Summary: Fudge believed that everything was going according to his grand plan when Harry Potter was found guilty of underage magic…. Oh Boy! Was he wrong!
Hi everyone. To answer the immediate question longtime fanfiction readers may have: Yes, this is a remake of the story: 'Charlie does the Foxtrot or Damn the Torpedoes' by Lady FoxFire. She was gracious enough to allow me to give her story a new take on it. This, then, is my view on that story.
A few comments on this story:
Lady FoxFire's story was initially 4 chapters long. I have kept much of the content intact, adding some additional content when I thought it needed some for later expansion. The original 4-chapter layout has been modified for the purposes of my story.
Initially, this story was listed in the Drama category. My take on it is purely humor. Ah, let's face it: this is a crack fic.
There will plenty of bad language in here. You have been warned. Hence, the rating I gave it.
The settings is the summer after the Tournament in Book 4 and before the start of Book 5.
Contrary to popular belief, this story is not about Charlie Weasley. He may or may not be in later chapters.
As Lady FoxFire initially stated in her story: "Charlie Foxtrot is a military expression for a clusterfuck." (See… I told you there would be bad language in this story and it has already started.) For those of you uninitiated to this term, it basically represents a situation in which you're screwed… but if you play your cards right, not only will you survive, you'll win and your enemies will lose.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter series. This is purely for fun.Chapter 1: Shafting Harry
Courtroom Ten sucked. Harry really hated being there. Not so much due to the poor lighting but more to the fact that almost all the geezers sitting in their chairs held pompous attitudes like they knew their shit didn't stink or something. Not that they suspected it, but that they knew it. Down the very fiber of their aged and withered bodies. Maybe a few here and there weren't stuck up, but most of them looked to be caught up in themselves.
Harry waited for the members of the Wizengamot to hand down their sentence for his supposed crime of underage magic. Not that having to pay a fine was such a lofty sentence. He had remained standing in proud defiance as Umbridge twisted the truth into a poor mockery of itself. At times his eyes would flicker over to the only empty seat among the members of Wizengamot: the seat that Albus Dumbledore normally occupied.
He had lost interest in wondering what the big cheese (aka: Albus) found more interesting than helping him get past a trumped up charge. In fact, he had lost interest days ago when the old goat had stuffed him into Sirius's place without so much as a "Here's our game plan." He just opened the door, shucked one bespectacled kid into the house and closed it back up. It wasn't the cupboard under the stairs again – you see, at least at #12 Grimmauld Place he had a library to peruse.
Fudge stood proud and adjusted his robes, harrumphing loudly to get the courtroom to settle down. Harry tilted his head slightly to the left as he waited for the foregone conclusion. He may not have been a genius like Hermione, but he was no one's fool, especially when he was about to be railroaded.
Fudge unrolled a scroll and looked to the assembled members, then to Harry. "It is the decision of this Wizengamot that the defendant, Harry James Potter has been found guilty of the charge of underage magic and of violating the Statute of Secrecy. Due to the defendant's inability to refrain from using magic around Muggles, it is the decision of this court that Mr. Potter is to be expelled from Hogwarts and his wand is to be snapped."
Mutter-mutter, mumble-mumble went the old fossils as if this verdict was a surprise.
One of the Wizengamot members looked gently down on Harry and suggested, "If it's at any consolation, Mr. Potter, you don't have to leave the wizard community. To the wizarding world you will be seen as a type of squib… a squib that could use magic… um… if you had a wand… um… which you don't. Well, I mean I'm sure you can find work someplace in our community instead of going back to those nasty muggles. I mean some of the things muggles do are barbaric. I mean, have you ever had to use one of those public loos? You have to turn on a water faucet by yourself. Definitely not proper things anyone should do. You could perhaps find a nice young witch to marry? I know my brother is looking for a nice young wiz… man to wed my niece"
Harry tipped his head at the Wizengamot member who had spoken. "Thank you for your words, sir. At this point in time I plan on reviewing my options before I make a decision," Harry replied. Turning Harry looked directly at the Minister. "Is there anything else that must be done or may I leave?"
Minister Fudge looked down upon Harry; the disappointment he was feeling over how the young man was behaving evident in his face. He was certain the young man would have been wailing or cursing up a storm. "There is just one thing, Mr. Potter," Fudge said as he held up Harry's wand. "The snapping of your wand." And with that Fudge grasped Harry's wand with both hands and snapped it in half. "The remains of your wand will remain in Ministry custody as evidence of your crimes."
Harry nodded his head in acceptance before turning and walking out of Courtroom Ten.
