Chapter 41 About what happens when you mix Harry's will to help with some Weasley twins and houeselves:
About a week later Harry and his grandparents were sitting together in Minerva's living-room together, discussing a serious subject, namely the trial against the Dursleys.
"You know that they need to be put on trial, don't you Harry?" Albus asked when Harry had remained very silent.
Harry nodded, though he didn't know what to feel about it.
"You don't have to be afraid my boy, we will make sure that no one can hurt you. We are wizards after all and they aren't."
Harry nodded again and then pulled himself visibly together. "When?" he simply asked.
"The date isn't fixed yet Harry. But it is common practice to hold a trial at most a year after the imprisonment. Unless there are significant reasons for an exception."
"In summer at latest then." Harry stated.
"Indeed. Now as it is, Auror Shaklebolt has informed me that Madame Bones wishes to meet with you, to talk about a possible date and proceedings."
Harry was actually surprised. "I actually get a say in this."
Minerva smiled at him. "Of course you do Harry. Madame Bones wishes to make sure that you are ready for a trial and she wishes to make it as easy as possible for you, both before the trial and during it too. She does have some experience with trials where minors are witnesses."
"So this Madame Bones will also be at the trial? Is she a lawyer, or a prosecutor or something?"
"Not exactly. She is the head of law enforcement and will be the presiding judge. The wizarding justice system is rather different from the muggle one. For example in a case of child abuse there won't be a prosecutor from the ministry, but rather a lawyer or another person representing the interests of the concerned child."
"But I don't have a lawyer." Harry exclaimed. "How do I get one. Do I even have enough money for this? And… do I … I mean I don't want to talk with just someone about this stuff."
"That is understandable Harry." Albus assured. "If you wish me to, I can represent you. While I am no lawyer I am a member of the Wizangamot and therefore have enough knowledge of the law."
"Would you really?" Harry asked relived.
"Of course I can do that my boy." Albus assured him. It would certainly be best not to include anymore people than necessary. Merlin knows what were to happen if the press somehow got wind of this trial.
"We will both do what we can to make this easier for you Harry. Tell us if there is anything we can help you with, will you?"
Harry looked thoughtful and then decided not to say anything. He would have liked to be informed of all this a bit earlier, but as it was he could have asked himself.
Two days later Minerva noticed that Harry got an owl at breakfast that got him very excited. He only took a last spoon of his eggs and said something to his friends before leaving the hall in a hurry. Minerva was halfway out of her seat when she saw the smile on Harry's face. Whatever it was, it was apparently good news.
Harry quickly ran to the kitchen where the elves were very busy with breakfast. Harry hurried over to one table and cast an expanding charm on the letter. It grew and grew until he had a big parcel before him. Opening it he took out literally heaps of letters. There had to be at least a hundred letters. He quickly sorted through the letters addressed in elven language till he found a name familiar to him. He was very glad that there was at least one letter to Lorry.
Looking up from the pile of letters he saw the elves watching him.
"I got your letters. There's a lot of them." He said happily. "Lorry? Are you here?"
"Lorry is being here Harry Potter sir." The elf squeaked and came rushing to Harry.
"Here there's at least one letter for you Lorry. Maybe there are more in here. I haven't looked."
Lorry looked at him in disbelieve. "Lorry is really getting letter?"
"Yes you did. Why don't you look who it's from?" Harry encouraged.
Lorry reverently took the letter Harry handed to her and opened it, seemingly afraid that she could destroy it.
Only minutes later she broke down into tears.
"Oh Lorry I am sorry, is it bad news?" Harry asked concerned and patted her unsure on her shoulder.
His answer was a firm hug around his leg.
"Harry Potter sir is the bestest wizard ever. Harry Potter is being a true elf-friend yes he is." Lorry exclaimed loudly and the other elves around agreed loudly, making Harry blush.
"So it's good news Lorry?" He asked in an attempt to take the attention away from himself.
"Oh yes Harry Potter sir." Lorry nearly yelled. "Lorry's parents being well. Young master being their master now. He's being nice to thems. And Lorry's having another brother. He being born only this year he is. New master is naming hims Kickly."
