Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any characters that appear in the Harry Potter series authored by JK Rowling. I do lay claim to Miranda (and a mousetrap laying Death). I took direct verbiage from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in this chapter. Again those books were written by JK Rowling.
July 2nd continued
"Damn," Amelia Bones grumbled as she sat heavily in her chair. Harry, Hermione, Sirius and Tonks had followed Amelia directly back to her office after Pettigrew's trial and execution. Each of them glanced at the others as they took seats in front of Madam Bones' desk. "Two good men killed," Amelia continued with a sigh. "Going to be hard on Charles' wife. She's six months pregnant with their first child."
Harry glanced at Hermione as a wave of guilt washed over him.
"No Harry," Hermione said as she felt his guilt. "Lots of people died and we can't possibly save all of them. We have no idea if this Charles died in the last time or not, but others will live."
"I hope so," Harry replied but he couldn't quite swallow the guilt that he still felt.
Amelia was looking out the window that Magical Maintenance had displaying a cloudy day. "Damn," She repeated. Suddenly her expression hardened as she called out to her assistant who quickly stuck her head in the door. "Get Kincaid in here immediately."
"Yes ma'am," The assistant said and hurried away.
The Head of the DMLE finally turned to the people in her office. "Well Sirius," She said, "at least you saved us from it being a total fiasco. If Pettigrew had escaped in front of all of those people it would have been ugly. Though I'm sure that's exactly what Voldemort wanted."
"Fortunately I'd seen Peter change enough times," Sirius replied. "I could tell it was happening the instant he started. That's what gave me my jump. Just glad Harry kept Scrimgeour from stunning me and possibly letting that scum get away."
"Just wished we'd caught his sister as well," Amelia muttered. A knock on her door interrupted anything else she was going to say. Her assistant's head appeared. "Kincaid to see you ma'am as you requested."
"Send him in."
The assistant disappeared and a medium height, black-haired wizard came in the office. He was middle aged and the black hair was receding. "You...you wanted to see me?" He asked nervously.
"Yes, where are we on those word detections?"
"Uh...we haven't...I mean we're working on it," The man stammered.
"I just had two people imperiused in this damn building," Amelia snarled as her monocle seemed to disappear as her eyes narrowed. "Something that led to two of my people being killed. Get this straight Kincaid, neither you nor anyone on your team will be going home until this building is protected, do I make myself clear?"
"No buts unless it's yours on a platter," Bones said menacing. "If this building isn't protected when I wake up tomorrow, you won't have a job. Then after this building is completed, get to work on Diagon Alley. I want this whole country protected before the end of the week."
Kincaid swallowed nervously but nodded.
"Make sure you coordinate with Scrimgeour about who's monitoring and responding."
"That's all, now get to work."
Amelia shook her head as she watched the door close behind man. "Not just him either. If those blasted Goblins would just give us that polyjuice and imperio removing magic," Madam Bones grumbled. "I'm tempted to force..." She was interrupted by her assistant sticking her head in the door again.
"Excuse me, but Dumbledore would like to see you now," The assistant said.
"Let him in," Bones replied with a sigh as her eyes flickered to Harry and Hermione.
"Good evening Amelia," Dumbledore said as he entered her office. "A particularly interesting day this has turned out to be."
"I lost two good men today Albus," Bones snapped. "I don't call that interesting."
"And you condemned someone else to die," Dumbledore retorted. "But I am not here to rehash today but to..."
"I know, I know, the Pensieve," Amelia said. "Sirius, could you get it out?"
Sirius had carried the Pensieve from the Courtroom back to Amelia's office for her. It was currently sitting in a carrying bag beside his seat.
As Sirius pulled the stone basin out, Amelia turned back to Dumbledore. "Understand that I will arrest you if you tamper with the device at all. Do I make myself clear?"
"Perfectly Amelia," Dumbledore replied. "May I invoke a privacy spell around it so I can view the memory in private?"
"With us as well?" Harry asked as he stood and held out his hand to help his wife out of her seat.
"Of course," Dumbledore smiled as he pulled a vial filled with silvery liquid from his robes. "That was our agreement."
A couple of minutes later, Harry and Hermione found themselves standing on a country lane bordered by high hedgerows. A short distance in front of them was a small squat man, wearing very thick glasses. He was dressed bizarrely like many wizards when trying to pass for a muggle.
"Whose memory is this?" Hermione asked.
"That," Dumbledore nodded toward the smallish man, "Is Bob Ogden. He's dead now, but he was formerly an employee of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. I was fortunate that he was willing to share this encounter with me late in his life. Now please do not discuss who or what we see in this memory with anyone. If Voldemort knew I was curious about...well you'll see, he might grow suspicious to why."
"What is so important about this memory?" Hermione asked as she looked around. Harry and she had agreed that for the most part, Hermione would ask the questions since she'd never seen the memory. They were concerned that Harry would say something that might indicate that what he was seeing wasn't new to him.
"As I said, you'll see," Dumbledore replied as he watched the man examine a sign covered in brambles on the left side of the road.
Ogden soon started out at a quick pace down the lane.
"Follow me," Dumbledore said as he started after the little man. Harry glanced at the sign, but already knew what it would say. There were two small arms; the one pointing back the way they had come read: Great Hangleton, 5 miles. The arm pointing in the direction they were walking said Little Hangleton, 1 mile.
"Well we were right," Harry said. "We're off to see the Gaunts."
Soon they lane curved to the left and fell away down a steep hill. Ahead of them, between to hills, was the picturesque village of Little Hangleton.
"That's beautiful," Hermione said as she slowed but did not stop.
"That house," Harry said pointing at a large manor house on the side of hill surrounded by a velvety green lawn. "It seems familiar."
"And so it might," Dumbledore replied. "I believe that is where you witnessed Nagini kill the old man last summer. Of course this memory is years old and currently the manor is very much run-down. Now keep an eye on Ogden for he is going to disappear soon," They had to lengthen their strides since the man had started trotting down the steep slope. About half way to the bottom of the hill, the road curved to the right and they just saw the back of Ogden disappear into a gap in the hedges when they rounded the bend.
"Pay careful attention to where this gap is," Dumbledore instructed the teens as they went through the gap as well. "It has now disappeared, and it's critical we remember where it was."
"Why?" Hermione asked the obvious question. They were now moving along a narrow dirt track bordered by even higher hedges.
"Because where we are going right now, is the same place we need to go later," Dumbledore explained. "Unfortunately all of this has grown into a mass of brambles and hedges since no one uses this path now," The path meandered downward through the growth. Ogden stumbled several times over the rocks and potholes as he continued his trek. Finally the path opened onto a copse of woods and that's where Ogden stopped and drew his wand.
Harry nudged Hermione and indicated the half-hidden building amongst the tangle of tree trunks.
"Where are we?" Hermione asked knowing exactly who lived in that shack.
"We are visiting the Gaunts," Dumbledore replied. He was studying the surrounding area, trying to identify landmarks so he could find this exact place in the present time.
"Who are the Gaunts?"
"Listen and see if you can tell me," Dumbledore instructed.
As Ogden moved cautiously toward the building a man suddenly dropped from a tree and landed on his feet directly in front of the DMLE employee.
