ministry to his liking, finding a suitable candidate to take his place and finding Harry Potter.

There had been no progress in the hunt for Potter, so an angry Albus Dumbledore had to punish someone. Amelia heard rumors that he had reactivated the Order of the Phoenix and had all of those minions searching for the boy as well as recruiting. None of them had the slightest clue and everything came up a dead end. Since Dumbledore couldn't find Potter and he couldn't punish his followers especially as he was looking for new members, he had to punish someone and make an example of him or her.

So it was Amelia Bones who would be punished. First because she had exposed the conditions which Harry Potter had been living in and had the evidence to prove it. She had caught Kingsley in the act of attempting to destroy evidence and exposed that also, thus putting some of his best followers/spies in danger. Although he managed to wiggle out of the sticky situation he had been placed in, she was at fault.

Second, she had refused to become a member of the Order during the first war, again wouldn't consider it this time, had chastised and threaten Aurors regarding the consequences of joining the Order and was making recruitment of many of the qualify people he needed difficult. Third, she had refused to run for Minister under his patronage and then, as he noticed, she had voted for at least two persons who while not pro-Voldemort, had committed to grave sin of not being pro-Dumbledore. Fourth, even though she had been and still was doing everything possible to find Harry Potter, she had not. That was the "real" excuse he could use to punish and get rid of her.

Besides, Scrimgeour had indicated that he would be more amenable to run for Minister under Dumbledore's patronage if he had a good inducement and being made Head of the DMLE would serve as a sign of confidence. So at 5 p.m. on December 20th just as Amelia was about to leave to start her holidays (after not having a single day off since sometime in August), she was called into Dumbledore's office and fired. The reason given was her absolute failure to find one 15 year old boy who needed to be found and come back into the protection of Albus Dumbledore.

Her firing took less than five minutes, including the disappointment expressed by Dumbledore for her incompetence. She was to clear out her office, turn in her ID, badges, symbols of office, etc. and be out of the Ministry no later than 6 p.m. that day. As a parting shot, Dumbledore informed her that "he was allowing her to still be a member of the Wizengamot" as if that was some sort of concession he was granting her. It was a useless, insulting and totally ridiculous thing to say as she was already a hereditary member of the Wizengamot and as proxy until Susan came of age as Lady Bones and Dumbledore had no say in the matter or any right to remove her from that position.

He knew that and she knew he knew it and he knew that she knew he knew it. But he had said it anyway in what was called by all members of the Wizengamot and Ministry staff his "Headmaster's voice" which he always used to talk down to his peers and especially his betters. It was very condescending but he always did it purposely to belittle people and because he could. It just showed how truly petty and mean he was to people despite the constant eye twinkling and falsely sweet persona he showed to the public. He would always do it to the day he died and knowing him he would probably find a way to keep doing it in death. She wondered if he would do it to the Uncaused Cause (another term for God) when he reached the afterlife.

She really felt like hexing him to hell and back but knew that she couldn't as the #%*%#^&^ bastard would have her arrested and sent to Azkaban for a few months because he could. So she just acknowledged her discharge and left to pack and say goodbye to a few people should she see them on her way out. That being done, at 5:45 p.m. Amelia Bones left the Ministry building and went directly to Gringotts. She went up to a teller, asked to see her account manager and after waiting for about 45 minutes (he had another client) she got to see Heartcrusher. She needed to be immediately checked for spells, curses, hexes, etc. before she went home. She wouldn't put anything passed Dumbledore.

It was a very wise thing to do as there were tracking spells on her person, some of her possessions and a few listening spells had been cast on the photographs which she kept in her office. She knew they had not been there when she had been summoned into Dumbledore's presence so that meant her office had been compromised while he fired her. It took 25 minutes and cost 50 galleons to have everything removed from her person and possessions and then another 5 galleons to use a special Gringotts, untraceable floo so she could floo to a public floo nowhere near her home. From there she would apparate to just outside her home, call for one of the elves, have him check her and her possessions for anything "missed" by the Goblins before she finally was able to go home and start her holiday. What a terrible way to start Yule!

Chapter 7 – Plan F

The news of Amelia Bones' firing spread fast, not only in the Ministry but also in the whole of Britain because it made news in the next day's edition of the Daily Prophet. Apparently Amelia had not been the only person to lose their job for the holidays she was just the most notable. It was embarrassing because she hadn't told Susan and Harry that she had lost her job as she didn't want to worry them or, in Harry's case, make him feel guilty. Now, however, it was blazing out in print and there was no way around it. Since the new security measures had gone into effect one of the elves would pop out daily and buy a copy of the Prophet and Teen Witch Weekly for Susan. Borry the elf had popped out, bought the paper and popped back in and left it on the breakfast table.

Susan had been the first to read it so now the cat was out of the bag. Amelia explained that it wasn't anyone's fault except for a petty, power hungry Dumbledore. She pointed out that several other prominent people were also out of a job with the one thing in common being they were not Dumbledore followers. "You will note that there is only one person from a dark family to get the axe and he was nearly 100 and should have retired years ago" she told them. "Dumbledore has been trying to get rid of known dark wizards, but most of them are too entrenched to be removed unless he has a good reason." She then went down the list to see who replaced the newly fired.

It was interesting to note and mention that the elderly "dark" wizard had been the titular head of the Department of Magical Transportation, which was responsible for various aspects of magical transport, including Portkeys, the Floo Network, and the Apparation Test Centre. This was a very important department especially since it regulated portkeys, floos and tracked down apparitions. It was also a very desirable department to work in as there was great potential to earn "extra money" as bribes were constantly being offered to get an illegal portkey made or floo hook-up and underage apparation licenses. But the most interesting thing to note was that now, despite not having any experience in the department, Arthur Weasley had been made its head. "Well the Weasleys will love that," said Harry. "It probably comes with a big raise in salary and…"

"And a noted Dumbledore lackey is put in charge of monitoring all portkeys, floos and apparition licenses," added Amelia. "He probably didn't make Arthur the Head just to reward him – which is long overdue for such a faithful lackey. No, Arthur is also very conscientious and will stop the bribes and report back to Dumbles all portkey issuances and floo connections. There will be no secrets in that area kept from Dumbles." Amelia was very glad she had cancelled the floo service and had personally witnessed the floo signature being permanently erased from the Ministry's memory. She knew from her job that there were ways to circumvent even the best security which was why she had been so careful to remove all traces and trackers.

During the last war many had found out to their horror that undesirables could gain access to the most secure house through use of an old floo address. Even with a Fidelius being cast, if someone held onto a person flooing to a protected place, they too could enter the house. Even using owl post could be compromised as you could track the general area that an owl was flying towards. You then could estimate where a hidden property was located especially if you already knew the general area where a property had once been. That was what Dumbledore had been trying to do when he placed trackers on her person. He probably knew by now that her floo was disconnected, so she would be apparating home.

All Aurors were trained in following apparations. If they were close enough to a person apparating, not only could they cast a quick spell to trace the apparation but with a tracker even a multiple series of apparations could be followed. Then the area was noted and highly trained special teams could figure out a general location and set up monitoring charms. Once a definite source was established, then ward breakers could come in and begin a long, but doable, process of breaking the wards and exposing the hidden house. With enough information, patience and a specialized team at your disposal Bones Manor could be found, the wards destroyed and then a force could be sent in to capture/arrest anyone, including the house elves living behind the now destroyed wards.

Also, anti-apparation/floo wards could be cast on the area so that the residents could not escape by that or any other means. It was expensive to do but if someone was bound and determined and price was no deterrent, Dumbledore and his minions could come strolling through the door (if they hadn't destroyed it) at their leisure. Amelia was sure that was how Scrimgeour convinced Dumbledore to give him Amelia's job. This was classified information and not known by many except those with a definite need-to-know clearance. It would involve a lot of expense due to the use of manpower to be constantly monitoring an area as well as some special equipment and access to property files, and at least one specialized Unspeakable would be needed to complete the job. Damn, they were trapped now that she thought about it.

Another way to locate someone would be to use the Hogwarts student book. The main enrollment book was a special enchanted book which recorded the birth of every magical child born in Britain. When the Hogwarts letter was sent out, where the child was living was recorded in that book and was also spelled to update itself should the address change. A chill went down Amelia's spine as she realized something she had never stopped to think about. The enrollment book was a one-of-a-kind, extremely powerful magical artifact. Would someone living under very strong wards or even a Fidelius be exposed? Probably not otherwise Susan and Harry would have received their yearly start of new term letter with the book list on it.

However, were all the addresses sent throughout the years recorded and made a record somewhere? The only people who had access to that book were Dumbledore and McGonagall. Did McGonagall keep a private record of addresses to use throughout the year in case she had to contact a Muggleborn's parents? If she wrote it down an address would it disappear because a Fidelius had been cast on that property? There were so many possibilities which Amelia had never thought about until now. The many wild thoughts and speculations going through Amelia's head must be noticeable as Healer Ambrose asked her if she was feeling okay. Than Amelia snapped to attention replied a quick "yes" before running out of the room as another horrible thought entered her mind.

Dumbledore couldn't find Bones Manor due to the Fidelius, but since he had put trackers on her he was trying to find out. The trackers would give them a definite idea where the Manor was compared to a guesstimate. However, if they knew who the Bones' nearest magical neighbor was, they could use that as a starting point. A Fidelius could wipe out the memory of a home's location but not a neighbor's location or even a neighbor's name. Three and half mile from their doorstep lived the Corrigans. The youngest son just started Hogwarts this year. Christopher Corrigan worked with Amelia Bones, everyone knew they were close neighbors and he wasn't under any type of Fidelius.

It was the same with the Aubrey-Worths, their nearest neighbors on the other side. They would know the Bones lived near them and the Corrigans so… OH HELL - they had a general idea of the area where they lived. With Dumbledore in control of the Ministry and Arthur Weasley in charge of the Department of Transportation, they could muster all the forces needed and find them. SOON! Had Scrimgeour figured it out or had Dumbledore, once Scrimgeour told him about the classified information? She knew she was being paranoid, but considering that Scrimgeour had been in complete charge of finding Potter, he too should have been fired or at least severely chastised for not finding Harry. Instead, he had been promoted to her job which meant he had control over all of the Aurors, the resources and – well everything!

They had to leave and leave now. Where they would go, she didn't know. There was no place they could go especially at such short notice. There was one means of escape that no one knew, not even Susan, as it hadn't been used in decades. Now it might be their only hope and if they hurried, they could leave undetected. However, where they would go would be the big problem. She would worry about that later. Right now, she had to find the secret tunnel leading out of the Manor and have the elves pack up everything, including their food supplies. The secret tunnel was hidden behind the wall of what was once used as a wine cellar. The Bones still drank wine but in the last 100 years or so had just kept their supply in the upstairs pantry as it came in bottles not the large casks and tuns of yesteryear. Nothing was stored in the rooms and there was nothing there but dirt, dust, spider webs and the occasional bones of a dead mouse or rat.

After careful searching she found the hidden door. She had taken Borry with her to search. He would also be in charge of putting all things back the way they were before invading the space. If they were to use this as their escape, nothing could lead someone into thinking the rooms had been used recently otherwise the escape route would be discovered. That was why Amelia was riding a broom so as not to disturb the dirt, dust and debris. She opened the hidden wall and flew through. She then called Borry to her side and he popped into the tunnel. So far only the opening of the wall panel had marred the condition. Amelia flew the broom while Borry sat in front of her holding a lantern to light their way. There was a smell of must, stale air and other things which she chose not to think about.

The tunnel went on for exactly ¾ of a mile and let out behind what was now a Muggle housing development. The exit was a stone wall cleverly disguised as a part of a stony hill. If need be, they could make a camp of sorts behind the wall at the end of the tunnel. Therefore, they could be packed and secured here within a few hours. There were a few drawbacks with the plan. Amelia couldn't leave the Manor by apparation because the monitoring devices might already be getting set up. When they exited through the stone wall, although they would be far away from the monitoring devices, they would be in a Muggle neighborhood and thus any trace of apparation could and probably would be noticed. Probably even the use of any type of magic, even her's and Healer Ambrose.

Therefore to be completely safe, Amelia would have to either risk apparating from inside the tunnel, which she wasn't sure she could do at this point as yet another horrible thought occurred to her. Even though she was an adult and had had an apparation license for years, her apparation signature was still on file at the Ministry as it was considered a permanent record. She had been so overwhelmed with work in the past few months that she was having trouble remembering all of the memos she had received concerning the new advances and techniques developed by the various Ministry Departments. There was something in the back of her mind that was trying to escape into the front regarding apparation, but she just couldn't think what. She decided to sit down and have a good think to try to remember it.

To save precious time, she sent Borry back with a message for Healer Ambrose and the children. "Tell Susan to put Plan F into operation immediately." Ever since the last war and due to Amelia being Head of the DMLE, various escape plans had been made. Plan F consisted of one of the elves packing up all the clothing and accessories which every member of the household would need to survive, including but not limited to Muggle clothing. It would encompass clothing for all seasons but not necessarily all clothing, just the minimum to get by on. It would also include the minimum personal possessions, like photograph albums or special keepsakes which you just couldn't live without should you not ever be able to return home. Last but not least, certain books had been earmarked to be taken in case of an emergency evacuation as well as personal papers and money.

