Knowledge is Power
Harry lay in bed with his arms wrapped around his naked sleeping betrothed and wondered how he could every be worthy of the gift she had given him, he wanted to do something to say to the world just how much he loved her but it would have to be something that couldn't be bought off the shelf. Unlike most teenage boys Harry had the world at his fingertips and could give her anything she wanted but things and belongings didn't impress Hermione, it was deeds that spoke loudly to her.
He suddenly recalled a part of their conversation with Amelia last night; the minister had stayed for hours and was now considered a good friend. The more he thought about it the more he was sure it would be something that would show her just how much she meant to him so he carefully untangled himself before heading for his writing desk. Ten minutes later with a whispered summons for Dobby and his plan was in motion, he also decided to get Hermione a gold locket as well - just to be on the safe side.
Percy Weasley woke bright and early, eager for the day to begin. His new fiancée was lying beside him and he thought life just couldn't get much better, their engagement had appeased Penelope's parents and the fact that they both had dream jobs and were going to marry at Christmas removed all objections they had to them living together at Hogwarts. Originally they were not going to say anything but with Penelope's young sister being a second year it would only be a matter of time before the Hogwarts rumour mill picked up on the fact they had adjoining rooms and were a couple. They thought that the Clearwaters should hear it from them rather than their younger daughter the first time she lost points or got a detention from either of the couple.
Percy glanced over towards his desk with the large pile of letters it contained and sighed, the headmaster had given them the job of assisting in the running of Hogwarts and they were going to have to let him know they were stuck. A large pile of letters had 'taking the PISS' written on them and neither of the purebloods had any idea what it meant, their best guess had been a replacement course for OWL's so you would sit your PISS's and then your NEWT's. The problem with that was both he and Penny were now professors and if there were new courses being offered they needed to know about it now so they could have time to work out how they were going to teach PISS next term.
Dumbledore had to use memory charms on his two new heads of house, when he had seen the letters his reaction had shocked and frightened the former head girl and boy. He was now back under control in kindly godfather mode and thanking them both for all their hard work, with the suggestion that a trip to Diagon Alley was in order as a reward for their sterling efforts, they had no sooner shut the door than the air was turning blue from over one hundred and fifty years worth of learning curse words.
He was going through the letters when one name jumped out at him, Susan Bones was taking the PISS and the letter in question was signed by her legal guardian, Amelia Bones. He had a direct floo line into the ministers office that Cornelius had installed so they could keep in touch, he would floo call first then go over and get this sorted out once and for all. No one took the piss out of Albus Brian Wulfric Percival Dumbledore!
Amelia was sitting at her desk when Dumbledore's head appeared in the fireplace, now if ever there was a way to ruin your morning then that was it.
"Amelia do you mind if I pop over? I have an urgent matter that I would like your help with."
"Actually Headmaster, it's Minister Bones and I'm sorry but my schedule is rather full. If you wish you can ask my secretary and see if she can make an appointment when my schedule clears up a bit." Amelia had a good idea what the old goat wanted and that was confirmed by his next statement.
"Are you aware minister that a large proportion of Hogwarts students, including your niece have chosen not to return this year?"
Amelia was left wondering if this man had any common sense at all, "Since my niece vowed on her magic never to return to Hogwarts I hardly think that should be surprising Headmaster. In the current political climate and considering the level of education on offer at your school I would be amazed if there weren't a lot more disgruntled parents removing their children from the castle."
Albus had forgot that she was one of the traitors who had stood up that morning; his entire focus had been on Harry. He was not about to let Amelia away with the level of education jibe though, "Hogwarts is still one of the premier magical schools in the world, and our reputation speaks for itself."
Amelia was beginning to enjoy this, not least of all because she knew the old goat's knees must have been killing him by now from kneeling down to put his head in the fire. "Headmaster, Hogwarts is the premier magical school in Britain because it's the only magical school in Britain, the rest of Europe has overtaken us in the last decade or so. I fear that the upcoming tournament will show this to be true and admire your courage for putting your reputation on this event, it could get really embarrassing for you and Hogwarts."
