Who Will Fill A Coward's Grave

A/N for all the readers who questioned my sanity by having Umbrige able to cast a cat patronus in the last chapter, please read the passage below...

"Mrs. Cattermole's sobs masked Harry's footsteps as he made his way carefully toward the steps that led up to the raised platform. The moment he had passed the place where the Patronus cat patrolled, he felt the change in temperature: It was warm and comfortable here. The Patronus, he was sure, was Umbridge's, and it glowed brightly because she was so happy here, in her element, upholding the twisted laws she had helped to write"

Above excerpt From: Rowling, J.K. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

Chapter 6 - A Day in the Life...

If yesterday's edition of the Daily Prophet sent shockwaves the length and breadth of the country, then today's edition was a tsunami - sweeping everyone who read it away on a wave of emotions.

Boy-Who-Lived Prophesied to Banish Dark Lord

Prophesied One Killed Death Eater Malfoys in Self-Defence

Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore to Face No Charges

The editor couldn't decide which headline to lead with so chose all three. While the Prophet's readers were familiar with moving pictures, this was the first time the newspaper had experimented with moving text. As one headline faded, the next would appear, the unusual effect captivating its readers - and slightly deflecting the shock each headline provided.

If this new publishing effect distracted ever so slightly from their content, the article underneath these headlines then proceeded to focus, in far greater detail than the readers of this newspaper were used to, on the specific reasoning behind each of the three headlines. The existence of this prophecy was no longer in any doubt, and the Prophet had even managed to get hold of a 'source' that confirmed the Ministry of Magic would know if this prophecy was still active.

The chilling consequences of this prophecy still being active were glaringly obvious to everyone, and questions had apparently already been asked of the Minister. When asked if he thought the Dark Lord of this prophecy had returned, Cornelius Fudge was quoted as saying "With magic, you can never really say never."

On reading that line, Cornelius' copy of the Prophet was flung across his desk. "I've been misquoted. I also said 'it was highly unlikely' but that part has been ignored. This makes it sound as if you-know-who is back, and about to start killing everyone."

With a calmly asked question, Dolores easily punctured the Minister's anger. "Isn't he?"

Cornelius was almost sulking as he answered his Undersecretary. "He might well be, that doesn't mean I want it plastered on the front page of the Prophet. We need to pull that reporter in, let him see it's not in his best interest to set the Minister of Magic up like he did. This makes it look as if our only hope of defeating you-know-who is Harry bloody Potter."

"Isn't he?"

Letting his exasperation show, Cornelius rounded on his Senior Undersecretary. "Dolores, I need someone with answers to this. Not someone sniping at me, I'll get plenty of that the moment I step out of this office."

Giving him a moment to calm down, Dolores then checked whether he was finished with his rantings. "Okay, are we ready to discuss this now?"

After Cornelius nodded, she continued with her briefing. "This journalist has faded into the night. His house is empty, wife and two young children gone. His wife is a muggle born, he himself is a half blood. He obviously believes the war is about to start again and has gotten his family to safety. While I would normally be leading the cheering at people like this leaving Britain, they could be just the tip of the iceberg. In the last war, the Death Eaters killed almost as many pureblood as they did mudbloods. If all the witches and wizards who believe themselves at risk adopt the same approach, then the Ministry might not survive an exodus from Britain on that scale."

Now sitting behind his desk with his head in his hands, Cornelius was beginning to think he'd jumped from the frying pan into the fire. "I asked for answers, Dolores, not more problems."

"The Potter boy is the answer to all your problems." This had Cornelius paying attention so Dolores continued with the answer he clearly wanted to hear.

"A picture of you shaking hands with Harry Potter anywhere in the ministry will see most of your immediate problems disappear. Potter being seen out and about in public will let everyone know that the country is still running as normal. Potter being on the Hogwarts express on the first of September might be the only reason that Hogwarts will be able to stay open. If he's not there, how many people will think that makes Hogwarts unsafe and keep their children home?"

Thinking those statements over, Cornelius was unable to disagree with any of it. "How did Potter become so powerful?"