Another elf, namely Booey, would be in charge of packing all the necessary household items such as the kitchen equipment, and the minimum amount of linens, dishes, blankets, etc. needed to live on. In Plan F, this included any and all food and beverages as it meant they would be on the run. It included any and all potions and potion ingredients which would be needed until they reached a place of safety. All of these things were to be shrunk and placed in special boxes so that if needed, everything could be could be carried in one bag by an elf or even Susan.

The Bones had three house elves and with Dobby that made four, so he was called into help. Bonbon, the third elf usually cared for the outside grounds, but now he would be doing the cleanup. After getting the brooms and seeing to the owls, he would be responsible for getting the "evacuation tent" then placing the outside plants into a state of stasis. By then the other elves would have completed their packing and the rest of the possessions, including furniture, books, etc., would all be packed, shrunk and placed in their respective boxes and all would then be hidden in a secret underground chamber located at the edge of the property. The house and grounds of Bones Manor might end up being destroyed, but no one would get any "loot" from the Manor.

Everything, even the cleanup, was done in an hour. Now elves and humans just sat on the floor in the kitchen waiting for Amelia to summon one of the elves. By then she had made her decisions about what to do. She summoned Borry and he then took her back to the kitchen so tell everyone what was going to happen. She sent all the elves off to check the grounds and perimeter for signs of spells, wards or the presence of other magical beings. Amelia had been correct as there was evidence of "unusual" magic being performed, at the Aubrey-Worths and Corrigan homes. What Amelia feared had indeed begun.

After everything had been secured, the wine cellar put back into its former dusty state and everyone was briefed, Amelia took one last look around her home and then had Borry take her back to the end of the tunnel. She then called the other elves so that they would know where to bring Harry, Susan and Healer Ambrose. Then the elves went back to the house to clean it to the state of sterilization. There would not be one iota of what the Muggles called DNA evidence to use to track anyone who had been living or even visiting the house in the last six or so months. If it wasn't such a sad occasion the elves would have been deliriously happy to do such wonderful, thorough cleaning, especially considering that even their own DNA could not be left. It was the stuff of dreams for a house elf.

Everything was accomplished by 5:54 p.m. the same day. When the elves came back, Booey started making dinner. She had packed a large picnic basket earlier in the day and after dinner she restocked the basket with breakfast and lunch just in case they had to move quickly the next day. After that was done Amelia let the elves in on the plan. Before first light the next day Amelia would be leaving the safety of the tunnel dressed as a Muggle. Borry would be coming with her glamoured as a young child also dressed as a Muggle. They would then make their way to the nearest Muggle town, about a five mile walk, where Amelia would be renting a Muggle car.

Fortunately she knew how to act like a Muggle and could drive and she had a genuine set of Muggle identification which even her colleagues at the Ministry didn't know about. She would then drive to an American military base. She had made contacts during the last war with the American government and had renewed them once she became Head of the DMLE. The American government, both Muggle and Magical, did not like the way Magical Britain was run. The last war had escalated beyond control and although she had not been privy to all the details, Amelia knew that relations between the British Muggle government and the Magical government were very strained.

Despite all the treaties between the two governments over the centuries, as well as Magical Britain still being answerable to the ruling King or Queen, the Ministry of Magic was notorious for breaking all treaties whenever they could. They were under the mistaken impression that all Magical governments did the same. Even during World War II, or as the British Magicals referred to it as the Grindelwald Conflict, the British Ministry constantly lied and even obliviated members of the Muggle government including on at least two occasions, Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Even today they still did on so a regular basis whenever they didn't want to admit to anything. But the Americans Muggles and Magicals were in Britain and alerted Winnie as to what was really going on. After WW II, the Americans still maintained bases in Britain and Europe and their Magicals always kept the Muggle PM up-to-date on exactly what was happening in Magical Britain.

The Muggle government knew about the war Voldemort was conducting as it was hard to miss some of the things happening to Muggles. However, most of what was really going on was still being covered up by the Ministry, blatant lies were being told and obliviations were still being done. The Americans had a difficult job trying to smooth over the British Ministry of Magic's numerous sins, but now that they knew that "the V-man was back" they were not going to cover things up anymore.

The Fudge Administration was known throughout Europe for lying and obliviating the Muggle government and Fudge had the audacity to treat it like a great joke. Dumbledore was also doing it but on an even greater scale than Fudge. Since declaring martial law, Dumbledore had gone so far as to have some of his "faithful" cast compulsion charms and even, it was rumored among the Americans, have a few Imperiuses cast, especially regarding the search for Harry Potter. Nothing could be proven as tracks were covered up very well. The Americans were doing all that they could but it was evident that it was only a matter of time before something could not be covered up and the existence of Magic and wizards was going to be exposed to the entire world. After all, that was one of Dumbledore's stated goals that someday Muggles and Magicals would "work together to create a better world" or in other words, Dumbledore wanted to tell Muggles that Magic was real and he, Albus Dumbledore was the new Merlin and everybody loved Merlin, right?

Not only was that idea a disaster in the making, it would probably start another World War with all Magicals being destroyed and probably most of the Muggle World. Amelia was desperate enough to go to the Americans and hope they would help her. Her contact had been sent back to the States but he had left specific instructions for his successors and a glowing report about Amelia Bones. In fact, according to the report, she was one of the few, if only, trustworthy persons in all of Magical Britain. She had even been given a special code which she used when she reported in. She was immediately taken to meet with Col. Shelby Sullivan, a Magical serving in the U.S. Air Force. After she was shown to his office, asked to sit down and the door had been closed, he quickly asked, "Please tell me you know where Harry Potter really is" before pulling out his wand and offering to swear an oath on his life and magic that the American government wanted to find and help the boy.

Being no fool and now trusting no one, Amelia asked for an oath to be given before she would reveal the real reason she came here. An oath was given and she started out by telling Col. Sullivan all that had happened since the end of the Triwizard Tournament. Whether or not she knew the whereabouts of the Potter boy, the information the witch was giving was invaluable. The Americans knew of some things, especially when Fudge was still in power, but since Dumbledore had taken over, information was harder to come by than inexpensive tickets to a Quidditch World Cup.

When Sullivan read yesterday's Prophet, he had been horrified to read that Bones had been given the boot by Dumbledore for "incompetence" as he knew it was a set up. The fact that she was now sitting in his office the very next day had to mean that she was scared and that the Dumbledore administration was worse than Fudge and his predecessors. He was more alarmed when she told him her theory concerning the Ministry's new way of tracking magic and not just the magic of underage children. Not only could it be used again the population of Magical Britain, it could also be used against all other Magicals living in the country – like the Americans – but the knowledge and means to use it could be used out of the Britain. They were sitting on a potential time bomb with the likes of Albus Dumbledore in charge.

All questions regarding Potter were forgotten. Instead a deal was made. Amelia and her "household" would be rescued, given sanctuary and immediately sent out of the country and in return, she would reveal the location of her home so that the Americans could start their own investigations. In this case they could use Muggle technology to find the presence of wizards and the spells which were being used. Unlike their British counterparts, much of the world, especially the Americans and Asians, blended magic and technology producing things which could only be described as…well truly magical! Also, Bones would be giving names and information on the truly important people in Magical Britain and their alliances and true allegiances.

It amused Amelia greatly to find out that there was a bet between prominent American intelligent agents whether or not Severus Snape was working for Voldemort or Dumbledore or whether he was a double agent just working for himself. "Unfortunately Col. Sullivan," she said, "The only way to truly know the answer to that question is to capture him, test him to see if he hasn't developed an antidote or an immunity to Veritaserum, administer it to him, ask the questions and then make him swear on his life and magic that he was telling the truth."

"What's your opinion?" She thought for a moment before saying, "From what I know of his personal history, I think that like many of his generation he voluntarily joined the Dark Lord because he thought it was the only way he could make a difference or to get revenge on those who had wronged him. Despite what Malfoy and his cronies said, you cannot be Imperiused to become a Death Eater as you must do so of your own free will." "There were rumors that he was made a part of the Inner Circle when he was only 21 years old. He is the youngest potion master in over a century as well as being a talented dueler and a very, very well-read and intelligent man. Something happened, but I don't know what, that changed things and he became a double agent for Dumbledore. That was the only thing that saved him from going to Azkaban."

"However, it would have been logical for a wizard of his talents to seek employment as a researcher or potioneer. I know for a fact that the Chief Healer at St. Mungo's has offered him employment at least three times in the past ten years. Also, one of the Unspeakables told me – in confidence, but I'll tell you anyway under the current circumstances – that the Chief of the Unspeakables wanted to recruit him. In Britain, no one ever refuses to become an Unspeakable as it is an incredible honor and only the cream of the crop are ever considered."

"And he didn't?"

"It was said that he really wanted to but that Dumbledore wouldn't allow it. Instead Snape has been 'teaching' students, an occupation for which he hasn't the inclination or the temperament for and he doesn't really teach. It is evident that he hates working at Hogwarts but rumor says that Dumbledore won't let him leave." "Also, it is believed, or at least I believe it, that Dumbledore tells him how he is to act, behave and treat certain people – especially Harry Potter. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that although he has gone back to serving the Dark Lord, he is still spying for Dumbledore."

"So how would you vote?"

"I think he would leave Britain and never come back. He wouldn't willing serve either of them and would escape if he could. I think he is trapped and he knows it and is just trying to live to see who wins in the end."

"Do you think we could recruit him? I mean like you said he is a very talented guy and we could use someone like him in our organization."

"I don't know him that well and don't think I have ever had a conversation with him, but from what I do know, if you could remove the dark mark off his arm and would give him a job doing what he really wants to do like researching…well he'd be singing God Bless America before you could blink."

They both laughed at that. Then plans were finalized and he had a good meal brought in. Arrangements were made to take her rental car back as she would be going home via a military transport vehicle. She would give the military the coordinates needed to set up their surveillance. Then after all of this was done, she would summon Borry, who in turn would pop back to retrieve "the family" and then all of them would be taken back to the U.S.A.F. base that night via military transport. Everything went without a hitch and it wasn't until early the next morning when they arrived at the base and were given quarters that Col. Sullivan got to meet Harry Potter. Things were definitely looking up now that the boy had been found and was safe..

Chapter 8 – Impossibilities

Dumbledore was confident that everything was going his way. Scrimgeour had indeed made a deal with Dumbledore by revealing top secret information concerning spells which even Dumbledore didn't know about. He hadn't found Potter but he was willing to work with Dumbledore and would betray anyone to achieve his goals, much like Dumbledore himself. However, Dumbledore would only allow Scrimgeour to get just enough power to keep him wanting more. He might even let him be elected Minister of Magic – eventually.

Since he had declared martial law he found that he relished the power which he had always swore he didn't want. The only reason he had truly hesitated from seeking the office was because he had so much on his proverbial plate that he didn't think that even he could handle all of the work and still have time for his schemes, plots and plans. But things were going so well and he was actually having fun. He was driving many people crazy and infuriating others like Lucius Malfoy. He was passing laws, ordering people around and disrupting lives even more than usual. It was vastly amusing as well as satisfying. Best of all he still had all of his offices and positions of power.

Every night he'd leave the Ministry by having Fawkes flash him back to Hogwarts in time for dinner in the Great Hall. There would then be a mandatory staff meeting so he could see how things were running, give new orders to his underlings and dismiss everyone except for the four Heads of House. He would review the special projects he assigned to them. Snape would report back later if he had news concerning Voldemort. The Order of the Phoenix meetings would be held on Saturday nights at the Order headquarters. Sirius Black had been called back and they were using the Black Family house as their headquarters. Black money was financing the running of the Order although he had made the Marauder a virtual prisoner in his own house as he was still a wanted mass-murderer. The money was needed to keep up the hunt for Potter but other things were being used with the money provided, including feeding the Order and providing many other much needed things.

Dumbledore still had time for himself and managed to go to bed no later than midnight. The next day he would have breakfast in the Great Hall, take the Fawkes express back to the Ministry and start all over again. A Hogwarts house elf delivered his lunch and provided tea and snacks if Dumbledore needed them. Yes, things were going great for Dumbledore and he was even more happier than usual. Everybody else was miserable and in some cases, on their last legs. He didn't know how McGonagall got done all that she had been assigned without dropping dead, but he didn't really care. If she did die of exhaustion or had to be hospitalized, he would just have about three people replace her but until then she was useful and would continue to be so until she did drop.

Only two things annoyed him. One, he couldn't find where Voldemort was as even Snape didn't know and he was not being summoned to all the meetings. Second, Potter was still missing and he was starting to get angry. But since Scrimgeour had revealed a new method of tracking magic so that no one would be safe from being found, Dumbledore had hopes that Potter, and even Voldemort's location would be found. After all, you only needed a magical signature and Dumbledore had Potter's and other important signatures on record.

The new procedure was going to be tested on Amelia Bones. She would be taught a double lesson and used as an example of what happened to people who crossed Albus Dumbledore in any way. Bones had always fought against him. She was just too noble, honorable and much too intelligent to fall for his manipulations. She could never ever get the better of him, no one could, but that didn't stop her from trying. At times it was amusing but now she was just annoying and since Potter hadn't been found after he had given her a direct order, there was now an excuse to get rid of her. Then he would use some excuse to send the witch to Azkaban, if only for a few months or so to make her appreciate her freedom. She would only be released if she joined the Order of the Phoenix and publically became a Dumbledore supporter. She would never again hold a position of power, but she still retained a lot of respect from her peers and even a few enemies. But she would be publically seen to be crushed and by Albus Dumbledore. It would serve as a lesson to many if even this proud, brave and truly noble woman of impeccable heritage and breeding could fall so far and low because she had displeased Albus Dumbledore.

