"But they're so cute!" Trocar squealed dodging the werewolf getting an eye roll from Harry. This will take a while …
Hermione looked at what was going on in a bit of a daze, "How can this be happening? It has to be a lie." She said, not wanting to accept that a teacher was being arrested right in front of them.
"Why is that?" Ginny asked, who volunteered to help with passing out the rest of the potions along with her brothers, Percy, Fred and George, and Neville, which is why she was there in the infirmary.
Poppy knew she could use some help passing out potions, but she knew Harry couldn't stay with his eyes bothering him so she asked for a few volunteers to help speed things up. It turned out to be a good idea, since many girls needed calming potions after the love potion was removed. What happened to them while they were under the potion is for the aurors to investigate upon their return with Poppy, who went with them to make sure Lockhart didn't try anything. For now, the five volunteers were just keeping everyone calm until Poppy returned and, apparently, answer stupid complaints.
"He was a professor … he wouldn't do this." Hermione said, not ready to consider the possibility that not all authority figures were as amazing as they were portrayed. She even still believed in Dumbledore, despite what the newspaper revealing information that completely contradicted.
"How can you say that after what he did?!" One of the other girls yelled furiously.
Percy tried to comfort the girl by gently holding her shoulder as he looked at Hermione, "Believe what you want, but tell me Ms. Granger, how do you feel now compared to how you felt in the summer and then to how you felt after meeting Lockhart when school started?" Percy asked, trying to get the young witch to use the brain she's so proud of, which seemed to work or, at least, made the witch stay silent for awhile.
Poppy returned soon after that, "Professor McGonagall is allowing the aurors to come back for some statements. I will be with each of those who want to speak. We will stay in this room and under a silencing spell. There will also be no classes tomorrow so you all can rest and we can figure things out." Poppy said as she went through the room checking each girl with a simple scanning spell to give to the aurors upon their return. "Thank you all for helping. The aurors will return soon so you can go if you want. I'm not sure if they'll let you stay or not anyway." She said to her volunteers.
"Since I am in charge of my house mates as a Head boy, I'd like to stay and help if can in place of Professor McGonagall, but shouldn't the other Heads of Houses be here too?" Percy asked as he gestured for his siblings and Neville to leave, which they did do, but rather hesitantly. They clearly wanted to stay and help, but, thanks to having a father in the ministry, they knew the aurors probably wouldn't want to have a bunch of students lingering during an open investigation even if it was for moral support.
The healer smiled on the outside hiding the fact that she was nervous, "I'd prefer fewer people involved so rumors don't spread and, besides, there needs to be others watching all the other students. So for now, it's just you and me acting as guardians to these ladies." She explained reasonably, but while they were sound arguments they weren't her main concern. The main issue was whether or not the other professors were under potions as well. Severus no doubt had to make a batch of the potion that removes the loyalty potion when he made Minerva's, but Dumbledore's obvious scheming made getting the potion to Minerva urgent. Now she had to get Severus deliver the rest of the potions to the professors.
Hermione ignored the results of her scan, completely sure that there was nothing of interest and wondered where the headmaster was. She was sure Dumbledore would return and fix this. So sure, in fact, that she didn't stop and wonder why Minerva was in charge if Dumbledore was going to return even though the aurors said 'Headmistress' when they came to get statements and memories from every victim. Sadly, she won't start to get that until lunch, when she sees that the headmaster was gone, which was only possible because she finished with the aurors first and refused to see a mind healer.
Minerva stood at the podium in the Great Hall and looked at the students who were waiting for their lunch, "You all may have noticed that some of your fellow students are missing as well as a few staff members. For most issues, it's a matter of security that I don't speak of it, but I can say that due to certain issues I will be taking the headmaster's place," Minerva paused to let the rush of whispers settle down before she started again, "and I will be making arrangements to find a new DADA professor. Classes will be canceled tomorrow while a new teacher is found, and you'll see aurors and Gringotts goblins searching around certain places in the school for a few days. Be polite and do not get in their way. Now, please relax and enjoy your meal." The Transfiguration professor said and sat down to her own meal. She mentioned the meeting set for after curfew to the others, but didn't chat as much as she normally would. It felt strange being the only one there that may have a clear mind what with Severus still brewing or helping Cache in someway and Poppy helping the girls recovering from the love potions.
