DISCLAIMER: That part of this world and those characters you've seen before belong to their Creator: JKR. The rest is mine - although I cannot quit my day job as I make no $$$ from this…
A/N: Oh yes, you will learn more about MI-5 later. Remember… Family Wards bar memory based upon threat. David Greengrass is not a threat and moreover, Harry's file is his job. Dumbles has no files. Files can be read by others and he never had need to pensieve his memories of Harry…
INTO THE MAGICAL WORLD
The Grangers were unaware of the attention being paid to them by Office W of MI-5. For the Granger household, it was a time of adjustment as they had suddenly gone from a family of three to a family of five. For the most part, all of them adjusted fairly easily.
Harry was a little overwhelmed by so much, most notably being treated as a human being and an equal and not as a slave or animal. A cross word still made him flinch, but he was learning that the cross word or yelling did not mean pain in this new life. Fortunately for Harry, the yelling had mostly to do with bathrooms, as in some one was taking too bloody long when someone else was in need. The other times voices would be raised was usually in the morning as, while she loved school, Hermione was not a morning person and had to be all but dragged out the door. One of the Grangers almost always had to tell him sternly to go to bed. He usually spend most of his time with Hermione and Clarice and easily lost track of time with them.
The new routine began Monday morning after they left the hospital. Harry and Clarice would be remaining at home and would spend the morning working on their school work while Mrs. Granger, who had taken time off from work, helped them when asked but otherwise kept them company as they both worked away. Harry finished his course work for the year within a few days of arriving and spent the rest of the time sitting with Clarice reading as she did her school work or helping when she asked. Late one night, Rose confessed to her husband that Harry had the makings of a wonderful teacher one day. Even though she knew more, Harry was better at explaining things to Clarice than she was.
Mr. Granger would take Hermione to school on his way to work and, because Hermione actually had to go to school, she was allowed first bathroom privileges. Harry and Clarice quickly worked out an arrangement as to which of them was last because invariably there would be an issue with the hot water for the last one.
Every other afternoon, Mrs. Granger took Harry and Clarice for their physical therapy at a clinic not far from the house. They were only there for about an hour and a half, but Harry would then have loads of horror stories to tell Hermione about the medieval torture devices he had his sister were made to endure. Harry and Clarice secretly loved that she fell for it. They both felt guilty that they were pulling one over on her as she was their friend, but it did allow them some creative outlet. Hermione caught on quickly though. On Thursday, Harry and Clarice were taken to the Granger Dental Practice to have their teeth checked. While it turned out, aside from not flossing enough to please the Dentist - and who ever really does - their teeth were fine, they told Hermione of the tortures inflicted. She was a little miffed at them at first, but recognizing the creativity of their gag, she eventually forgave them - but promised pay back one day.
Harry's biggest adjustment problem was toilet seats. He had grown up in a house he hated with people he hated, but at least it was male dominated. He did not know just how upset a girl could be about a toilet seat being left up. He asked Hermione why it was such a big deal. She told him and he was so taken aback by the answer that he said something that made her mad. "Is it so hard to look before you sit?" That did not earn him a kiss goodnight that night.
Hermione had gained friends she had never had and a sister of sorts she adored. Harry had gained a real family, one that accepted and encouraged him and a house filled with laughter. The Grangers had never heard so much laughter in their home before and loved it. It even inspired Robert to resurrect one of his youthful passions - practical jokes, much to the chagrin of his wife and amusement of the children, at least those who were not the recent victim.
Clarice had the biggest adjustment problems of the three of them. Clarice had gained, but compared to the others she had lost the most. She missed her parents terribly and cried herself to sleep every night even though she realized she was in a nice place with people who really cared about her. She was terrified she would forget the two people who had meant the world to her. Harry and especially Hermione were very aware of this and quietly made the Grangers aware. Through most of the day, Clarice was fine. It was only at night when the lights were out that she became inconsolable. The Grangers promised Harry and Hermione that they would see what they could do, but never said what that might be. Harry was concerned until Hermione told him that's what her parents had said to her about letting Harry become a part of their family. With that, Harry just knew that somehow the Grangers would find a way to help his sister.
The children were expecting to go to Diagon Alley and to see Harry and Clarice's godfather whom neither had ever met the first Saturday after they got to the Grangers. Aunt Minnie, as they had begun to call McGonagall, was supposed to take them as it required a trip into the magical world, but something had come up and the trip was delayed a week.