He would enjoy it immensely. To keep her in her new place, he would pass a law or two allowing him to be the sole guardian of her niece Susan. The girl was the last heir of House Bones and although the Bones Family was not as wealthy as many other Purebloods, they were still very well off. The Bones lineage was old and impressive and many great wizards and witches came from that house. The girl was said to be quite lovely and possessed of a truly voluptuous figure and many young wizards were already trying to court her. Such a paragon of virtue, wealth and position would be considered a prize and could be used to reward a faithful follower. One of the Weasleys definitely as they could use the money. Once the girl was under the control of a Weasley she would soon learn her place especially with Molly as a mother-in-law. That would also teach Amelia Bones a lesson.

But Dumbledore's plans for the Bones witches would never come to fruition as on December 24th the Bones household and Healer Ambrose were flying in a Muggle airplane heading to a secluded, top secret military base to start a new life. And so was Harry Potter. Other people were also making plans. Amelia Bones had given Col. Sullivan and his superiors a lot of information with the promise of more to come. Many people in both worlds would be working through the holiday season as decisions had to be made and made soon. The "V-man" was a recognized threat, but some of the things Amelia had been telling them concerning Dumbledore's action was showing him to be a worst threat than the V-man any day.

Once Bones and her household were safely settled, she would be debriefing the special section of the American military (which knew about Magic) and a final report would then be sent to the top people in both the American and British governments. Decisions which could change the course of history were going to be made and made soon.

The worst case scenario could see the end of Magical Britain as the last several governments had consistently and constantly violated just about all treaties between the Muggle and Magical Worlds. The Queen, the Prime Minister and the military would decide whether or not to allow wizards and witches to live in Great Britain or if they were going to be sent in exile. It all came down to a matter of money and taxes. When the Statute of Secrecy came into existence in the late 17th Century, all land and property owned by wizards and witches were exempted from paying taxes to the Crown. This was due to the fact that they would be allowed to become a separate nation living within a nation. The Magical World would remain a secret not only for its own safety but for the good of the "Unblessed" as Muggles were then known.

As long as Magicals obeyed the terms and conditions of the treaties, they could live in harmony along with the Unblessed. Everything would remain separate. However, the Magicals would still be subject to the Crown and/or whatever government existed at any particular time. It was to be the same for all countries as the goal was peaceful co-existence. Any violations of any of the treaties, especially on a continuous basis, would be treated as a threat to the wellbeing of Great Britain and could result in a war or, at the very least, the permanent exile of all Magicals from the country.

In theory it made sense and only a fool would violate such generous terms. But British Magicals were known for being fools and although it worked well for a while, after a few decades when some wizards thought the Unblessed had been lulled into a false sense of security, subtle violations began. Just a few here and there to test the waters so to speak. Once a year the Magicals were to meet with the current Prime Minister and Monarch to discuss the special kingdom within a kingdom. They were also obliged to report anything potentially harmful to Crown and Country, such as dark wizards, new diseases, potential rebellion and the like.

Some Magical Administrations did and some didn't. Some got away with as much as they could before they were found out. Then a royal summons would be issued and all would work together to resolve with whatever was going wrong, correct it and punish the guilty. To put it bluntly, Magical Britain was and would always remain a vassal of the Crown and/or Great Britain. If violations were rampant and things couldn't be resolved, then the Crown/Country reserved the right to dissolve the treaties and basically kick all Magicals, whether guilty or innocent, out of the country. They would then be fined and punished for their rebellion. The punishment would be exile for all and the fine would be the seizure of any and all non-moveable assets, such as land and buildings.

A wizard could gather up and shrink all their possessions and carry them anyway in a small box. A talented wizard could even shrink and take their houses and other buildings with them if they weren't caught first. However, the land could not be taken under any circumstances due to the laws of Magic. The only exception would be that your land was on the very edge of the country and bordered the coastline, you were yourself an elemental wizard or you hired one who was willing to break the law and/or you were a bloody fool. You just couldn't chip off a hunk of a country hoping to make your own island. Well you could try but would immediately be arrested for breaking a most sacred law. Then you would have to find a way to "float your new island" which would be impossible because land went down basically to the earth's core and you just couldn't "lop off the top" and float it away. If you could you might be able to get away with it but then where would you go? It would take a great deal of magic to float your created island and not even Merlin had possessed such magic and power. Nope, the logistics were just impossible and the land wouldn't be good land, have a fresh water supply, be likely to grow food and flora, etc. AND YOU STILL WOULD BE CAUGHT.

But wizards didn't like thinking of things like this, so they either behaved themselves and adhered to the terms and conditions of the treaties like sensible entities or did something incredibly stupid like British wizards had been doing for the last century. Lying and obliviating the Muggles and "getting away with it." But they really weren't especially since they had been bragging to other countries of their "successes" and it was just now a matter of time and just needing one more thing to have their world come crashing down on their heads. That thing was now more than enough and more than one thing. It was the Fudge Administration, the return of the V-man and the megalomania of Albus Dumbledore. There had been more than enough proof of the sins of Magical Britain for a long time, but whether to try one more time to rectify things and give them another chance or to say "to hell with you all you are so outta here" was the problem now facing several governments.

If nothing else, it would end up being bloody and both Muggles and Magicals would be injured or killed. Magical Britain wouldn't go without a fight simply because they didn't believe that Muggles could harm them. That had been another one of Dumbledore's schemes, namely, giving Purebloods and Half-bloods a wrong picture of the true strength, weapons and capabilities of Muggles versus Magicals. Muggle Studies was very outdated and few Half-bloods and NO PUREBLOODS even took the class. Usually it was taken by Muggleborns looking for an easy "O" elective. Even they laughed as it was so outdated. It had stopped being updated after the end of the "Grindelwald Conflict" as World War II was called in Magical Britain. They had not mentioned the use of the atomic bomb as that was "Asian business" and would never happen in Britain or even Europe.

Very few Muggleborns stayed in the Magical World of Britain after graduation as there were just not enough jobs to go around to begin with and Muggleborns could only get the lowest of the low jobs unless they were very smart, magically powerful, had a special talent or had an influential mentor or patron. Then there were people like Lily Evans who had married into prominence, but not only had her dreams of a career been cut short by her pregnancy, her husband had no intention of letting his wife work but had neglected to mention that to her. It was all a moot point considering they were dead.

But what about Hermione Granger? She was very intelligent, had a powerful mentor in Headmaster Dumbledore (or so she thought), was possessed of a high moral character and in her opinion, would not only be an asset to the Magical World but could help Albus Dumbledore lead Britain into a new world of freedom, equality and morality ! If she stayed in this world of magic, she would find out differently as like so many others (especially females) she would only be used and not rise higher than her patron or mentor (if she got one) or her husband if she managed to acquire one of those. She could marry someone like Ernie MacMillian, a Pureblood, and use his position to get a decent job but only until she popped out an heir or two. Then it would be frown on returning to that job unless she was the second coming of Morgana and even then it would be a struggle.

If she married a Half-blood like Seamus Finnegan, she might have a career as a secretary at the Ministry or running a magical pub as that was as high as Finnegan was likely to get career-wise. If she married a Muggleborn like Justin Finch-Fletchley, she would just return to the Muggle World, get a degree and have a career in that world as she wouldn't have a chance in Magical Britain. That would be her best option but if you told her that now she wouldn't believe you and tell you confidently that she would soon prove you wrong. Until she didn't by learning the hard way. Which just goes to prove that while you can lead a Hermione Granger to the fount of knowledge but you can't make her drink if she doesn't approve of the cup you are giving her. Your cup is plastic but she only drinks out of glass. Therefore your knowledge is faulty and her knowledge isn't because her glass if half full while your plastic cup is half empty. Sounds like Hermione, doesn't it?

The decision would be made no later than January 15, 1996 as that was the 300th anniversary of the signing of the last official and most binding treaty. If you didn't behave after 300 years then you were never going to and you would be looking for a new home. Also Amelia Bones' complete report was going to be done, distributed and would have been reviewed by various governments. In any event, the New Year promised to be a very interesting one. Nobody would know what hit them if the treaties were ended and they would be forced to leave.

Of course, the likes of Albus Dumbledore, especially in his capacity as "temporary" Minister of Magic, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, would ignore it all and then when called to "an important meeting" would either disregard it all together or inform the Muggles that his calendar was full and he would get back to them. If none of that worked, he would just show up and obliviate them all as per current Ministry procedure. Except this time, he couldn't and wouldn't do any of that. Because if her Majesty Elizabeth II decreed that all Magicals residing in her realm were to be evicted by such and such a date, then evicted they would be. And there would be nothing that Dumbledore or anybody else could do about it because the Magical governments of many nations would be assisting the British government. And they had magic and would use it.

Unknown to most Magicals when the treaties had been signed, there had been given to the Muggle government as an act of good faith (and so they all wouldn't be cast out of the kingdom then and there or burnt at the nearest stake) certain ward stones which could be used to detect magical properties in the event that a magical would violate the treaties. The Muggles had thanked them but before the treaties were officially signed had procured the services of a Wizarding firm from Germany to look the stones over to see if what they were getting would work and then be shown how to actually work them as their magicals were leaving out that crucial bit of information. If was verified that yes the ward stones would work but would need booster spells from time to time to refresh the magic and keep them in working order. Thus a contract had gone to various Wizarding firms over the last 300 years to keep tabs on things.

But the British Ministry of Magic was confident that there was nothing that the British Muggle government could do to them and they could get away with anything. And they had. The treaties had been violated constantly for years BUT it had not gone unnoticed. The only reason that nothing had been done for this time was that the foreign firm the Muggles had been using for the last century had told them that the stones were eroding and would have to be recast by the British wizards. If not, new ward stones could be made by them but it would cost G1 million. That was a tidy sum at any time but in the 1860's it was impossible to consider.

The Brits were smart enough to know that they were being taken advantage of but unfortunately, they were not in contact with any other known capable and competent wizards from other countries so that they could comparison shop and have the situation fixed. So things had gone on as usual until World War II and the arrival of the Yanks. Things got better after that as American wizards were serving in the U.S. military and were glad to be of service. They found out many things not only about the ward stones but about the obliviations and double-dealings. What was the most madding thing that even annoyed the Americans was the British wizards bragging about how they "handled the Muggles" and ran rings around them, and had made the British Muggle government the laughing stock of Europe.

After the war the Americans had stayed on in Britain and there were several U.S. military bases with wizards serving. Also, there were now British Muggleborns who had basically been denied their rights and privileges in the Magical World and had to go back to the "filth from which they had come" as they were told and thus joined not only the military but the intelligence service and police departments. They were fully qualified wizards and once they entered the military, government or police service, they were held in great esteem for their special abilities and talents. They were also given the additional magical education which had been denied to them by the Ministry of Magic because the Americans tutored them or the British Muggle government sent them to other countries to hone their skills.

Then the V-man had come along and the various governments watched and waited to see what would happen. They found it interesting to note that once again Albus Dumbledore was sticking his big nose into things and instead of allowing the Ministry to fight the war as it should really be fought he was demanding and getting the Ministry to fight on his terms. It was not only a ridiculous but suicidal policy to run the war Dumbledore's way and at one point the Prime Minister had asked the Americans if they knew if this Voldemort chap was really Dumbledore in disguise. The Americans had laughed then quickly apologized saying that to the best of their knowledge the V-man and Dumbledore were two different people.

They did have some information regarding the V-man but at the moment they were not at liberty to divulge it as more investigations were needed before they felt confident enough to tell their British allies. In any event, it had been estimated by the best American and British military personnel that if things kept up the way they were going the V-man would win no later than the end of 1981 or the beginning of 1982. It was then January of 1981 and the Potters and Longbottoms had gone into hiding. Then October 31, 1981 had happened and there was no more V-man. Officially as Dumbledore had said it was so and the Ministry of Magic declared it to be a fact. However, when the Prime Minister, who had been obliviated the last three times he had met with the Minister of Magic, had been briefed by the Americans that it might not be true.

Ever since the V-man war had broken out, the Muggleborn military wizards had spelled the Prime Minister's office to alert them whenever his floo connection with the Ministry of Magic was activated. Another spell was then put into action by a special charm hidden in the PM's office which recorded the conversation which took place. Then after an hour had passed, Major Jefferys, a military wizard liaison, would show up and show the PM the recording. The PM would then find out what had been said by the Minister of Magic, the questions the PM had asked and demanded to be answered and just how long it was before the Minister obliviated him and left. Everything was then saved and carefully documented and Major Jeffreys would give the PM a true report of what had been happening in the V-war (their nickname for the war). This went on until November 1, 1981 when the Minister of Magic had come to tell the PM that they had won the war and they had once again saved all of Great Britain.

Later that same day Major Jeffreys dropped by to tell the PM what really happened or at least what Dumbledore had told everyone what had happen. It sounded fishy but the joyful Magicals were all celebrating, getting drunk, setting off fireworks and the Ministry was sending out obliviation teams to make the Muggles forget all of the strange things which were happening. Although he had never or would ever meet Albus Dumbledore, the PM knew that anything involving Dumbledore was suspicious. But at least now the threat of the V-man was gone.

