AN:/ So…it's been a while…have I mentioned I'm sorry? No but in all seriousness I do apologize for the excessively long amount of time this has been left un-updated. For those of you that have decided to stick it out with me despite my inability to update on any semblance of a regular schedule, you have my thanks for sure, and for those of you who have chosen not to bother with me any longer you have my understanding. Enough of me talking for now though! On with the chapter! (If there are any names missing, again I'm sorry, I don't know what's causing it but the names are there in my words processor, so please leave my English alone on that front. The rest of my terrible English is fair game though).
Disclaimer: Obviously I don't own Harry Potter or any associated characters, locations, spells, etc. Because if I did we'd still be on like book 2.
(Headmaster's Office Hogwarts 1140hrs)
Dumbledore took in the sight of the gathered witches and wizards before him, choosing his words carefully he spoke, "I'm sorry to hear that you believe my behaviour to appear criminal Alastor, I would have thought you knew me better than that my old friend." In response Moody sent him a rather unamused look, his wand tip glowed a dull grey.
"You and I both know you have a tendency to act outside the law "for the Greater Good" Albus." Moody growled. Amelia glanced at Moody and silently wondered as to what actions specifically the senior auror was referring. She had no doubt his words rang true, but she also wondered just what actions of Dumbledore's Moody knew about.
Albus gained a hurt look, but responded, "I'm offended that you would say such things Alastor, but nonetheless that may be dealt with later. If you all must know, I believe ought to return to Mr. and for the very reason I placed him there in the first place. It is the safest place for him as a result of Lily's relation to Petunia."
Minerva was the first to respond, "Albus in case you have for some reason misunderstood this concept, I will tell you now that being siblings does not equate to being the same person. Just looking at the Black sisters would show you that." She said haughtily.
Amelia noticed Tonks' lips twitch slightly at Minerva's assertion. Dumbledore just sighed calmly and spoke, "You misunderstand, my dear. What I am trying to say is that Lily Potter left behind a protection the night she died, a protection that requires Petunia's involvement in the care of . You see there are ancient and powerful magics that exist in our world Minerva, they are powerful beyond you and I, but they exist. And in this case they serve to protect ."
Amelia's sharp mind rapidly retraced through Albus' words, it wasn't a well-known fact, but prior to her time with the DMLE as an auror and now as head of the department, Amelia had actually worked a fair deal in warding for Gringotts. Thus looking through Albus' jargon filled phrasing, Amelia got a sinking feeling in her stomach.
Clearing her throat she spoke, levelling her gaze on Albus but, knowing all too well that he was highly trained in occlumency, avoiding his eyes. "I'm sure you realize, as Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, and Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, that the enacting of blood wards is highly illegal in the wizarding world and in particular wizarding Britain." She said frostily, already feeling outrage boiling up inside her.
Albus seemed startled by her words, "My dear I was unaware you—" he began but Amelia cut in.
"Answer the damn question Albus; I've had enough of your games. Are there or are there not blood wards enacted, most likely by you, at number four Privet Drive?" Amelia demanded.
A weary look came over Dumbledore's already aged face as he spoke, "I'm sorry you feel that way Amelia, but I assure you it's for the—" Before he could finish the sentence a bolt of red flew towards him that he narrowly blocked rapidly followed by a scarlet light from another direction causing his wand to fly from his hand.
Dumbledore was then hit by another red bolt effectively stunning the elderly wizard. "Bastard." Amelia murmured, wand still transfixed on the stunned man before walking toward him.
"Auror Moody," she barked, earning a grunt from the man in question. "I expect to find here in a holding cell at the ministry upon my return. Use magic inhibiting cuffs and give the order that no one other than myself is to deal with him."
Moody nodded solemnly before doing as instructed. Tonks, who was still holding Dumbledore's wand stared dumbfounded at the wand in her hand. Amelia approached the young auror, "Auror Tonks, are you alright?" she asked, laying a hand on the woman's shoulder.
Tonks gave a start at the unexpected contact before nodding, "Yes Madam, I'm fine. Just surprised, after all it isn't every day you take down Professor Dumbledore." The metamorph said, more to herself than to Amelia.
The elder of the two nodded, Amelia then turned her attention to McGonagall, "Minerva as of now you are acting Headmistress, but act as though you will remain so because if I have anything to do with it that old goat will be spending a bit of quality time in Azkaban. Blood wards, honestly does Albus not realize the damage that those sick things can do to the core of a magical child?" Amelia asked allowed.
