Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. The Harry Potter universe is the property of J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Warner Brothers, and any other lucky folks I missed. I'm not associated with them in any way, I don't make money from this, I'm just dabbling about in their sandbox.
Author's Note: Okay, a couple of things real quickly. One, it is not my intention to portray Dumbledore as stupid, manipulative or evil in this fic. However, the events of first year are in my opinion rather indefensible. I'm not just talking about the rather weak protections, but the other issues raised by characters in this chapter.
Secondly, terribly sorry for the prolonged delay in getting this chapter out. Got busy with other things and then I was busy with the holidays. Updates should come more regularly now however, at least say once a month at minimum. Perhaps more quickly if I'm on a roll.
Thirdly, I shall sometime between now and when I post Chapter Eleven, be updating the prior chapters. Just fixing a few errors and making a few very minor changes, mostly. However Chapter Eight will likely see some more significant touches, as I am not at all happy with the timeskip involved in that chapter. I'll also seek to add more of little Jasmine, as she is barely mentioned.
Harry Potter and the Eccentricities of Death
Chapter Ten: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Harry had come up with a very clever plan to allow him access to Hogwarts on Halloween, legitimate access that is. As Hogwarts Liaison Harry was to meet with the Headmaster at the start of term, however he'd managed to push it back until Halloween this year by claiming to be exceedingly busy at the Ministry. It wasn't even that much of a lie, he was still busy trying to clear up the mess in Australia and also needed to organize official ministry assistance to help a rather nasty outbreak of griffinpox in South Africa.
Griffinpox were a much more dangerous strain of dragonpox and every once in awhile an epidemic would rise up that needed to be dealt with. Luckily the disease was rather rare and favoured warmer climates, it was not often seen in colder areas such as Britain. Still, that didn't help the people in Sub-Saharan Africa where an epidemic had broken out. St. Mungo's would be sending some Healers to help deal with it though, and the Ministry was footing the bill for some supplies.
As if that were not enough, it seemed that Magical Chile was on the verge of a civil war and Harry needed to keep an eye on that situation.
Then, finally, there was the Summit of Magical Brethren that took place in Shangri-La this year. The summit was an important diplomatic event held every seven years, and Harry had attended on behalf of Britain. Harry had actually been looking forward to it, somewhat to the surprise of Hermione.
He had hoped to rally more support for fighting griffinpox in Africa and talk with his Argentinian and Brazilian counterparts about Chile. He was also interested in hearing about the situation in Mexico, where the pureblood leadership were cracking down even further on muggleborns and half-bloods. The details were somewhat fuzzy, unfortunately, as the purebloods controlled the media and all information leaking out of the country.
With all of those problems, Harry's first real opportunity to speak with Dumbledore had not been until Halloween, which the Headmaster had agreed to. Harry had even been invited to join them for the Halloween Feast, which he was quite looking forward to. If Quirrell let the troll in again, he'd be prepared. More importantly if Hermione was busy having a cry in the girls loo again, he'd make sure he got there in time to save her.
Harry would be arriving several hours before the feast began to speak with Dumbledore, and was just now getting ready. He'd spent most of the day sleeping, as he'd only returned from Tibet the day before and was unbelievably tired.
International portkeys were rather draining, you know.
"Don't forget to say 'hi' to Harry, Harry."
"Yes yes, I'll say 'hi' to him, if I see him. I hope I won't, though. But I'll be sure to give him a wave, either way." Harry had been planning on getting the map from Potter if it turned out the troll was let in and Hermione was absent from the feast. It'd be the easy way to explain why he knew where she was, and he'd be able to explain that he knew about the map from James and that he just wanted to check and be sure.
A perfectly reasonable excuse, Harry thought, though he did hope that it wouldn't get his younger former self in trouble. Of course, he also hoped that his younger former self (which was rather confusing when Harry tried to think about it) actually had the map on him at the time. He knew Potter had taken the map, James had mentioned that it turned up missing when he checked after sending his son to school.
"Well, if it does happen again," Hermione began somewhat sadly, "at least it may allow me, er, her, to make friends with you again. I mean, younger you, of course."