Even through the green flames Amelia could see his face turning red with anger, especially when she held up her hand to prevent him speaking while she answered her mobile phone. "Hello Lord Potter….see me today, why I don't think that will be a problem at all, how long do you need? ….Including lunch? …Ok that should be no problem, I'll have my secretary move appointments to clear my morning and see you soon…bye for now." She could hear Harry laughing on the other end of the line, he obviously figured out there was somebody she wanted to annoy by letting him or her know who she was talking to; Amelia was looking forward to telling him the full story later.
Dumbledore was having a really hard time controlling his temper, this woman was openly baiting him and with that upstart Potter to boot. "Minister, do you really think 'taking the piss' is a good enough reason to damage your niece's education?"
"Damage?" asked Amelia, "oh you must have misunderstood, Susan is attending the establishment that's about to become the premier magical school in Europe. I can assure you her education will be far in advance of anything on offer at Hogwarts, this school is full of experienced professors and all the students love it there."
"What!" Albus was starting to lose it now and was actually shouting, "Hogwarts has the charter to be the only magical school in Britain, and even the minister can't change that."
"I never said the school was in Britain and you would be surprised what the minister, with the weight of the people behind her can achieve. Good day to you headmaster." She ended the call and immediately asked her secretary to have the direct line to Hogwarts removed, that privilege would be reserved for people she actually wanted to talk to.
Percy and Penelope were sitting having ice cream when he suddenly exploded out his chair and had his wand pointing at two young girls.
Susan and Hannah had been walking down the alley proudly displaying their Institute t-shirts as well as their other assets when the former head boy suddenly appears in front of them with his wand drawn. The girls were actually frightened, as he looked more deranged than angry, when he demanded they remove their t-shirts that got them really scared.
Percy was livid, how anyone could deface the image of Professor Dumbledore was beyond him and when he saw the name Potter, he just snapped. He needed one of these to take to the professor to tell him about PISS. Percy was waiting on them giving him the items when the point of a wand pressed into the back of his neck and a voice he hated spoke quietly to him.
"Mr Weasley, could you please explain to me why you have your wand pointed at two of my friends and demanding the girls remove an article of clothing?" Harry was standing with Hermione and an older couple where Percy could see them so the wand at his neck must belong to someone else but his anger transcended logic.
"This is none of your business Potter, she's wearing that item that degrades a great man and a wonderful institution. She should be arrested!"
"Percy that great man appointed you head of Gryffindor in that once wonderful institution, McGonagall cried when we told her and not from being happy about it. Now the head of Gryffindor is standing in the middle of Diagon Ally demanding at wand point that two teenage girls remove their tops, did I forget to mention that one of those girls is the niece of our current minister and that wand in your neck is being held there by an Auror on protection detail."
All colour drained from Percy's face as he suddenly realised the seriousness of his situation while Harry wandlessly summoned the red heads wand before handing it to the Auror.
Harry put his arms round both girls, "are you both alright?" their nods indicated they were still a bit shaken. "We're having lunch at the Ambrosia Cottage later, would you care to join us at about one o'clock?"
"How did you get a reservation there? It's usually booked solid." Hannah asked.
"Apparently the Potters have there own table." Harry answered.
"We'll be there!" said Susan as she waved to the Grangers and dragged Hannah towards the floo, Institute t-shirts were fine for the alley but not Ambrosia Cottage, even her aunt had to wait for a reservation there.
The group watched as Percy was led away while a nervous Penelope followed on behind, Dan shook his head "are you sure Ginny is related to them?"
It was Hermione, who knowingly answered, "trust us dad, we got her away from them just in time. The Ginny of a few years from now was not a nice person, Bill and Charlie seemed to have escaped the worse of it but Dumbledore encouraged their greed and they all willingly went along with him."
The group left to visit Gringotts as they never got the chance the day before, Harry wanted to make certain everything was arranged for their honeymoon and now had some other business to deal with.
Albus finished speaking to Penelope on the floo before letting his temper go and practically wrecking his office, not only was his new head of Gryffindor arrested but that bastard Potter had the audacity to open another school in direct competition to him. He was certain that Minerva, Pomona and Filius would be teaching there and probably that bloody werewolf as well, this now explained the rather large pile of refusals and the smug look on the face of that bitch Bones.