With a shrug of her shoulders, Dolores explained the blindingly obvious. "The prophecy turns the boy-who-lived into the boy-who-gets-whatever-he-asks-for. The witches and wizards of Britain are terrified of the Dark Lord, I'm terrified of the Dark Lord. While certainly not a follower of Dumbledore or his little protege, they at least don't torture or murder those who disagree with them. This whole thing is now about survival, and I don't just mean political."

Sitting straighter, Cornelius thought this was a game he could play. "We'll just have to wait and see what he wants then. Dolores, I want you to take over the DMLE."

"What! Are you seriously suggesting I put my head on the block here?"

"I was going to make you Hogwarts headmaster, dropping the charges against Dumbledore took that position off the table."

This was a move that, if she turned it down, would end her career at the Ministry. Accepting it however might end her life. "You told me yourself, Bones was sure you-know-who would be targeting whoever held that job. That is not a move I see helping me with my career."

The smile Cornelius was wearing confused Dolores, until an explanation was offered. "He would certainly target Amelia Bones if she still held that post. We both know she would have gone after him and his Death Eaters with everything at her disposal. As the new holder of that post, you will do no such thing. Protect the Ministry, let the public see we're protecting Diagonal Alley - that will be the limit of our efforts."

While seeing the sense in not provoking a response from he-who-must-not-be-named, this proposed strategy made no attempt to actually deal with the problem. "How do we respond when attacks start happening outside those specific areas, and people start dying?"

"Then Potter will discover the other side of the coin. With great power comes great responsibility. Who do you think the public and press will be baying at to do something? I'll give you a clue, it won't be us."

With an almost reverence for Cornelius' genius, Dolores whispered the name. "Harry Potter..."

A now smirking Cornelius agreed with that. "Too right. Today's paper should flush him out, then we can see what he wants. In return, we - at the very least - discover what this blasted Prophecy actually says. After the first attack, we'll issue some sort of home defence advice. That will let everyone see their ministry is doing something, putting more pressure onto Potter to respond."

With a smile and a nod, Dolores gratefully accepted her new promotion.


In Grimmauld Place, whistles, cheers, clapping and banging on the kitchen table greeted Harry's response to today's newspaper. Undeterred, he continued kissing Hermione. They eventually finished and rested their foreheads together, oblivious to all around.

"You, my beautiful girl, are a bloody genius! I can't believe the result that idea of yours caused. Thank you so much…"

While Sirius, Remus and Emma had been the ones making all the noise, and gently ribbing the young couple, Albus only stared at the copy of the newspaper in front of him. He'd been against news of the prophecy leaking, yet who could argue with the results that leak achieved. "This changes everything…"

Harry picked up on Albus' muttered comment immediately. "I hope you were talking about yourself there, Sir, because, for me, this changes nothing."

"Of course this changes things, you can return to Hogwarts now…"

The kitchen had suddenly gone quiet as Harry answered Albus. "And why would I want to do that? Napping in Binn's History class isn't going to help me learn what I need to. Do the names Quirrell, Lockhart and Couch ring any bells? They didn't teach me what I need to know either. Unless Voldemort gets hit by a lorry before September, I will not be returning to Hogwarts."

Letting out a sigh of frustration, Albus tried to explain the new situation. "I was planning on giving you private lessons when you returned to the castle…"

Harry felt Hermione's hand tighten on his arm at hearing that. He knew she would be excited to receive private lessons from Dumbledore but Harry was learning you couldn't take anything the headmaster said at face value. You always had to look deeper to try and figure out what he was up to.

"What will these extra lessons consist of?"

"Oh, I would like to think I am the foremost expert on one Tom Marvel Riddle - I've been researching him for many years. I have important memories to show you, memories that will throw light onto how Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort. In any conflict, knowing your enemy can be key."

Harry was waiting on Dumbledore saying more but Hermione didn't have his level of patience, not where her boyfriend's safety was concerned. "Know thy enemy is a sound strategy. Will you also be teaching Harry how to defeat Voldemort? New spells, a better strategy?"

"Miss Granger, knowledge is power…"

Not impressed, Hermione cut him off. "That would be a no then?"