On Thursday, June 16, the Grangers took the day off. Clarice still had troubles. The Grangers did not tell her where they were taking her and Harry until they arrived. They pulled up to her old home, the one she had lived in before her life had changed.
"Wh-why are we here?" Clarice asked.
"Harry and Hermione are concerned about you, Little One," Robert said. "So are Rosie and I. We know you're afraid that with all that's happening you'll forget those you loved and lost. We know you cry at night even though you laugh during the day. We want you to be happy again and know you can't be if you're afraid that you may forget. We contacted people to make sure you'll never forget them, okay?"
"I don't understand!"
"You're Mum wanted you to have all you could," Rose said. "We are here to sort through yours and their things. You can take whatever reminds you of them."
"Pick strong memories, Sissy," Harry added.
"And m-m-my own things?" Clarice asked.
"If you want, Little One," Robert said.
It was a hard day for Clarice. She walked though her old home looking at all the things, all with memories of a past happy life. She was so torn, Harry could see. She was also happy with her new life with him, her brother, and Hermione. She still did not want to forget. Harry was more than willing to forget his past life but saw that his Sissy had a good life before. In the end, Clarice raided her room and collected her favorite dolls and all her stuffed animals. More important to her were the pictures. Any picture of her former Mum and Dad or her was gathered as well as all photo albums. Unbeknownst to her, while she was sorting out what she wanted, the Grangers were picking through the house as well, choosing things that one day they planned to give to her - when she was older. The fancy china, the silver, her Mum's real jewelry, her Mum's wedding dress - things that one day Clarice might appreciate.
Her photos, albums, dolls and stuffed animals were all arranged on her side of the room when Hermione returned from school. Hermione said nothing, for she knew not what to say. But that night, for the first time since Clarice became Hermione's friend, roommate and sister, Clarice did not cry herself to sleep.
"She's very pretty," Hermione said the next morning.
"Who?" Clarice asked not noticing Hermione was looking at the framed photos.
"Yeah. Not my real Mum, though. Still, she was the one I knew. Wish I also could remember Harry and my real Mum."
"Know what you mean. Never seen or remember mine as well. But the Mum we have now is the one I remember and I think she's great."
"She is," Clarice said softly. "She really is."
SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 1988 - 16 WILLOW WAY, LOUGHTON, ESSEX, U.K.
Minerva McGonagall arrived at the Grangers early, just in time to enjoy one of Harry's signature breakfasts. Over breakfast there was discussion about how they were going to get the children into the magical sections of London. Sensei appeared during this discussion and emphasized that in his opinion it would be best to avoid magical transport for now. Earlier in the week he was able to peruse the course outlines for the first summer at Watanabe. He felt it was best to keep things as low profile as possible. This would be both Harry's first time in the magical world and his first time in that world since it came to believe he was dead. To Sensei's surprise, McGonagall agreed, she just did not know how to get the children there by non-magical means. It was, after all, far too far to walk.
"And just where are these places?" Robert asked.
McGonagall told him.
"Easy enough," Robert said. "They are each just a couple blocks either side of the Leicester Square Tube station. We got an Underground station here in Loughton. I'll drive the lot of you there, it's only about five minutes away, and you can take the Tube."
"I've never taken the underground trains before," McGonagall confessed.
"I have," Hermione said. "Loads of times. By myself even! I can get us there, Daddy."
"I know you can, Princess. So it's settled then?"
"I don't know," McGonagall began.
"These three are Londoners," Sensei replied, indicating the children. "Least, they probably will be. No one can claim to be a self respecting Londoner if they don't know how to use the Underground!"
"It's easy," Hermione added. "We take the train in from here. We change to the Northern Line at the Tottenham Court Road station and one stop to the south and we're at Leicester Square!"
"See?" Robert added.
When they arrived at the station in central Loughton it was soon apparent who was in charge of getting the group to Central London. Harry had never been on the Underground before and part of him wondered why it was called that as it was clear that the trains were above ground here. Clarice had been on occasions with her parents, but never had to use it on her own. McGonagall could count the number of times she had used in on one hand and it had been ages since her last foray. That left Hermione, who used it on her own quite often to get to and from school. She explained that she would ride her bike to the station and take the Tube in to her school. The Grangers, who were accompanying them on this trip, stood back and allowed Hermione to explain everything.