Harry was just passing the Fountain of Magical Brethren when an older lady called out to him as she hurried towards him.
"Mr. Potter, I'm Cathy Wickens of the Daily Prophet," the woman introduced herself when she reached him.
"Ah, one of Rita Skeeter's co-workers," The disgust was very evident in his voice as Harry started to walk past the woman.
"Well yes and no," Wickens replied, quickly following Harry. "Rita works big stories. She interviews important people. I'm just a simple court reporter."
Harry turned to face the reporter. "So you don't add your own spin to your articles?"
"Spin? I don't know what your mean Mr. Potter," Wickens replied. "I'm required by law to report court proceedings accurately. What I write is the truth as it's reported in court, nothing more."
Harry stared at the woman for a moment before sighing wearily. "So what do you want?"
"Well… umm…" Wickens dug up a piece of parchment and her quill. "It's been reported that you were found guilty of underage magic and breaking the Statute of Secrecy and had your wand snapped."
"Hmmm…" Harry stood there his arms crossed over his chest.
"Well… umm… would you like to comment of your court case?" Wickens asked.
Harry bowed his head for a moment, thinking how best to phrase a response before saying, "My verdict showed me just how much the magical community values truth and justice, and that is something that I will take to heart." Harry looked at his watch, then to the elevators. "Now if you will excuse me, I have some matters that I need to deal with."
It was a few minutes before 9 o'clock when Albus Dumbledore walked into Courtroom Ten with Arabella Figg following close behind, only to find the courtroom completely empty.
Dumbledore took in the empty room before saying, "This is not good."
Early as it was in the day, Harry took no chance of anyone else recognizing him and grabbed a paper out of a trash can, used a bit of origami and made himself a stinky, smelly and really bad-looking hat. It would suffice until he got to the bank where he found no customers waiting yet. Throwing the hat into a waste can, he approached the teller window.
Minutes later, Harry entered the office of the goblin that had served as the family financial advisor for the entire Potter clan in both the Muggle and Magical worlds. This goblin had started in that position back in the mid-1950's when there was much more work to do and profit to acquire as there were many more Potters along with more direction from the heads of the wand user families. Now the Potter clan consisted solely of Harry.
"How can Gringotts be of service, Mr. Potter?" the goblin said once Harry had taken a seat in the chair in the front of the goblin's desk.
"Well Account Manager Bloodstone, I seem to have come upon a quandary and I would like to know Gringotts' stance on the matter," Harry answered, not hesitating with this statement.
"And what exactly is that matter that has you here asking for Gringotts' opinion?" Bloodstone asked.
"I'm sure that you've been informed that today I was on trial for underage magic along with breaking the Statute of Secrecy," Harry said.
Bloodstone nodded his head. "Yes. I have been informed that the Wizengamot has found you guilty and your wand had been snapped. In fact, we have already received a memo from the Ministry requiring us to seize your account as you are, and I quote, 'no longer considered a wizard and therefore should not have access to wizarding funds'."
"They certainly didn't waste time trying to get my funds, did they?"
"No sir, they did not," Bloodstone agreed.
"Let me guess: requested by Fudge then?"
"Actually this was sent to us by the Senior Undersecretary, Umbridge. What is interesting about this request is that she sent it before your trial even started."
"No surprise there then. Well, it appears I now have two issues to discuss. First, what is Gringott's stance on the Ministry request?"
"They have a right to request that of anyone's account, Mr. Potter. However, we have an equal obligation to refuse unless certain conditions are met, of which breaking the Statute of Secrecy does not meet that condition. Your finances are secure and safe with us, Mr. Potter."
Harry let out a breath of relief, unaware that he was holding it in. Harry nodded his head while he spoke. "Thank you for informing me of the Ministry's latest attempt to do me harm. And it is the Ministry that is the source of my bigger issue. You see after my third year at Hogwarts I developed an interest in magical laws in an effort to find a way to force the Ministry to having a trial for my godfather, Sirius Black, who was imprisoned in Azkaban for over a decade without first being tried and convicted."
Harry didn't notice Account Manager Bloodstone's eyes go wide at the implication that a prominent account was held in stasis, earning no profit for the owner or the bank for a decade, due to wizards being so lazy they couldn't even find the time to try a person in absentia. He made a note of this while his account owner continued supplying background information for the question that was coming.