"Was it really that bad for you, before the troll?" Harry asked somewhat concerned. He knew that Hermione hadn't made any friends before the troll incident, hence why she'd been crying in the loo. He hoped that his advice to the younger Hermione when he went to fill her in on the magical world helped. She'd been so excited about Hogwarts that he'd hate to hear that she wasn't enjoying it.
Hermione didn't answer though, she merely shrugged.
An hour later a well groomed and finally awake Harry Riddle appeared at the gates of Hogwarts where he was escorted to the castle by Hagrid. Harry was slightly disheartened to see that Hagrid seemed to regard him with an air of mistrust, but it wasn't like Harry could blame the friendly half-giant after what Tom Riddle had done to him. However by the time they got to the gargoyle that guarded Dumbledore's office, Harry's first friend seemed to have warmed up to him as they spoke at length about the creatures Hagrid took care of. Harry's agreement that Thestrals were fascinating creatures in particular seemed to gain him points with Hagrid.
"Drooble's Best Blowin' Gum," said Hagrid and the stone guardian sprang to life, allowing Harry passage.
"Enter," said Dumbledore after Harry had knocked, and enter he did. The office was much the same as it always was as Harry took a seat, though there seemed to be a number of spider webs with real spiders to celebrate the holiday.
"Ah, glad you could make it Mr. Riddle, how was Shangri-La?" he asked as he held out his hand with a lemon drop, Harry went ahead and took it.
"Lovely, of course now I'll be needing to go back some day with Hermione, she wasn't happy to not go."
"Indeed, and how is the she? And your Jasmine too, well I hope?" Dumbledore enquired good naturedly. For some reason Dumbledore always seemed interested in asking how Jasmine was whenever he saw Harry.
"Very well, I brought some new books home for Hermione so she's had her nose stuck in them. Jasmine has been missing some of her playmates though, as most of the rest of the kids in the area are too young, and the rest are at Hogwarts. Which reminds me, Lily told me to ask if Harry is getting into any sort of mischief."
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled a little brighter as he said, "Not that anybody has been able to prove." James would likely be proud of that.
"How was the Summit?" the Headmaster asked interestedly, "I had heard that you were intent on gaining international support to aid the sick in Africa? A noble cause, I must say, and one that I wish you every success in."
Harry frowned at that, "It was, hmm, an interesting experience. I had hoped to be able to get more done, but alas, many magical communities are only interested in themselves." Dumbledore seemed to understand what Harry was saying, as he nodded sadly at the comment.
"France, Italy, Spain and most other European countries see it as having nothing to do with them, and don't want to expose their people to the disease." Harry didn't have to mention that Britain would have done the same had one of their dependencies not been involved. Hermione hadn't recalled much of the crisis from their original timeline, which was not so much a surprise as she was only a first year.
"I was able to garner support from the Germans, or most of them at any rate. The Hessians and Hanoverians declined, but I had some old friends in the Bavarian and Saxon Ministries who I was able to convince to join Britain, and they convinced the rest to join. Brittany also offered some galleons and Arabia and Assyria are going to send some Healers to the region. The Egyptian and Berbers both refused to have anything to do with it though."
"It is unfortunate that they will not help their neighbours in this time of need." Harry couldn't agree more, but he knew the Ministry wouldn't have done anything if South Africa hadn't been involved. "Still, you've done a most excellent job of rousing support for a noble effort, I commend you."
"Thank you, Headmaster," and Harry was very flattered by his former mentor's comments. It sort of made what he had to do a little less pleasant, but alas, it had to be done. "Now, Headmaster, a few issues.."
"Please, Mr. Riddle, you may call me Albus."
A bit weird, but Harry supposed it was okay.
"Likewise, Albus. Now, as I said, there are a few issues we must discuss," Harry began again. He was thankful for once that Draco seemed to report everything home to Daddy, as Lucius then passed on certain information to Harry. Not too much, as Lucius was not Harry's biggest fan, thinking him too liberal in his views on muggles. Still, it gave Harry the prompt he needed. "Firstly, and most pressingly Albus, is some disturbing information I have heard regarding your announcements at the start of term feast."
He paused here to allow Dumbledore the chance to prepare what Harry assumed would be an elaborate excuse of some sort.