However, according to some intelligence the Americans had, there was a possibility that the V-man was not gone. Major Jeffreys met with the PM a week later to give an update.

"What do you mean," asked the PM. "Is the man dead or not?"

"The only evidence we have that the V-man is dead is what Dumbledore has told the public. Apparently, the only ones at the house at the time of the purported death were the parents, the baby and the V-man. Dumbledore denies being at the house at all that night and if that is correct, then how did he know the V-man was killed by the baby?"

"That makes sense," said the PM, "so how does he know?"

"He never really said, but then that is his usual modus operandi," replied the Major. "But because he is the infallible Albus Dumbledore, people believe him and if he says that a 15 month old baby, shook off the killing curse and not only survived it but flung it back to kill the V-man, who are we to say it is wrong?"

"Anyone with a lick of common sense," retorted the PM. "Ah but British wizards are sorely lacking in that department. But it has been accepted as the official explanation and the Ministry of Magic declares it so and that is the end of that."

A frustrated PM asked another question, "So what did they do with the V-man's body? Were any tests done which confirmed how he met his demise?"

Major Jeffreys smiled and said, "You sir, as a logical sensible man, will find this strange but according to Dumbledore – you know the wizard who wasn't there but knows all anyway - when the baby reflected the curse back onto the V-man, his body disintegrated. All that was left was a pile of dust, his outer robe and his wand."

"Is that normal?"

"No. When a person is hit with the killing curse they are instantly killed, without pain and you simply fall down dead. It is a merciful form of killing which was originally invented by a wizard whose trade was that of a Kosher butcher in both the Magical and Muggle Worlds. Such a butcher must kill all animals mercifully and with as little pain as possible. It was quickly learned and used as a means for good. Eventually physicians used it to end the pain of terminally ill patients and it was even used on occasion to mercifully execute prisoners."

"Then because it was quick and easy and didn't leave any mess other than a dead body, it became the favorite spell of assassins and during World War II, it was Grindelwald's preferred spell as rumor had it he didn't like the sight of blood. Put him off his food it was said. Actually if I was going to be killed by a wizard, I would much rather be killed with the killing curse then be disemboweled or bludgeoned to death."

"My what an interesting bit of history," said the PM.

"I apologize for getting carried away but you see I was a Ravenclaw while at Hogwarts and…"

"And I actually know what being a Ravenclaw means," said the PM, "So I understand completely. What I want to know is why didn't someone call out this Dumbledore when he gave out the wrong explanation for the cause of death?" "

Probably because he is Dumbledore and the world was so happy and relieved to hear that the V-man was dead they didn't care or stop to think." "What do you think happen Major?" "I agree with the general consensus at HQ. It was a setup, a trap to kill the V-man. But why he would personally go, and alone at that, to kill this particular baby for some reason doesn't make sense. Normally he would send his lackeys to get the parents and the baby and bring them to his headquarters and kill them all for the amusement of his followers. Like what the Americans call dinner theatre."

"In any event, no one other than the 15 month old baby survived and Dumbledore wasn't there when it happen. In fact, we have it from a reliable source that as soon as he knew the Potters were dead and the V-man was…"

"But how did he really know?"

"Knowing Dumbledore he probably had the house spelled to sense a break-in, a death or anything strange. Apparently he knew the Potters were dead and the baby was alive yet instead of going to rescue the kid, he sent a lackey – one without a wand no less – to fetch the kid. Then Dumbledore immediately went to Gringotts – that's our only bank – and asked for the Potters' Will. He used his position as the Head of Wizengamot – our version of Parliament – to make this demand. He read the Will, was reported to be angry and then took it with him."

"The next thing anyone knew was that he notified the Minister of the V-man's death, a full session of the Wizengamot was called to announce the happy news and Dumbledore announced that he was the orphan Harry Potter's Magical Guardian and was hiding him in a safe place until all the Death Eaters could be captured. He just took control over the boy and no one said anything."

"Oh, and according to the Goblins, Dumbledore didn't bring the Will back to the bank for probate, he sealed it in the Ministry archives and it can't be read until Harry Potter's 25th birthday. That is not only very strange, it is illegal as hell but since he was Dumbledore he got away with it."

"Well did anybody search the house where the Potters were killed?"

"Aurors eventually did once Dumbledore gave them permission. It seems he had personally placed a special spell around the house so that the Potters could not be found so he had to do something to allow the Aurors and others know the location of the house. Besides someone had to pick up the bodies of the Potters. Rumor had it that it was two days before the Aurors got in."

"Photographs were taken, the bodies were removed but the V-man dust had blown away because the room was exposed to the elements. The wand was also missing so that had to mean someone else had been there but we don't know who. There was another strange thing which Dumbledore refused to answer and just brushed it aside. Only the V-man's outer robe was found. The clothes he was wearing under his robe had apparently been disintegrated when his body was."

"That doesn't make any sense at all."

"No it doesn't. Since Dumbledore is involved we will not be told anything which he doesn't want the public or even the government to know and he refuses to answer any questions even ones asked by the Minister of Magic herself."

"So what happens now," asked the PM.

"Nothing really at this point. The Americans are doing their investigations and won't say anything until they have proof of something regarding the V-man. Until then shall we just continue as usual when the government has to deal with the Magicals?"

"I suppose we will have to."

And they had for the next ten years until Harry Potter came to Hogwarts. Then it was one "interesting thing after another" or rather one cover up after another courtesy of Albus Dumbledore. The Queen and the current PM were kept apprised as much as possible. Both the Americans and Brits had managed to acquire "a source" at Hogwarts who kept them informed of the cover-ups. Thus the Queen and the PM knew about the "Stone" then the Basilisk, the escaped Sirius Black and Dementors, the rigged Tournament, the V-man's resurrection and the real reason why Harry Potter had left.

A decision had been made and on January 15, 1996, Acting Minister of Magic Albus Dumbledore received a summons to the PM's office. He ignored it. He received another one the next day but did have the courtesy to send his regrets saying that he was just much too busy with this and that and would try to fit the PM in next month.

The next day Dumbledore received notice of an emergency meeting of the ICW. Being its head he had to attend and was rather angry when there had been no reason given for the meeting. He was really annoyed when he arrived only to find the British PM was present and accompanied by several other Muggle dignitaries. He was almost tempted to dismiss the assembly so that he could "handle" the situation. He was even more surprised to learn that he was being recused as the leader due at the request of various Muggle governments. It was then he found out why.

The British PM began to read out the decree on behalf of the Queen, the government and the peoples of Great Britain. Albus Dumbledore began to laugh, loud, long and heartily. No one had ever heard Dumbledore laugh before. He smiled, did the occasional ho-ho and slight snicker, but he never ever laughed out loud. But now he did and it was very insulting and many present in that august body were embarrassed by his behavior, especially since Muggle Heads of State were present.

Then Albus Dumbledore did something really, really stupid for an intelligent man. He started to obliviate the British PM while telling him he found his "joke" amusing. The next thing he knew was being hit in the back by several stunners and then he fell unconscious and ungracefully to the floor. The "end" would begin tomorrow and shake up worlds.

Chapter 9 – Eviction

That evening a special edition of the Evening Prophet and the Wizarding Wireless shouted out the horrendous news that due to the constant breaking of treaties, all British Magicals were going to be exiled from their homes, the land of their fathers, Mother England or whatever it was you called the country of your birth. Official proclamations were issued by the Ministry and printed in all news media in Britain.

Naturally there was an uproar but Rufus Scrimgeour, 'who had bravely stepped in to fill Dumbledore's shoes,' asked for calm as he was positive things could be worked out. However, just in case it took longer than a week to fix this "misunderstanding" people were advised to consider where they would like to go – temporarily – until things could be brought back to normal. Scrimgeour did advise everyone to pack up all they owned as until "things could be fixed" because there could be looting and who knew just how long everything would really take.

"Look on this inconvenience as a reason to take a holiday and treat it as such" he had advised. The Ministry would be helping out by arranging for transportation out of Britain, mostly via port key and due to the "inconvenience" of it all the one-way port keys would be free of charge. There were various reactions to the news.

People like Lucius Malfoy simply refused to comply with this outrage and spent his time arguing in the Wizengamot and attempting to use his influence at the Ministry. Surprisingly, it had been the Dark Lord himself who advised Narcissa to "start packing" as he at least knew the Muggle government meant business.

"This was one of the reasons I began my crusade," he later said to all his assembled Death Eaters. "It was due to people such as Dumbledore and other blood traitors who were endangering our world while seeking power by using Muggleborns and trying to destroy the Old Ways and traditions of Magic."

"Unfortunately I was too late and I can now put the blame where it belongs – on Dumbledore, the blood traitors and my own followers who took the first opportunity to abandon me and our noble cause after October 31, 1981."

The "V-man" went on to say that although they would all really have to disperse, he at least would not give up and would do everything in his power to return to and regain their heritage. Now it would just take time until he was in a position to summon his followers to his side – AND THIS TIME THEY BETTER ANSWER HIS CALL IMMEDIATELY.

The Goblins were going absolutely hysterical as there was a run on Gringotts by everyone seeking to retrieve their money and valuables. There was no excuse to prevent people from getting what was rightfully their property but the Goblins were in physical pain seeing all of that gold going out of their doors and being powerless to stop it. Ragnok, the President of Gringotts Britain was holding up better than most of his fellows but that was only because he was Ragnok the Strong Willed, but even he was close to breaking down. He had been advised by Irongrasp, the Head of the Goblin Nation, that any and all vaults which were not claimed before the "date of departure" were to be left intact at the bank as they would become the official property of the Muggle British government.

After the "date of departure" claims could be made via the British government in regard to vaults as there were people such as the missing Harry Potter and others like him, who could not legally claim his heritage until he became of age and special arrangements were being made in cases like his and others. Many people hoped that Scrimgeour was correct and it was all a mistake which would soon be sorted out and after "their holiday" everyone could come back home. They would be wrong, but they didn't know that yet.

Unknown to the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore and others, there were some arrangements being made to allow "decent, reasonable people" to return to Britain but it would not be in the near future. There were a lot of kinks to be worked out and many people would not be allowed to return such as the ilk of the Dumbledores, Fudges, Lucius Malfoys, Scrimgeour and known Death Eaters. There were some Magicals who could remain such as Centaurs, Merpeople, house elves and magical creatures such as unicorns, hippogriffs, kneazles, owls and the like. Even werewolves and vampires were being considered – if they passed a thorough and difficult screening process – as such magicals were not considered "human" by the Ministry and not a real part of Magical Britain.

Only the Goblins were being denied the opportunity to stay despite being non-affiliated with the Ministry. This was due to their behavior over the years and not just the rebellions. No the Goblins had an economic monopoly and many governments both Muggle and Magical did not approve of any type of monopoly. The Goblins used unfair means and gouged the population with the numerous outrageous fees they charge, especially to Muggleborns. Thus the Goblins would have to petition for the right to return and they would definitely not be the only bank in the country if they were ever allowed to return.

The likes of Hermione Granger were panicking. Being Muggleborn meant that they were the only Magicals in their family. Would Hermione have to leave Britain? Would Dean Thomas, the Creevey Brothers, Justin Finch-Fletchley and others? No one would tell them anything as they were at school. No one knew anything not even Minerva McGonagall. There was pandemonium at Hogwarts. Since it was the premier (or rather only) school in Great Britain, they had been told personally by a Muggleborn representative of the Muggle military, a now Colonel Jeffreys, that Hogwarts would be closing its doors until further notice.

It was a little known fact that at one time, Hogwarts had officially been a possession of the Muggle government due to being officially incorporated as a school of higher learning. It had been during the time of Henry VII after he became king. Even his very religious mother had not known it but Henry Tutor was a wizard. It ran in the Tutor family and skipped a generation or two. Henry's grandfather was a wizard as was his Uncle Jasper who raised the boy after Henry's father had died. Henry's father was not a wizard. None of Henry's children were wizards, but both of his son Henry's daughters were. Mary Tutor had ignored her talent and heritage even though she was quite aware of it as she considered it sinful. That was because her mother had been so very pious. She never knew that her sister Elizabeth was a witch because Elizabeth was too sly and intelligent to let that bit of information slip. It was also the reason why she managed to survive long enough to become Queen.

She did not, could not attend Hogwarts any more than her Grandfather. However, she continued his patronage and went one further and placed the school under the direct protection of the Crown. Due to that protection and patronage, the school was partly owned by the Crown by rights, any important or life-changing decisions should have been brought to the attention of the reigning monarch for approval. But it had not been done in since the time of Charles II who had been the last monarch to have magic. Then the Statute of Secrecy came into being. When the next and last magical monarch had ascended the throne, no one had told the young Queen Victoria anything and a "trend" had started of not informing the monarch about their true rights regarding Magical Britain.

It had been the ghosts who had informed McGonagall and the other Heads of House and convinced them that they would all have to leave Hogwarts. In fact, only the ghosts, portraits, house elves and denizens of the Forbidden Forest and the Black Lake would be allowed to stay.

"If memory serves me," Sir Nicholas said, "Only personal possession can be taken from Hogwarts."