His frustration clearly showing now, Albus was not used to having his every suggestion dissected and questioned, he thought it was time to point out a few home truths to this young couple. "Harry, you say this changes nothing but I am once more your headmaster…"

It was Harry's turn to cut across Dumbledore. "We're not in Hogwarts and it's the summer holidays - you have no control over me."

"I am also restored to my position in government…"

"Again, this is not the Wizengamot… unless you plan to change the law to put me under your control?" A thoughtful Harry then turned to Hermione. "Fancy a little trip to the Ministry, love. I'm sure they would treat us to lunch too."

This clearly scared Albus. "Harry, I can't allow you to do that. Fudge would have you reveal the prophecy to him. From there, it would soon be in Voldemort's hands."

Harry stood and faced Dumbledore directly. "First, you can't stop me. This is a Black Property, I am scion to the House of Black. The house wards would evict you if you tried to use your wand on Sirius or me. Secondly, yes I would have to let Fudge know the prophecy. For that I would insist on Sirius receiving a trial, and that I get all the training I need. Shit, I could probably get Hermione awarded half the Malfoy fortune for what those bastards did to Dan. Now headmaster, where is your counteroffer?"

Albus was really knocked back on his heels at that. "Do you really think I would draw my wand?"

"Hey, you made me compete in that tournament. Knowing someone had entered my name to do me harm, you told me that yourself, and still wouldn't give me any help."

"Harry, the rules…"

For the first time since that terrible night in the graveyard, Harry lost his temper. "Fuck the rules! Your own rules said Hogwarts couldn't have two champions, there was your get-out clause. I was supposedly entered under another school so you could easily have helped. You deliberately left me dangling, unaware and unprepared - like bait in a trap. We all know Fudge is a lying bastard, how does it feel to know I trust him more than I do you? You obviously have plans for me, plans you refuse to tell anyone about - not gonna happen. There is an order meeting tonight that you invited Amelia Bones to. You have until then to present your counter offer. Otherwise, we go and see the Minister of Magic tomorrow. I don't think we'll have any trouble getting an appointment."

Taking a deep, calming breath, Harry then spoke to Hermione and Emma. "Would you ladies like to accompany me for a day out in the normal world? With the ministry no longer looking for me, we should be perfectly safe."

Sirius digging Remus in the ribs was Moony's cue to offer his services accompanying them. Checking that was all right with both ladies, Harry quickly agreed.

They had no sooner left the kitchen when Sirius started on Albus. "I will not have Harry going to Fudge."

"I'm glad to hear that…"

"You shouldn't be, Albus, I agree with everything my godson just said. If you don't come up with a better offer for Harry by tonight's meeting, I will initiate a vote of no confidence in your ability to lead the Order - you know Remus will second that motion. I will base my motion on your past treatment and future plans for my godson. In your head these actions of yours might make some weird sort of sense but, unless you're prepared to reveal your secrets at the meeting, it will look like a pile of shit to the rest of us. I'm quite confident I can have Mad-Eye or Amelia elected as our new leader by the end of the evening."

Albus attempted to interrupt but Sirius shut him down. "You tried to threaten my godson, not only in front of me but in my bloody house. You fuck with me on this Albus and I'l see you barred from this house - barred from playing any part in Harry's life. I honestly think Moony and I could convince the three of them to leave Britain, leave you and Voldemort to sort out the mess you both made of everything. This is not Harry's fight, no matter what your bloody pet seer says. I'm prouder than I can say that he's willing to take up this challenge but it will not be using a rulebook that you write - and then don't tell him those rules."

It was Sirius' turn to lose his temper at the old wizard as he now shouted at Dumbledore. "How dare you say nothing has changed. There is a good man buried in my garden - that alone clearly indicates for the three people who just left here that their whole lives have dramatically changed. This is your last warning, Albus. Stop trying to control Harry, neither he nor I will stand for it."

With that, Sirius left Albus staring at newspaper headlines that clearly didn't mean what he'd hoped for. For Albus, Sirius' threat of ousting him from the Order was a very real one. Cast in a certain light, his actions with Harry could be made to appear very daming. Everyone at tonight's meeting would also know he was against Order members learning about the prophecy, far less the British magical population reading news of it with their breakfast.