"I am told, by a friend who has a son here, that you claimed the 'third-floor corridor on the right hand side is off limits to anybody who does not wish for a very painful death', is that correct?" Harry gazed questioningly at the Headmaster, wondering if he knew anything about children. The easiest way to get them to do something was usually to tell them not to do it.
"Yes, I believe that is an accurate accounting." Dumbledore smiled benignly, as if that were a perfectly normal thing to say to a school full of children.
"Indeed? Could you enlighten me as to why there is something extremely dangerous and potentially lethal hidden in this school, Albus?"
"Alas Harry," began Dumbledore in a slightly condescending tone, "I cannot reveal it's purpose. I can only say that it of the utmost importance to the safety of the wizarding world."
Harry blinked, slightly annoyed by the man's arrogance. "Excuse me, Headmaster?" Harry paused there, reverting back to a formal tone with the ancient wizard and thought on how best to proceed. "Does this have anything to do with the education of young witches and wizards?" Of course Harry knew that it did not, but chose not to reveal that tidbit of information.
"As I said, it is there for the protection of the entire wizarding world."
"So it does not, in fact, have the slightest bit to do with the education of young witches and wizards?" Harry wanted the old man to admit it before he moved on.
"No, it does not."
"Very well, then why is it here?" Dumbledore looked surprised at the question, as if he didn't expect anybody to doubt his wisdom. "This is a school, Headmaster," he reminded, "you're primary and indeed only concern should be for the education, safety and care of the young witches and wizards that attend."
"I agree," Harry managed to keep from snorting, as his experience had shown nothing of the sort, "however this particular case has to do with the safety of the entire.."
"...wizarding world, yes, I know." Harry may not have thought much about the whole ordeal as a kid, but now that he was a father his priorities were somewhat different. Throw in that the school was, in part, his responsibility as a Hogwarts Governor and he had a very different view of things. Harry was sure that Nicolas Flamel and Albus Dumbledore, two of the greatest wizards ever to exist, could come up with a suitable protection outside of Hogwarts.
"The fact remains, Headmaster, that this is Hogwarts. This is a school, not a fortress."
"Then we shall have to agree to disagree Harry," and that was it apparently, at least that's what Harry reckoned from the old wizards tone.
"No sir, we must not. As a Governor of Hogwarts it is my duty to see that the school is protected and it's inhabitants are safe." Here at last Harry allowed a bit of steel to enter his voice, he wasn't going to back down. Not when these kids lives were at stake, and especially not when he knew perfectly well the protections would fail. "What is in the right-hand side corridor on the third-floor Headmaster?"
Dumbledore's previously cordial, if somewhat patronizing, tone had now cooled and it was obvious he wasn't happy to be questioned in his own office. Especially not with regards to something he believes so important. "Mr. Riddle, I assure you no students will be in danger," Harry raised a sarcastic eyebrow at that, "what is there is there for the protection of all of us. You are aware of the break in at Gringotts?" Harry nodded, who wasn't aware of that? "Then you will see that even Gringotts is not safe right now, only Hogwarts is safe." His tone was firm and left no room for doubt, except for Harry who knew it was all a load of dragon dung.
"Very well," Harry would do it the hard way. He had more fun things to do, after all. "My next issue is with regards to the teaching of Potions. I have here," Harry pulled out a roll of parchment and handed it to Dumbledore, "a list of each and every student who has sat the N.E.W.T. for the subject in the last decade." Dumbledore looked it over and nodded, seemingly agreeing with everything.
"I also have this," Harry pulled out a much thicker roll of parchment, "a list of every student that sat the N.E.W.T. for Potions in the decade preceding. Do you, perhaps, notice something peculiar about the difference between the two?" Harry was sure that he did, as he seemed to be preparing himself for another round of arguing. Not that there would be any arguing with this issue, Harry had already seen to it.
"I have checked the last five decades before that one, sir, and they're all roughly the same, in proportion to the class size. You will see notations at the bottom of each list denoting class size for that period and the percentage thereof who sat the exam." Dumbledore did look, and though he wasn't happy he wasn't about to relent.
"As you can see, Headmaster, there is a significant drop in students who have sat and passed the N.E.W.T. for Potions, which happens to coincide with Professor Severus Snape's appointment as Hogwarts Potions Master."