Ogden leapt back and stumbled.
Harry studied the man who he knew was Morfin Gaunt this time. The last time he'd just been an odd looking but vicious sort, but now he knew this was Riddle's uncle who Riddle had framed for the murder of his muggle father and his family. Morfin was dressed in rags and covered in filth, but what drew Harry's attention this time was Morfin's eyes. Though he had noticed them last time, he hadn't realized just how much the two eyes looked in opposite directions. "How does he see like that? He wondered to Hermione.
"It appears he suffers from some sort of strabismus," Hermione replied as she also studied the man who had a knife in one hand and a wand in the other. "It's a condition that causes eyes to not be aligned with each other."
"You're not welcome," Morfin said.
"He's hissing," Hermione said.
"Parseltongue," Harry explained. "He's saying Ogden's not welcome."
Ogden took two steps backward before collecting himself. "Er — good morning. I'm from the Ministry of Magic —"
"You're not welcome," The man repeated.
Each time Morfin said something in parseltongue, Harry repeated it to Hermione.
"Er — I'm sorry — I don't understand you," said Ogden nervously.
"Though I'm sure you do, don't you Harry?" Dumbledore said quietly as they watched the events unfold.
Harry attempted to sound confused as he asked, "Why? Why would I...parseltongue? He's speaking parseltongue isn't he?"
"Exactly," Dumbledore replied with a smile. "So...who do you think lives here?"
Harry looked at Dumbledore and missed when Morfin attacked Ogden, leaving him on the ground clutching his nose. "Riddle...you said Riddle's mother was from a bigoted poor...she's here isn't she?"
"Very good," Dumbledore replied with a twinkle in his eye knowing he'd led the teens to the knowledge he wanted them to have. "This is the home of the last descendants of Salazar Slytherin."
"Morfin!" yelled an elderly man who looked more like an aged monkey that a man as he came out of the door banging it shut behind him. Morfin stood over Ogden cackling as he held his knife menacingly.
"Ministry, is it?" asked the older man, when he made it to Ogden.
"Correct!" said Ogden angrily, as he dabbed his face with handkerchief. "And you, I take it, are Mr. Gaunt?"
"S'right," said Gaunt. "Got you in the face, did he?"
"Yes, he did!" snapped Ogden.
"Should've made your presence known, shouldn't you?" suggested Gaunt aggressively. "This is private property. Can't just walk in here and not expect my son to defend himself."
"Defend himself against what, man?" said Ogden, clambering back to his feet.
"Busybodies. Intruders. Muggles and filth," Gaunt replied as if it was obvious.
Ogden pointed his wand at his own nose, which was still issuing large amounts of what looked like yellow pus, and the flow stopped at once. Mr. Gaunt spoke out of the corner of his mouth to Morfin. "Get in the house. Don't argue."
Though Morfin was about to argue, the glare the older man gave him sent him lumbering away.
"It's your son I'm here to see, Mr. Gaunt," said Ogden, as he mopped the last of the pus from the front of his coat. "That was Morfin, wasn't it?"
"Ah, that was Morfin," said the old man indifferently. "Are you pureblood?" he asked, suddenly aggressive.
"That's neither here nor there," said Ogden coldly.
Gaunt squinted into Ogden's face and muttered, in what was clearly supposed to be an offensive tone, "Now I come to think about it, I've seen noses like yours down in the village."
"I don't doubt it, if your son's been let loose on them," said Ogden. "Perhaps we could continue this discussion inside?"
"Yes, Mr. Gaunt. I've already told you. I'm here about Morfin. We sent an owl —"
"I've no use for owls," said Gaunt dismissively. "I don't open letters."
"Then you can hardly complain that you get no warning of visitors," said Ogden tartly. "I am here following a serious breach of Wizarding law, which occurred here in the early hours of this morning —"
"All right, all right, all right!" bellowed Gaunt. "Come in the bleeding house, then, and much good it'll do you!"
Harry ignored Morfin crooning to the adder when they went inside. His eyes went immediately to the girl in the pale grey dress with eyes that went in two different directions at the same time like her brother's did.
"Obviously a genetic deformity," Hermione said as she noticed the girl's eyes as well.
"M'daughter, Merope," said Gaunt grudgingly, as Ogden looked inquiringly toward her.
"She's Riddle's mother?" Hermione asked Dumbledore.
"Yes," Dumbledore replied.
"Good morning," said Ogden said to the young woman in a pleasant tone.
Merope did not answer, but with a frightened glance at her father turned her back on the room and continued shifting the pots on the shelf behind her.
"Well, Mr. Gaunt," said Ogden, "to get straight to the point; we have reason to believe that your son, Morfin, performed magic in front of a Muggle late last night."
There was a deafening clang. Merope had dropped one of the pots.
"Pick it up!" Gaunt bellowed at her. "That's it, grub on the floor like some filthy Muggle, what's your wand for, you useless sack of muck?"
"Mr. Gaunt, please!" said Ogden in a shocked voice, as Merope, who had already picked up the pot, flushed scarlet, lost her grip on the pot again, drew her wand shakily from her pocket, pointed it at the pot, and muttered a hasty, inaudible spell that caused the pot to shoot across the floor away from her, hit the opposite wall, and crack in two.
Morfin let out a mad cackle of laughter. Gaunt screamed, "Mend it, you pointless lump, mend it!"
Merope stumbled after the pot, but before she had time to raise her wand, Ogden had lifted his own and said firmly, "Reparo," The pot mended itself instantly.
Gaunt looked for a moment as though he was going to shout at Ogden, but seemed to think better of it: Instead, he jeered at his daughter, "Lucky the nice man from the Ministry's here, isn't it? Perhaps he'll take you off my hands; perhaps he doesn't mind dirty Squibs. . . ."
"Mr. Gaunt," Ogden began again, "as I've said: the reason for my visit —"
"I heard you the first time!" snapped Gaunt. "And so what? Morfin gave a Muggle a bit of what was coming to him — what about it, then?"
"Morfin has broken Wizarding law," said Ogden sternly.
"'Morfin has broken Wizarding law,'" Gaunt mimicked Ogden's voice, making it pompous and singsong. Morfin cackled again. "He taught a filthy Muggle a lesson, that's illegal now, is it?"
"Yes," said Ogden. "I'm afraid it is."
He pulled from an inside pocket a small scroll of parchment and unrolled it.
"What's that, then, his sentence?" said Gaunt, his voice rising angrily.
"It is a summons to the Ministry for a hearing —"
"Summons! Summons? Who do you think you are, summoning my son anywhere?"
"I'm Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad," replied Ogden calmly.
"And you think we're scum, do you?" screamed Gaunt, advancing on Ogden now, with a dirty yellow-nailed finger pointing at his chest. "Scum who'll come running when the Ministry tells 'em to? Do you know who you're talking to, you filthy little Mudblood, do you?"
"I was under the impression that I was speaking to Mr. Gaunt," said Ogden, looking wary, but standing his ground.
"That's right!" roared Gaunt as he raised his hand in front of him with this middle finger, adorned with a large black-stoned ring and waved it in front Ogden's face. "See this? See this? Know what it is? Know where it came from? Centuries it's been in our family, that's how far back we go, and pure-blood all the way! Know how much I've been offered for this, with the Peverell coat of arms engraved on the stone?"