Harry smiled at her, he himself felt part of the joy of the elf fill him. He gave the other letters to Tlicky and in all the excitements and the joy the letters were bringing to the elves they nearly forgot to call the empty dishes from the hall back down to the kitchen and to start cleaning. Harry escaped quickly as he did not know how to handle all the thanks of the elves. And to think of it, he just had time to run to the classroom to get there in time.
The next Saturday Harry dressed in one of the every day robes he had bought in Hogsmeade the last summer. He took an extra five minutes in front of the mirror to try and make his hair behave at least a bit. He was to meet with Madame Bones after breakfast and he was rather nervous about it. He was to miss healing that day as this was one of the only free spots the head of law enforcement had. So an hour later he nearly jumped out of the seat in the founder's room when the fire flared.
Minerva stepped out of the fire followed by a woman about her age. In fact she did remind him some of his grandma, that is when in the role of the stern Professor McGonagall.
"This is Madame Bones Harry, Amelia, this is Harry Potter."
Harry politely shook her hand and greeted her.
"A pleasure to meet you Mr. Potter." She said with a small smile. "Minerva if you would let us talk privately for a moment."
Minerva nodded and gave Harry an encouraging smile. "If you need me, just call me, ok Harry?"
Harry nodded but added. "It's ok."
"Let's sit down Mr. Potter." Madame Bones invited. "Or would you rather like me to call you Harry?"
"Harry is fine ma'am."
"Very well then Harry. You know why I am here?"
"To find out when the trial will be." Harry answered.
"For one thing yes. But also to answer some questions. I know that a trial can be a very stressful experience to someone so young."
Harry didn't know what to answer to this.
"I will not be asking you questions about what happened. This is for the trial. The important question is: Are you able to answer questions about what happened?"
Harry shrugged unsure. "I don't know. I mean I spoke with Kate about it and a little bit with Min…I mean with Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore."
"I understand. But do you think that you could also talk if there are other people around." Madame Bones asked.
"Will they be there too?" Harry asked concerned.
"The defendants have to be present during the trial. However you or your representative can make an application for them to leave during your questioning." Madame Bones explained.
"You are aware that you must be present during the whole of the trial."
Harry's eyes widened and he shook his head negatively.
"I…I thought that I had to give my testimony but …"
Madame Bones nodded in understanding. She had repeatedly tried to explain that this rule was counterproductive, but without success. She waited a while for Harry to compose himself, making note to herself to have a word with Albus later on.
"Do you think you will be able to do this?" She asked finally.
Harry closed his eyes for a moment then nodded firmly and then said. "I think…I think that I will manage. I have to, then it will finally be over."
Madame Bones nodded and then asked further about him having a representative or lawyer and added that if he wanted to, he could have another person going with him to the trial.
"Normally someone of the child's family comes along. I know you don't have any relatives apart from the defendants, but if there's someone you feel close to … From the files I have seen that Minerva McGonagall is your temporary guardian."
Harry nodded with a smile, but added. "I don't think she has time for something like this. She has to hold lessons after all."
"Speak with her about it, if you'd like her to come along. Now I believe that is all from my part, do you have questions?"
"Just one really. I was wondering… I mean what if they aren't convicted? Will I have to go back there?" His voice betrayed the fear he felt.
Now she looked confused. "Haven't you ever posed this question to Professor Dumbledore before?"
"I did, but all he said was that they would be convicted. I just… I need to know what happens if they are not convicted."
"I understand. They were your guardians, but if you do not want to return there nobody can force you. There is an old law that states that no magical child can be forced to live with muggle guardians if they do not want to. You can ask to be placed with wizarding guardians, which automatically excludes Mr. and Mrs. Dursley."
Harry felt that the sound of a huge rock lifting off his heart must have been audible.
On his question about the date of the trial Madame Bones answered.
"I first have to speak with the defendants before fixing a date. It is my responsibility, that both sides have the means to assure a fair trial. Thus I have to assure myself that they also have a representative or access to the necessary laws. I shall be informing Mr. Dumbledore as your representative when the trial date is fixed. If you have questions about the trial at a later time, I am sure that he can answer them." With this she took her leave. Harry remained seated for quite some time, thinking about what was awaiting him. He didn't want to annoy Albus with too many questions and vowed to find another book on laws first.