Harry continued, "So this past school year I took it upon myself to read up on the laws governing magical citizens whenever I had a chance. One particular law stood out in my mind and that is that no person under 17 years of age can stand before the Wizengamot unless they are being tried for the crime of murder or treason. It was the opinion of the times the law was written that the members of the Wizengamot were too busy dealing with other matters, so trials before Wizengamot were reserved for adult matters only," Harry explained.
"And underage magic is not an adult matter," Bloodstone agreed with a nod of his head.
"Exactly. By being placed on trial in front of the Wizengamot, the Wizengamot has declared me to be adult in the eyes of the law and therefore I could not be tried for underage magic," Harry explained. "As for the charge of breaking the Statute of Secrecy, I believe the maximum fine is 200 Galleons or six weeks in minimum security ward of Azkaban; therefore the breaking of my wand was illegal. Of course I would like to hear Gringotts' opinion about whether or not I am an adult in the eyes of the law and therefore in eyes of the goblin nation."
Bloodstone's eyes narrowed. "To what end would you want my people's opinion in matter that affects wizards only," he clarified.
Harry smiled a fierce smile, one that promised blood and pain towards his enemies. "I just wish to serve the wizard community the same amount of truth and justice they supplied me but while I do so I also do not want to make an enemy of Gringotts or the goblin nation. As my current plan stands, my actions would make this branch of Gringotts a possible enemy," he explained.
"And that is something you wish to avoid," Bloodstone replied.
"It is," Harry agreed. "Of course this depends on if matters turn out to be as I suspect they will."
"And what of other Gringotts branches?"
"I would be quite welcome there I believe. Especially if what I believe is correct."
"And what are these matters," Bloodstone asked.
"Matters I cannot investigate nor initiate until I am 17 years old or have been declared an adult in the eyes of the law, and by extension, Gringotts," Harry replied.
"And if Gringotts decides not to see you as an adult until you reach the age of 17?" Bloodstone prompted.
"Then I will end up hurting all of Gringotts, not just one branch and this is something I wish to avoid. I would rather have the goblin nation as an ally instead of an enemy," Harry answered.
"And if matters are not as you have assumed?" Bloodstone said.
"Then my plans will have little effect on Gringotts or the goblin nation," Harry answered. "But I am confident that matters are as I believe them to be."
Account Manager Bloodstone sat back in his chair and stared at Harry. "I am either taking the life of my family and my own in my hand or I have been granted the greatest prize the goblin nation has won in hundreds of years…" he said. He took a deep breath and clearly stated, "Because of your trial before the Wizengamot today, which is mandated in the Ministry's laws that it be used solely for adults, Gringotts is declaring that Harry Potter is an adult in all matters legal and financial and shall be dealt with as stated for his status."
Harry let out another sigh of relief as he slumped in his chair. "Thank you," he said softly.
Account Manager Bloodstone nodded his head as he acknowledged that Harry had played the game admirably… for a novice. He had much to learn still. "So how can Gringotts be of service, Mr. Potter?"
"I would like to see my parents' will," Harry replied.
Bloodstone nodded his head. "Immediately after your parents' death, the Wizengamot ordered their will to be frozen until you came of age, which is now today." He summoned another goblin, and spoke to him in Gobbledegook. The goblin hurried off. "Now while we wait for your parents' will to be retrieved, how else can Gringotts aid you?"
"Well… I'm sure you know how the wizard community likes to intermarry," Harry said. "And with the last two wars killing off so many families… I was wondering if Gringotts has a way of determining if someone was heir to an account."
Account Manager Bloodstone stared at Harry for a moment before he chuckled darkly. "That can be arranged for the cost of 50 Galleons. Of course Gringotts makes no promises that you will discover you are the heir of any accounts except ones you already are."
Harry waved off Bloodstone's comment. "And I am sure that I will find one account other than my parents that I am an heir to. After all my mother was Muggleborn, so there has to be one account she was heir to."
Bloodstone blinked a couple of times in response to Harry's comment. "I don't follow your logic," he said. "If your mother was Muggleborn then she shouldn't be the heir to any account."
"That's assuming that magic suddenly was granted to her and that she wasn't the descendent of a squib who was banished from the wizard community a long time ago," Harry replied.
Bloodstone spent a moment lost in thought before nodding his head. "And since Muggleborns are told that they are the first in their family to have magic they never bother to see if what they're told is actually the truth."
"I find that the wizard community tends to believe what they are told is truth without checking the facts themselves," Harry added in. "What's the American term… oh yes, sheeple. The wizard community is made up mostly of sheeple."
"With a few wolves thrown in to thin out the herd," Bloodstone added in.