"I've really no idea," said Ogden, blinking as the ring sailed within an inch of his nose, "and it's quite beside the point, Mr. Gaunt. Your son has committed —"
With a howl of rage, Gaunt ran toward his daughter and grabbed the heavy gold chain that surrounded her neck and dragged her back to Ogden.
"See this?" he bellowed at Ogden, shaking a heavy gold locket at him, while Merope spluttered and gasped for breath.
"I see it, I see it!" said Ogden hastily.
"Slytherin's!" yelled Gaunt. "Salazar Slytherin's! We're his last living descendants, what do you say to that, eh?"
"I'm sure you recognize the locket?" Dumbledore asked the teens.
"Yes," Hermione replied. She was visibly shaken by how Gaunt was treating his daughter. "What are we here for?" She asked. "We've already destroyed that Horcrux."
"Yes, but I believe another Horcrux is hidden in his building in our time," Dumbledore explained. "But I wanted both of you to get a feel for what Merope Gaunt was like. In just a...ah there he is now."
The sound of horses and laughter drifted through the open window. Gaunt, who had been arguing with Ogden stopped in mid-sentence and turned toward the window. Morfin hissed as he turned toward the door with an expression that clearly said he wanted to have 'fun' with the muggles.
"My God, what an eyesore!" rang out a girl's voice, as clearly audible through the open window as if she had stood in the room beside them. "Couldn't your father have that hovel cleared away, Tom?"
"It's not ours," said a young man's voice. "Everything on the other side of the valley belongs to us, but that cottage belongs to an old tramp called Gaunt, and his children. The son's quite mad, you should hear some of the stories they tell in the village —"
The horses grew nearer and Morfin started to get out of his chair. "Keep your seat," warned his father, in Parseltongue.
"Tom," said the girl's voice again, now so close they were clearly right beside the house, "I might be wrong — but has somebody nailed a snake to that door?"
"Come," Dumbledore said and led Harry and Hermione to the window. Outside were a handsome young man and a beautiful young lady sitting upon regal horses. Harry remembered his last visit to this memory and how much Tom Riddle looked like the man in the saddle.
"Good lord, you're right!" said the man. "That'll be the son; I told you he's not right in the head. Don't look at it, Cecilia, darling."
Harry and Hermione watched as the two horses rode steadily away. The sound of their hooves disappearing into the sounds of the trees.
By now Morfin had told his father about how Merope longed for the man and Hermione wanted to throw herself between the frightened young woman and her father who was advancing threateningly toward her. When he reached his hands around his daughter's throat, she was already moving toward them at the same time Ogden acted.
"No!" Yelled Ogden as he raised his wand and cried, "Relaskio!"
As his father went flying across the room, Morfin erupted in rage. He brandished his wand and knife and started to chase Ogden who ran out the door and disappeared into the forest growth.
"I think that will do," Dumbledore said as they watched the Ministry gentleman disappear into the brush. They immediately found themselves back in Madam Bones' office.
"Did you get what you needed Albus?" Amelia asked as she watched Dumbledore scoop the memory he'd been viewing back into the small vial.
"Yes, I believe so," The Headmaster replied. "Thank you for allowing me to use MY Pensieve," The last had a touch of sarcasm, but the he continued. "Now if you'll excuse us, I will make sure Harry and Hermione are escorted safely back home."
"Actually," Harry said. "We have an appointment with Rita Skeeter in the Minister's office in about thirty minutes or so."
"You don't need to speak to her Harry," Dumbledore said. "I'll be glad to let her know you are unwilling to endure her questions."
"We want to speak with her," Hermione replied. "She's doing an article on me and I agreed to answer a few questions."
"I must strongly advise against it," Dumbledore said. "You saw how much damage your interview did to Professor Snape. Now please allow me to escort you two back home."
"No," Harry said firmly. "We'll be fine. We will do that interview."
"Please consider how this fame is affecting you," Dumbledore argued. "Do you truly believe a story in a magazine is worth your safety?"
"What we are doing is controlling what is said about us, instead of waiting for reporters to make up stuff," Harry retorted sharply as he started to lose patience with the Headmaster.
"I believe the Potters have declared their intentions Albus," Amelia said. "If there is nothing else?" She glanced meaningful at her door.
"I'm sure you will keep your other part of this agreement?" Hermione asked.
Dumbledore sighed and nodded. "I'll let you know," He then glanced at Sirius and Tonks, "Please keep these two safe."
"Goes without saying Albus," Sirius replied.
"Wait," Amelia said to Dumbledore. "I almost forgot. I need to test the Pensieve before you leave."
"Is that truly necessary?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes," Amelia shot back. She poured in one of the memories that had been used in the trial and quickly verified the Pensieve was working as it should. When she finished she turned to Dumbledore. "You may leave."
Dumbledore gave Amelia a curt nod and strolled out of the office.
"Do you really have an appointment with Skeeter?" Amelia asked the Potters once the door had closed.
"Yes," Hermione replied. "She's agreed to let me review her article on me for Witch Weekly if I allow her to take a few photos."
"Just be careful around that woman. She's poison with that quill of hers."
"We've come to an understanding," Harry smirked.
"She's realizing how lucrative it can be to have our stories, with our approval, rather than making stuff up," Hermione added.
"Feel free to put in a good word for the Ministry then," Amelia said. "I have a feeling she's going to give us a go tomorrow about two Aurors being killed in the middle of a trial."
"We'll see what we can do," Harry replied.
"Amelia, you mentioned the Goblins earlier," Sirius said.
"I've found out," Amelia's eyes flickered to Harry and Hermione before she continued, "that they have a way to disspell Imperiused and Polyjuiced people. Unfortunately when I approached them they refuse to admit to having the ability."
"Tonks," Sirius said as he looked at his cousin. "Could I ask you to wait outside? I need to tell Madam Bones something that I don't think she would like you to overhear."
Tonks looked questioningly at her boss who nodded. "Starting to feel like I did when I was a teenager. Always getting sent to my room," The metamorphmagus muttered.
"Were you that bad?" Harry smirked.
That caused Tonks to give a small smile. "Not like you're going to find out."
"When she was a kid...this is before she went to Hogwarts and I went to Azkaban..." Sirius started.
"Don't you dare tell them about that," Tonks said to her cousin.
"About what?" Sirius asked with a wry grin.
"You know...when I went to that muggle concert and...wait how would you know about that?" Tonks suddenly asked. "That was after you went to Azkaban!"
"I didn't," Sirius smirked at how easy it had been to fool his cousin. "But now I've got something I'm going to have to find out about."
"Let's just say an eleven year old metamorphmagus has no trouble passing for an eighteen year old muggle," Tonks winked and left the room.
"I might have to recheck her file," Amelia remarked with a grin. "Now Sirius, what did you have to tell us?"
Sirius drew his chair closer to Amelia's desk before he explained. "Look, in," He glance at his watch which had a small calendar on it, "five days, the Goblins are going to owe Harry a bit of money."
"Sirius!" Harry said. "That's...that's not something we should discuss. Besides, it's not going to be that much. Just something for our honeymoon."