She explained everything to her three companions, from counting her money to buy her ticket, to using the new ticket kiosks, to getting through the turnstiles and onto the platform, to reading the maps for figuring out how to get where they were going and, when they arrived at Tottenham Court Road, how to change trains. Although neither she nor Harry noticed, practically from the moment they left the car until they entered a strange looking pub called The Leaky Cauldron and even later, they were holding hands the whole time. They didn't notice because they did it quite often and for them it seemed as natural as breathing. McGonagall and the Grangers, on the other hand, could not help but notice but decided to say nothing about it.
They passed through the very old looking tavern and headed out a back door into a small alley that appeared blocked off. McGonagall drew her wand and the children then realized it was the first time they had actually seen a real wand and that they were going to see some kind of magic. She tapped her wand in what looked like a clockwise, circular pattern on the bricks in front of her. She clearly had tapped five specific bricks. When she finished, the bricks began moving and eventually forming into an arch way.
"That was a pentacle, wasn't it," Hermione observed.
"Indeed it was," McGonagall smiled. "You tap a wand on the bricks in that pattern and it opens the gate into Diagon Alley."
"What's a pentacle?" Clarice asked.
"A five pointed star," Harry said before Hermione could open her mouth."
"Oh," Clarice replied in a comprehending tone.
"Very good," McGonagall said. "It's going to be a pleasure teaching the three of you, when the time comes."
They entered the Alley and the Grangers and the three children were amazed at the scene. The Alley was actually almost as wide as a road. Four story buildings lined both sides. The ground floor were shops and it was clear that many of the upper floors were offices of some nature, although many were also flats. The buildings harkened back to a London long lost to history, with plaster walls and thick, explosed oak beams. Hermione correctly pointed out the style was known as Tudor. The ground floors had large, multi-paned windows that both allowed light into the shops and the shoppers to see what was to be sold. Harry did his best to take inventory of the shops and such as they walked through the Alley. McGonogall was clearly taking them on a tour.
Harry noted that many of the shops were not all that different from the shops the Grangers had taken him to over the past weeks. What was different is that none of the stores he was familiar with were here. He counted no less than ten stores selling women's clothes, five men's, three shoe stores and two that claimed to be outfitters and sold what looked like safari clothes. There were three advertising custom robes, four that sold children's clothing and two that sold baby stuff. There were at least five stores selling furniture and four that sold what could best be described as household goods. There were three stores that sold luggage. There were also five restaurants, as well as butcher shops, hair salons, barber shops, fish mongers, a few bakeries, a few green grocers, cheese makers, dairies, a store that sold tea and coffee, dry goods - basically everything one could find in a supermarket.
There were also four jewelry stores and no less than five book stores that McGonagall and Robert Granger had to try and keep Hermione and Rose Granger from entering and three candy stores the adults had to keep the children from entering. Then there were the various offices: solicitors, accountants, travel agents, publishers, Healers (magical doctors), and the like. One whole building was dedicated to something called The Daily Prophet, which McGonagall explained was one of six daily newspapers in Magical Britain, this one being the London paper.
Then there were the stores that caught everyone's attention: the magical stores. The first one they saw, almost on entering the Alley was Ollivander's who made and sold wands. It was one of three wand makers in the Alley and McGonagall said it was the best of the lot, but also the most expensive. There was also Eeylops Owl Emporium which the children thought was a pet store until McGonagall explained that witches and wizards used owls to deliver the mail, which explained all the owls they saw in the post office. There was a magical pet shop as well. Then there were stores selling cauldrons, potions, potions ingredients, magical items too numerous to list, a magical joke shop and four of the most amazing toy stores any of the children had ever seen. There was a store called Quality Quidditch Supplies that looked not unlike a sporting goods store, but sold the oddest stuff. There were brooms in the window unlike any Harry had ever seen. McGonagall explained that Quidditch was a sport magicals played and they used brooms not for sweeping but for flying. Harry soon notices three other shops that sold "everyday," "family," "children's," "training," and other brooms. They reminded him of car dealerships or maybe a bicycle shop.