He was sorely tempted to get one of the students and use legilimency on them to discover what he needed to know but that prat Weasley had shown their hand and, even worse got caught doing it. All he knew was that the school wasn't in Britain so any contacts he had would be useless to him, he decided to floo call some of the key businesses in Diagon Alley to see if they had any information.
Half an hour later and it was an even more confused headmaster who cleared a space amidst the destruction to sit down, Flourish and Blott's, Madam Malkin's, the apothecary and even Ollivander's were all reporting a large drop in business from Hogwarts students, they had all seen the children wearing their t-shirts but apparently the only place in the Alley those students spent money was Fortescue's ice cream parlour.
Madam Malkin had worryingly reported that rumours of the new school providing all the students books, robes and equipment would appear to be true. She had heard disgruntle parents discussing it and bemoaning the fact that their children were not accepted for the school, this would have a seriously detrimental effect on most of the businesses in Diagon Alley but that wasn't what worried Albus. If Potter was taking his pick of students with the promise of freebies, who would that leave to attend Hogwarts? The thought of a school full of Students that Potter had rejected made the old wizard so angry that all the former headmasters fled their portraits.
When he eventually regained enough control of his anger, Albus started using his magic to tidy his office and place the letters on his repaired desk. He would have to go through them and see just how badly Hogwarts was going to be effected; Bone's comments about him being embarrassed in front of the other schools now had him in a cold sweat. The thought of the other two schools turning up with the cream of their students to find a half empty Hogwarts with only the dregs Potter had left him was a terrifying prospect, he started sorting the letters into groups.
The four were shown into Amelia's office and led towards a comfortable seating area; the minister joined them carrying a large book. "Lord and Lady Potter, Mr and Mrs Granger before we start there is something I need to show you because it will have a bearing on all future discussions."
She laid the book on a table and gestured for everyone to read a certain entry
Harry James Potter and Hermione Jean Granger - bond completed 6th June, 1994 10.07pm
The four looked to Amelia for an explanation of what they were reading, "this book magically records all soul bonded couples and yours, by some strange coincidence, completed the same night that Sirius Black escaped from a locked room, a condemned Hippogriff disappeared right under the minister and Dumbledore's noses while someone gave the Dementors such a scare they refuse to leave Azkaban Island. In short Hermione has been Lady Potter since that night."
A very loud silence greeted this news so Amelia continued, "in the wizarding world a soul bond is the highest form of commitment a couple can give to each other, it's extremely rare and a kiss is usually all that is required between soul mates to complete the bond. The second this takes place the couple are considered married in law and nothing can change that."
Harry turned to Hermione with a giant smile on his face, "do you understand what this means Lady Potter?"
Hermione answered over their bond, her mind working at a rate of knots 'that we were bonded in the last timeline, no wonder we knew what each other was going to do…the rings have sped up the process of our link but masked the fact we were soul bonded…that's why we both ended up with your parents, oh Harry even in death we couldn't be parted!'
He never got to say anymore as overwhelming feelings of love flooded their bond and his wife attacked him with hugs and kisses, 'I was going to say, before being interrupted that this means we didn't break our promise to mum and dad, we were married at the time. I hadn't even considered anything else but my beautiful wife once more amazed me with her brilliance.'
Emma shook her head and asked the practical question, "When you two are quite finished what are we going to do about your wedding next week?"
"Oh that can still go ahead," said Amelia "though it will probably take the form of a blessing now as they're already married to each other. When I watched them last night I thought it was a possibility and the book has now confirmed this, congratulations Lord and Lady Potter."
Dan and Emma were now hugging their children and even battle hardened Amelia Bones had a tear in her eye as she watched the happy event unfold in front of her, she was now positive that the young couple could communicate without speaking and it was this suspicion that had her check the book in the first place.
They all eventually sat back down and only the setting stopped Hermione sitting on her husband's knee, it was the minister of magic's office after all.
"Can I assume this changes some of the things you are here for today?" Amelia asked.