"Albus a word if you please." Madame Bones began as she floo'd back to the headmaster's office.
"Yes? Lemon drop?"
"Now you wouldn't want to be accused of offering bribes to a judge, would you?" She said with a small smile, then she turned serious. "I merely wanted to remind you that as the legal representative of Mr. Potter it is your responsibility not only to represent him in the trial, but also to inform and educate him about the happenings. I would advise you to make sure you don't forget the latter."
Dumbledore nodded properly chastised. "I didn't want him to worry more, I …"
Madame Bones held up her hand. "You don't need to explain this to me, but make sure you do your job. Good day."
With this she left a thoughtful Dumbledore behind.
About a week later Harry was once again delivering letters to the elves. For once he had gotten them in the evening and so he went down to the kitchen after another dueling session with the twins in Minerva's rooms. After handing them out he turned to Tlicky.
"Have you told your fellow elves in Great Britain about being able to send letters?"
"We's not be knowing Harry Potter sir is offering to send all letters from houeselves." Tlicky responded. "You is doing so much already we is not having anys right to bes asking even mores favours."
"But…" Harry began.
"Yous must not bes afraid Harry Potter sir. We is telling other elves what we is hearing abouts their families." Tlicky explained.
Harry smiled at him, but shook his head. "You know there is no more work on my part, or for Hedwig, if all elves write letters. As long as you can shrink them and make it light enough."
"Yous too nice to elves Harry Potter sir, but Tlicky will be immediately telling other elves that theys can write letters."
"That's good Tlicky. I wanted to ask about one thing anyway. What other countries do you have family? I know one of you said France. Is that where most other elves of your families are."
Tlicky nodded. "You's being right Harry Potter sir."
"Are there other countries where many of the elves that have family in Britain live?"
Tlicky shook her head. "Not many sir."
"That's good. I have to find out where I can buy stamps for the return letters from France. Once I find…" He trailed off when he saw the look of horror on Tlicky's face.
"What's wrong?" he asked concerned.
"Sir mustn't spend money on lowly elves. Tlicky not knowing sending letters is costing sir money."
Harry smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry, it's not that much money and my parents left me quiet a bit, so there…"
Tlicky shook her head. "No! No, no no. Most nice Harry Potter sir not be wasting his money on elves. Wes not worth this!"
"Of course you are. You have just as much right as…"
They argued back and forth for several minutes before they were interrupted by familiar voices.
"Now see here brother of mine!" A voice towards the door exclaimed.
"True! Who would have thought!" A similar voice answered. "Mr. I never fight with anyone…"
"Indeed, Mr. who never insults anyone and is always nice."
"And here he is. Fighting with a houseelf!"
"Do tell us Harrykins, what is wrong?"
"Hi Fred hi George." Harry answered the redheads. "It's nothing really. And what are you doing here anyway?"
"Not that much Harrykinns. But dueling made us ravenous." Fred answered.
"And believe me Harrykinns. Gred being hungry isn't a good thing. I could tell you of one time…"
"Don't you dare twin of mine." Fred threatened. Then he turned to the houseelves standing around them.
"You don't think that we could get another one of those éclairs from dinner."
One of the elves immediately hurried away and came back only moment's later with a plate full of the mentioned dessert.
"You know this is great! You should sell this stuff! These are even better than those in the three broomsticks."
While the elves around them were blushing hard Harry's mind was working in overdrive. Was this the solution to his problem?
I could have stopped here and you'd have gotten the chapter 2 weeks earlier, but I thought that would be a rather mean place to stop, so on we go:
"Tlicky can I talk with you a moment?" Harry asked quickly.
Tlicky nodded and they went to the back of the kitchen.
"Revered elder." Harry began respectfully in Elfish. He wanted to make sure from beginning that he did not want to command the elves to do anything. He merely wanted to make a proposition. His elfish wasn't good enough yet to convey his idea, so he switched to English and explained.