Now that news of this prophecy was out there, it made Harry Potter a very powerful individual. Albus was sure Harry was now powerful enough to have Fudge falling over himself to grant everything he'd mentioned a few minutes ago. He was probably powerful enough to sway the Order members to vote for a new leader too. Albus really would have to come up with a counter offer, and clearly that offer would need to be more than showing Harry a few memories. That thought gave Albus an idea though, one he would have to move fast on.


Remus side-along apparated Harry, with Dobby then bringing Hermione and Emma to join them. That was how the four found themselves spending a very pleasant day in Brighton, trying to put all that had happened - and would happen - behind them for a few hours at least. Just walking up and down the prom, holding Hermione's hand and staring at the sea, was enough to make Harry happy. The lovely little bistro that they had lunch in soon had all four of them in a far more relaxed frame of mind. Even Hermione insisting Harry shop for a few things and some clothes didn't dent the mood any.

Dobby had visited Gringotts for Harry, exchanging gallons into sterling, meaning the day was on him. He did slip Remus a couple of hundred quid, so he could pay for lunch and such. With Dobby taking away any shopping bags they accumulated, and also keeping Sirius informed of what they were up to, none of them were in any hurry to return to Grimmauld Place.

After such a good, you could even say normal, day, they rounded it off by getting some traditional take-away fish and chips and eating it where Harry could still see the sea. Remus surreptitiously erected a ward that kept the flying thieves - seagulls - from interrupting their impromptu alfresco dining.

They arrived back in Grimmauld just before the meeting started. Hermione hoped the stuffed toy under her arm, that Harry had won for her, wasn't a bad omen of what was to come - it was a pink elephant.

They were immediately approached by the four younger Weasleys, Susan Bones too. Amelia, obviously not feeling comfortable leaving her niece alone in the evening, had brought her along to the meeting. Apart from offering Harry congratulations on no longer being a wanted criminal, there wasn't really time to say any more as the meeting was about to start.

This time Molly didn't chase her brood out of the room, knowing Harry and Hermione had already told them what happened at the last meeting. Susan was invited to sit with the friends too as Dumbledore got the meeting started.

"We have all seen today's newspaper. I have spent most of the day trying to figure out what this means for us here tonight, then I realised we were all missing some vital information. I have an idea of how to remedy that at tonight's meeting, and then hope we can collectively agree on a way forward. This of course will depend on Harry. Sorry I never had time to ask you before the meeting started but I wondered if you would consent to your memory of the end of the third task being shown? That experience has left you with a different perspective on this coming conflict, a perspective more than a few of us are struggling to understand. I feel seeing this memory would help."

Harry first looked to Hermione, then Sirius. Since neither of them had any objections, Harry then wanted to know more. "I'll say right now this will not make pleasant watching, please be certain you want to see this. What do I need to do?"

"Since the news broke in this morning's paper that we were no longer facing charges, I was able to return to Hogwarts. This is a pensieve, it allows people to enter or display memories. I would think display would be best, though some people might want to enter the memory later to look at it in more detail. Harry, you simply have to bring the thought to the front of your mind, I can take a copy of that memory to place in the pensieve."

Agreeing, Harry stood and then watched as a silvery thread left his forehead on the tip of Dumbledore's wand and was placed into the stone basin. He then nudged Hermione up a seat so Harry could sit between her and Emma. That more than anything indicated to Hermione just how bad this was going to be, she burrowed into Harry's side as his arm looped around her. The memory started with Harry's first sight of the cup, Emma screamed and burrowed into his other side at her first sight of the giant spider.

The pensieve displayed the scene above the bowl, with the figures scaled about sixteen inches tall. Hermione and Emma had heard Harry describe the scene where he and Cedric debated who should take the trophy, seeing it in this format was much more painful. Harry was now clinging to both Granger girls as the scene continued.

Having already lived this, Harry really had no inclination to watch it again. He spent his time comforting Hermione and Emma while watching the watchers. Ron soon had his arms full of a sobbing young female as Susan broke down when Cedric was so casually murdered. Under normal circumstances, Ron would have been mortified to have a pretty witch crying all over him. This wasn't normal though so Ron just held onto Susan, while never taking his eyes off the scene playing out in front of him.