Minerva's expression was grim as she asked, "I'm afraid I myself do not know the answer to that question, Madame Bones." The transfiguration mistress intoned.
Amelia watched Moody disappear with Albus' stunned form through the floo before turning to the remainder of the people in the room. "Professors Snape, Sprout and Flitwick, I believe we've all been here entirely too long while the students are freely roaming, I would ask that you go ensure their behaviour is not disruptive." The professors in questions nodded and left, Snape looking rather relieved to go.
Turning to the remaining women Amelia cleared her throat, "Madame Hooch, perhaps you should check with Madame Pomfrey to see whether she requires any assistance and to update her on the outcome of the meeting." Rolanda hesitated but a second before nodding and flooing to the Hospital Wing.
Amelia sat down heavily then in one of the chairs and motioned Minerva and Tonks to do the same. "To answer your question Minerva, blood wards are arguably the worst sort of ward there is." Tonks was looking at her curiously as she said this and clearly about to ask a question but Amelia held up her hand to delay it.
"I learned a lot about the different types of wards that exist before I joined the DMLE. Back when I finished Hogwarts, I didn't go directly to auror training; I actually worked for Gringotts in the warding department for quite a while. I don't know if you recall Minerva, but when I went to school here I actually did a large amount of work in Ancient Ruins." Minerva nodded slowly.
"Yes, I remember now, you were quite gifted with them as well if I remember. You had the best OWL and NEWT scores in your year." The eldest witch noted. Amelia shrugged.
"The topic always fascinated me; regardless it lead to my working at Gringotts for a time which resulted in my learning a great deal about the different types of warding that exist within the Wizarding World. Among those types are blood wards. They're nasty buggers really; they do the worst things to the people involved with them." Amelia said, looking between the two women across from her.
"What kind of things?" Tonks asked curiously.
Amelia sighed, "Well, in Harry's case, because that's what we're most worried about here, because he is the only magical involved with the ward the erection of the wards required an attachment to his core, this means that the wards only last off the strength of his core. And because Harry was so young at the time of the creation of the wards they had to continue to syphon energy and magic out of Harry's magical core because they require a certain amount just to sustain themselves. In addition as a result of Harry's absence from the house every year he's been at Hogwarts they would take a larger amount during the summer months to compensate."
Tonks and Minerva were now both regarding Amelia in a type of silent horror as they realized the full connotations of what the head of the DMLE was saying to them. The wards could easily have drained the magical core of a grown wizard whose core was not particularly strong; to put a child in such a position…it could easily have drained all the magic in Harry's core and killed him.
"He…oh Merlin, those wards could have killed Harry…" Tonks said more to herself than anyone. Amelia shook her head grimly and replied.
"No Tonks, they should have killed him." There was graveness to Amelia's tone that made Tonks shiver slightly. Amelia shook her head, "That Harry is even still alive after having been subjected to blood wards for 11 years is astounding and speaks volumes to his magical potential, but it is still extremely likely that his core is quite drained."
Minerva, whose lips were pressed tightly together, asked slowly, "Should we be looking into the condition of Harry's core? I don't know all that much about core analysis, but I imagine if Poppy doesn't know how to herself, she probably knows someone else from her schooling."
Amelia turned pensive before speaking, "It will undoubtedly have to be examined eventually, and I'd like to get it done in short order but Harry also needs to heal from his main injuries enough first that it can be examined…I'll send Madame Pomfrey what we've learned and have her make a decision." Amelia quickly cast her patronus, a rather imposing bull, and sent it charging off toward the hospital wing in search of Poppy.
Returning to the conversation at hand Amelia spoke heavily, "It will be a trying task to place Albus Dumbledore of all people behind bars, especially given his sway over people as the "Leader of the Light"." She said scathingly.
The resident metamorph frowned, "Madame, how exactly are you going to do it? I mean, he's Professor Dumbledore! Everyone in Wizarding Britain knows his name and hails him for his fight against Grindelwald!" Tonks said anxiety coming through in her voice.