"Yes," conceded Dumbledore, "however Severus only accepts students who received an Outstanding on their O.W.L. into his N.E.W.T. classes, that should explain the difference."
"Indeed, I was already aware Headmaster. The fact still remains however that each year Britain has fewer and fewer people who attain the required N.E.W.T. to get a job as Healer or Auror, or any number of other important jobs. You profess to work towards the safety of the wizarding world, thus you must concede that the lack of Auror's will be detrimental to Britain's safety. Not to mention the lack of qualified Healers." Harry thought that was a very big point indeed, and feared that the Ministry may not be able to match Voldemort when he does return.
Dumbledore prepared a retort but Harry cut him off, smiling slyly. "I have already taken the issue up with my fellow Governors, as well as Minister Fudge." Dumbledore did not look like a happy camper tonight. "We have decided," Harry withdrew a scroll and handed it to Dumbledore, "that next year I shall, from time to time, sit in on classes here at Hogwarts in order to ensure that all the staff are up to standard. I will also be reviewing the curriculum to see that it is adequate for what Britain needs to maintain it's place in the wizarding world."
Harry smirked as Dumbledore reviewed the scroll, which had the signature of all of the Hogwarts Board of Governors and Minister Fudge. "Also, starting next year, it shall be standard that the minimum standard for entering N.E.W.T. classes be Exceeds Expectations."
Harry would rather work with Dumbledore, but he knew what was coming for the wizarding world and wasn't going to sit around and twiddle his thumbs while Dumbledore did nothing.
"Well, now that we've got the major stuff out of the way..." and the conversation continued for another hour. Dumbledore did not seem pleased throughout the discussion and Harry hoped dearly that he hadn't lost his invitation to dinner. Happily though, the old man remembered his manners and once they were done invited Harry to dine in the Great Hall. The feast was just about to begin.
Harry searched the Gryffindor table, giving a wave to Harry and Lavender, but found no Hermione. It saddened him that she seemed to be having the same issues as last time and he resolved he'd fix it somehow. Once again Professor Quirrell came rushing in midway through dinner to announce that a troll was in the dungeon, chaos broke out, and Dumbledore sent everybody to their common rooms.
Harry briefly wondered why they didn't simply keep the students in the Great Hall and why he sent the Slytherin's to their common room, which was actually in the dungeons. Not that the troll would be there anymore, but they didn't know that. However, those thoughts were washed aside quickly by worry for Hermione.
"Mr. Potter," Harry called out, feeling rather odd when he did so, as he made his way towards the doors. "Harry, do you have the map on you?"
"Uh, er, no?" It sounded more like a question than a statement, and Harry had expected more from a junior Marauder.
"I know you brought it, James was boasting just last week that you had sneaked it out from under your mum's nose." Harry grinned proudly at that, both of them. "I need it just to make certain nobody is caught unaware. I'm not sure that everybody was attending the feast."
The younger Harry nodded at that, understanding and just as he was handing the map over a sudden panic spread across his face. "HERMIONE!" Ron and Neville, who had stayed behind with him, looked at him for a moment before comprehension dawned on their faces too.
"Granger?" Harry asked needlessly. "She's here, I'll go..." then Harry realized everybody else was gone. He knew the troll would be near Hermione, but nobody else knew and he couldn't just leave them there alone and defenceless. After all, there have been enough very slight differences over the years that the troll may not be wear it ought to be.
"Stay with me boys, do exactly as I tell you." The three nodded, seemingly understanding the gravity of the situation. It was as they were rounding the corner near Hermione's loo that they saw the great lumbering beast. Harry rushed to cut it off before it got to the loo, telling the three boys to go get Hermione while he dealt with the troll.
Dealing with the troll was not as easy as one might think, as their skin is very resistant to magic. Harry didn't want to go around throwing dark curses just yet, so tried a few other things. The Reductor Curse gave it a nice gash on it's head, but not much else. Hearing a gasp behind him Harry realized that they must have convinced Hermione that it wasn't a joke, or perhaps the roaring did that, and he told them to quickly make their way toward Gryffindor Tower.
The troll, however, seemed to zone in on Hermione and with an almighty roar charged right at them. Between the roaring troll and the screaming children, Harry thought his hearing might permanently be damaged.