"Yes," Hermione answered, "we were originally going to make arrangements to sit our NEWT's to gain as much legality as we could for our magical status but this negates the problem, we are legally married and emancipated in the eyes of our world. A soul bound is undisputable and anyone interfering with it will find himself or herself in serious trouble. We don't need bits of paper indicating our intelligence so we will pass at the moment, they can always be sat at later date."
Emma couldn't believe what she was hearing from her studious daughter, "are you sure about this Hermione? I can't believe you don't want to take exams."
"Mum, Harry and I don't need jobs as such and Lady Potter will be able to achieve so much more than Hermione Granger with twenty NEWT's. We've got the Institute up and running and are now concentrating on finishing Voldemort, waving our NEWT results at him won't get the job done."
Harry chuckled at the thought of Voldemort dieing of shame when his wife beat Riddle's scores in NEWT's, "would it be possible for my wife and I to sit our apparition exams today, our licences would also prove we were legally of age."
They both now saw what it meant to have the ministry on their side as an hour later they were being presented licences for standard, international and side-along apparition having passed the tests with ease.
"I think it's time to deal with our other business now, don't you Lord Potter?" You could actually see the mischief behind Amelia's smile and it was a hesitant Hermione who held onto the portkey provided.
Jillian Green sat at her desk wondering how she was going to make the books balance for the month, this was not a problem with her excellent accounting skills merely that the amount of money coming in was insufficient to meet the running costs. The obvious business answer was to cut her costs but how do you explain to children that they couldn't eat today as the orphanage had to cut costs.
A knock at the door and Betty popped her head round to say they had visitors, Jillian usually hated this as the good and the great got to tour the facilities, get a photo taken for the press with a few orphans and then leave a few Galleons to ease their conscience. She would just have to smile and bear it as even ten Galleons could make a big difference this month, a lot of purebloods had dropped off the map and though their contributions were meagre to say the least the children got to have food on their plates.
When Amelia Bones walked in she was surprised but when she introduced the two couples with her Jillian wasn't sure what was going on, fifteen minutes later and she had trouble remembering her own name and kept pinching herself to see she wasn't dreaming.
It was straight after the introductions and the group having been seated on some thread worn, mismatched chairs when the first bombshell hit, Harry Potter apparently didn't mess about.
"In conversation with Amelia last night she was thanking us for saving her niece from ending up here, she had nothing but praise for you and your staff but from my initial investigations I know that the orphanage is under severe financial pressure. What I'm proposing is that the orphanage becomes part of the newly formed Granger Foundation where it will be relocated to a more suitable building, have all it's bills taken care of with you and your staff actually being paid a decent salary."
"Just how 'newly formed' is this Granger Foundation and what does it do?" Hermione asked her sneaky husband.
"The Granger Foundation is my wedding present to my wife, it's a charity organisation that can circumvent red tape and provide help directly where it's needed. It has Lady Hermione Jean Potter as Chairperson with Dan and Emma Granger as board members. I won't go into business details here other than to say my information is that the orphanage needs help now, waiting until we came back from honeymoon might have been too late."
Jillian couldn't believe what she was witnessing and, but for the presence of her friend Amelia Bones, would have thought this was some sort of cruel prank. Hearing Lord Potter sum up their situation only made her nod in defeat, they might just make it to the end of this month but she couldn't see them reaching the end of August.
"One of the main problems is the rent you pay for this building, while I know it's not an exorbitant amount it's still more than you can comfortably afford. Should you accept this offer then the first order of business is to move you out of here into a building that will be owned by the orphanage and administered by the Foundation, you will of course still be in charge of the day to day running of the place as everyone agrees you're very good at your job. As with the Potter Institute you will be given a vault to cover the running costs and any major purchases get discussed with the foundation. Are there any questions so far?"
Hermione just grabbed her husband and kissed him senseless while Jillian looked to Amelia for confirmation that this was real, her friend's broad smile assured her that it was.
The strangest house elf Jillian had ever seen appeared next to the Potters, he was dressed in camouflage fatigues with patches on both shoulders and sergeant stripes on his arm. She was sure one of the patches was the Potter family emblem but the other with the snowy owl had her confused, every pocket of his fatigues was bulging with Merlin knows what.