At the far end of the Alley was the largest building they had seen. McGonagall explained it was Gringotts, the Wizard's bank. It was where their money was kept, although she explained they would be able to access it from a non-magical account. The tour complete, she led them back down the alley, finally stopping at one of the outdoor cafes. The sign read "Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor." She handed each of the children five small, gold coins.
"Okay, you three," she said, "that's five Galleons each, more than enough to have whatever you want. I want you to wait here, enjoy the best ice cream in the world while I pick up the books Sensei wants you to have."
"Where are you going, Mum and Dad?" Hermione asked.
"With Minnie," Rose replied. "Maybe do a little window shopping as well."
"Why can't I come with you?" Hermione asked.
"Because we don't have all day, Dear," McGonagall said. "Your mother tells me that if I take you into any bookshop, we'll be there for hours."
Hermione frowned. She really wanted to check out the bookshops but also knew she would not be satisfied with a quick browse. She was a little upset she couldn't go, but was more upset that her mother revealed this information.
"We'll come back and do it proper another time, okay?," her mother said.
"I guess," Hermione moped.
"Aunt Minnie," Harry asked, "I don't understand this menu thing. You gave us these Galleons, but it looks like the prices are something else. It says stuff like 3S10K and such. What's that?"
"S are silver Sickles and K are bronze Knuts. Basically, it's change for a Galleon. There are twenty-nine Knuts to a Sickle and seventeen Sickles to a Galleon. You have five Galleons there, Harry. Should be more than enough. Now you three remain here while I pick up the books. Okay?"
"Yes, Aunt Minnie," the three children replied.
Harry turned to his menu as McGonagall left them. He was trying to decide between a three-scoop hot fudge sundae (5S13K), he never had one before, and another treat he wanted to try: a root beer float (3S21K). In the end, he decided to have both. He looked up and noticed the girls were still studying there menus. A woman's voice caught his attention.
"This place is always so crowded," she complained. Harry saw a short plump woman with red hair. With her were for red haired children, three boys - two who looked like twins - and a little girl. "Oh," the woman said looking in his direction. "Just our luck. There some seats over there." Harry watched as the family of red heads made a beeline for the table.
"Remember Harry," Hermione whispered to him as the children approached, "Don't use your real name."
"What? Oh yeah. Right. Hank Peters it is then."
"Whatever you say, Hank," Clarice giggled.
"It's not a bad name," Harry complained.
"It's so not you."
"Good morning," the woman announced looking at Harry and the others. "Would it be okay if my children joined you at your table?"
"No problem," Harry said.
"Right then, tuck in you lot." The four children took their seats. "Now here you go," she said handing each of them five silver coins.
"But I can't get a sundae with only five Sickles," the younger boy complained.
"Nonsense, Ronald," the woman scolded. "You can get a two scoop Sundae. You just can't stuff yourself. And, a two scoop Sundae is more than you'll deserve if you don't stop complaining! The lot of you have been begging to come here all morning. I can change my mind and your brothers and sister will know it's your fault they can't enjoy a treat!"
"Fine," the boy moped.
"Okay, the four of you stay here. Your father and I have a spot of shopping to do and I know how much you love that. Be back in a few."
"Bye Mum," one of the older boys said.
"Spot on that one," the other older boy said as their mother hurried back into the crowds, "I'd rather have my fingernails pulled out than go shopping."
"Bloody annoying, really," the other agreed.
"'Course I'll make an exception for the joke shop."
"Where are our manners," one said noticing Harry and the others.
"You know we don't have any," the other replied. "Mum reminds us of that on occasion."
"Like about every five minutes."
"Probably whispers it to us in our sleep."
"Shouts it through the door when we're in the loo."
"All through meals."
"That's mostly Ronnykins."
"Oi!" the younger boy complained.
"Sad but true, little bro. Your eating habits are terrible."
"Mum says they are so they are," the other brother said.
"Anyway," one of the boys turned to Harry and the others. "I'm Fred Weasley and the ugly one next to me is George."
"I thought you were the ugly one," the other said, "and I thought we agreed I'm Fred."
"That's Fred," the girl said pointing to one of the twins, "and the other one is George."
"Busted," Fred said.
"Only 'cause Ginny is the only one we know who can actually tell us apart," George added.
"Takes all the fun out of life," Fred sighed. "We're ten. Our snitch of a little sister is Ginny and she's six."