"Bloody hell … maybe the Headmaster is guilty of something …" Someone said and a slew of whispers and rumors swirled around the room as the curious students.
Hermione scowled at the chatter and her frustration rose until she got finally decided to corner the Headmistress right after the meal ended. When she found the Headmistrss she was talking some goblins, "So you can handle that too? Yes, please. I would feel better knowing all the staff is thinking clearly."
The goblin nodded sharply, "We'll start thev process here too now that the ministry is nearly cleared and our search has started-"
"Professor McGonagall, when will the Headmaster return?" Hermione asked rudely interrupting the goblin.
"I'm not allowed to discuss that issue." Minerva said simply and raised her hand telling the young witch to just stay quiet. "It's good to have faith in people and you do have a lot of it," Hermione smiled, "albeit incredibly naïve." The Headmistress finished and walked away with the goblin leaving a slack jawed young witch behind.
Arthur sighed, "Another long day." He said and for him it was even though it wasn't quite lunch yet. A large workload kept him working for most of the night and with working in more than one department now he had more to do. "What's going on?" Arthur blinked curiously as several goblins arrived.
Everyone looked up from their desks to see what was going on and it soon became very clear. An alarm set began ringing to get the attention of everyone throughout the building and a scary announcement was made. There were reasons to believe that several people in the ministry were potioned with loyalty spell and a full scan was to be issued, which meant a total lock down for easily the next few hours. No one was to work or leave until every person was checked including the Minister.
"Well I suppose that's one way to get a break." Arthur said jokingly despite the seriousness of the situation.
It took a couple hours just to get to the Weasley and the goblin level scan did not show what he expected. Arthur wasn't surprised that the scan on the drop of blood he gave potions came up, but the scan on his mind revealed some gaps where memories were locked up.
Someone blocked parts of his mind!
"We can't force you, but considering this may affect your job if you decide not to reverse these blocks." The goblin warned as he spelled away the blood. In most cases these magical scans wouldn't work because, while goblin magic is different than human magic and can find potions with scans, it can't test a wide range all at once. It would be ineffective if you didn't know where to start, but Severus, Minerva and, unbeknownst to anyone, Harry Potter's scans helped narrow down what spells and potions Dumbledore preferred. This made the process, which was the first of its kind in a long time because of the bad blood between the ministry and Gringotts, move rather quickly compared to what it could be.
Arthur nodded seriously, "Reverse it … please." He added sheepishly momentarily forgetting his manners, but he couldn't help it really. There was this nagging feeling that there was something he had to know. It could be related to his work, but he had a sinking feeling that it was about his family.
The goblin used its magic to remove the spell that blocked Arthur's memories. What was revealed to him made him feel ill and very happy that Ginny will be staying with her brother. Those memories, after all, showed his wife talking to Dumbledore and, from the way it sounded, selling their daughter as a bride to Harry Potter! Just like in the memory, he felt his temper rise at the prospect of his daughter not being allowed to find her own love in life. He recalled confronting them and Molly, the woman he loved, cast the curse to force him to forget.