Her superior shot her a look, "First of all, I distinctly remember correcting you on the use of my name, Nymphadora." Amelia said, narrowing her eyes. Tonks' hair flashed briefly red at the use of her first name. "However, as to how it will be accomplished, it will be done using the same things you just said. Dumbledore is well known, and well respected—by those who consider themselves "light". The catch is, people who consider themselves "dark", or even some more "grey" families will likely jump at the chance to finally pin down Albus Bloody Dumbledore."
Neither woman noticed Minerva gaining a pensive if weary look as she recognized what Amelia was saying as something she herself had thought not long ago. It wasn't uncommon for Albus to play by his own rules for the "Greater Good" as he was fond of saying. Minerva had often found herself beyond frustrated with that attribute, especially with the innumerable amount of criticisms she received annually on Severus being regularly ignored. It was hard enough to deal with students sometimes when she could do something about their qualms with another staff member, but for as long as he had been teaching Severus Snape had been virtually untouchable. Something she, and the rest of the staff, was not impressed by.
Tonks frowned at what Amelia was saying but knew that she was right. There were a lot of people who would very much enjoy destroying Albus Dumbledore. Several of them were family members of hers. Not that they would consider her as such, but technically they were nonetheless. A shiver ran down Tonks' spine as she recalled her delusional aunt from her one trip to Azkaban prison.
The fresh-faced young auror had been straight out of Auror School when she, along with a small platoon of others, had had to make the mandatory trip to Azkaban prison to learn the ins and outs of the place. It was part of their training; mandatory.
Tonks hadn't been as nervous as she had thought she would be when they'd arrived at the chilling prison. However, the longer she stayed the colder she felt, and the more the feeling of intense dread in the pit of her stomach grew. Something about being there had just felt like a horrible idea. Tonks had discovered why when they had reached the maximum security section of the prison.
She had seen Tonks first. Recognized her somehow; Tonks didn't know, she hadn't given it much thought at the time. Her high pitch baby voice had sent a shuddering chill down Tonks' spine as she'd cooed, "Aww looky here! My little niece is all grow'd up!" this followed by her scratchy cackle had sent most of the small platoon of new aurors scrambling away. Tonks had gone pale; terrified by the voice she knew could only belong to one woman: Bellatrix Lestrange.
Her aunt; her completely bonkers, sadistic, Death Eater, nth degree of crazy aunt that no one else in Tonks' platoon knew was related to her. 'Bollocks.' Tonks thought as she realized what this was going to mean. She knew that technically Bellatrix couldn't touch her; didn't even have a wand, and given that Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody of all people was leading the platoon Tonks had no need to be afraid really. Except she was.
In the short time she had been an auror before Tonks had never been half as fearful as she was now with those crazed, dark eyes peering out at her. Those dark eyes that seemed to penetrate but somehow also seemed dead to the world. It was unnerving for the fresh-faced auror.
In the seconds of silence that had felt like minutes to Tonks, Bellatrix had felt her effect being known by her half-blood niece and let out of a vicious, victorious vociferation. The dark woman let out a loud peel of laughter, revelling in the fear she felt oozing off of the young aurors, but was surprised when suddenly her fearful niece drew her wand and pointed it at her.
Witnessing Bellatrix's euphoria at the fear she was causing her peers, Tonks internally steadied herself and stiffened her resolve before drawing her wand and aiming it directly at the woman. Tonks steeled herself before sneering at the woman, "Nice to see you too, Aunt Bellatrix." She spoke, hearing the gasps from behind her at her acknowledgement of Bellatrix's relation to her.
Tonks smirked a little as she continued, "Can't say you're looking the greatest right now though. All those years of kissing the robes of a deranged lunatic really did a number on you." She said as pleasantly as she could manage. Tonks could see the anger rising in Bellatrix's eyes, could practically feel the heat of her outrage wafting off her.
"You insolent, pathetic little half breed!" Bellatrix seethed. "You DARE insult the Dark Lord!"
Tonks replied quietly but firmly, "I dare." The whole room seemed to be holding their breath waiting to see what the deranged woman in the cell would do.
To their shock, Bellatrix suddenly threw her head back in a fit of laughter. Tonks flinched just slightly, startled by the sudden behavioural change. "Haha ickle Nymmie thinks she can play in the big leagues?" Bellatrix cooed mockingly before her tone suddenly turned hard. "You've got a lot of growing up to do before you're ready to duel the likes of me you filthy half-blood. Give Andy dearest a kiss for me, hey?" she mocked, Tonks' eyes darkened at the remark.