"I'll be seven in August," Ginny corrected.
"A point she's made," Fred began.
"Three times a day," George added.
"Since about - oh?"
"The day after her sixth birthday," Fred finished.
"And this complaining git is our eight year old miserable excuse for a little brother Ron," George added. As harsh as it sounded, there was laughter in his voice indicating he was not serious.
"We're the Weasleys," Ginny added smiling.
"The ones Sensei mentioned," Hermione whispered in Harry's ear. Harry nodded in agreement.
"Merlin's pants," the girl exclaimed pointing at Harry's head. "You're him, aren't you?"
"Scar," Hermione whispered in Harry's ear after noting his confusion. Harry reached behind him. He had a ball cap tucked into his belt. He removed it and placed it on his headed, hiding the offending scar.
"Hank Peters," Harry said.
"No you're not," the girl said. "You're him. I know it! You're Harry Potter, the-Boy-Who-Lived!" She practically yelled the last bit. Harry and his companions immediately looked around and to their surprise, no one seemed to notice.
"Wards," Clarice suggested.
"Probably," Harry agreed. "Bloody useful."
Hermione was too concerned about what might happen to scold Harry for his language.
Harry glared at the girl. "And what if I am," he said with as menacing a growl as he could muster.
"But Mum said you're dead," the girl said quietly.
"It would seem that the rumors of my untimely demise have been exaggerated," Harry said earning a giggle from Hermione and Clarice.
"You're really him," the younger boy asked.
"My name is Harry Potter," Harry sighed. "As to that other chap, no idea who or what he is. Been cursed with the same name…"
"But your scar," the little girl protested. "The books all say that…"
"Car crash," Harry said. "That's where I got this I was told."
"Besides Gin-Gin," one of the older boys said, "those books also say said Boy-Who-Lived had blonde hair, blue eyes and killed a dragon when he was three?"
"Doubt this kid killed a dragon," the other added.
"But his name! It's the same! He is The-Boy-Who-Lived."
"Who everyone knows is dead, Gin-Gin."
"Boy-Who-Lived," Harry said, "what a load of rubbish. Although, my Uncle did try to beat me to death a few weeks ago and failed so maybe…"
"Are you ready to order?" a young woman said standing beside the table holding a note pad.
"Yes," Harry said. "I'll try a three scoop vanilla hot fudge sundae and a root beer float."
"Oooh, that sounds good," Clarice said. "Me too!"
"Make that three," Hermione added.
"Can't afford that," the younger boy grumbled.
"Make it seven then," Harry said. "That's what? A Galleon, six Sickles and six Knuts, right?"
The waitress was busy computing the bill. When she finished she looked at Harry in surprise. "That's right. How did you know that?"
"My brother's a math whiz," Clarice said proudly.
Harry handed the waitress two Galleons. "Keep the change," he added. He had always wanted to say that.
"You are a gentleman and a scholar," the waitress said before leaving to place the order.
"I don't know about the gentleman bit," Clarice chided.
"Don't be silly, Clarice," Hermione said. She then kissed Harry on the cheek, "he's the perfect gentleman - usually."
"You weren't saying that a few days ago, Hermione," Clarice said. "I believe you called him a mean bastard with a few other words that are just bad."
"Clarice," Hermione scolded.
"Yeah, well … what he did was so …"
"It could just as easily have been me and it's not like we didn't provoke him."
"I know, still…"
"What are you on about?" George asked.
"Harry pranked me," Hermione pouted.
"Do tell," Fred added eagerly.
"Actually, the prank was aimed at either of you," Harry said with a smirk. "Payback, you know."
"What do you mean?" Fred asked.
"Last Sunday I was getting out of the shower and all my clothes were gone," Harry said. "Not only that, there were no towels or anything in the bathroom. I tried to make a quick dash to my room, but these two were waiting in the hall for me to come out. They had a camera and started taking pictures."
"We told you there was no film in it," Clarice said. "Like I'd want naked pictures of my own brother," she added rolling her eyes in disgust.
"Why would they do that?" Ron asked.
"I accidentally walked in on Hermione when she was getting out of the shower."
"A likely story," Hermione said rolling her eyes, but laughing.
"What did he do, pray tell?" George asked.
"He saran wrapped the toilet bowl," Clarice said.