The baby thing that was Voldemort sent a shiver of disgust around the room, with more than one person sharing Harry's original hope that it drowned in that cauldron. A one-handed Peter making his way to Harry with the bloody knife had Sirius on his feet, an also raging Remus retaining enough sense to pull his best friend back into his seat. A resurrected Voldemort emerging from the steam at the end of the ritual had quite a few of the watchers screaming in fright.

When Voldemort called his Death Eaters, there was a scramble amongst some of the watchers to get hold of writing implements to take note of who appeared. Albus announcing they could watch it again later to work that out saw them settle back to view the rest of the memory.

Seeing a bruised, battered and bloody Harry refusing to bow to this monster had Emma squeezing Harry even tighter - though she couldn't match the pressure being applied by her equally terrified daughter. Neither Granger could look as Voldemort casually tortured Harry with the Cruciatus Curse.

The two wands locking spells amazed everyone. As they worked out the struggle Voldemort was having with Harry, the bead of magic where the spells met being an indicator of who was winning the battle, the crowd watching were suddenly more involved than at any time since the presentation started. Harry felt a hand on each of his shoulders, the twins were behind him and practically willing the pensieve version of him on. As the bead of magic made its way toward Voldemort's wand, the room became so charged with positive energy that Harry could feel the hairs on his arms standing up.

As the bead reached Voldemort's wand, Ron was on his feet - a victory yell that seemed to come from the soles of his feet, before travelling the length of his body, reverberated around the room. All thoughts of celebration ended though as Cedric's ghost made an appearance. Cedric asking if Harry could take his body back finished Hermione, she was now sobbing at what Harry had to endure. Her sobs stopped abruptly when she heard the Potters make an appearance.

Sirius and Remus looked as if their hearts had stopped as they watched their friends talking to their son, both had tears streaming down their cheeks. Harry thought he was the only person who noticed Severus Snape was in the same condition. The potions professor was so caught up in watching what was happening that he made no attempt to wipe those tears away. Harry wasn't even sure Snape realised they were there.

In the melee that followed the joined wands breaking contact, all realised that Harry had still loads to do as the assembled Death eaters were now trying to kill him too. Harry holding onto Cedric's body and summoning the cup saw the memory end as the portkey activated.

Apart from some sniffling and nose blowing as people tried to get themselves back under control, the room was silent. To put it simply, no one knew what to say about what they had just witnessed.

Rather than letting the silence drag out and become uncomfortable, Harry ended it by trying to get his point across. "To that madman, we're all 'spares' that he won't hesitate to order murdered. We can run, we can hide, or we can fight. I chose to fight, and you all just witnessed the targets at the top of the list to be taken out. Every Death Eater who joined Voldemort that night is a dead man walking, deserving nothing more than they would do to their victims."

Albus just couldn't help himself. "That's very black and white, Harry. There could be consequences…"

It seemed like cutting Dumbledore off as he spoke was becoming a habit, a habit Harry continued. "The ninth of June, nineteen ninety four - late evening at Hogwarts. I stopped Sirius and Remus murdering Pettigrew, let's look at the consequences of that. Sirius still has a dementor's 'kiss on sight' order against him, the best defence professor we ever had was effectively sacked. Pettigrew has since murdered Cedric and returned his master, Voldemort, to a body. I learned about consequences that night, and having to live with them. Killing any of those Death Eaters will bother me a lot less than not doing the right thing that night. They've clearly made their choice, it's time for us to make ours."

The amount of approval Harry got for his views on these Death Eaters left Albus knowing he would lose any challenge to his leadership of the Order, the majority clearly approved off his intended actions. It was time to put his plan forward. "Harry, if you agree, I will take this copy of your memory to the Ministry of Magic tomorrow. By doing so, I hope to accomplish three things. With Pettigrew clearly alive, a trial for Sirius - I will make sure they know he's your godfather - should be the least they can offer. They should also be able to accept that you will not be returning to Hogwarts, rather undergoing specialised training at a secret location in preparation for the task you face. The Ministry will in all probability leak that to the press, ensuring that the rest of the country don't keep their children away from the castle."