"Ah Dobby," said Harry "how goes the restoration work?"
"We are ripping out old masters study as it would make a great play room for the children," the mischievous glint in his eye was unmistakable.
"I think you're enjoying this a bit too much Dobby, Have you moved all the books?"
"Oh yes Harry sir, they're all in the Institute with Professor Lupin sorting them after checking they're safe."
The penny had finally dropped for Hermione, "you're turning Malfoy Manor into an orphanage?"
"It seemed so fitting, don't you agree?" Harry cheekily asked.
Hermione and Amelia seemed to think so as they were almost bent double with laughter while the experience left Jillian Green practicing her goldfish impression, her mind just couldn't cope with the frequency and magnitude of the shocks coming her way.
"I understand there are three children here who are of age to attend school, all will be guaranteed places at the Potter Institute and all expenses met by us."
Jillian looked towards the young wizard who was practically their saviour and asked a question she really didn't want to, "Lord Potter, won't the children be picked-on for belonging to an orphanage?"
It was as if the young wizard had grown a foot taller while his eyes bored right into her soul before completing the effect with a voice that brokered no argument, "not in my school they won't, one of the few school rules is no bigotry of any kind. Whether their parents are gentry or no longer with us the students will all be treated the same, I think it's rather fitting that orphans will be attending a school founded by one of their own."
Harry could feel his family drawing round him to offer support and couldn't stay angry for long, "I apologise Miss Green but that was one of the main reasons we broke away from Hogwarts, a very good friend of ours was having her stay there made into a living hell by people bullying her. It will never be allowed to find a toe hold in a school bearing my name."
Jillian had asked because in better times they had scraped enough money together to allow one of their brightest children to attend Hogwarts, she hadn't made it passed the Christmas holidays and refused to return. Her dealings with the headmaster had left a sour taste in her mouth, it was almost like 'she's an orphan, what do you expect'.
Harry noticed that Dobby was still present, worse he was nervously moving from one foot to the other in a clearly agitated manner. "What's the problem Dobby?" Harry asked.
Dobby had his head down and was almost muttering so he had to strain to hear, "Harry Potter once said Dobby could ask him for favour."
Harry knelt down to bring himself level with his little friend, "Dobby just tell me what's got you so worked up and then we'll see what can be done about it."
The expression of sheer adulation on Dobby's face would have put the Creeveys to shame, "last night the Aurors took away Mr Crouch, he was very angry and blamed his elf, giving her clothes before they took him away. Winky is a good elf but believes no one will want her now and has been crying all night, Dobby hates to see her like that and was wondering if…"
"Winky!" Harry said as a tiny elf showing clear signs of emotional distress appeared with a pop beside Dobby. "My friend Dobby here has told us what happened and you're now looking for work, would you like to come and work for us Winky? It would be the same conditions as Dobby though."
The little female elf looked unsure, "Winky was hoping for a family."
Harry just smiled, "we are a family and Dobby is part of that family, in the future my wife and I hope to have children and would need someone to look after them as well."
Winky was torn, the idea of children made her heart race with joy. "Would Winky have to wear the same as Dobby?"
Hermione couldn't contain her laughter and she to knelt down beside the elves, "Winky there is no way we would ask you to wear the same as Dobby, though we would like you to wear a dress or robe as a uniform, not clothes."
Dobby took Winky's hand in his, "Harry and Hermione are very kind and I would like you to come as well."
The first smile any of them had seen broke out on her face as she nodded her agreement and the Potter family had grown again.
"Dobby take as long as you need to show Winky around and can you take her for whatever uniform she wants, remember it's what she wants Dobby."
Winky thought her new mistress was chastising Dobby but when she saw the both of them smile that was clearly not the case; this was going to take some getting used to.
Both elves disappeared but Jillian Green had seen and heard enough, "Lord Potter I would be honoured and delighted to take you up on the very generous offer made for the orphanage."
"Splendid, why don't we get everyone out to the Institute this Saturday for a few days and that will allow the children a holiday while we prepare their new home for occupation. You and your staff can help design the rooms to best suit your needs as the elves are just cleaning and restoring at the moment."