"Saran wrap?" Fred asked.
"It's a plastic wrap used for food and such," Hermione said. "He put it over the toilet bowl. It's almost invisible and when I tried to take a pee, instead of the pee going into the bowl it splashed back up all over me and the floor and such."
"Better watch it Fred," George laughed, "we have competition."
"Indeed. Need to keep an eye on these three," Fred added.
"Who knows? We might learn a few tricks."
"If you san wrap the toilet, I'll hex you!" Ginny growled.
The waitress arrived and handed over their orders. As they began to eat, Fred asked, "so tell us about you. I mean, we have heard of the Boy-Who-Lived…"
"Now known as the Boy-Who-Lived-Then-Died-Then-Didn't-But-Doesn't-Want-Anyone-To-Know-He-Didn't," George added. Harry laughed at that. He liked these two although he was not sure about the others.
"I take it the three of your live in the same home?" Fred asked.
"Recent development," Harry said.
"This is my best friend," Harry said taking Hermione's hand, "my first real friend actually. Her name is Hermione Granger and she's eight years old and really smart and pretty. Her real parents were students at Hogwarts when she was born and she had to be placed for adoption apparently. She was adopted by the Grangers who are not magical but know about it, and they are wonderful parents. Her real parents died in the War.
"This is Clarice Jameson," Harry said indicating his sister. "She's almost seven. She's my little sister."
"For real?" George asked.
Harry nodded. "Our parents were killed in the War and we were separated. I went to live with our Aunt and Uncle, who were not magical, and she was placed for adoption. Don't ask us why that happened 'cause we don't know yet. Anyway, her parents were wonderful too. But her dad died of cancer about a year ago and she and her mum were in a car crash about a month ago. Her mum was killed and she was injured and sent to St. Bart's hospital. Just so happens, I was there too.
"My Uncle had tried to beat me to death…"
"Why?" Ginny asked.
Harry shrugged. "He was a mean bastard. Beat his wife too. I wound up at St. Bart's and the social people took me away from them. Hermione's parents had found me when I was hurt and then agreed to take me in. When we learned Clarice was my sister and also an orphan, they took her in as well."
"Rich and famous," Ron grumbled staring at his food.
"Hey!" Harry shot back. "Maybe I have a few Galleons, but I'd give it all up if it brought my parents back!"
"You're such a Git, Ronald," Ginny said.
"I don't know what your problem is," Harry said. "Until very recently, my life sucked! I was beaten black and blue frequently. My Uncle has a bad day at work, I get a whipping that tore the skin from my back. I look like I smiled, a beating. I talk or make a sound, a broken arm. I slept in a closet for as long as I can remember. I ate table scraps if there were any. They say I was starving. The only time I was allowed to leave the house was to go to church or to school, assuming I could 'cause I was often too hurt to move. Until very recently, there was hardly a day where I was not in pain all the time. I once dropped a light bulb and my Uncle punished me by sticking my finger in the light socket…"
"He tried to electrocute you?" Hermione gasped.
"To be honest, I'm surprised he didn't try and burn me at the stake. He knew I was magical and that's why he did a lot of that."
"So you've been living as Muggles all this time?" Fred asked trying to keep the conversation going despite his younger brother.
"Are they all like that?" Ginny asked. "Do they all hate us that much?"
"No," Hermione said. "Most are not like that at all. Harry's Uncle was evil! They arrested him for it in the end. But he burned to death in a fire before he could be tried for hurting My Harry." She said that with such conviction. Harry was surprised that it pleased him as much as it did. The message was clear to Ginny as well. Harry was not available and probably never would be. Her fantasy of being the Bride-of-The-Boy-Who-Lived died then and there. Oddly, she didn't mind at all.
"Hermione's parents are not magical," Harry said. "They are wonderful people."
They spent the next half hour or more talking about the non magical world. It was clear to Harry, Hermione and Clarice that these Weasleys knew next to nothing about the world where they lived. The three learned that the Weasleys had three older brothers all off at Hogwarts. The oldest was Bill who was a Sixth Year Prefect. Charlie was in his Fourth Year and played something called "Seeker" on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. The three had learned some about Hogwarts from Sensei and knew the students lived in four "Houses," each named for one of the Founders and that the Houses competed against one another all year. The youngest Weasley at Hogwarts was Percy.