"But surely we can take the books from the Library and certain artifacts," McGonagall said.

"I doubt it," replied the ghost.

"To be safe you better check with that former Ravenclaw who has been in the news. What's his name." "Robert Jeffreys," Flitwick said.

"I remember him. He was always a bold, brazen boy."

"Minerva," sighed Flitwick "Robert Jeffreys graduated in 1962, a mere two years after you started teaching here. If memory serves me he didn't take Transfiguration NEWTS so you wouldn't have known him." "I knew of him and I say he was…"

"The official government representative assigned to help with the Hogwarts evacuation," came the reply of the former Ravenclaw being discussed. He received a very chilly reception from McGonagall and the requisite snarl of introduction from Snape. Even under the sad circumstances, Flitwick was delighted to see one of his favorite students – from the 1960's at least. Jeffreys repeated what Sir Nicholas had already told them and added a few more interesting historical facts. He informed them that the Hogwarts Express would be taking the students home the next day so announcements were to be made at the evening meal.

"The following day all teachers should leave as despite what you want to believe, you will be leaving Britain no later than four days from now. Where you go is your decision, but go you will. You are to only take with you your personal possessions and nothing else. I will personally assign a house elf to help some of you pack."

Naturally some of the teachers were highly insulted upon hearing this. As if they would even think of taking things that were not their own personal effects. But several were planning on doing such things, such as McGonagall, Snape and Madam Pince. The only "person" who was allowed to stay at Hogwarts if he so chose to do so was Hagrid as since he had officially been listed as a "half-breed" by the Ministry of Magic, he wasn't considered a true Magical, didn't have a working wand and so didn't have to leave. Hagrid didn't want to stay if all the others, especially Headmaster Dumbledore were being forced to go, but he didn't want to leave either as Hogwarts was the only home he had and he had no other place to go. So he was convinced to stay and "watch over things" until everyone returned.

At the dinner the Muggleborns finally found out their fate. If their parents were both Muggles, as the minor child of Muggles, they didn't have to leave Britain. A great sigh of relief was heard at this announcement and a few tears of joy were even shed. But there is always one person who has to ask the stupid questions and this time it was Hermione Granger's turn.

"Colonel, since we Muggleborns don't have to leave Britain, why can't we stay here at Hogwarts and continue our education?"

"Because there will be no teachers left to teach."

"But surely there are some other Muggleborns who are qualified to teach at Hogwarts so why can't they be hired to…"

"Because your precious Headmaster Dumbledore has made it impossible to hire a Muggleborn to teach at Hogwarts not even if it would be to teach Muggle Studies."

"Surely you must be in error, as Headmaster Dumbledore would never have made such an unfair and…"

"No you are in error. I assure you that is the hiring policy. Isn't that correct Professor McGonagall?"

"I am sure you are mistaken Mr. Jeffreys as I have never heard such a thing."

"It is Colonel Jeffreys as you well know Miss McGonagall. To prove it, I just happen to have the latest copy of the Hogwarts By-laws. Would you like the young lady who asked me that question – without giving me her name – to come to the front and read the policy aloud to the student body?" he asked sweetly. Before McGonagall could reply an eager Hermione Granger, who just knew the Colonel must be in error because the Headmaster would never, ever do such a thing, had already gotten out of her seat and was quickly making her way to the head table.

"I will be happy to read the By-laws to the student body to prove your error" she said snatching the book from his hands.

"That won't be necessary Miss Granger," said McGonagall.

"Oh but I insist," replied the girl.

The Colonel just stood there with a slight smile on his face waiting for the girl to prove herself to be the fool. Since the information was on the opened page, Hermione just started reading clearly and very loud so that those in the Great Hall could hear the truth. She was half way through the paragraph when she stopped as she realized the Colonel was right. But Hermione, not to be outdone, snapped out, "This must be an outdated set of By-laws."

"Oh yes they are not the latest edition but it is the latest LEGAL edition. No changes can be legally made to the Hogwarts By-laws except by those who were originally authorized to do so at the inception of the laws. Whereas the current Headmaster and a few members of the Wizengamot enacted these current laws, they had no right or real authority to do so. In fact, there wasn't enough Wizengamot members present to pass a law, so that is another…"

"I think you have made your point Mr. Jeffreys," snapped McGonagall rudely.

"Yes, Miss McGonagall, I have but I am so disappointed that Miss Granger here stopped reading these laws because, she didn't like or approve of them."

Everybody was watching, waiting, and hoping for the fight to continue if only verbally, but they were to be disappointed as the Colonel was tired of the nonsense and advised the students to finish their dinner and back up all of the personal belongings so that they could leave after breakfast tomorrow. That was the end of it. Nothing else exciting happened although it was very much appreciated that Granger got to make a complete ass of herself in front of the entire school without being rescued by McGonagall or Dumbledore.

After the meal the students went back to their respective houses, probably for the last time. They all had to pack eventually but most spent their time crying, reminiscing or griping. In Slytherin House Draco Malfoy was holding court, as usual, or at least trying to. He kept spouting off that his father was doing everything to prevent this outrage.

"They should just exile the Mudbloods, Half-bloods and blood traitors and leave Britain to us."

Unfortunately for Draco who really believed, like his father, that the exile would not be happening, most of the others knew it would. It was the same in Gryffindor House except that Ron Weasley was the one shooting off his big mouth. "Dumbledore will stop this nonsense. There is no way he will let this happen when it involves Hogwarts. If not – he'll rally us all and we will fight to the death. Who's with me?"

Not many. Hermione agreed and then tried to rally her housemates to Ron's side. Even though they were no longer friends, she still supported Dumbledore. But no one was interested, not even the Twins as they knew better. Also based on his behavior throughout the years and especially last year and this year, there were no students willing to join any crusade lead by Dumbledore.

Breakfast was ending when an announcement was made that all Muggleborn students were to report to the defense classroom for a special briefing. Much to Hermione's disgust, that rude Colonel was conducting it. He informed them that they would not be going home on the Hogwarts Express for safety reasons as certain individuals might view this as their last chance to "teach Mudbloods a lesson."

"Sorry for the direct quote but many Purebloods were overheard planning certain "special goodbyes" and since we will be collecting your wands we thought…"

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ARE TAKING OUR WANDS" screeched Hermione Granger?

"I mean that you are Muggleborns and according to the laws of your Ministry, a Muggleborn can't do magic outside of Hogwarts if they are under age. We didn't announce it publically yesterday for security reasons but it seems some Purebloods either figured it out or were tipped off by one of the teachers. I think you can guess which teacher."

Hermione was about to argue with the Colonel but her wand flew out of her hand and she clutched at her throat as she had been silenced, no doubt by some lackey of the Colonel's hiding somewhere.

"Your luggage and pets have already been placed on the buses which will be taking you to your homes. Every student will be dropped off at a government building where their parents or guardian will be waiting and all will attend a mandatory briefing to explain the situation to their parents or guardians." "Any of you who might possibly be thinking that this is 'outrageous' or is 'violating your rights' or 'barbaric' well let me say it is not. These are trying times but entirely deserved due to the constant violation of treaties and other real atrocities committed by the Ministry of Magic, the Wizengamot and your precious Headmaster Dumbledore."

Hermione was doing a slow burn and trying to use her glare to burn a hole in the Colonel's brain. They eyes locked and he had the nerve to smirk and then wink at her.

"When you are settled on the buses a briefing will be given and you will also be receiving handouts explaining exactly what is going on in regard to the exile. If any of you are contacted by any non-Muggleborn student or any of the teachers, you are to report them immediately as no doubt they will be trying to 'recruit you' for some 'crusade' or revolution." "I strongly advise you to not even consider joining such a thing as all it will accomplish is that you will join those people in exile and your British citizenship will be revoked and yes – IT CAN AND WILL BE DONE AND IS TOTALLY LEGAL. It has been for centuries."

"Also, should you choose to do such a thing anyway, please be advised that your magic will be blocked." He then intensified his stare at Hermione who was now wiggling around in her seat about to burst. Everybody noticed and was eagerly awaiting the outcome.

"That is also perfectly legal and quite necessary because if you are that stupid to throw away your life and right to use magic…well the British Muggle government will do anything to protect their citizens especially from their own stupidity. If you don't have your magic, 'they' won't be able to use you."

Hermione was giving him an Avada Kedavra-like death glare. He merely smiled slightly before saying, "Just so you know, whereas a powerful wizard, such as an Unspeakable, or the like…" Hermione knew he was probably referring to Dumbledore. "Or the like can reverse a blocking spell of that nature they won't be able to with this particular block. You see this particular blocking spell will be cast by a parsel speaker and only another parsel speaker could reverse it and then only if they knew the original spell cast.

Hermione's blood ran cold upon hearing this. "Now some of you are probably thinking that I am a Death Eater since the only known parsel speakers in Britain were the 'V-man' – which is what we in the British Muggle government call Voldemort – and Harry Potter. However, according to the Ministry of Magic the V-man is 'still dead' and will remain that way despite sworn testimony given by Harry Potter."

"Well actually Harry Potter probably would have given sworn testimony if he had been allowed to give it. A simple oath on his life and magic, bolstered by pensive memories would have proved whether or not the V-man was back. But from what we have been told not only did he not know about magical oaths or pensives, no one – not even his purported magical guardian – asked or rather demanded that he be given this information and the chance to prove that he wasn't lying."

His gaze at Hermione intensified as he said, "Strange isn't it, no one ever told him about this, not even his 'best mates" one of whom is a well-known know-it-all and especially not his purported magical guardian, Albus Dumbledore. Even if the Ministry of Magic was denying the 'return' it would have only taken a public oath or publically shown pensive memory to vindicate the boy and PROVE the V-man was back."

"The British Muggle government is aware he is back, as are many European Magical Ministries and the Americans. Yet it was being vehemently denied by the Fudge Administration and even the Dumbledore Administration has not officially announced it when they know the truth." "Instead, Harry Potter was sent back to his rather vicious Muggle guardians who, as they have been since he came into their 'care' he was beaten, mentally, emotionally and physically abused, worked worse than a house elf since he was 3 ½ years old and constantly starved."

He then walked over to Hermione, glared down at her and said, "And everybody knew it – or at least the 'important' people in his life did. And they did absolutely nothing about it – did they?"

Hermione was visibly uncomfortable now and aware that all the other students in the room were sending death glares towards her.

"Then, according to official Scotland Yard reports – which a Dumbledore 'follower' was caught trying to destroy all incriminating evidence – Potter's Uncle Vernon was killed by a Dementor – a Ministry Dementor. It was a lovely cover-up on the Ministry's part, but the British Muggle government knows as all about it as do other Muggle and Magical governments."

"But Vernon Dursley was found dead by a Dementor, the neighbors called the police because Mrs. Dursley and her son were not at home. They went looking through the house and found a bedroom with multiple locks on the door and a cat flap. As blood could be seen seeping out from under the door, it was broken down and a proverbial chamber of horrors was found. Blood was all over the floor and even on the walls. Fresh blood and signs of old dried blood were all over the room and what passed for a bed." Some of the younger years started to cry.

"This apparently was where Harry Potter or 'the freak' as he was known, this was where he lived at the Dursleys, but only since he received his Hogwarts letter. Before that the 'freak' lived in the utility cupboard under the stairs sleeping only on an old baby crib mattress and the baby blanket in which he was wrapped when he was placed on the Dursleys' doorstep by Albus Dumbledore, with Minerva McGonagall and Rubeus Hagrid watching." Several intakes of breath were heard and more dirty looks were being cast at Hermione.

"Yes, a 15 month-old baby, who had been orphaned while 'defeating' the V-man was left on his Aunt's doorstep on a cold November night with nothing but a letter 'to explain things' and then the Terrible Trio left him there, with his scar still bleeding slightly as apparently he had not received any medical care. Again, isn't that strange?" "But that is old news to some of you but interesting new news to others isn't it?"

"To continue, no one knows what happened to Harry Potter. An international search has been conducted by many. The Fudge Administration even tried him in absentia for some nonsense, and then offered a reward for his capture – dead or alive. Five wizards dragged in seven dead bodies saying or guessing one of them was Harry Potter to claim the 5,000 galleons reward Fudge offered. Did any of you know that? No? Well now you do."

"As of this moment no one knows or at least will admit to knowing the fate of Harry Potter. He could be dead. In fact, certain bookmakers have been offering odds on the fate of Potter, with death by Death Eater being the leading one."

"The only thing I am willing to wager on is that were Potter alive he would not be making his way to Britain. As to the parsel speaker, whereas the V-man and Potter are the only known parsel speakers in Britain, there are parsel speakers all over the world, and they can be found in Africa, Asia is literally crawling with them as is South America. There are a lot in Australia and some in North and Central America. The parsel speaker we are using is from America."

He then bent down so he could look Hermione in the eye and asked, "Are all your immediate questions answered?" Knowing she was incapable of answering at the moment he then turned and finished his announcements. After the Hogwarts Express left, they boarded the carriages and were all taken to Hogsmeade where they were told military buses were waiting to take them to the various parts of the country where they lived. Each bus had a driver and a monitor who would be briefing them and answering any questions they might have. A booklet explaining how the Ministry of Magic and others had been violating the treaties was passed out during the ride. It was theirs to keep but they were told they were not allowed to take it into any of the rest stops or the lunch stop that they were going to have. One guess who the monitor on Hermione's bus was?