Deciding that the time for playing nice had past, Harry let loose a volley of bludgeoning, explosive and severing curses at the troll. Blood splattered all over the corridor until the massive beast was almost upon them at which time Harry pulled out the biggest gun in his arsenal.
The burst of sickly green light shot out from his wand, hitting the troll square in the face and killing it. Harry quickly banished it backwards so as not to have it fall down on top of them. At the same moment Professors McGonagall, Snape and Quirrell came rushing down the hall, late as usual.
"What is going on here!" screeched McGonagall as she stared at the newly dead troll. "Mr. Riddle! What are these children doing out of their common rooms?"
Harry noticed that Quirrell's face looked up confusedly, he had not been at the feast when Dumbledore introduced him and apparently had not heard of him otherwise. Harry briefly wondered what was going through Voldemort's mind at that moment, but decided that dwelling on that and not answering McGonagall would be most unwise.
"Ah, Professor, I had noticed during the course of the feast that Miss Granger was not present." McGonagall gave Harry a questioning look, which only grew as she noticed the three boys had a similar look on their own faces. Harry decided to elaborate, "As you may recall, I was the one who did Miss Granger's introduction to the wizarding world. I founder her most engaging and was hoping to ask her how she's adjusting to Hogwarts." McGonagall seemed to buy that.
"When Professor Quirrell," Harry nodded to the man in question, "informed us of the troll I asked Mr. Potter if he knew where Miss Granger was, as I knew she had been sorted into Gryffindor." Thankfully the younger Harry seemed to catch on that he was covering up for the Map, and nudged a confused Ron and whispered into his ear. Neville, Harry noted, seemed to be distracted by a headache.
"They had heard that she was in the loo, and so I came to retrieve her as she did not know of the troll. However by that time the rest of the students and staff had gone, and I felt it would not be wise to leave the boys alone so asked them to accompany me." McGonagall eyed Harry sternly for a few moments before questioning the children, who all agreed with Harry's version of events.
"Very well Mr. Riddle, though I wish you hadn't felt the need to use that curse in front of the children." Harry managed to refrain from rolling his eyes, somehow. It's not as if he did not try, but trolls are not exactly easy to deal with. "You four," she said to the children, "will follow me back to Gryffindor Tower. Severus, Quirinus, if you would deal with that thing," she gestured distastefully towards the dead troll. "Mr. Riddle, I believe your business is done here?"
"Almost, I just had one quick thing to investigate and I shall be done with my duties." Harry was beginning to think that his former Head of House did not like him. Perhaps she knew who Tom Riddle was, or perhaps Dumbledore had told her how the meeting went earlier that evening. Harry didn't know, and right now he wasn't overly concerned as he made his way to the third-floor corridor.
Upon reaching the corridor in question he unlocked the door with an easy Alohomora and took one look at a very foul tempered Fluffy and closed it back up. Uttering spell to relock the door as it had been before, Harry made his way home for the night. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day, after all.
Convincing Fudge that the matter of the third-floor corridor needing to be investigated was easy, the man was more than willing to see Dumbledore brought down a peg. Convincing Amelia Bones and Rufus Scrimgeour, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Chief Auror respectively, was much easier than Harry had thought it would be. Of course Madam Bones had a niece attending Hogwarts while Scrimgeour was every bit the politician as Fudge, so he really ought not have been surprised.
Amelia Bones even requested to come with him, to assess Dumbledore's claims that it was for the safety of the wizarding world. Scrimgeour sent two Aurors and a trainee, Aurors Shacklebolt and Dawlish would be accompanied by a promising young recruit named Tonks.
They arrived at the end of lunch the next day, which was Saturday the second of November. Being a Saturday the students were mostly off goofing around and seemed interested in what the group from the Ministry were doing at Hogwarts. They found Dumbledore in his office, believing it polite to tell the Headmaster that they'd be investigating the third-floor corridor and giving him the chance tell them what it was about. Predictable, Dumbledore refused to divulge and tried to convince them that the matter did not need investigated.
Suffice to say, nobody paid his claims too much attention and they made their way to where Fluffy was hidden.