That was the worst memory, but not the only one. What followed was a slew of formerly forgotten moments where he saw their bank accounts had mysterious sums of money appearing, which he foolishly brought up with his wife first instead of going straight to Gringotts. Then he remembered that he accidently saw Molly training Ginny to be a proper lady to the point where she cried. He made the same mistake each time too because of the memories being blocked and waited to confront Molly after each moment, of course, resulting in his memories being taken yet again. This time will be different …
"I …" Arthur took a deep breath, "I want to file for divorce and file charges against Albus Dumbledore for-"
"Another for our ongoing case huh … I'll get the goblin in charge of that as well as the goblin in charge of your family vault. Name?" The goblin asked unaffected by what Arthur thought was earth shattering. It was for the ministry worker after all …
"Errr … Weasley." Arthur said and the goblin left to make the report leaving behind a stunned Weasley. "On going? Another?" He suddenly felt like he was missing a lot more than his daughter's abuse.
All his musings were interrupted as a commotion began on the other side of the room where he potion treatments were being given. The person being dragged over was the minister! The minister being under a loyalty potion shocked everyone. Well, he was under the influence of a potion, but not any more and strangely enough the first thing he did after getting the treatment forced down his throat was hand over a bag of money that was in his office to the goblins …
Harry looked up from the mostly mended wound of the werewolf's formerly severed arm when he heard the babies cry, "Unless you can lactate now then you better hand the babies over, Trocar!" Harry chuckled as Trocar paused in thought as if he was actually considering if he can over just handing over the babies. Of course, the babies' cries prompted the mother hen to hand over the babies to an exhausted Greyback who was tired from chasing the damn vampire for nearly an hour.
"Considering the severity of his mother hen nature that threat could have backfired." Severus sneered sarcastically clearly implying that Trocar was so motherly he was acting like a person who just gave birth and perhaps could produce milk.
Trocar twitched and shot the potion master a sulky glare, "I'll remember that for when Sanguini knocks you up." The vampire huffed as he watched the babies latch onto their proper bearers' nipples for some much needed nourishment. He didn't see the light blush on Severus' face, but Harry did.
"So you want ki-I am shutting up." Harry quickly exclaimed and snapped his mouth shut once he saw the glare Severus sent him.
One of the vampires, Serenity, seated with her twin sister Dawn just smirked, "Bundles of joy aside, how about you tell us about your changes, Trocar?"
Maria spotted the tiniest glance Trocar sent Harry and tilted her head cutely, "Harry, you did this?" She asked wondering about Trocar's suddenly ability to blush.
Harry frowned, "I didn't intend to. I just tried brewing something simple with regular kneazle whiskers and some mistletoe to heal my eyesight … Trocar took it so I wouldn't test it. The blushing and protection from the sun I-"
Dawn gaped, "Hold it! Did you say sun protection?!"
"Well yes, but I don't know if it'll last or even if it's actually safe." Harry said knowing what many of the vampires there were considering.
"Hmmm … let me see." Trocar commented as he zipped through the doors and back allowing a few seconds in the sun. "It's only starting to slightly hurt this time so two hours." He said mentally scolding himself for not taking the chance to take down Dumbledore with the werewolves. It's been so long since he thought he could just walk outside in the sun that it wasn't the first thing that came to mind … and the cute babies didn't help his concentration. Unfortunately, he knew it wasn't wise to just take another untested potion to try for another chance. There was no way to know what would happen. If it affected vampires so strangely then he could overdose for all he knew.
"Is there more?" Serenity asked, eager to get a bite out of Dumbledore the werewolves instead of waiting until night time.
"Yes. I only poured out one vial so the rest of the cauldron is up there, but be careful. It is experimental." Harry yelled after the vampires who raced up to his room. The door was still open because Lyra and Libra left it open as they got Harry's potions so nothing could stop them. A split second later only Trocar, Sanguini, Armel, Severus, Harry, Greyback, Mike, Jenny, the wounded werewolf, two kneazles and two babies were left in the complex.