Chapter 10 – Hermione's Dilemma

It had been an uneventful bus trip back to their respective homes, unless you were Hermione Granger. She was either totally ignored except for being given nasty glares by some on her bus or was bumped into and even tripped at the rest stops and the lunch stop. Hufflepuffs Sally-Anne Perks and Mary Jane Cooper, fifth and fourth years respectively, and Ravenclaw fourth year Jillian Jenkins had a little "chat" with Hermione in the ladies' loo at the lunch stop. Who knew that the petite Sally-Anne could punch that hard and that often before Hermione could even begin to defend herself. But she could and did and Jillian slapped her around a bit before Mary Jane informed Hermione that "I know where you live and am going to tell everybody so they can pay you a visit."

Hermione was about to verbally defend herself when Mary Jane added, "My cousin was two years ahead of you in your primary school. She told me many interesting things about the real reasons you didn't have friends." She then gave Hermione a nasty smile and the three girls left Hermione to "tidy herself up" before boarding the bus. The buses headed to various parts of the country where the students lived. Arrangements had been made for a central pick up by parents and the bus would drop the students off, they would all enter a building, usually a government or police building, a meeting would begin to brief the parents and then the parents could take their children and go home.

Since Hermione and the others on her bus lived in or around the London area, their bus offloaded at a government office close to Scotland Yard. While all of the others from the bus were led into a room, Hermione was taken to a separate room where her parents were waiting. It was then explained to Hermione – by Colonel Jeffreys – that she was considered a "special risk." He informed her that her parents had already been given a special briefing so they knew exactly what was going on. They were also finally told, in great detail, all about the various "adventures" and extracurricular activities she had been involved in since she started at Hogwarts. There had been many, many things that she hadn't told her parents about. It was for their own good so that they wouldn't worry.

Well actually it was so they wouldn't withdraw her from Hogwarts. She "knew" that they didn't have any idea about what went on in Magical Britain, again for their own good. However, like with so many other things that Hermione "knew" she was wrong in this also. Somehow her parents had gotten a subscription to the Daily Prophet as far back as her first year. Also her father had served in the Intelligence Section when he was in the Army before leaving the military to get a degree in dentistry and marry Hermione's Mother. He had kept in touch with some of his Army friends and he had, in fact, been contacted by Military Intelligence when it was found out that his daughter was a witch. Daniel Granger had been aware of the Magical community and the government's "special interest" in magicals.

When the current situation arose, he was immediately contacted and briefed on the situation. Then he and his wife were thoroughly checked for spells. Apparently they had been obliviated at least once a year at the end of the school term. That explained a lot to Dan and Emma Granger. They were always infuriated before the next school term began because their daughter "was needed" or "had important obligations" in the Magical World, hence her leaving early during the holiday usually when the Grangers were at work. They would come home and find a note announcing that their daughter had been picked up early due to "pressing commitments" and a receipt for her school things was left as their credit card had been accepted by the Goblins. They were constantly cancelling their credit card and getting a new one which they would hide but it was always found and used.

There was also Hermione's attitude towards her parents. They family had always been close and loving or until she went to Hogwarts. Of course being an only child Hermione was spoiled but she wasn't a brat, just lonely and misunderstood. She had trouble in school because she was very intelligent, loved to learn and, most importantly to be praised for her accomplishments. Unfortunately, she always had to be the one with all the answers and be the best at everything. It annoyed her when her teachers dared to ask other students if they knew an answer or they raised their hand in class. Everyone should know that Hermione always knew the answer so why did the teachers waste their time calling on others?

She was talented in many things but her thirst to be the BEST all of the time in ALL things caused her to have social problems. She was very competitive and if someone was better at something than she was…well it couldn't be allowed. Hermione took piano lessons. She was good and received the usual praise from her teacher. However, there was a girl in her class and a boy one year above her who were so good they were considered prodigies. As much as she studied and practiced they were still so much better than she was. She was still getting better grades than they were but it didn't matter. They were better than she was at something and that couldn't be allowed.

Hermione quit taking piano lessons because she was "bored" so then started with the violin. She was dreadful at the violin. In fact, she was so very bad that the teacher refused to teach her. She couldn't take failing at something so she just found another teacher, then another and all of them agreed with the first teacher. Hermione had to have therapy to cope with her first real failure. But it didn't help because Hermione could not comprehend the idea that she wasn't the best. If she only had the RIGHT teacher then she would have no problem and would excel and be the best.

She didn't have friends because of her bossy attitude and need to excel. She took a noticeable pleasure in beating someone academically. She also tattled to the teachers about the bad behavior or "sins" committed by her peers. She got a lot of her peers in trouble and then made the mistake of smirking publically. She did not hesitate to chastise her classmates on their behavior or their academic failures. She always did it in that holier-than-thou attitude which carried over to Hogwarts. Nobody wanted to "play" with Hermione because she didn't like playing. She had never liked dolls or other typical toys. She was only interested in educational toys because she could then show people just how wonderful and intelligent she was.

She spent a lot of time by herself as the other children wanted to spend recess and part of their lunch time playing, really playing with toys suitable to their age and interests. She would try to interest her classmates in things which would "enrich" their lives but they wouldn't listen to her or obey her. It was frustrating to think that they wanted to act so, so…childish. All they had to do was to listen to and follow the example of Hermione Jane Granger and their lives would be so much more worthwhile.

When she was 7 years old she had had enough. She informed her parents that she should just skip a few grades as she was at least 3 years ahead of her classmates and felt she was wasting her time having to put up with children. Her father seriously considered it, but Emma Granger and two therapists vetoed it. Hermione had to learn socialization and the sooner the better. But Hermione had already made up her mind that her peers were so far behind her academically that they were the ones who were holding her back. She could not reach her true potential if she was constantly being held back.

The Grangers had the biggest fight of their marriage. Dan was for Hermione skipping grades while Emma was against it. They reached a compromise agreeing that Hermione could skip one grade without harm and still have a chance to socialize. However, Hermione wanted to skip at least three grades. That was a definite no. She'd settle for two grades. A test was given to her and it was "doable" so instead of going to third grade Hermione jumped to fifth grade. It was a disaster as Hermione did the same thing in the upper grade as she had done in first and second. She had to prove to her parents, teachers and most importantly herself that she was the very best and would always be the top of her class. She had done extra studying during the summer and worked hard to keep up and excel. But then she just had to go and be the bossy know-it-all and teacher's pet and answer all the questions and compete with everyone. The older children would not stand for this "third grader" trying to be the boss and they retaliated with physical bullying. Hermione fought back the only way she knew how by tattling and getting the bullies in as much trouble as possible. It did not end well.

Hermione was put back in the third grade but in another school, the one that Mary Jane Cooper's cousin went to. It was a school for intelligent children that Hermione's parents had to drive her to and it cost them a tidy sum to send her there. It would have suited Hermione if her "reputation" hadn't preceded her. She was given a new chance to start afresh but did the same things she had always done. The students at this school were very intelligent and the competition was fierce. Hermione kept up but she never made number one in her year as there were three certifiable geniuses going to this school. It was a blow to her ego and she still didn't have any friends. That was probably the main reason she wanted to take Hogwarts on, to prove to these other special children that she was just as good if not better than most of them.

But history was repeating itself until Harry Potter saved her from the troll and she latched onto him with a tenacity she used for her studies. Ron Weasley had tried to warn her off but he was under orders from Dumbledore himself to allow her into "the plan" as she would be Harry's "other friend" who helped them with their homework and to pass their exams. Ron hadn't liked the idea but since Dumbledore was the boss he had to allow the girl into the "circle" but that didn't mean he had to like the idea or her.

So they fought "like an old married couple" as the Twins were charged with telling Harry to explain the hostile relationship their brother had with Granger. But Harry knew that was not the real reason. No doubt since he came from the dysfunctional Dursley family and never had any friends at all due to that fact, he wouldn't know better and would be convinced that was how "friends" of the opposite sex acted when one of them, supposedly Ron, had a huge crush on Hermione but did not know how to act to let her know how much he liked her. But Harry was intelligent and knew that Ron DID NOT LIKE HERMIONE. Therefore, he was being forced to put up with her for some reason.

However, he took every opportunity to make the girl's life miserable and constantly made fun of her, insulted her love of learning, her likes and opinions. In the quiet of their dorm once he had chased away the other three boys who they shared it with, Ron always insulted Hermione and tried to make Harry hate her. Harry had figured out that Ron thought if Harry hated her then she would be made to "go away" and Ron would have Harry all to himself.

But Harry felt sorry for the girl despite her abrasive personality recognizing in her someone much like himself who grew up friendless. Besides he liked her despite all of her faults and with Ron constantly distracting him from learning, homework and studying, he needed her to survive. Harry had never said anything to Hermione except for what happened to him at Hogwarts. She forced him to tell her everything as it was part of her "job" to help and save him. She did it because she truly liked Harry – a lot – and she was doing it to help Headmaster Albus Dumbledore the greatest wizard since Merlin.

It could be said that she had betrayed Harry by reporting back everything little thing he did, nagging him to tell her things he didn't want to say. Her parents had instilled in her morals and ethics and the right to privacy had been one of the things which she personally valued, yet the Headmaster needed to know EVERYTHING that Harry did and even thought so that . . and keep him on the path of the Light when so many were trying to lead him astray.

She had wavered until after their second year started when Harry was revealed to be a parselmouth. That was when the Headmaster confessed to her – in the strictest of confidences as not even the Weasleys knew – that Harry might have received some sort of evil backlash when Voldemort had tried to kill him. Nothing had been found on Harry it had just been a "hunch" the Headmaster had when it was revealed that Harry was a parselmouth. Therefore, Harry would be in constant danger from the followers of Voldemort who would possibly try to lead Harry away from the Light and that was why Dumbledore had to know EVERYTHING the boy said or did to prevent such a thing from happening.

She was helping her friend and the Headmaster. She was proving her worth and value to the Magical World by helping the Headmaster help Harry. What no one knew, not even the Headmaster, was that Ron had been threatening her the entire time they had been "assigned" to help Harry. Ron liked to tell her that if ever it came down to believing someone that he Ron, since he was a Pureblood and his family faithful followers of Dumbledore, would be believed over a filthy, worthless, ugly, Mudblood like Hermione Granger.

Yes he had called her a Mudblood to her face many times and bragged about the power that he had over her because of if Dumbledore had to choose who to believe, it would be Ron and not her. She was also told that if Ron decided to convince Harry that Hermione was a total freak and worthless, he could and then Hermione would have no one. She would be worse off than before as the only reason anyone tolerated her was because Harry hung around with her. Once she lost Harry that would be the end of her as it would be "open season" and the Twins would prank the hell out of her and there would be no one who could help her. Then the Slytherins would tear her apart and she'd be kicked out of Hogwarts and barred from the Magical World forever.

She hadn't believed him until their third year when the "broom incident" happened. Harry had been furious when she told McGonagall about the broom and the witch took it away so it could be checked out. Ron had lorded it over her and told her that he had finally "allowed" Harry to take her back but only because she helped them with their homework. "Don't think that I can't make him turn his back on you anytime I want. You're only good for help with homework and your notes. Just one more 'mistake' or step out of line and you're fucked Mudblood."

When Harry's name came out of the Goblet Ron had ordered her to treat Harry like a pariah "or else" but she had found the fortitude to ignore him and stick by Harry. Of course it helped that the Headmaster agreed with her. Had HE ordered her to abandon Harry and side with Ron than unfortunately she would have had to obey him and shun Harry. She had been ordered not to write to Harry during this past summer and had been picked up by Molly Weasley without warning and taken to Sirius Black's home. There she was forced to room with Ginny and to start cleaning up Sirius' filthy, booby-trapped home as well as putting up with Molly's orders and witnessing her constantly arguing and humiliating both Sirius and Professor Lupin. But Molly had Dumbledore's full support and all must obey her.

She would never admit it to anybody but she truly hated ALL THE WEASLEYS but had to put up with them because it was Dumbledore's orders. She thought Molly was overbearing, a loud mouth, an uncouth, obnoxious, bigoted bitch. Molly was constantly criticizing Hermione for not only her love of learning but for her looks and lack of talent in the "domestic arts" as she termed it. Even though she had never tasted anything that Hermione had cooked or baked, she informed the girl that "she couldn't cook" or keep house properly and would give Hermione "chores" whenever she was in her power. Hermione could cook as her mother had trained her from an early age and, as usual, Hermione liked to excel in everything.

At the moment Hermione could not cook gourmet meals but she had helped her Mum with cooking since she was nine and knew her way around a kitchen. She had been planning on taking some gourmet cooking courses during her summer breaks but before she could sign up she had always been "invited to the Weasleys" and grabbed from her home. Still she could whip things up from scratch and, although she didn't know it, she wasn't up to Harry's level of skill but she was much better than most girls her age and DEFINITELY BETTER THAN GINNY.

Ginny "didn't cook" as her Mum was the cook at the Burrow. She was also a slob and didn't help with the housework as after all she couldn't use magic when away from Hogwarts and that was how a witch cleaned a house. The most Ginny did was to set the table on occasion or peel the odd potato and on rare occasions, did the dishes, usually with Hermione doing the hard washing part and Ginny the easier drying. Although Ginny did as little as possible, it was "a known and accepted fact" that once she married, being the daughter of Molly Weasley as well as a powerful, talented witch, cooking would come as second nature to her and she would receive Molly's secret recipes and amaze her husband with her talent – unlike certain Muggleborns who always had their nose in a book.