"Ah...yes well," Sirius smirked. "It...it might be a bit more than that."
"What?" Hermione said. "But...Miranda said..."
"The Goblins did it to themselves in this case," Sirius replied then held up his hand. "Really...I swear."
"What's going on?" Amelia asked. "What does this Goddess have to do with the Goblins owing you money?"
Harry glanced and Hermione and she nodded. He quickly explained about the gemstones Miranda had insisted they use as a bet for their honeymoon money.
"She said it was a payback for what they did in the future, and money for a nice honeymoon."
"How much was this bet?" Amelia asked.
"The stones were valued at two hundred thousand galleons...each," Sirius replied.
"Two hundred THOUSAND?" Hermione exclaimed.
"Flawless, egg-sized sapphires," Sirius replied. "I think if I had got them independently appraised, they would have been worth more, but since it didn't matter that much..."
"But...but..." Hermione took a deep breath and finally regained her composure. "At thirty to one, that...that's six million galleons. That's insane!"
"This Miranda basically is helping you rip off the Goblins? For six million galleons?"
"It will be a very nice Honeymoon," Miranda chuckled. "Especially after what Sirius did."
"Wait...Miranda just said you did something else," Harry said.
"Well yeah...after you mentioned the streaker...well...uh I went back to double my bet like I said I was going to do," Sirius explained.
"So..you made it two thousand and that was what...sixty to one?" Hermione asked.
"Sixty-six to be exact, but you see that's when the Goblins tried to rip me off," Sirius grinned. "Remember what I said when we were at Gringotts?"
"Something about you being gullible and you let them rip you off," Hermione replied.
"Do you know what the difference between doubling your bet and a double bet is?" Sirius asked.
"No..." Harry said.
"And the Goblins didn't think I knew what it was either," Sirius smirked. "Hence why they think I'm gullible. Now a double bet is multiple bet or, basically the winnings of one bet are automatically used in the next. So if either event is a loss, you lose your entire stakes."
"You didn't?" Hermione said as her eyes widened.
"No...they did," Sirius replied with a shrug. "They saw what looked like two incredibly large bets on two incredibly long odds and as I said, tried to rip me off. I just let them."
"What?" Harry asked still a bit confused.
"Don't you see," Hermione explained. "That six million galleons we are going to win in the first bet is going to be rolled into that second streaker bet."
"Actually since the streaker will happen first, it will be reverse of that. The bet will go against the streaker and then the winner, but it will be same total at the end."
"Are you telling me," Amelia asked and her wand did a quick movement and a very large number appeared in the air. "That the Goblins are going to owe the Potters three hundred and ninety-six million galleons?"
"No, not at all," Sirius shrugged as his grin got wider. He hesitated as everyone was staring at him before continuing, "Since I didn't divide up the gemstones in the original bets, it's actually closer to eight hundred million."
"EIGHT HUNDRED MILLION?!" Hermione exclaimed. "We have to stop it...cancel it. I mean we can't do this. It could destroy the Goblins or at least Gringotts."
"Do you think the Goblins will let you take that bet back?" Sirius asked. "They think they have swindled me out an enormous amount of money. Even if I went back on my hands and knees and begged, they'd only sneer at me. Look, I had never planned on keeping the additional money. I was just annoyed that they tried to rip me off. I was planning on maybe raising a stink about it at the Prophet and get the Goblins to publicly apologize for trying to trick me. I figured it would be a good way to sort of get back at them for what they did to you in the future, but if you need something to pressure the Goblins with..."
Amelia had her first true smile in a long time. "If you two don't mind," She was looking at the Potters, "I think eight hundred million galleons would be a very large stick in negotiating with them."
"Well half of it should be Neville's and Luna's," Hermione said as she swallowed hard as she tried to wrap her mind around exactly what this meant. "But...I'm sure...I mean they never expected something like this either."
"We'll ask them. Now you need to hurry if you're going to be in the Minister's office on time," Amelia said. "I want Tonks to escort you though."
"We'd like that," Harry replied.
"See if you can find out exactly what she did at that concert," Sirius smirked with a wink.
"What about the Pensieve?" Hermione asked. "Should we stop back here before leaving?"
"How about I run it back and put it in your room Harry," Sirius suggested, "while you're having your chat with Skeeter. I'll meet you back in the Minister's office when I finish."
**** E E ****
Voldemort sat in silent contemplation upon his throne. The room was dark except the candles that lit the area immediately surrounding him. He was still pondering his plan to use Lucius' boy to capture the mudblood that Potter was dating. In refining it, he'd decided he needed a spy in the castle to ensure Draco's continued compliance. Though he'd considered Severus, he was still concerned if the man had anything to do with the losses his Death Eaters had suffered recently. That's why he'd sent the Carrows to retrieve Pettigrew from right under Dumbledore's nose. With all of the witnesses around, the failure would ultimately be placed at the feet of the leader of the light as well as show that his Death Eaters could and would attack anywhere and anytime.
Voldemort had been considering Pettigrew ever since his capture. If he could still be trusted, he'd make a perfect spy in the castle to keep tabs not only on Draco but on Severus as well. He'd read the articles on Pettigrew's capture and how Potter had identified him because of the silver paw. "If he can be trusted, I'll have to give him a new hand, one that would not give the rat away," Voldemort murmured. "But first I need to know why Pettigrew was in the castle." When the Carrows returned the rat, he planned to scour his mind to see why he'd decided to leave the safety of Malfoy Manor and travel to Hogwarts.
"Was he trying to warn Snape of the trap?" This had occurred to the Dark Lord after discovering that Potter had discovered his plans. "Or was he trying to get to Dumbledore while I was distracted?" This was the other possibility, but seemed remote since Voldemort knew Dumbledore would have tried to keep Pettigrew hidden away instead of turning him over to the Ministry if that had been the case.
The article had detailed how Pettigrew's hand had tried to kill him. "One of my better pieces of magic," Voldemort thought. "Though it proves nothing except that Pettigrew was about to betray me in some fashion. Even Veritaserum would cause the hand to react as it did."
He was still pondering Wormtail when the door opened and Alecto Carrows appeared in the door way, only barely illuminated by the light from the other room.
"Very good Alecto," Voldemort said as he waited for her brother to join her.
"My...my lord," Alecto said hesitantly as she moved slowly toward her master's throne. "Amycus..."
"What?" Voldemort said sharply as he rose from his seat. "Where's your brother? Where's Pettigrew?"
"Captured my Lord," The frightened Death Eater replied. "Amycus was captured."
"Pettigrew?" Voldemort asked again but already saw the answer in her eyes.
"Dead," Alecto answered. "Amycus was caught before the trial...I barely escaped. I...I had more polyjuice with me and...and made myself look like a man and...and reentered the courtroom. I ended up having to repolyjuice myself twice more before the trial ended," Alecto hesitated before she continued. "He renounced you my lord...Pettigrew I mean. He renounced you before the entire court."
"Dumbledore probably insisted I presume," Voldemort sneered. He knew instantly how the rat had died if he renounced his true master and Voldemort felt a sense of satisfaction that Pettigrew died for being a traitor.