A flick of the wand and Bones had the door open, raising her eyebrow so highly at the rather pathetic locking charm that her monocle nearly fell out. Nobody scoffed at Fluffy however, who was wide awake with all three heads growling viciously.
"If you'll allow me, Madam Bones?" Harry asked, conjuring a harp that quickly put the Cerberus to sleep. "Hellhounds are known to fall to sleep at the sound of music," Harry enlightened his companions wisely. "Haven't you ever heard the story of Cerberus?"
Bones, who wasn't in the mood for such, flicked her wand again and the trap door popped open. They attempted to see what was at the bottom, but couldn't see anything even with shining light down there. Harry suspected an illusion charm of some sort was interfering, and simply jumped down. He heard Bones ordering Dawlish to stay behind and make sure that nobody attempted to follow them, which Harry thought was clever of her. He wasn't sure how to get back up once they'd got the stone, as thinking ahead wasn't his strong point.
"Oi, what is this?" asked Tonks after she had landed.
"Devil's Snare, Trainee, not the cleverest idea, I mean, it's not terribly difficult to deal with is it?" Harry thought aloud. Tonks didn't seem to agree with him until Harry, Bones and Shacklebolt all conjured some flames and the deadly plant let go of them. "Would have had more luck just letting them drop and break their legs. First years would know how to deal with a Devil's Snare." From Tonks' blush, he figured she wasn't up on her Herbology and Kingsley seemed to agree, giving the trainee a disapproving frown.
"Come on," he said to the others and led them to the key room. Harry hadn't really recalled the keys having such sharp points on them when he was here last time, but assumed that they must have. Would certainly have made it tricky to get the door open when they all attacked, had he not had help or the ability to conjure a large wooden shield that covered them all. As it was, the difficult part was getting the key in the first place.
Thankfully, Kingsley had that dealt with as he had brought a shrunken broom just in case. Otherwise, the keys were charmed against summoning or similar spells. Harry, as the best flyer of the lot, was able to quickly locate the proper key and grab it. The door was soon open and just as quickly closed to prevent being stabbed by incoming keys and they made their way to the chess board.
Once again, it was absurdly easily dealt with. They didn't bother trying to play their way across, as it was an incredibly daft thing to do in Harry's opinion. Instead Bones Confunded the chess set which allowed them to safely walk across the board to the now unlocked door. The troll was dealt with by four concurrent blasting curses to it's head and only Snape's defence still stood.
This was the only obstacle that actually posed the quartet any sort of problem, as they examined the flame spell for a good fifteen minutes before giving it up as a bad job. Harry, nor the others apparently, had never come across whatever spell was used. Instead they all took a small sip of the potion to take them through to the next room, which Harry was able to easily identify as he'd reviewed the memory the night before.
Last, but certainly not least, was the Mirror of Erised.
"I don't get it," said Tonks, "what's so special about this mirror?"
"I don't think that it's the mirror it's self that is being guarded, Miss Tonks," Harry smiled gently at the young Auror. "However, the mirror is a very powerful magical artefact, the Mirror of Erised. Do you know what it does, Miss Tonks?" Harry was wondering if any of them would be able to work the mirror, as he didn't want to appear to do everything himself.
"Er, show a reflection?" Harry had to chuckle at that, and gestured for her to stand before the mirror properly. "Huh? Weird, it just shows me putting some dumb gem in my pocket. I mean, a bloody huge one, like a ruby, and now it's not doing anything."
"Really? Could you check your pocket?" She did so and let out a gasp of surprise as she pulled the stone from her pocket, holding it for all to see.
"Is that...?" Madam Bones didn't seem to want to say what she thought it was, but Harry could tell she knew what she was looking at.
"The Philosopher's Stone?" he asked rhetorically, "It could be. It's not a ruby, at any rate." He smiled kindly at Tonks, who blushed, though out of embarrassment or something else Harry didn't know.
"This is what Dumbledore is keeping safe? What does it have to do with the safety of the wizarding world?" Just as she was asking that, a flash of flame brought Albus Dumbledore and two people that Harry had never met before into the chamber.
Harry may not have met them before, but he instantly knew who they were, Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel.