"The most boring Weasley of all," Fred complained. "His First Year is almost over - they come home next Saturday - and he still hasn't served a single detention. Giving the family a bad name, he is."
"It's nice to see you lot can stay put for once," a woman's voice interrupted. Harry and the others looked to see that Mrs. Weasley had returned. Standing next to her was a tall man with short red hair and glasses. The woman looked at the now empty dishes on the table and gasped.
"Where did you get all of that?" she said to her four children. "I only gave you five Sickles and I know that cost more than five Sickles."
"Harry bought it, Mum," Ginny said.
"Harry who, young lady?"
"Harry Potter," she said with glee pointing to Harry. "You know," she drawled, "as in The-Boy-Who-Lived?"
"I've had just about enough of that, young lady! He's just a story book character. He's no more real than Father Christmas!"
"She's read all the books," George explained to Harry and the others. "Really into them, she is."
"Did you really buy them all that?" Mrs. Weasley asked.
"How much did it cost?"
"One six and six," Ron mumbled. "Paid them two Galleons a didn't even want change."
"Well then, the lot of you will just have to give Harry here the five Sickles I gave you to help pay him back," Mrs. Weasley began.
"No!" Harry protested. "It's my allowance money! I can spend it anyway I want and I wanted to buy them their ice cream."
"That's very nice of you Dear but…"
"No buts! Our parents and our magical guardian Aunt Minnie both told us it's our money to use as we please."
"If we don't spend it here," Hermione added, "we're going to have changed into pounds so we can spend it when we get home."
"You lot live with Muggles?" Mr. Weasley asked. The three nodded. "That must be fascinating!"
"But that can't be, Arthur," Mrs. Weasley complained. "It's still the school year and even if it wasn't, Muggle Borns aren't even told about magic until they're eleven. Do any of these children look like they're eleven?"
"Well, no," Arthur Weasley said.
"That's just silly," Ginny said.
"What do you mean Pumpkin," Arthur asked.
"They're witches and wizards, right? They were born that way, weren't they? Or was it all stories you were telling me?"
"True," Mrs. Weasley said, "but that's not the custom. Muggle Borns are not told until they are old enough to start magical school."
"And yet we are?" Ginny said. "That's just stupid! That's like telling these gits," she said pointing to her brothers, "that they are boys as soon as they could talk but not telling me I am a girl until I am eleven!"
"She has a point Molly," Arthur said.
"But it just isn't done," Molly Weasley complained.
"Perhaps it should be," Ginny all but shouted in indignation.
"Mrs. Weasley," Harry asked, "can magic be detected? Can magicals determine that a child is magical or not?"
"Of course," Molly said, "at least that's what we are told."
"Does it make sense to you to deny that information to the child and his family? Shouldn't the government be interested in protecting magical children from the potential backlash from their non magical families?"
"What do you mean?"
"Clarice is my sister. I only met her about a month ago. When we were babies our real parents - magical parents - were killed in the War. Clarice was set for adoption and was adopted by a loving non-magical couple. The father she knew died from cancer. Her mum was killed in a car crash. She was hurt and wound up in the same hospital as me and we were finally reunited and Hermione's parents took us in.
"In my case, I was sent to live with my Aunt and Uncle. I was sent there by this Dumbledore git."
"Dumbledore?" Molly asked. "Albus Dumbledore?"
"I'm sure he did what was best if that's the case."
"An I'm sure he cooks children into pies like the witches I read about in kids books," Harry said. "He separated me and my sister and saw to it I was tortured."
"You are exaggerating," Molly began.
"Want to see the scars?" Harry replied. "Dumbledore sent me to live with my Aunt and Uncle! According to my parent's Will, I should never have been sent there - period! I was beaten most every day! They hated me! They knew I was magical and wanted to beat it out of me! They nearly killed me, which was why I met Hermione. She and her parents found me and sent me to a hospital and she stayed with me the - well most of the time - and they took me into their family. It was at that hospital that Clarice was sent and I found my sister and she too now lives with the Grangers.
"Where the hell was your government when I was being beaten?"
"Excuse me?" Molly asked.
"Isn't it against the law to beat children or to put a child in that situation?"
"It is," Arthur said.