"No my lord," Alecto replied. "He...he did it on his own. Then his mark started to burn. Dumbledore finally stunned him and took him to the veil immediately my lord," Alecto continued. "Dumbledore returned a short time later and announced that Pettigrew had entered the veil of his own accord instead of succumbing to your magic," She waited with fear in her eyes as she saw the glint of anger appear in Voldemort's red eyes. Her own eyes moved slightly as she snuck a glance at her master's wand arm and swallowed in relief when it did not move.
"Tell me what else happened!" Voldemort commanded. "How was your brother captured?"
"It...it started well my lord," Alecto explained. "Amycus took control of a couple of wizards in the loo with instructions to attack the Aurors when they got close with Pettigrew," Alecto swallowed again but then continued. "It worked perfectly but they had Pettigrew on a cart with a screen at the bottom so after my brother freed him and he changed to his animagus form, Amycus had to reach into the cart to grab him," Again Alecto paused but under the constant stare from her master's red eyes, she forced herself to continue. "Then Black...Sirius Black was there yelling about Pettigrew and he caught Amycus," She gave a small smile as she remembered her brother almost talking himself out of peril. "Amycus almost had the Aurors convinced he was just trying to help them by making sure the rat was secure but then..." She swallowed again but the stare forced her to continue "It was Potter...he somehow recognized Amycus...he even recognized me," Her eyes again glanced toward Voldemort's wand but didn't dare show the relief she felt when again it did not move. "I had already moved toward the door, and when Potter yelled about me, Amycus gave me a chance by trying to kill Bones but he was stunned...as I said, I got out, repolyjuiced myself and then snuck back into the trial for I was positive anyone trying to leave at that moment would have been detained."
Voldemort seethed inside as he only just managed to control his anger. In a voice that barely rose above a whisper, he said "I will make them pay."
"The Ministry has become a nuisance...and so has that pesky Order of Dumbledore's," Voldemort continued. "It's time for me to remind people about fear."
"And...and my brother?"
"When I have the Ministry so stretched out trying to protect everyone while their ranks are being thinned as well," Voldemort said, "I will consider your brother."
*** E E ***
"Now, we need another picture of her at the desk...maybe with a quill in her hand?" Skeeter suggested.
"I think that's enough," Hermione said with a hint of exasperation in her voice. "I've allowed your makeup person to cover me in this stuff," She indicated her face "and I've had at least a dozen pictures taken of me. I think we can call it well enough."
Sirius had returned over a half an hour previous and was currently smirking at Hermione as he was making snide comments to Harry. "And you," Hermione glared at Harry's godfather. "If you think it's so funny, then I think Ms. Skeeter might want to interview you next."
"That's an excellent idea," Rita's eyes lit up as she turned to Sirius and eyed him like a hunk of meat. "After you little speech today and the fact you're going to be awarded the Order of Merlin First Class; I think a nice background story would go over very well with my editor."
"I agree," Harry said. "Maybe a shot of him shirtless since he does consider himself a lady's man."
"Oh," Rita exclaimed as she looked hungrily at Sirius. "He does?"
"We are going to talk," Sirius yelled after the teens who, with smirks on their faces, strolled out of the Minister's office while Sirius was being pushed into a seat as the makeup person advanced on him.
*** E E ***
"So this is that thing that's going to allow us to see your memories?" Richard Granger asked when Hermione pulled the heavy stone basin from the bag. "Doesn't look like much. In fact it resembles a fancy birdbath."
"It does look a bit like one doesn't it?" Hermione laughed. "But it is in fact a very very rare magical artifact called a Pensieve. Now where shall we begin?" The last part was addressed to Harry.
Harry shrugged. "The beginning? How about Hogwarts as we first saw it?"
"Sounds like an excellent starting spot," Hermione agreed. "I know my first letter tried to describe it, but it could never convey the experience," She lifted her wand to start to pull the memory, but Harry was already doing the same thing.
Richard and Jean Granger both gasped when the silvery substance started to come out of Harry's head. "What...what are you doing?" Jean asked.
"Oh..." Harry stopped in surprise. "Eh...guess we should have explained that part first," He finished wrapping the silver strands around his wand and put them in the Pensive. "This stuff is a memory or in this case, a copy of a memory. Now if we tap...here, here and here," When he finished touching the last rune with his wand an image appeared above the bowl. It showed a bunch of children following a very large man.
"Let me enlarge it," Hermione said and she quickly performed the same spell that had been used at the Ministry after the battle and during the courtroom proceedings. Now the Grangers could see the first years following a man over twice their size down a narrow path.
"That's Hagrid," Hermione explained as she pointed to him. "He's the half-giant we know. His mother was a full giant and his father was a wizard."
"Jus' round this bend here," The memory Hagrid said over his shoulder. At the bend the path opened onto Black Lake, and on the other side, overlooking the lake was Hogwarts.
"OOOOHH!" The kids all exclaimed as the castle appeared. Richard and Jean Granger imitated the sound as their own breath was taken away at the site of the castle perched high on the mountain with its many turrets and towers.
"Beautiful isn't it?" Hermione asked her parents but didn't receive an answer because both of them had inched closer to the image and was staring intently at it.
Hermione glanced at her husband and nodded. He tapped a rune and the image disappeared. "We have a lot to show you, but if you'd like to see anything again just let us know," She again looked at Harry, "What next?"
"I know," Harry said as he lifted his wand to his head again. "Matches to needles; our first day. I mean you were the only one..."
Hermione thought it was silly that she felt herself blush over a simple spell she'd had some success with in her first transfiguration class but she did. She also knew Harry was showing that memory for her and her parents. "I'll clean this one out," She murmured as she snatched the memory in the basin with her wand and put it in a small vial. She had conjured several of the vials to hold memories that her parents might wish to see again or that they needed to give to Madam Bones later.
Harry again deposited a memory in the bowl and soon a Hogwarts classroom emerged above the bowl. In the memory, McGonagall could be seen walking up and down the aisles of desks as students kept pointing their wands and muttering 'Mutacus'.
"You remember Professor McGonagall?" Hermione asked.
"We're not likely to forget her," Richard said causing Hermione to wince at both his tone and the fact that they had indeed forgotten McGonagall in the future. "You look so young," Her father said as he stared at the vision above the Pensieve. He felt a moment of sadness as he watched his little girl as she used to be.
"Our time is complete," The memory McGonagall said. "It appears that Miss Granger was the only one with any success today," She held up a small object as she nodded at the memory Hermione. "See how it has a point and is all silvery? I expect better results from the rest of you next class along with a two foot essay on the basics of transfigurations we covered earlier."
A snort could be heard from beside memory Harry. The focus of the memory turned to see a young Ron Weasley. "She's just trying to show off," He muttered.
"Sorry," Harry said to his wife. "I didn't realize I'd got that part."
"No matter," Hermione replied. "I noticed that you didn't agree with him."
"I did sometimes..." Harry admitted.
Hermione shrugged. "He was your friend."
"Can I see this troll thing now?" Richard asked.
"I was going to show us in our first flying lesson, but we can show you that if you wish," Hermione replied. Soon another enlarged image appeared over the basin. It was the inside of a loo stall and Hermione's sobs could easily be heard, but soon the sound of a door opening emerged followed by heavy, slow footsteps as well as something sliding across the floor.