"Trainee, if you would be so kind as to give Mr. Flamel his pet rock." Harry knew that Dumbledore, and perhaps the Flamel's, would be suspicious that Harry was doing all of this on behalf of his father. He thought that getting the stone back to Flamel quickly would help put those fears to rest. Flamel didn't even bother hiding his inspection of the stone, but seemed to be satisfied as he nodded to Dumbledore and put it in his pocket.
"Okay Dumbledore, enough with your games, what the hell is going on here?" Amelia Bones was not happy that her niece, and all the children, were potentially being put in danger by Dumbledore to protect his mentor's pet rock. Even if it was one of the most powerful magical artefacts in the world.
Dumbledore seemed on the verge of protest when Flamel spoke up in a surprisingly soft voice that seemed to convey his age and wisdom. "Sometimes, Albus, it is best to be open rather than guard all of your secrets." Harry couldn't agree more.
"Very well. You will recall the break in at Gringotts?" they all nodded. "The stone had been in that vault until earlier that day when I had it brought here to Hogwarts. It was, and still is, my belief that Lord Voldemort was going to attempt to steal the stone in order to reclaim a physical body." Harry frowned but the other three all looked incredulous at that assertion.
"He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is dead Albus, destroyed by the Longbottom boy."
"His body was destroyed, Amelia, but I assure you he is not dead, all he needs is a new body and he will be back to wreaking havoc on the wizarding world. That is why the Stone must be protected at all costs, if Voldemort was allowed to use it he would be returned to his body and his Death Eaters would flock back to him." Harry was wondering just how much Dumbledore knew about how Voldemort had managed to survive that night, but he didn't think Dumbledore would be willing to share.
"And you didn't think to alert the Ministry to these suspicions, Dumbledore?" Amelia Bones was definitely not happy about that. She was not done yet however, "Not only that, Dumbledore, but you were putting a school full of children at risk! I'm not talking about that blasted beast upstairs," she stated as Dumbledore looked to refute Fluffy's danger, "I'm talking about potentially luring You-Know-Who into this castle!"
Harry had to concede that she had a point. If Voldemort was clever enough to know that the Stone was not only at Gringotts but also the exact vault it was in; then knowing it was at Hogwarts wouldn't be too difficult most likely. Of course, Harry also knew that Voldemort was currently in the castle, but didn't share that information.
Dumbledore quickly set out to assure that he was being careful. "Amelia, I assure you that I would know if Lord Voldemort had attempted to breach the castle wards, I take the safety of my students most seriously." The twinkle had left the Headmaster's eyes as he finished firmly, flashing a slight glare in Harry's direction, most likely for the previous night. Harry wondered if Dumbledore honestly did not know that Quirrell was being possessed by the spirit of the Dark Lord.
"It is not the You-Know-Who in person that you should worry about, Dumbledore, even weak he is bound to have his followers. Otherwise he would not have come back to Britain." Harry and the Aurors nodded in agreement with Bones, who seemed to be busy considering who in the castle could be doing Voldemort's dirty work. "Somebody had visited that beast upstairs recently, there were traces of blood on the floor that looked not more than a few days old." Harry was honestly surprised by that, he hadn't noticed anything but then he assumed that was why Amelia Bones was where she was.
By now the Head of the DMLE had begun pacing back in forth, obviously trying to solve this riddle. "It was Quirrell, was it not, who informed the school that the troll had been let in? Why had he not been at dinner?"
"Quirinus was working on a potion in the dungeons for use during his defence classes; the Serene Submission Solution to help teach our seventh years what it feels like to be under the Imperius Curse and how to fight it. He had been late to dinner for the past two weeks, as he chose to tend to the potion during that time." Harry was surprised by this, he hadn't realized that during his first year but then he kind of figured that he'd missed a lot. He had only been eleven, after all.
"Very well. Still, there is Severus Snape..." here she was cut off by Dumbledore.
"Severus was cleared of all charges, as you may recall Madam Bones."
"Based only on your testimony that he had turned sides, Headmaster," retorted the old witch, it was obvious she wasn't convinced. "You don't just leave the service of You-Know-Who, Dumbledore. Death Eaters don't just miraculously see the light and change their ways."