They were on a tour of the orphanage but news of Harry Potter being in the building had spread like wildfire; the children were all desperate to meet him. Hermione felt that the whole place made her think of Remus before he came to work for them, everything was used and worn but spotlessly clean with everyone trying their hardest to make the best of what little they had. She didn't know it was possible for a place to be depressing and uplifting at the same time, when Harry knelt to speak to some of the younger children she had tears in her eyes.
Jillian misunderstood the tears, "I realise this must not be quite what you're used to Lady Potter but we try to do our best with what we have."
Hermione shook her head, trying to control the thoughts coming from her husband, "I'm sorry Miss Green, my husband was just wishing he had been sent here in stead of his aunt's. A person only has to walk the corridors to feel the love you and your staff have for these children, Harry was nearly twelve before he got his first hug and that was from me. He's only known about being Lord Potter for a short while and he has spent that time trying to help people, how could anyone not love him?"
Emma hugged her daughter from behind while Jillian struggled with the idea that Harry Potter would rather have come here, she watched him as he charmed all the children.
Harry noticed a young girl who looked afraid to approach him, she had a rolled up sheet of paper and he was quite sure he knew what it was so waved her over.
Eight-year-old Joan forced herself to go over to her hero and couldn't even speak, she just handed him the poster.
Harry unrolled it to find it matched the rest of the orphanage, worn and frayed around the edges but treated with love and care. "What's your name?" Harry asked.
He received a muffled 'Joan' before he reached out and lifted her chin so she was looking at him, "Joan, you and every one here are invited to my house for a holiday while we get a new building ready for you to live in. While you're there we can get our photograph taken together and I'll sign that for you, 'to my friend Joan – love Harry' – will that do?"
She managed to nod her head before bursting into tears and launching herself into Harry's arms, he stood with Joan in his arms just before the rest of the children all joined the rapidly expanding group hug.
Harry noticed Emma and Jillian were crying but the look Hermione was giving him lifted his heart into the stratosphere and confirmed he was right to do this, he could have given his wife the British Crown Jewels and not got this reaction.
When the kids had calmed down the reality that they would be going on holiday kicked in and Jillian had forty-two hyper orphans on her hands, they had very little idea where Italy was but a swimming poll and private beach needed no explanation. Harry had left her a thousand galleons to 'tide them over to Saturday' and told her not to worry about clothes for the children, they would be taking them shopping when the got there.
Harry's comments before he left raised her opinion of him even more.
"Since making the discovery I was famous I can honestly say I've hated every part of my fame, watching Joan treat a poster of me like her greatest treasure was a truly humbling experience. If she can draw any semblance of comfort from it, then who am I to say that it's wrong and better that than a poster of Voldemort!"
Connie Hammer sat in the boat more convinced than ever that she really needed to control her temper or learn not to speak when angry. She thought back to what caused her present predicament and still found she wouldn't have changed a thing, calling the then minister Cornelius Fudge a 'bumbling arsehole' to his face when they received word that dementors had boarded the Hogwarts express was one of the defining moments of her life.
Unfortunately Fudge didn't take to kindly to the truth and thought it was perfectly acceptable to place those monsters around a school full of children, he was also a small, petty man and only her friend Amelia Bones had saved her job though could do nothing about the demotion. Only the promotion of his nephew to her old job appeased the arsehole enough for her to remain an auror, Amelia had then rightly torn a strip off her for being so bloody stupid and assigned her to the junior arsehole's squad hoping to try and limit the damage he could do.
Donald Carrick was everything she despised in an auror, it was always the easiest option that was taken and corners cut to suit the junior arseholes needs. Today was a prime example; for a few days now they had been transferring death eaters from Azkaban to the ministry so they could stand trial and the regulations clearly stated no more than two prisoners at a time were permitted in the boat. Don' had a hot date for tonight and didn't want to spend the extra time it would take for two trips to transport the last three death eaters so was cutting corners again, the fact that all three death eaters had the last name Lestrange just compounded the error.