Hermione was forced to room with Ginny and besides her being a total slob, Ginny snored. She also talked and talked and talked, mostly about boys, clothes and makeup on the level of Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil and wanted to talk late into the night when Hermione wanted to sleep or read. She talked a lot about the day when she would be marrying Harry Potter. That was another open secret the whole school knew about as Ginny had been warning girls away from "her Harry" since her second year. They had a marriage contract which Hermione thought was barbaric but so what as she was nothing but a filthy Muggleborn and no one would ever entered into a marriage contract with her. However, Ginny and Molly had snidely said on a few occasions "on the sly" when Hermione couldn't hear them that "it would take a marriage contract for Granger to land herself a man." Naturally, they knew she was in hearing distance and were saying it to further demoralize the girl.

Hermione ignored it as she did believe it was barbaric and one day, when she had the time and inclination, she would get herself a husband and a much better one that the likes of Ginny Weasley could get. Hermione knew that Harry didn't know about the marriage contract. She also knew that Harry didn't like Ginny "that way" as he had actually told her once. "Who in their right mind would want to date a girl with six very protective, rather mean and dangerous brothers?" That had been true because even in Ginny's first year Percy, the Twins and Ron had already started informing boys of their "promises" regarding the treatment of their sister and woe to anyone who toyed with her affections or didn't treat her "right" (or rather her and their versions of what was "right"). "You'd have to be suicidal or have the power of the Malfoys" Harry had confided to her.

That set Hermione thinking that Harry really wasn't as dumb or naïve as he acted. He knew that certain people like Draco Malfoy could and did (especially concerning Harry) get away with just about everything. This had been said in their third year and since then Hermione had watched Harry and at times, didn't report certain things she had witnessed to Dumbledore.

Third year was the "year of the broom" when Ron got her in trouble and had taken Harry away from her. She had been forced to listen to his threats and boasts but her mask was in place as it was then that she began to watch and evaluate Ron and all the Weasleys. The broom incident had taught her much, not only about Harry and the Weasleys but about Professor McGonagall. McGonagall was the first contact with the Headmaster in between the official bi-monthly meetings she and Ron had with him. If Hermione had something of interest to report in between those meetings she went to McGonagall. Ron did not as he preferred dealing directly with Dumbledore and he really didn't notice the "little things" like Hermione did.

Hopefully, unbeknown to Ron, Hermione was constantly ratting him out to McGonagall and McGonagall, again hopefully, didn't report everything she said back to Dumbledore. You see Hermione had found out a secret about Minerva McGonagall. She too loathed the Weasleys despite the friendly face she presented to the world. She "laughed" at the Twins' antics and pranks and punished them a bit for appearances sake, but she was not pleased with what they were allowed to get away with and highly disapproved of some of the things they did. "McG" as Hermione referred to her Head of House in the privacy of her mind, disapproved of many things Dumbledore "allowed" to happen not only in regard to the Twins' antics but the way she was to oversee Gryffindor House.

Perhaps she saw in Hermione Granger a kindred spirit in regards to Harry Potter as in the privacy of their "tattle meetings" McG's mask slipped concerning how Harry Potter was treated and on the Headmaster's orders. Nothing was said out loud but between looks exchanged and body language, Hermione knew that McG knew things, disapproved of much but like the other teachers and Hermione there was nothing they could do against the might of Albus Dumbledore. During the "broom incident" McG had told Hermione that "I will protect you against the Weasleys" and with that pronouncement both witches formed a bond, an alliance against those who would harm Harry Potter.

McG had protected Hermione more times than the girl knew because unlike the still naïve Muggleborn, McG knew just what lengths Albus Dumbledore would go to get his orders obeyed, his will done and a little thing like a person's life, health or happiness mattered nothing at all to the Greatest Wizard since Merlin. McG couldn't do as much as she'd like for Hermione but did what she could. Hermione Granger reminded Minerva McGonagall a lot like another talented, intelligent but naïve Muggleborn. Lily Evans had been used, abused and then had died due to the wants and needs of Albus Dumbledore. All that promise, love and beauty had been caught and controlled due to the whims of Dumbledore and James Potter.

But McG refused to think about the life and fate of Lily Evans as it just broke her heart. But then Hermione Granger arrived, was saved by the troll and was pulled into the web of that wily old spider Albus. McG had found out that for some no doubt sick, twisted reason Granger had been promised to one of the Weasley boys, probably the abominable Ronald and there was nothing the girl could do about it when she finally found out – just like Lily Evans.

However, this past summer when she was trapped at Grimmauld Place with the Weasleys and the Order, a drunken Sirius Black had hinted to the girl her potential fate. She had found him one as he began his "before dinner drink" – which usually started before noon and lasted until who knew when or until he passed out. She had been released from the day's chores and approached him to ask if there were any "safe books" in the Black library that she might borrow to read. She didn't know he had been so far gone until she noticed the almost empty bottle of fire whiskey. He looked at her and smiled a rather strange scary smile and replied, "sure there are a few books around here that even Molly would approve" and had taken her hand and lead her to another library.

She found out that no one could enter this room unless given entrance and physically brought in by a family member of the House of Black and not even Dumbledore knew of its existence. Of course the "price" she had had to pay for this secret delight was to listen to Sirius' tirades against the world on a nightly basis. Fortunately she could multi-task and she perused the books and listened (and learned) from the rants of the failed wizard. He told her many things of interests.

Some things he would never had said to anyone had he been sober, but he had not been and secrets had been spilled during those hours and days that the girl spent at that miserable house in the company of a drunken man. It had started with his complaints against Molly Weasley. How he despised that bitch. The Twins and Bill were alright but Arthur…well Arthur had "lost them" when he married Molly and now he was just a shell of his former self. Charlie was in Romania (smart boy) and Percy was a prick. Ginny was a little slut in training who thought she was going to marry Harry and get his money, name and power but Sirius knew better.

"Old Dumbles has probably given Molly a song and dance and PROMISED to deliver Harry to her for the bitchette to marry, but," he had laughed sourly, "If there is a so-called marriage contract, it's illegal as hell as it is a Potter Family law that no marriage contract will be made between the heir and most families. It was specifically stated in Charlus' Will – that's James' old man – James would not enter into one nor would any Potter heir. In other words, had James been alive long enough he couldn't have arranged a marriage contract, so Dumbles sure as hell can't."

Sirius had sworn Hermione to secrecy as it would be a "nasty surprise" for the Weasleys and he'd like to be around to see their faces when they found out. "But for some reason, I don't think I'll be around that long," he had stated sadly. "That's why I am telling you this in secret because when we find Harry I want you to tell him – at the proper time – about that and to NOT marry Ginny no matter what Dumbles tells him to do because he'd just get disinherited if he did."

That was when Hermione found out that Harry was the heir to not just his trust vault but to several other important vaults belonging to the Potter Family. "Harry's going to be richer than the Malfoys, Greengrasses, Longbottoms, MacMillians – a whole bunch of them put together. And that is just with the Potter money. He's my heir and he'll get everything I have including the Lordship."

That was also when Sirius had explained "Lordships" and a few other things that Hermione didn't know about because there had been no books on the subject in the Hogwarts Library. He had made her swear that she would never reveal any of this to any Weasley and definitely not Dumbledore. Only Harry was to know as she was to tell him as soon as she could – in private – so he could protect himself. But Harry had not been found, they had gone back to school and now Magical Britain was falling apart.

She wondered what would happen to Sirius considering he was a wanted criminal. Would he be able to get out of Britain and be safe or would he be one of those who stayed and fought for "the cause." That was what Ron had been calling the rebellion that Dumbledore would no doubt be forming and to which all the faithful would gather to fight. She had supported him in the common room only because it had been expected of her. Without Harry, there was no reason for Ron to talk to her let alone treat her civilly. Her only purpose was to do all of their Prefect duties and "to help him with his homework" - by letting him copy her work.

She had gone to McG with her problem and for once McG had openly put Ron in his place telling him "she can't take your OWLS for you and the Headmaster can't tamper with the final OWL grades" but he had not listened. He just went back to the common room and dragged Hermione out of the room into the hallway. He then slapped her face three times screaming at her for tattling to McGonagall and he wasn't going to take any of her sass and SHE WAS GOING TO DO AS HE ORDERED HER OR ELSE DUMBLEDORE WOULD EXPELL HER. Hermione had only been saved by Neville returning to the Tower. Neville grabbed Ron from behind and shockingly punched the stuffing out of Ron and a fight began.

Hermione ran back into the common room and screamed for help. The Twins and several others went out and pulled the boys apart. Naturally Ron lied and said Longbottom attacked him but Hermione jumped in and told the truth. She then whipped out her wand and swore on her life and magic that it was the truth. McG was sent for, everything came out and Ron was relieved of his Prefect badge.

"And don't go crying to your Mummy," McG told him in front of the assembled room, "as you are a disgrace to Gryffindor House."

Idiot that he was Ron dared to curse out McG and threaten her with the wrath of Molly and Dumbledore or at least he did until the Twins each grabbed him by an arm and dragged him out of the room. Fifteen minutes later the three Weasley came back with Ron looking the worse for wear. Then they made him apologize to McG, Neville and Hermione. Then the Twins did something so shocking that it surprised even McG. They both swore on their life and magic to "keep Ronniekins in line" and to retaliate against him should he insult or harm, whether physically or mentally, McG, Neville, Hermione or any other member of Gryffindor House.

Whatever had been said or done outside the door must have sunk in because from then on Ron "behaved himself" at least while the Twins were around. He had tried to "get Neville" in the privacy of their dorm room and told Dean and Seamus that "we're not going to let that Squib or Mudblood get away with that, are we?" However, Ron had forgotten that Dean was also a "Mudblood" and they both liked Neville a lot. They only went along with Ron on many occasions because he used the threat of the Twins. Now he didn't have that threat to use so Dean and Seamus decided to "not let Ron get away with that" and beat the stuffing out of him.

Unfortunately at the moment Hermione still had the reputation in around the school as being not only a fanatical Dumbledore follower, but was still "friends" with the Weasleys. She sided with Dumbledore because she knew what the consequences were if she didn't. Since Harry had left and the "incident" had happened, Ron just avoided everyone in Gryffindor and started campaigning around the school against Mudbloods and Harry Potter. Since he now lacked the status of "best mate" to the Boy-Who-Lived-But-Lied-Then-Disappeared and due to his abrasive personality, he had no real friends. He had alienated his housemates and damaged his source of homework help. Therefore he was obliged for the first time in his life to actually do his own work and study as it was his OWLS year and his Mother would kill him if he didn't do well. Unless Potter was found, brought back to school and once again became Ron's best mate, Ron was a pariah and powerless since Dumbledore had no use for him until then.

But Hermione's reputation was now just as bad as Ron's as due to her "work for Dumbledore" and her own abrasive, anti-social attitude, she too had no friends. It was evident that Colonel Jeffries viewed her as the Hogwarts students did hence his treatment of her and the public humiliation by him. What made things worse was that although Hermione noticed and had come to the conclusion in her first year that Harry Potter was an abused child, the Headmaster assured her he was not. He sassed back his relatives, got into fights, wore his cousin's castoffs because he had never taken care of his clothes and was a very picky eater. Dumbledore always had an excuse and Hermione had no choice but to believe him and not her eyes.

When the Colonel had been telling of Harry's abuse she too had been shocked. She had been angry not because he was telling the truth about Harry but because she had been lied to by Dumbledore. She was furious with herself for being duped and embarrassed because the revelations made it seem like she knew all about Harry's life since she was his "second best mate" and no one would now ever believe that she hadn't been fooled like the rest of the population. Once again she had been used and abused and even betrayed. The question now was could she survive it? And would Harry Potter ever forgive her?

Chapter 11 – Leaving

Draco Malfoy arrived home. His Mother had picked him up at King's Cross Station and they portkeyed back to Malfoy Manor. She had said nothing to him the entire time. They exited the floo and she led him to the stairs and he followed her up to his room. This did not look good to him. Once they were behind closed doors, she cast a few spells before finally turning to him.

"We are going to have to leave."

"WHAT?"

"We are leaving, hopefully tomorrow but definitely no later than the official departure date."

"But Father will never allow us to leave, and why should we? We are Malfoys and Purebloods and have every right to…"

"The Dark Lord told me to. He actually personally informed me that I should pack up as much as I could and leave as soon as you came back from school."

"The Dark Lord. He told you – us – to leave. What does Father have to say to this?"

"I haven't seen or heard from your Father since the announcement of the exile. The Dark Lord left yesterday. Naturally he didn't inform me of his plans, he merely ordered me to leave. And that is what we are going to do."

Draco had nothing to say to this announcement. Was the Dark Lord actually trying to protect the families of his followers? Was he going to stay and fight hoping to grab for power and take over Britain while Dumbledore and other fools fled? He managed to blurt out these questions to his Mother who merely replied "I didn't ask, he didn't tell and we are leaving. Pack everything you really need or want to take. Here is an expandable trunk. You have to do this yourself as all the elves are busy packing as much as possible. I'm waiting for our Ministry portkey to arrive but if it doesn't come by tomorrow night, we just might have to take…Muggle transportation. In any event, we are leaving."