Sanguini chuckled, "They better get a bite in for me." He said knowing they'll catch up easily being faster than the werewolves. Of course, since it's stealthier to chase someone down on foot incase they can sense the magic flex caused by an apparating. It's rare that witches and wizards can sense that tiny flex, but it's best to be careful and not risk that your target can especially if it's Dumbledore. That wizard will never see it coming …
Severus scoffed not caring about the gory fate of the old wizard and looked at Harry, "I spoke to Poppy while at Hogwarts. I found her just as she was walking with the aurors who arrested Lockhart. She knows we're busy, but we should stop by at dinner to see if a meeting will be set to discuss our missing staff members." He said and Harry nodded as the wounded werewolf started carefully moving his reattached arm. It bled near the point of the slice, but Harry did a good job healing the nerves, muscles and vessels so he had function. at least, despite using only basic healing spells. A benefit to being a natural healer no doubt.
"Yeah, that'll need to be handled right away … I'll change first." Harry said s he glanced at his bloody clothes. Right now he was more concerned with the injured werewolf and the babies than his clothes, but now that everyone seems ok it's time to clean up and, of course, fix the windows. Lyra and Libra were getting irritated having all the glass from the windows everywhere, after all.
Minerva sighed in relief as she saw Severus join them at the staff table for dinner with Cache too, "First there is a meeting after curfew and you'll be happy to know that the goblins handled the removal of the loyalty potions."
"I see." Severus said as he seated himself at the table and looked at each staff member. Everyone, from Hagrid to Sprout, looked disturbed by something and remained in a strange regretful silence. Even Filch seemed off as if someone told him they were taking his favorite shackles. "This should be an interesting trial."
"Only if they find Albus- … Mr. Dumbledore." Professor Sprout corrected herself not feeling right about calling referring to the old wizard by his first name as if they were friends after everything he did.
"He will be." Cache said as he set out some food for his kneazles before taking a seat to eat.
Poppy smiled, "Severus told me you had a medical emergency you had to tend to. What was it?"
"Two friends went into labor and someone lost an arm." Cache said casually.
"What? That's quite serious! Why weren't they taken to- … oh, that's right." Poppy sighed as she recalled where Cache lived. The dark creatures would not have been allowed in to St. Mungo's. "How'd it go?"
"Ummm … there weren't any complications, but I couldn't heal everything completely. I was monitoring them for a few hours and while they seem stable I was hoping you could look at them to be sure." Cache said hopefully.
"I would love to!" Poppy exclaimed cheerfully not interested in what the patients were, but in seeing how her student has improved.
The rest of the meal was spent in silence until the meeting Minerva suggested, "We have a few issues to discuss starting with a replacement for Lockhart. Any suggestions?"
Cache smiled, "I have a thought on that … my Defense instructor might be the best person to help. He lives in the same complex as me and was a teacher for a long time ... 600 years ago."
"600?! A vampire trains you! You live with dark creatures!" Minerva and several other gasped in horror at the dangerous situation. The Headmistress looked at Poppy and Severus with disapproval, "did you both know of this? Those creature only let him live there to eat-"
"They knew something was wrong." Cache said sharply, "they all knew with one look that I need a safe place to stay and though I was young they let me. If a scared child asked for a place to stay wouldn't you help or would you just send them back to their guardians who may be the very ones who are hurting that child? They let me stay to get the whole story so they knew who to protect me from and they do a damn good job of it."
All the staff members inhaled sharply understanding how deeply the boy felt about it. Minerva agreed to speak with Trocar tomorrow and see for herself, but only because she had the feeling, as an experienced transfiguration professor, that those strong blue eyes should be green …
Dumbledore chuckled as he settled down in his warm cottage only to hearing a crack followed by the several large bangs of exploding windows. He was bound by spelled ropes before he had a chance to react and saw that he was surrounded by vampires and werewolves glaring at him, "Remus, Moody, help!" He yelled, but the two people he thought of as pawns just backed away and did nothing.
The only relief the wizard felt was when the goblins, who'd at least keep him alive, showed up, but that was short lived for the goblins just sneered, "First come, first serve." The goblin offered politely and the wizard paled as the creatures closed in on him …