Every auror in the department, apart from the bold Don' knew as soon as Shacklebolt took over the department Carrick would probably find himself behind a desk at best, he thought he had a shot at the department head job. She could see the flawed logic behind his assumption; if his useless arsehole of an uncle could make minister of magic then there was hope for him, but only in his tiny mind!
Connie wanted to stun Rabastan, Rudolphus and Bellatrix for the entire journey but Carrick had laughed at her, pointing out that they had been in Azkaban for over a decade and were restrained using magic inhibiting manacles. There were four aurors wearing body armour and the boatman against three wasted death eaters, she had a really bad feeling about this and it would be no consolation if she were proven right.
The three had sat unmoving and they were an hour into the ninety minutes the crossing required when Rabastan started coughing before moving to the side of the small boat to throw up, Carrick and Jones were laughing but Connie's hand immediately starting reaching for her wand. Unfortunately she was watching the wrong Lestrange as Rudolphus pounced on her and the reason for only two death eaters to a boat was abundantly clear, in the small, tight confines of the boat she didn't have time to draw her wand. They were packed so tight and all struggling for their lives now she could have hit anyone with a spell fired.
Rudolphus was a dirty fighter but then Connie didn't know any other way to do battle having been trained by a master of the technique, in their struggles her thumb found the death eater's left eye and pushed right through it. His screams of pain were cut short by her elbow connecting violently with his jaw and he collapsed unconscious while Connie finally freed her wand.
Rabastan had felled Jones and was now overpowering Carrick when Connie clipped him with a stunner, she heard the splash before even having the time to turn around and no sooner did she complete the manoeuvre than she was left wishing she hadn't.
The forth member of the team was young John Phillips, a first year auror who was so excited to get his dragon hide vest especially since it was an open secret where the gold for the vests had come from. He now lay there with his life blood spilled all over his brand new vest which was no protection from a psycho bitch like Bellatrix, she had ripped out the poor lads throat with her teeth! A quick examination confirmed that he was dead and his wand as well as the keys to the manacles were missing, the bitch was not only free but also armed.
She stood and stunned the Lestrange brothers again before punching Carrick, landing him on his arse. "What the hell are you playing at?" Connie demanded.
"I was going to summon the bitch, why did you stop me?"
Connie pointed to Phillips, "she did that without magic, she now has a wand and the key to those manacles you put so much faith in and Donald friggin Carrick wants to summon her into our boat! Why don't you summon a dozen sharks while you're at it, we would probably stand a better chance against them."
Donald was turning green as the enormity of his screw-up began to penetrate his befuddled mind, he'd lost a member of his team, Bellatrix Lestrange had escaped with a wand and for the life of him he couldn't think of who else to blame for this fiasco.
Connie saw the boatman's head appear at the tiny window in the miniscule wheelhouse, "get us out of here as fast as you can." This was one order the boatman was more than happy to comply with as Connie checked on Jones, before stunning the brothers again just to make sure there would be no more surprises.
Connie knew what Amelia and Shack's reaction would be and Donald would count himself lucky if he didn't find his new accommodation was a cell, being charged with criminal negligence. This thought gave her no comfort, the sheet covered body of John Phillips put paid to that, she stunned both Lestrange brothers once more wishing she had followed her instincts in the first place.
Bellatrix watched the tiny boat pick up speed and head away; she was stationary about twenty feet deep and wearing a bubblehead charm. She'd been remarkably calm whilst trying to remove those chains, perhaps it was the knowledge that Azkaban wasn't going to claim her as she'd gladly drown rather than return to that hellhole.
When she got the manacles off the bubblehead charm allowed her to stay below the boat, and with the application of a heating charm she was feeling better than she had in well over a decade.
As the boat disappeared her euphoria suddenly acquired an extra dimension, she could feel her master through her mark. The wards of the prison and those manacles had prevented her feeling him sooner, he was very weak but Bella could always sense her master's presence. Her husband and brother-in-law were quickly forgotten about as she imagined herself once more at the Dark Lord's feet; yes her master would need his most dedicated and loyal follower with Bellatrix Lestrange vowing never to fail him again. She was going to be reunited with her master and woe betides anyone who got in her way.
A/N Thanks to Old-Crow for permission to use Connie Hamer.