"Who's there?" Memory Hermione called and was answered by a grunt and a roar. Then the bathroom door could be heard closing with a solid slam. Another grunt could be heard then a crash. Memory Hermione sniffed and then opened the loo door only to find herself facing a fully grown twelve foot mountain troll.
Both Grangers gasped in unison along with the memory Hermione. "THAT...that's the troll?" Richard asked as he pointed at the creature. "It...huge!" Though Harry had said twelve feet a few days earlier, words and pictures were two entirely different things when it comes to measuring danger. "It's got to be at least ten feet!"
Hermione tapped the rune that paused the image. "It's closer to twelve. I went back and measured a couple of days later. What you can't tell from this is just how bad it smelled."
"Twelve?" Richard murmured as he stared at the troll and then his eyes moves slowly toward Harry. "You actually fought that?"
"You'll see," Harry replied with a shrug as he tapped the continue rune.
Memory Hermione let out a very high-pitched scream as the giant creature lifted its club. She barely moved in time as the club came down with a violent crash right where she'd been. Hermione started scrambling on her hands and knees away from the Troll not paying attention to any direction except away from the troll. She had only crawled a few dozen paces when she found her way blocked by a solid wall. A sob escaped her mouth as she turned to face the troll who was advancing slowly toward her, swinging his club with every step. With each swing a sink burst into pieces and spewed water. As another sink burst into pieces, the sound of the door opening again could be heard.
"Confuse it!" A boy's voice sounded from behind the troll when it was only a few feet away from Hermione. A metallic sound followed as a piece of tap struck a nearby wall.
The troll turned to look at the new voice. It blinked its eyes confusingly but then it lifted its club and lumbered toward Harry.
"Oy pea-brain!" Another boy's voice could be heard as a piece of pipe bounced off of its shoulder. The troll once again paused and then turned toward the new voice.
The Grangers could now see a young black-haired boy, the same boy who was now the magical husband of their daughter, dodge around the troll and race to Hermione's side, urging her to run.
The rest of the scene unfolded before the Grangers' eyes. Harry's leap on the troll's back, the troll trying to rip the nuisance off of his back, Ron's levitation spell and the troll falling on the floor.
Richard and Jean weren't looking at the scene anymore when memory Hermione asked "Is it...dead?" but at the young man who had fought the giant troll. Finally Richard stood up and made his way to the wet bar. "I need a drink," He said more to himself than to anyone else.
"What was that THING doing in your castle?" Jean asked. "I mean trolls don't usually come wander the halls or the bathrooms do they?"
"No. Remember we told you about the Professor who was trying to steal the Philosopher's stone last evening, well he was the one who let the troll in," Hermione explained. "He hoped to distract the Professors long enough to steal the stone."
"I remember," Jean said as Richard took a large swallow of the drink he had poured. "Do we want to see this three-headed dog and those traps?"
"We'll show you whatever you want," Hermione replied. "I promised no more hiding what has occurred at Hogwarts, as long as you realize nothing will prevent me from going back."
Jean looked at her husband and then turned and nodded at Hermione. "Show them to us."
Harry deposited another memory in the bowl. This time the view was through a fine mesh fabric and they could see a door ahead that had been left ajar.
"Well, there you are," Memory Harry said quietly, "Snape's already got past Fluffy," Memory Harry turned to Hermione and Ron. "If you want to go back, I won't blame you," he said. "You can take the cloak, I won't need it now."
"Don't be stupid," said memory Ron.
"We're coming," said memory Hermione.
As memory Harry pushed the door the Grangers once again gasped as they saw each of Fluffy's heads sniffing wildly about and growling its knowledge that someone was there.
"That's not a bloody dog," Richard said. "That's a monster."
"Probably some sort of Cerberus actually," Hermione replied.
"Is it blind?" Jean asked. "I mean you're standing right in front of it."
"No. That fabric you're looking through is Harry's invisibility cloak," Hermione explained.
"Invisibility cloak?" Richard asked.
Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out the silvery fine material and quickly covered himself with it. He then uncovered just his head so it seemed to float in midair.
Jean reached out and touched the material. "That...that's amazing," She said.
"Would you like to try it?" Harry asked as he handed it to Hermione's mother.
"Would it work for me?" Jean asked as she swung the cloak over her head. "Well am I invisible?"
"Yes," Richard replied with not much enthusiasm.
"Let's get back to the rest of the first year, shall we?" Hermione asked as she pulled another memory from her mind while her mother returned the cloak.
"As you can see," Harry said when the last memory of that first year's adventures concluded a good half hour later, "without Hermione I'd be dead."
Richard lifted his glass mechanically but nothing was left of his scotch. He rose from his seat and poured himself another drink as he could only think of vines that tried to kill you and the possibility his twelve year old daughter might have drunk poison not to mention a bloody chess set that acted like it was trying to hurt his daughter as well.
Harry and Hermione had decided not to tell her parents that Dumbledore was watching them the whole time. That confession would end up in the hands of Amelia Bones when it was appropriate.
"Would you like to see a baby dragon?" Hermione asked.
"Did it try to eat you or something?" Richard asked as he sat back heavily on the sofa next to his wife. He'd brought the bottle of scotch with him.
"No, but we did end up in detention trying to get rid of it though," Hermione explained. She pulled another memory from her head and quickly a scene developed above the bowl.
The memory showed Harry, Hermione and Ron next to Hagrid. They all were sitting around a table staring at a black egg that was rocking as large cracks developed on the smooth surface. It wasn't long before the egg split in two and a small misshaped body flopped on the table. Its huge wings looked too large for its tiny body. The dragon opened its orange eyes and then sneezed letting a couple of sparks fly out of its snout.
"Isn't he beautiful?" Hagrid murmured. He reached out a hand to stroke the dragon's head. It snapped at his fingers, showing pointed fangs.
"Bless him, look, he knows his mommy!" said Hagrid.
"Well at least dragons don't seem to be dangerous," Richard sighed. He turned to Harry, "Is that the one you fought?"
"Eh..." Harry looked at Hermione before returning his eyes to her father. "No."
"Here's the dragon Harry fought," Hermione replied as she removed the last memory from the Pensive and dropped in another.
"That...that's the bloody dragon?" Richard didn't seem to notice that he'd spilled his scotch all over himself when the black monster with bronze colored spikes coming from seemingly every spot on its body appeared above the Pensieve. He could see that in comparison to the handlers putting it in position, the dragon must have been at least forty feet in length. A jet of flames poured from his snout as it roared its displeasure. The other handlers quickly sent freezing charms to cover their comrades as they got the giant chain in place and secured. "You...you fought that thing too?" Richard was glancing between Harry and the Pensieve.
"I only had to get past it...and get that egg," Harry indicated a golden egg sitting atop the pile of eggs that could be seen almost directly between the dragon's legs.
"How did you do it?" Jean asked. Her voice filled with equal amounts of fear and amazement.
"Wait and you'll see," Hermione replied. Unfortunately they'd not discovered a rune that made memories fast forward so they had to stare at the memory for another five minutes while the dragon handlers finished getting the Horntail in position. Finally the commentator made the announcement that Harry would be next and then a whistle blew.