"Severus came to me offering valuable information that helped protect the Potters and Longbottoms, at great personal risk, Madam Bones. Since then he faithfully acted as a spy in Lord Voldemort's ranks and saved countless lives." As usual Dumbledore was not willing to hear anything against his pet Death Eater, which didn't really surprise Harry.
"Do those lives make up for the countless lives he undoubtedly took as a servant of You-Know-Who?" she asked with a raised eyebrow. Harry thought it was a good question, as he was always willing to believe the worst in Snape.
"Severus greatly regretted joining Lord Voldemort, he showed great remorse and I would trust him with my life." Again Dumbledore's tone declared that that was final and he'd hear no more arguments, but Bones seemed to have given up on convincing him to watch out for the Potion's Master.
"Somebody let a troll into the castle, Albus, and I expect that same somebody is the one who tried to get by that three headed beast upstairs and was injured in doing so. Whoever it is will most likely be taking orders from You-Know-Who, that is if your theory is right and it's not just some other wizard looking to steal the Philosopher's Stone. I was under the impression that there have been numerous attempts throughout the years." When Bones looked toward the Flamels significantly, who had been standing back out of the way and simply watching the proceedings, Nicolas nodded that indeed she was correct.
"Who else could have let the troll in? Flitwick, Sprout or McGonagall? Doubtful. Vector, Trelawney, Sinistra, Penrose and Babbling are not likely to have the knowledge or skill to bring a troll into the castle. The same for Hooch as well. Professor Kettleburn and Rubeus Hagrid would have the know how, but I don't see a motive with either of them. Filch is a squib so he can be ruled out, I think." Harry was glad that Bones didn't suspect Hagrid, he had no doubt that if somebody like Fudge or Umbridge had been there they'd be pointing at the friendly half-giant.
"So who else besides Professors Quirrell and Snape would have had the knowledge and, potentially, inclination to do so?" Harry was slightly nervous due to the fact that he was in the castle that night, and is powerful enough and knowledgeable enough to have let the troll in if he had wanted to.
"Aside from myself," stated Dumbledore, and Harry knew what was coming next, "only Mr. Riddle was inside the castle other than staff and students."
Bones turned and looked at Harry, "I was meeting with the Headmaster on behalf of the Board of Governors, and was in either the Headmaster's or Mr. Hagrid's presence the entire time, ma'am. Aside from when I rescued Ms. Granger from the troll, during which time I was in the presence of Mr. Potter, Mr. Longbottom and Mr. Weasley." If Dumbledore was trying to put suspicion on Harry, or worse, had genuine suspicions of Harry, then he thought that that ought to clear things up nicely.
Madam Bones nodded in acceptance of Harry's alibi and turned back to Dumbledore. "I'm going to call in a team from Magical Law Enforcement Dumbledore, and examine the blood samples if we can. I will also need to speak with Professor Quirrell and, perhaps, Snape." Dumbledore sighed and agreed to her demands.
"Mr. and Mrs. Flamel, your going to need to find another place to hide the stone, I will not allow these children to be put at risk for your sake." The Flamels, thankfully, were completely understanding of Madam Bones' requests and Harry wondered if they would destroy it again or not.
Amelia Bones never got to interrogate Quirinus Quirrell however, as he mysteriously disappeared the following morning. The blood found near Fluffy was deemed too contaminated for magic to decipher who it had come from, but the disappearance of Quirrell seemed to suggest that it was he who was behind the attack.
Harry was mildly concerned that Quirrell had fled and was likely still alive with Voldemort out there somewhere, it would make understanding future events all the more difficult. He didn't know if Voldemort would continue to look for the Philosopher's Stone or have Quirrell resurrect him in the same manner that he did during Harry's fourth year.
Initially Harry had thought they still had a few years before having to deal with that, however as Hermione reminded him Voldemort did not know that Neville would still be protected by his mother's charm. Harry didn't even know if Neville's situation was the same as his, as the facts of what happened were sketchy at best. However, Neville's scar and the fact that he seemed to get a headache by being near Quirrell suggested to Harry that it was the same.
Still, the notion that Voldemort was still out there with a loyal servant did not sit well with either Harry or Hermione, and it was constantly in the back of their thoughts.
However something else happened during the spring of that year, Harry received word that Abraxas Malfoy had died due to a severe case of the dragonpox.