"Or to lead the herd to go in the direction the wolves want," Harry said. "There are killing wolves and then there are controlling wolves. I plan to be the fox that steals all the wool and leave behind all the baaing sheeple for the wolves to deal with."
Bloodstone blinked a couple time as he was clued in to Harry's goal. "Of course if a shepherd would appear and help the poor sheeple in their time of need…"
"I'm sure they would grant the shepherd anything they wanted like a seat on the Wizengamot. Of course the shepherd would have to step in before the wolves gained control again," Harry supplied.
"Yes, of course. Timing is everything in matters such as this," Bloodstone agreed thoughtfully.
It was then that the goblin returned with the Potter's will in hand. Bloodstone took the will and then handed it over to Harry, unopened.
Harry opened the will and read it quickly. "Just as I suspected. I was never meant to go to the Dursley's," Harry handed the will over for Bloodstone to read. "My parents wisely listed in their will who was their secret keeper along with a list of people that I am to be placed with in the event that Sirius was unable to take me."
Bloodstone read over the will. "No, not surprising at all. We here at Gringotts have often questioned things that Dumbledore has forced through the Wizengamot."
Harry nodded his head, his brow furrowed in thought. "So it appears that I have to pull the teeth from two wolves instead of one. I had been so hoping that Dumbledore had not been informed of the change in time for my trial but it appears he wanted me to be the sacrificial sheeple."
"How do you plan on pulling the teeth from the wolves?" Bloodstone asked.
"Pulling Voldemort's teeth is actually going to be fairly easy and undoubtedly very profitable since he has already given me the key to do so," Harry admitted. "When I started looking into the Ministry laws after my third year, I requested some books on the subjects from the bookstore here in Diagon. I got six books, most of which were fairly new having been written sometime during this century. But one was rather old and had a very interesting dog-eared page along with a smudge of strawberry jam."
"Strawberry jam?" Bloodstone was confused.
Harry smiled. "Yes. Nothing malicious I assure you. I believe that someone had read the book while eating a sandwich and left part of their meal behind on the cover page. Somehow the book remained in the store's inventory until I sent a blanket request for all types of law books. I'm sure someone smiled at the chance to get rid of that jam-smeared book and get full value for it."
"That's terrible! You paid full value for a damaged article?"
"I did, and even though that jam is spelled to not come off, it was worth every knut I paid. Especially when I cross-referenced it with the other books and found that none of them made mention of it, nor of its contents."
"Might I know the title of this book?" Bloodstone was curious.
"Conquering Made E-Z," Harry replied. He saw the confusion on Account Manager Bloodstone's face. "The book title is not what it all appears to be. It was the dog-eared page that was important. It was my reading of 'Chapter 5: The Legalities of Conquering' that changed my life."
Bloodstone considered what he knew of the wand-users now and what he knew about them centuries ago. He queried, "When was the book written?"
"About 425 years ago. The preservation charm on it was still intact."
Bloodstone contemplated an ancient tome like that and his smile grew from a soft one the wand users were used to, to that of a warrior looking for a kill. "Fortuitous luck on that, Mr. Potter. Will you be using these legalities for all the wolves?"
"Not all. As for Dumbledore… I can only hope that when we test to see if I'm the heir to any other accounts, we find his downfall."
Bloodstone's furious grin showed no signs of stopping. "Perhaps you'll care to tell me how you plan to pull the Dark Lord's teeth while we wait from someone from the inheritance department to arrive."
"That would be my pleasure," Harry replied.
While account owner and account manager conversed, many notes were taken, plans revised, and additional tests were run based on observations as well as just plain common sense. The same common sense that many Wizards and Witches were bereft of.
Negotiations done and plans in place, Harry purchased a black stocking cap with a West Ham United logo prominently displayed in the front (which would cover the infamous scar) from the Gringotts gift store that none of the purebloods knew about but that every muggleborn knew existed, put it on and quickly left the bank. The logo confused all the magicals he passed, but once back in London proper, his cap went unnoticed other than some people he passed thought the poor confused kid was wearing a stocking cap in the middle of summer. Kids these days, sheesh, was a frequent comment Harry heard as he headed for London St Pancras where he would purchase a ticket to take the Eurostar through the Chunnel.
So far his trust in adults was at an all-time pitifully low level, but his faith in the goblins was fairly high. Not only had all access to his entire fortune been sealed for a short amount of time (at his request), but they had managed to open up other accounts (outside of Britain), and put together a nifty passport. Once Harry got to Paris, he would meet up with another goblin-liaison and continue his trek to Switzerland. And ultimately, to another Gringotts branch.