The memory moved to look at the entrance to the stadium. For a few seconds there was nothing, and then a black-haired boy, Harry, appeared. The memory Harry stared for several seconds at the dragon and then raised his wand and yelled something that could not be heard. The dragon's roar could be heard though as well as the sound of its claws gouging deep marks in the stone. The Grangers were watching in anticipation but nothing happened for several long seconds. Finally memory Harry looked in a different direction as a broom came whistling out of nowhere and stopped beside him.
For the next few minutes, Jean and Richard Granger could only stare at the scene in front of them as Harry, riding a broomstick weaved and dodged around the dragon and its flames while the whole time memory Hermione was murmuring 'He's going to die, He's going to die, He's going to die...'
When finally memory Harry turned and dove under the Dragon and snatched the egg, Jean and Richard could only, once again, stare at the young man who was blushing under their gaze.
"But that was fo...I mean last year," Hermione said after several moments of silence. "Other things, darker things happened then."
"What kind of things?" Jean asked and truly wasn't sure she wanted to know.
"Voldemort, Death Eaters," Hermione shrugged, "But let's go in order instead of bouncing around. In our second year, as we told you last night, we had a Basilisk running around the castle."
"That's the giant snake that kills by looking at you?" Jean verified.
"Yes," Hermione replied.
"I need to get a rag," Richard said as he realized he was wearing his scotch now.
"Dobby will take care of that," The elf said as he popped in next to Mr. Granger. Before Richard could say or do anything, his clothes were cleaned and dried and his glass was refilled.
"Thanks Dobby," Harry said as he gave the elf a smile.
"Dobby is always glad to help Mistress Hermione's parents," Dobby said and disappeared.
"He's a helpful little fellow," Richard said.
"So...you said Hermione was turned to stone or something?" Jean asked. "Can we see that?"
"If you want to," Harry replied and pulled another memory from his head. "This," He said, "is Hermione petrified," He let the silvery strands drop into the basin and then activated it.
Another gasp escaped both of the Grangers as they saw their daughter lying in an obvious hospital bed with her arms outstretched, staring back at them with glassy open eyes.
"She was like that for about three weeks," Harry said quietly as he remembered those weeks.
"Harry tried to wake me up by kissing me," Hermione said as she remembered what Harry had confessed to Miranda. "Like in the fairy tales."
"It all does seem a bit more of a...a horror story to me," Jean replied as she continued to look at her daughter's petrified image.
"And what were you doing when Hermione was like that?" Richard asked Harry accusingly as he pointed at the image above the Pensieve.
"He was trying to figure out who the Heir of Slytherin was and about the Chamber of Secrets," Hermione retorted to her father. "He even went into the Forbidden Forest and was attacked by giant spiders."
"Acromantulas," Hermione explained. "Want to show them Aragog?"
Harry shrugged as he pulled another memory from his head and put it in the pensieve.
The memory was of a forest, but everything was upside down. It was obvious that Harry was being jostled, but then he turned his neck and Jean and Richard could see he was being carried, upside down, in the grip of two very large and hairy legs that were themselves attached to an extremely large spider.
"EEEK!" Jean shrieked and jumped from her seat.
"Mum doesn't like spiders," Hermione explained.
"Is the whole magical world filled with monsters?" Richard asked as he set his glass down and took his wife's hand and pulled her back down to the sofa.
"They exist in the non-magical world too, you just can't see them," Hermione explained with a shrug.
"You mean those things are everywhere?" Jean asked as she nervously looked around expecting an Acromantula to pounce.
"No...not acromantulas," Hermione replied. "As far as I know they are not native to Great Britain and they only exist in the Forbidden Forest here."
By now the scene of the memory had changed to view over a vast hollow. Every available space was covered by spiders the size of horses. As the spider carrying Harry moved down the slope toward a huge domed web in its center, the other spiders moved closer. Soon the memory Harry was dropped roughly onto the ground. Next to him fell Ron and a large dog that Harry identified as Fang to the Grangers. Ron's face was frozen in fear as his mouth was wide open and his eyes almost popping out of his head.
"Aragog!" The spider who had been carrying Harry called. "Aragog!"
And from the middle of the misty, domed web, a spider the size of a small elephant emerged, very slowly. There was gray in the black of his body and legs, and each of the eyes on his ugly, pincered head was milky white. He was blind.
"What is it?" he said, clicking his pincers rapidly.
"Men," clicked the spider who had caught Harry.
"Is it Hagrid?" said Aragog, moving closer, his eight milky eyes wandering vaguely.
"Strangers," clicked the spider who had brought Ron.
"Kill them," clicked Aragog fretfully. "I was sleeping ...
The memory abruptly ended as Hermione tapped the rune. She'd seen her mother was ghostly white and needed that particular memory to end.
"How...how did you get out of that?" Richard asked Harry.
"Would you believe an old car?" Harry asked and gave a quick explanation of Ron's father bewitching the Ford Anglia and it later saving them.
"And then when we got out of the car, it drove itself back into the forest," Harry explained. He glanced over to Hermione. "Ron promptly threw up."
Richard filled his glass once more and downed it in one swallow before continuing. "And this Basilisk thing?"
"Mum?" Hermione asked in concern.
"I'm fine dear," Jean replied in a fairly weak voice. "Show us this snake thing."
Hermione nodded as she scooped out the memory while Harry pulled another string of silver from his head.
"This is a Basilisk," Harry said as his wand poised over the runes to activate it. "But I should warn you, it's not a pretty sight."
"Worse than that bloody monster of a spider?" Richard asked. "Or that troll?"
Harry shrugged and touched the runes. "This is right after Fawkes, a phoenix, ripped the Basilisk's eyes out so I could fight it," He paused to make sure the Grangers were ready before touching the last rune.
Rising from the basin was the giant serpent with bloody holes where eyes should be. At first Richard and Jean couldn't judge the size of it, but then the body of Ginny Weasley could be seen, tiny against the bulk of the giant snake. Another verbal exclamation escaped the Grangers as the mouth of the snake opened to display the sword length fangs.
"Here," Hermione tapped several more runes on the Pensieve and the viewpoint of the memory moved so that both Harry and the Basilisk could be seen. "This will make it easier to see what's happening."
Now the Grangers could see the twelve year old Harry in the memory as he stood holding the Sword of Gryffindor out in front of him. The Basilisk lunged at Harry who barely dodged in time. A great crash could be heard as the giant snake hit the wall, but it didn't slow it at all. It turned quickly and again struck out at Harry. Though Harry tried to move again, the forked tongue lashed his side this time. The pain was obvious on the young boy's face as he grimaced, but he didn't let it bother him as he kept his eyes on the Basilisk. This time when it lunged, he held the sword high. The snake struck true and the sword sunk hilt deep into the roof of the snake's mouth.
Neither of the Grangers noticed the fang that had sunk into Harry's arm until the red blood started to flow freely from the wound. As the Basilisk's dead body slumped to the side, the fang splintered and snapped. The continued to watch as the black-haired youth slid down the wall as he grabbed the remains of the fang in his arm and pulled it out.