Harry and Sirius were liking what they heard so far, they were waiting for the 'but' - it never came.

"I will explain to Cornelius that anyone knowing the full prophecy would be placing themselves in deadly danger. That should discourage him from hounding you, and may even see aurors guarding the prophecy. That would free up Order members to respond to this crisis. Assuming you accept this offer, we can discuss what that response will be now. The people you intend to target are very powerful and experienced individuals."

Having thought long and hard about this, Harry knew what he wanted to say. There was something else that needed to be mentioned first though. "Tell Fudge I will be at any trial Sirius has, and would be prepared to have my picture taken beside him - and my exonerated Godfather."

Moody couldn't help it, he burst out laughing. "Oh we have a right one here. Not only are you making Albus jump through hoops, you know exactly how to get that idiot Fudge to do what you want too. I'm really looking forward to training you, Potter. You have the balls and the power to back up what that devious mind of yours has planned. Let's hear it then, lad."

Nodding acceptance at Mad-Eye's compliment, Harry gave an outline of what he intended to do. "I have no intention of taking these people on in a duel, nor attempting to break into their probably well fortified homes in the middle of the night. What we need is information on these people, files of information showing their every move. There are enough people here to gather that information without putting themselves in danger, or alerting our victims that they're being watched. While I'm training, those files can be constructed and updated. We're looking for patterns and weaknesses in their behaviour, not even Mad-Eye can be vigilant every minute of the day. If we know someone eats at a specific restaurant on a certain night, we can use that information to plan the attack. If we can, the first few should appear as accidents, to hopefully stop anyone changing their behaviour that we've probably spent months mapping. The information gathered will determine who and where the first hit will take place."

It was Amelia who broke the silence that followed Harry's explanation. "I can say without doubt, what we just watched is the bravest thing I've ever seen. If one of my aurors had accomplished that, the paperwork would already be on my desk to recommend them for an Order of Merlin. No one can doubt those who answered Voldemort's call that night deserve justice visited upon them. None of us here think the ministry will provide that justice - not with Dolores Umbridge now heading the D.M.L.E. Providing we have proof of the target's guilt, I will support this program anyway I can. Voldemort needs to be stopped but there is also more that could be done."

"Ma'am, thank you for your support but that was the only idea I had…"

Amelia smiled at the boy, no - young man. "And that is why we have a group here, to pool ideas, skills, resources and anything else we can get together. This prophecy might say you are the one to defeat Voldemort but that doesn't mean we can't all help you. I propose a strike team take care of this problem, with members having to be passed capable of joining by Moody or me."

Molly and Emma were really pleased to hear that, and not just because both had children that would want to join Harry on these missions. Anything that made this safer for Harry got their vote. Sirius and Remus were also quick to confirm that there was never any chance of Harry doing this alone, or before he was ready.

Rather than being annoyed, Harry's smile just got wider and wider as the floodgates opened and ideas poured from this group.

Dumbledore sat taking notes, occasionally nodding in agreement or offering advice for or against an idea. Involving everyone like this certainly opened his eyes, as did some of the ideas put forward. Gaining a controlling interest in the Daily Prophet is something he thought was beyond their little group but, by pooling resources, it might just be doable. Auror Tonks' suggestion of portkeys to a safe place for everyone started another discussion that resulted in positive action.

A secure room would be set up at Grimmauld to receive anyone using these portkeys. With a real danger of these falling into enemy hands, or someone unwillingly bringing a passenger with them, all arrivals would be greeted by automated stunning curses. These portkeys were for emergency use only, and being stunned would be far better than staying to face whatever causer the emergency.

Miss Granger's idea for coins that would allow simple messages to be passed between the group was a brilliant one. Her suggestion of the Order having a counter to the Death Eater's Dark Mark, something that would give the witches and wizards hope, was shocking in its simplicity.