"Well this Dumbledore guy did that to me. He's supposed to be the good guy and he did that to me. Why? I was just a baby when it happened. Why take my sister away? Why was I sent to people who beat me? Why? Does that sound like a good man to you?"
"I never really thought about that," Molly confessed.
"All three of us had magical parents," Harry continued. "All of our birth parents were killed in the war and we were all sent to live with non-magical families because people thought we'd be safer there. That may have been true for Hermione and Clarice as their adoptive parents were or are great, but it was not true for me at all. Whatever risk there was that one day an evil wizard might find me was far less than the daily risk at the hands of my non-magical relatives."
Molly looked at him skeptically as if she felt he was surely exaggerating. Hermione picked up on the look. "Want to see his scars?" she suggested. "His back is covered with them."
Molly could see Harry, Clarice and Hermione glaring at her. They were almost hostile. "You," she began, "you poor Dear. I really don't know what to say."
"Fortunately," Harry shrugged, "that part of my life is over. Orphaned again, I now live with Hermione and Clarice and the Grangers. They are wonderful people."
"Oh," Hermione interrupted, "here they come! Oh my! Daddy's sure carrying a lot of bags!" The Grangers soon arrived at the table. Mr. Granger seemed to be carrying several bags. "Everybody," Hermione said, "these are my parents Robert and Rose Granger. They're dentists and have their own practice in London. They adopted me when I was a baby and they are now Harry and Clarice's foster parents. Mum and Dad, these are Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and four of their children, Fred, George, Ron and Ginny. They're all magical."
"What's dentists?" Ron asked.
"We're doctors who fix people's teeth," Rose replied.
"Teeth need fixing?"
After pleasantries were exchanged and a long discussion of what dentists did for people Molly asked: "Just out of curiosity, how did you find your way here?"
"Oh," Robert replied. "Minnie brought us. She should be here soon. She's Hermione's Great-grandmother, but she prefers the kids to call her Aunt Minnie. Here she is."
The Weasleys turned to see the elderly lady approaching.
"P-Professor McGonagall?" Molly asked.
"Ah Arthur and Molly," McGonagall said brightly. "Out for a bit of shopping?"
Molly nodded. "Professor?"
"I see you've met the Grangers and Harry and Clarice."
Molly nodded again. "Professor," she began, "um - well Hermione said that…"
"I am her Great-grandmother?"
"It's true. Long story but it ended up with Hermione's adoption by Robert and Rose. They are wonderful people and she has a wonderful family. They were kind enough to allow me to - er - get to know my only living relative.
"Anyway it's fortunate that I ran into you. Meaning to write you a letter as your sons' Head of House."
"What did Charlie do this time?" Molly sighed in exasperation.
"While I suspect he may have helped, it wasn't Charlie."
McGonagall shook her head.
"Percy?" Molly asked in disbelief. "But he's never caused trouble!"
"Guess he was saving up for a huge end of year prank," McGonagall sighed.
"What did he do?"
"At breakfast yesterday he somehow caused all the Slytherins outer garments to disappear. It was surprising to see how many of them don't wear any underwear."
"He didn't," Molly said slowly turning red.
"He most certainly did! He admitted as much in front of the entire school - well, everyone but the Slytherins who ran back to their dorms. He then announced that next year Weasley's Wonderful World of Magical Merriment will be open for the entertainment of the masses."
"And the others?" Molly growled.
"We think they helped but cannot prove it. Some of the magic Percy used was well beyond First Year level."
"Five points for each partially naked Slytherin and twenty-five for each naked one. Slytherin already had the House Cup locked up despite our winning Quidditch. Percy's actions reduced the total Gryffindor points to almost zero. Oddly, his House mates don't seem to care. Oh yes! He's in detention for the rest of this term and three days a week for the first two months of next term…"
Molly turned bright red and all but ran from the table and down the Alley.
"Where's she off to?" Rose Granger asked.
"Post Office most like," Arthur said.
"She's gonna send Perfect Percy a Howler!" Fred laughed.
"Maybe Charlie and Bill too," George added.
"Probably," Fred agreed. "She'll want a piece of them too for not stopping him."
"Who would have thought?"
"Perfect Percy becomes Percy Prank Master."
"What's a Howler?"
"It's a magical letter that allows the writer to yell at some one," Fred said.
"At about ten times normal volume," George added with a laugh.