Ten minutes later the two of them returned to the twins who were still munching something. Harry had a wide smile on his face and also Tlicky looked content and hopeful. In fact he seemed to be younger then he had been for a long time. The plan Harry had proposed could indeed help them, not only the elves of Hogwarts, but many more. In addition they would have more work, which was a happy thought for the Hogwarts elves. They had never had too much work, to the contrary, sometimes they invented extra chores, just to be busy. And there was one thing the wizards got right about elves. A busy elf was a happy elf, it was just in their nature to work.
Harry turned to the Weasleys. "First I need you to promise that you won't share what I tell you with anyone. And I mean anyone, including Jordan."
"Sure Harry, we promise." The twins chorused.
Harry nodded satisfied. "You know that I spent time here in summer and I became good friends with the elves. They sometimes tell me things that they don't tell others, about their life and stuff. So I found out that they can do some things with ease, things that are difficult or exhausting for wizards. For example they can easily conjure food. They can get themselves pretty much everything they need to live. But there are some things they can't make themselves. They aren't essential to live in most cases, but I still think them important. Now it goes against the honor of houeselves to accept things from wizards, much less demand things, or money to buy them. Well I thought there might be a way for us, if you want to help that is, to help them get some money."
The twins were for once listening seriously. They too liked the house elves and they could understand how it was not to have the money to buy things.
"What kind of things can't the elves get themselves?" Fred asked curiously.
"For example potions. I guess Professor Dumbledore would give them a potion if they needed one, but other masters wouldn't. They can use healing spells but for some things potions are simply better." This was what he had decided to tell the twins about the needs of the elves. They would keep the elf-post to themselves.
"I made some potions for them, but still. You need the ingredients and all. And the elves don't like me spending money or too much time on them, even if they are my friends. And they also like to try out new recipes. I gave them a cookbook from the muggle world for Christmas and they were very interested in it. So if they had some money, just a bit, they could buy another one."
"So what do you want to do?" George asked.
"I was wondering if we could open a kiosk of some sort." Harry proposed and looked up at the reaction of the twins. All he saw were blank faces.
"What is a kiosk?" Fred asked confused.
Harry began to explain. "That's a place that sells small things like sweets, drinks and so. In the muggle world also newspapers, but that doesn't matter here. I just thought, the first and second year student's can't ever buy anything for themselves unless by owl order which is rather complicated."
"And even the older students only have a Hogsmeade weekend every two month." Fred added. "That's a..."
"Great idea!" his twin finished.
"They could make chocolate to sell." Fred began.
"And all sort of other stuff." George continued. "And we could all sell it."
"I bet you could make quite a bit of money for the elves."
Here Tlicky shook his head slightly. "We's not needing much money."
Harry nodded. "That's ok Tlicky. I mean we'd have to see how it works out anyway. But I think that this would also be important for the students. I mean how many students know where the kitchen is? Not many and all the others have to either owl order things or ask their parents for extra food." Turning to the elf next to him he quickly assured. "The meals are really great, but what if you get hungry in the evening, for example after dueling."
"Or after quidditch?" George added.
They spoke for a while longer. Fred finally said.
"I don't understand why nobody had this idea before."
On this Harry became thoughtful.
"Well maybe it's because there aren't kiosks in the wizarding world, or because they didn't know the elves as well, but maybe…" he trailed off gloomily.
"What Harry?" George asked.
"Well maybe they don't want to have a kiosk here. You know so that the students don't eat too much chocolate or something." He seemed rather depressed about the possibility that their idea would be unable to help the elves.
"Hey stop that Harry."
"You forget who you have with you!"
"Yeah, we are masters at persuasion!"
"How do you think that we get to have any free-time at all?"
"After all how do you think we get Mum to lighten our punishments after we pull a prank."
"Yeah, and you are friends with Dumbledore and McGonagall, so convincing them should be possible."
Harry looked up and nodded determined. "But not because they know me. They can't show favoritism. But we just have to gather all our arguments carefully first." Turning to Tlicky he asked. "Do you think you could get us some parchment and a quill and ink, so that we can write up a plan."
Sorry it took a while, but it's longer than the last chapters.
So what do you about the kiosk? If you have ideas, or arguments for the discussion with Dumbledore, tell me!