"We were at the Quidditch World Cup, the Dark Mark was actually cast using Harry's wand. We all saw the panic that mark in the sky caused. Imagine that effect reversed? It would give the ordinary witches and wizards of Britain hope, while striking fear into the Death Eaters. Their tactics work, so let's turn those same tactics against them."

This idea of Hermione's was only one of many that would need further research before decisions could be made, with teams of members volunteering to work on those ideas that suited their skills best.

Albus couldn't remember a more productive meeting, with everyone putting their name forward for at least one item. This was making him rethink his solo stance on the horcruxes. There were people in this room who would literally do anything for Harry, perhaps it was time to form a small team dedicated to tracing these abominations down and then destroying them. He would see how the meeting at the Ministry of Magic unfolded before making any further plans in that direction. It was time to call tonight's meeting to an end.

As the meeting ended, Harry could see there were a lot of people wanting to talk with him. He decided on the best way to dodge that, and establish something else he was keen on. Grabbing a surprised Fred and George, he dragged them over to be introduced to their heroes.

"Padfoot and Moony, meet the current masters of mischief inside Hogwarts. I wondered if the four of you, working together with those unique skills, could come up with some prank diversions that would help this strike team? Even just making the target look the other way at exactly the wrong moment - the wrong moment for them that is…"

Hermione had of course figured out exactly what Harry was doing, and why. She and her mother stood behind Harry as he tried to follow the discussion that was taking place between the four pranksters. With both missions accomplished, Harry found himself only having to say goodnight to the Weasleys, Amelia and Susan - the latter of whom hugged him almost as tight as Hermione did.

"I'll make sure the rest of the Puffs know what I watched earlier. You know Hogwarts, the entire school will know the truth by the second of September. You couldn't have done any more for Cedric…"

Hermione actually smiled as Harry hugged Susan back just as fiercely. That was exactly what her boyfriend needed to hear. That someone who knew and admired Cedric didn't blame him for the Hufflepuff's death, nor shy away from him after hearing how he proposed to fight back.

A blushing but beaming Susan handed a now emotional Harry back to Hermione. "Look after each other. We all know this is going to get a lot worse before we can even hope to turn things around. Just remember, you're not alone in this."

Susan then found herself being hugged from behind by her normally not so demonstrative aunt. "I said to Molly that I must have blinked and missed you growing up. Your generation shouldn't have to fight the coming war, we should have finished it the last time. That more than anything saw me agree with your idea, Harry. We have to finish it this time. If we don't, there might not be future generations to continue the fight. I'm so proud of all of you, but terrified at the same time."

Both Molly and Emma assured Amelia they knew exactly how she felt. The Hogwarts contingent of Albus, Minerva and Severus had witnessed this conversation before heading back to the castle. Each had their own thoughts but all silently agreed with Amelia, they had to end it this time.

When the three finally made it back to their sitting room, Hermione dragged Harry onto the sofa and wrapped him in a hug. "Hearing you talk about that night was bad, watching it was brutal, you had to live it. Harry, showing that memory won you the respect of everyone in that room tonight but what did it do to you?"

With Hermione holding him so tight, Harry really couldn't shrug. Both ladies got the gist of it though. "To be honest, that night is never far away from my thoughts. It kinda competes every evening with that night at your house for the right to torment me the minute I close my eyes…"

Emma knelt and held both of them. "Watching that was.. I don't really have the words. It certainly wiped out any good our lovely day out in Brighton did. I don't think any of us are in the right frame of mind to sleep alone tonight."

A surprised Hermione and Harry could only watch as Emma summoned Dobby. The little elf was only too willing to help. Dobby soon had an area of their sitting room cleared of furniture before three camp beds soon occupied that space.

"I think we should go and change into our nightclothes and then have some of Dobby's fantastic hot chocolate. Harry, the middle bunk is yours."

Dobby spent the rest of the night sitting on the sofa, watching over his sleeping family. Whenever Master Harry would get restless, the little elf would smile as his Mistress automatically reached for her mate's hand. That brief contact between them was enough to chase away whatever was bothering his master. Dobby now had a good family, and Dobby would protect them. Whether that be from crazy old Black elf, witches or wizards - they would all discover Dobby was up to the job of protecting his family.