Hermione tapped the stop rune and the memory faded.
"That…that couldn't..." Richard said as he continued to stare at the air above the Pensieve.
Harry lifted his sleeve allowing Richard and Jean to see the scar right where they had just witnessed a fang sinking into his arm. "I would have died from the poison if Fawkes hadn't cried into it," Harry explained. "Phoenix tears will cure anything."
"And your Headmaster knew about that bloody thing?" Jean was now displaying her own anger.
"It's dead now thanks to Harry," Hermione said quietly. "But yes he did. When it's time, we'll let the Head of the Magical Law Enforcement know all of this."
"Why not now?" Richard asked. "He's obviously incapable of protecting you."
"Actually he does protect us in a way," Hermione argued. "Voldemort fears him. If Dumbledore wasn't around, Voldemort would move much more aggressively against the magical world and many more people would die."
"Still..." Richard wanted to argue, but after what he'd seen so far, he knew he didn't know enough to argue effectively. Finally he sighed and nodded hoping his daughter did know best.
"Now would you like to hear about our third year?"
"What monster did you have to face then?" Richard asked with another sigh as he refilled his glass once more.
"Dementors actually," Harry replied.
"And they are?" Jean asked.
"Creatures that cause fear and can suck your soul out of your body..." Hermione replied gingerly.
"Your soul? Your actual soul?" Richard asked trying his best not to believe it.
"Yes," Harry replied. "It's called the Dementor's kiss."
"And these things," Jean asked. "Are they everywhere?"
"Well..." Hermione glanced at Harry who shrugged. "They were the guards of the Wizard's prison but...but now they've joined Voldemort and yes, they are moving about. They are the real reason we're having such a cool summer."
"And they really can suck out someone's soul?"
"Sirius almost had his soul taken at the end of our third year," Hermione said.
"But Harry saved him?" Richard asked.
"Yes. We can show..."
"No," Jean said as she held up her hand. "I...I've seen enough. I'm already going to have nightmares tonight."
"Not all of our memories are of us fighting monsters and other bad things," Harry said. "We do have fun as well," Another silver strand was pulled from his head and dropped into the basin. "This is what I was telling you about the other night, Quidditch," He explained to Richard as he activated the memory. Brooms started racing at reckless speeds across the space above the basin.
"Why Ravenclaw?" Hermione asked as she could definitely make out the image of Cho Chang in her blue robes on one of the brooms.
"It's when I made my first Patronus, so I remember it very well," Harry replied.
The Grangers watched as riders streaked around and little balls were hurtling about trying to hit the riders. The memory closed in on a hand outstretched for a small golden thing while the rider was plummeting toward the ground very fast. Just as the hand was about to close around the snitch, a Bludger forced the hand and rider to veer away.
Harry tapped the Pensieve and the image disappeared. "We won that game," He said with a smile as he looked at Jean and Richard again. "That was my hand of course," He explained. "I'm the seeker and I supposed to catch that little golden snitch."
"I know I wrote how well Harry plays Quidditch in my letters," Hermione added.
"It still looks a bit violent," Jean replied.
"It can be," Hermione replied. "But as long as Dobby's not trying to protect Harry, he makes it out of the game pretty well."
"That's a long story for another time," Harry replied. "Now this...this is the most beautiful sight I've ever seen at Hogwarts," He continued as he dropped another strand of silver into the basin. An enlarged image of Hermione dressed in her Periwinkle robes the night of the Yule Ball appeared. "Unfortunately I was too stupid to realize what she meant to me at the time."
"Yes you were," Miranda agreed. "But you're doing much better now."
Harry grinned at his wife before explaining. "Miranda agrees that I was a bit dense."
"Can we see Miranda?" Jean asked.
"Sure," Hermione replied and lifted her wand to her head. She frowned when nothing would come out. She tried again and again the memory would not come forth. A gentle chuckling in her mind gave her the answer to her frustration. "Uh...I guess not. I don't think we're allowed or at least unable to get those memories."
"You were in my realm, not the physical world. Your memories from there are not the same," Miranda explained.
"That's too bad," Jean replied.
They spent the next few hours sharing more of the happier memories at Hogwarts until finally when it was well past midnight, Harry stood. "I better get back to my room," He said.
"Is it really that late?" Jean asked as she looked at a clock. "We better get to bed as well. We both have appointments tomorrow."
Richard glanced at his bottle of scotch and realized how much he'd drunk. "I also think I'm not going to enjoy the hangover either," When the Pensieve and memories were packed away; Harry gave his wife a goodnight kiss that Richard tried to ignore. As they walked toward the door to the garage, Richard asked "Are you sure we shouldn't talk to your headmaster? I mean as concerned parents."
"No. It would do no good and might even cause harm," Harry replied.
"Because we know more than he thinks we do," Hermione explained. "And we might have said something or shown something to you tonight that might lead him to find that out."
"So what could he do?"
"Before I answer that, let me say that Dumbledore isn't a bad person at heart, but he believes himself infallible. He believes his way is the only way. Take me being here for example. If he knew we had those cabinets he'd have them removed regardless of our desires. He wants me locked away and even threatened to lock Hermione away."
"When he found out Harry and I were magically married, he said I should stay where Harry is for the remainder of the summer so I'd be safe," Hermione explained. "I told him no. I'd lost too much time with you and I wasn't going to lose this summer."
"But if he knew I was moving about in the muggle world," Harry said, "He'd probably force us to stay there by any means necessary."
"He couldn't do that," Jean exclaimed. "We'd…"
"You could very easily have your memories altered so you forgot all about having a daughter," Harry interrupted.
"That isn't likely," Hermione added quickly as her own guilt at stealing her parents' memories rose in her mind. "Like I said, Dumbledore isn't bad or evil; he just believes that the end justifies the means when it comes to the Greater Good."
"And there's nothing that we could say that would stop you from going back there?" Richard asked almost pleadingly but the look in his daughter's eyes as she glanced at Harry Potter answered his question before she said a single word.
The Grangers laid awake well into early morning as they thought of what they'd seen and been told. Witnessing their daughter almost being killed by a troll and then seeing her appear all but dead when she was petrified took an enormous toll upon their souls.
"She'll be alright, won't she?" Jean asked her husband as he put his arm around her.
Silence hung in the night for several heartbeats before Richard answered. "We can only hope so," It was several more seconds before he spoke again. "I do think that she will be if Harry has anything to say about it."
"Harry? Not 'the boy' anymore?" Jean asked.
"No," Richard admitted as he thought of the giant serpent and the dragon the young man had faced. "If he gets my girl through all of this, I will gladly walk her down the aisle."
"Tell him that and someone would have to move heaven and earth to touch Hermione," Jean replied.
"Maybe I will," Richard murmured. "Maybe I will at that."
A/N: I never intended for this to become a Harry is super rich story, and it will not become that. The storyline of Sirius being cheated by the Goblins sprung up in my head and I could not let it go. Then when I actually calculated what that would mean in galleons...well it seemed like a good way to go after the Goblins.
I drew a rough estimate of the value of the Sapphires off of the sale of the Blue Princess, a 113 carat sapphire which sold for $1.8 Million in May 1996.