"But where? Where are we going?"

"The summer house in Provence. It is fully furnished but we will just keep all of this house's contents shrunken. Scrimgeour is telling everyone that it will be temporary and we should all consider it a holiday until things are straightened out."

"Well of course we should. There is no way we can be sent away from our home, our estates or robbed of our heritage. Father will never allow it and…"

"I told you I have not seen or heard from your Father since the announcement. I obeyed the Dark Lord's instructions and have started to pack and then…well I went to Gringotts and tried to retrieve our wealth."

Draco didn't like the sound of this. "Did you just say you 'tried to retrieve our wealth?"

"Yes. I did. However, I was informed by our account manager that Lucius had already been there and had cleaned out the vaults. He took everything except the contents of your trust vault. Even my dowry and the contents of my dower vault were gone. Don't ask why because I don't know" she snapped.

"But surely Father took the money for the cause" Draco said hopefully. His mother just looked at him, her only child, and saw the hope in his eyes and the refusal to believe anything bad about his father. However, she was about to burst his dream bubble if only because it was necessary.

"Draco…" she began carefully, "According to the Dark Lord himself…there is nothing any of us can do about the situation. He won't or probably can't promise that he will lead a 'revolution' to regain what we are losing because apparently…well despite Dumbledore's actions and burning of books (which even Draco hadn't heard about) as well as things the Ministry of Magic has been doing over the last few centuries…" She stopped for a moment because she was trying not to cry and to somehow lessen the damage and hopelessness of the situation, but she couldn't. The tears began to fall and she couldn't continue.

"Mother! Control yourself. Father would never let this happen and neither will the other Purebloods. Let the Dark Wanker flee like the coward he is, Father will save us and our heritage" he told his Mother with conviction.

That caused her tears to stopped as she spat out "Your Father cleaned out all of the Malfoy vaults except for your trust vault as that was established for you by my Father, otherwise he would have taken that also."

"That…that…that CAN'T BE TRUE" Draco shouted out desperately. "Father would never do that…unless the Dark Lord ordered him to."

Narcissa actually snorted out a bitter laugh and replied "The reason why the Dark Lord told me to pack up and flee was because Lucius has fled as had some of the other "faithful" because apparently Severus had just finished inventing a potion that temporarily relieves the effect of the Dark Mark's summoning. Therefore, it is opined that if a marked wizard can flee far enough away and uses this potion on a continuing basis he can avoid answering the Dark Lord's call and escape him."

She sighed and then let this news sink in before saying to her shocked child "Your Father knows that we have lost…our homeland…and has taken the opportunity to take all of the Malfoy money and jewels and flee and start a new life far away from Britain. It seems his plans did not include us."

She then broke down in tears while Draco just stood there in total shock. Draco couldn't believe it. His Father would never do such a thing but before he could defend him, another voice was heard. It was Snape, his godfather.

His rich baritone announced "Your Mother is correct Draco. Lucius and certain others are gone and they will not be coming back." "I recently created a potion to lessen the effects of the Cruciatus and accidentally found out there was a fortuitous a side effect. The last time the Dark Lord called me I was in Dumbledore's presence. The old #%#*&&#(((# has a nasty habit of detaining me from answering because he knows it causes me pain until I answer the call. He wouldn't let me leave until he had finished 'briefing me' on what he wanted me to find out until after the third calling when I actually yelled out in pain."

"I knew I would receive another calling before I could get down to my quarters, get my mask and robes on, leave the castle grounds and apparate to where I was being summoned and in desperation I used my new potion. I received another call BUT it was very weak and I realized I had found a possible salvation from the summoning. I told your Father, he demanded a sample and since he is summoned more frequently than I, he declared it a success and had me make up large quantities for himself and certain others. Just before he fled he actually slipped me Veritaserum in a glass of wine and made me give him the recipe while Avery wrote it down. Then that #*# &*(( &&#* ! actually obliviated me of the recipe, wished me good luck and left with Avery who also 'wished me luck' because once the Dark Lord found out about the new potion, I would need it – but wouldn't have it."

Draco wanted to not believe what he had just heard from his Mother and Snape BUT…he also knew how his Father "did business" and with this information he KNEW it was all true. He and his Mother were abandoned and there was no real reason for Lucius not to take them with him for a new life except…maybe…." He choked back his tears and putting his Pureblood mask firmly in place asked

"What do we do now?"

"I would advise finishing your packing and emptying your trust vault as that is apparently all the money you have left" Snape replied. "Do it as soon as possible because one never knows what might happen. In fact, I'll go with you and we'll do it now while your Mother does your packing."

Snape turned to Narcissa and asked "Have you received your portkey yet or did Lucius volunteer to pick it up?" "I haven't seen Lucius since the announcement that we had to leave so I haven't the slightest idea?"

Snape sighed heavily before saying "The Ministry is only issuing one 'free' portkey to a household and rumor has it that things are going 'slowly' with regard to the manufacture and distribution of the portkeys. If you haven't received it by close of business tomorrow, don't expect to get one unless you grease a few palms as apparently that is the latest – and hopefully last – money making scheme of the Ministry."

"What happens if we don't leave?" Draco asked hopefully. "The Manor is under impenetrable wards and…."

"And other countries have ways of finding and breaking them. They also have very detailed maps of all magically owned properties. Also they have the name of EVERY wizard and witch in the country and there is a list with all names and each name will be checked off at the designated departure points. Anyone who is not accounted for will be declared an outlaw and when caught – and they will be thanks to Dumbledore's meddling – will have their wand taken from them, their magic bound and sentenced to a Muggle prison."

He then explained about the tracking of all magical signatures which Dumbledore had tried to use to track Amelia Bones. The Magical Coalition (the combined forces of Magicals from other countries, the ICW and British Muggleborns in the Muggle government, military and police) found out all of the particulars of this specialized tracking and would be using it to find any wizards who thought they could stay and not get caught. Dumbledore's plan had backfired on him and had doomed even him.

"Since January 31st is the deadline to leave" Snape stated "anyone still here will be declared an outlaw and will be found thanks to the Ministry's and Dumbledore's many schemes to control and track British wizards/witches. That is why I suggest that you leave no later than tomorrow night even if you haven't received your portkey. There are special Muggle places where one can go to leave the country and your name will be checked off once you leave." Narcissa thought that was the best idea, all things considering, but asked why the general public hadn't been told.

"It will be printed in the Daily Prophet no later than tomorrow" he replied. "It was supposed to be announced and printed daily until the 31st by order of the Coalition BUT the Ministry delayed it thinking – erroneously – that Dumbledore would prevent this from happening. Then someone got the idea of delaying the portkeys with the intention that people without one would pay anything to escape. The Coalition has taken over the Prophet and the information will be printed until the 31st."

The only "problem" was that one would have to take the Muggle transportation supplied and at the moment Snape didn't know what form of conveyance it would be. Narcissa didn't care as she wanted to leave ASAP. She would be doing Draco's packing while he and Snape went to Gringotts to close out Draco's trust vault. There were long lines at Gringotts and even though it was technically illegal, the Goblins were charging a close-out fee. They originally were charging 10% of the vault's contents until the Coalition found out and made them change it to .01% and give a refund to those who had been desperate enough to pay it. That also would be printed in the Prophet so that people would know and be able to get back their money even if they had already left the country.

An emergency floo service had been set up so that people leaving Gringotts with probably all of their monetary wealth and heirlooms would not get robbed. Apparently the Coalition knew their British wizards all too well and that many would take advantage of the situation to make one last "killing" before they themselves were forced to leave. Draco went home in a very depressed mood. Everybody's life was now in ruins but as usual, he only thought about himself and his Mother. He cursed his Father's name, ratted Lucius out to Abraxas' portrait and informed it that none of the Malfoy portraits would be taken with them and they were on their own. It was the only revenge he could get on his Father, even though he knew his Father wouldn't care. At least it made him feel better.

As Snape had predicted, instead of a portkey arriving, Narcissa received a letter from the Ministry talking about "unavoidable delays" and other flimsy excuses. "Just to be safe" the letter advised that for a small fee Narcissa could get a portkey if she came to the Ministry and paid the fee, otherwise the Ministry could not guarantee the Malfoys would be able to leave by the 31st. The "small fee" was G1,000 per entity meaning it would be G2,000 for Narcissa and Draco and G1,000 for each house elf, familiar, magical pet (such as a Kneazle), owls, etc. The letter warned that house elves, kneazle, owls, etc. could not leave by the Muggle departure points so if they wanted a beloved pet or their elf to go with them, they had to have a portkey.

A very angry Narcissa called her private elf Missy. "Missy, take the household trunks to the house in Provence and then return." She wanted to see if that would work and it did. Therefore all she had to do was to have the elves go to the house and take the owls with them. And that was what they did, although Severus, who was leaving with them, advised that they carry at least one shrunken trunk with them for "appearances sake" so that neither the Ministry nor the Coalition knew just how much they were taking with them.

It was extremely difficult for Narcissa and Draco to leave their home, but they were not the only people crying and regretting their loss. It was happening all over Britain from people like the Malfoys to the Weasleys. Molly Weasley had refused to leave as she believed that somehow Dumbledore would prevail so why leave as they would be needed to fight in the rebellion Dumbledore would start. She had no doubt he would prevail and reward his followers with the wealth, etc. of those who hadn't believed and cowardly ran away.

But Arthur was the realist in the family and did the only thing he could. He stunned his wife, had the children pack up everything they had from the furniture, linens and kitchen equipment to the few family heirlooms and mementos. The Twins had even stunned the chickens, shrunk them and hid them and their feed in the household trunk because…well they had to eat. They were going to visit Charlie and stay with him (or rather the small village next to the dragon reserve) until they were allowed to return or found out that they couldn't. Until then they would be living in the Weasley tent, which Bill would be enlarging, and/or found a very cheap place to rent. And they would be using the Muggle departure point as even Ministry personnel such as Percy and Arthur couldn't get a portkey in time to leave without paying that fee.

Mercifully, the Malfoys, Snape and the Weasleys were leaving from the departure point but at different times. A special ferry was chartered to ferry certain "special people" to France. Their names would be checked off as they left Britain and then again when they reached France. After that they were on their own. There was only one "camp" set up by the Coalition for people with no place to go to stay until a place could be found for them. Their biggest problem was finding a country that was willing to take in the refugees. This was very difficult because most of the Magical World was mad at the British and unless you had a special skill, such as a Mastery in something "useful" or were a healer, an Unspeakable, a potions master, etc.

People like Madam Malkin, Madam Rosemerta, shop workers, etc. would have a difficult time unless they had managed to get their possessions/inventory out of the country and/or had money to set up a shop or bar/restaurant, etc. There were going to be a lot of displaced persons and ruined lives and the only people who could be blamed for this misery were the politicians, the very rich, Purebloods and…dare it be said…Albus Dumbledore. Some had tried to blame Harry Potter (as usual) but that fizzled out quickly. The "real truth" had finally been revealed and now people were just plain mad and/or wanted to survive.

The only good thing which could be said about the eviction was that Azkaban was finally closed, the Dementors "taken care of" by the Coalition and the Acromantula living at Hogwarts were rounded up and placed on an island where for the delivery of livestock, they would give over their silk to the merchants who had been buying it from Hogwarts (due to an agreement with Dumbledore).

The residents of Azkaban consisted mainly of Death Eaters and dangerous criminals. They could not be allowed to leave due to their crimes but also because most of them had severe health problems and many were insane. Now, they were retrieved, healed, sedated, had their magic bound and then were placed in a Muggle/Magical prison in New Mexico, U.S.A. Their living conditions improved 100% as they had an actual bed, sink and toilet in their individual cell. The bed had the linens changed once a week, there was a pillow and decent blankets, got to have clean clothes every other day as well as a shower. The prisoners were given three wholesome meals a day and depending on their behavior/condition, were allowed to have an hour of exercise per day. They had access to books, magazines and newspapers, even if they were Muggle, but still actually having something to do other than rot in their own filth was a wonderful experience.

Sirius Black had originally been going to stay and help Dumbledore get back their homes/heritage but Remus Lupin had finally convinced him to leave by suggesting they look for Harry. "Besides, you will get caught and either kissed or imprisoned." So Sirius left with Remus and temporarily went back to Black Island where Sirius had been recuperating. At the moment, even looking for Harry was on hold until Dumbledore straightened things out. But Dumbledore, who was still being held in Europe, had his own problems.

There were only two ways he was getting out of his prison (although it was more like an enclosed country club for "special criminals" like some American jails were): (1) he swore on his life and magic that he would never again set foot in the British Isles or (2) someone broke him out of jail. Until then he would enjoy living the secluded but comfortable life he had in his prison, watch the Muggle TV provided, read some good but non-magical books and PLOT, PLOT, PLOT.

He still had one secret card up his sleeve – VOLDEMORT. The "V-man" was back and the Magical World would need Dumbledore to defeat this evil villain as only he had the power and knowhow on how to accomplish it. Eventually Tom would reveal himself after gathering evil followers in his attempt to take over the world and then, being the only living person who had truly defeated a Dark Lord, people would coming begging Dumbledore to save them. All Albus Dumbledore had to do now was to wait.

FINIS

There might be a sequel if enough people are interested.