Her mother didn't often speak of her sisters, but the few times she did she'd always made sure to tell Tonks more about 'Bella Black' than 'Bellatrix Lestrange'. Tonks had often marvelled growing up at how the charming, funny, mischievous Bella her mother described had so rapidly changed into the cold, violent, heartless Bellatrix Lestrange that now stood not five feet away from the young auror.
As she'd grown older Tonks had realized that her mum blamed herself for the change in Bella to Bellatrix. Had blamed her desertion of her family for changing both of her sisters, turning them to You-Know-Who's side. Tonks had confronted her mum about her theory only once; it had ended with many tears, but at the time a teenage Tonks had gained insight into her mother's past that she wasn't even sure her dad knew.
Hearing Bellatrix so blatantly flippant about her mom ground on Tonks' nerves to the point her wand tip glowed a fierce orange. It was at that moment Moody finally stepped in and groused, "That's enough Junior Auror." His electric blue eye swiveled to look at her and Tonks slowly lowered her wand.
Moody banged his walking stick harshly against the bars of Bellatrix's cell and growled, "Don't give me a reason to ask the dementors to come up here Lestrange." He growled, looming menacingly against the cell. She gasped slightly before mocking him in the same baby tone she'd used on Tonks.
They had left then, but Tonks had felt the stares of the platoon on her for the rest of the expedition. Even after that there had always been vague whispers. The news spread through the up and coming auror troops like wildfire, and many of the senior aurors already knew because of the time Andromeda had spent with them either at Hogwarts or working in the Department of Mysteries as an Unspeakable. However, her actions that day had also caused Mad-Eye to pick her. Her spunk against Bellatrix Lestrange had made him take note of her, so the day hadn't been a total loss.
Those dark eyes had never left Tonks' mind. How could they? They had seemed to look directly into her soul in a way that left her feeling chilled as opposed to the warmth she associated with her mother's own dark, piercing eyes. Yes, those cold eyes were so hate filled that there was no doubt in Tonks' mind they would want to annihilate anything to do with the "light".
Amelia noted the slightly glazed look in Tonks' eyes and asked, "Something on your mind Tonks?" The metamorph noticed both Amelia and Minerva looking at her curiously and flushed a little before supressing it with her metamorphmagus abilities.
"Sorry Mad—erm, Amelia" Tonks corrected still feeling weird calling her boss by her first name. "I was just thinking of someone who would love to see Dumbledore brought down."
Raising a brow, Amelia prodded, "And that would be?"
Tonks glanced away before muttering, "Bellatrix Lestrange." She heard McGonagall's gasp and couldn't help but wince. It wasn't as though she chose to be related to the woman, or to meet her for that matter!
Amelia looked pensive for a moment before she had her 'aha!' moment. "That's right, I remember Moody telling me something about you being particularly determined when it came to Lestrange during your first visit to Azkaban." Tonks stared at Amelia; she didn't know her boss had heard about that—and from Mad-Eye too.
"Yes ma'am." Tonks said, looking at the floor. She could feel the heat rising in her cheeks underneath her metamorph guise. It wasn't bad enough that probably every auror her age in the department knew of the incident, but now her boss too.
'Great, just bloody great.' Tonks thought bitterly, remembering how hard it had been after that incident to get any respect or acceptance among the other aurors. Dawlish in particular had seemed to take great pleasure in lording her relation to Bellatrix over her.
Amelia frowned at Tonks behaviour, 'There's something more than she's telling me going on.' The senior auror mused, but decided not to press the issue at the moment. Turning back to Minerva, Amelia spoke.
"It won't be easy to do this, but if we're going to help Harry I'm afraid we'll have to get Dumbledore out of the way. That man has run amuck far too long. I'd like to ask you to put a request out to students, Minerva. Bother current and former, anyone who knows of or has anything they suspect Dumbledore's involvement in that would be classified as illegal or questionably legal activity, have reported. I suggest starting with the non-Gryffindors; the Slytherins might actually be the best place to start in this instance." Amelia said the last part more to herself but Minerva nodded nonetheless.
The transfiguration mistress could already begin to feel the headache this was going to cause, but she knew why this had to happen. Amelia wanted an air-tight case, and to do that she would need more than just a few claims. She would need a lot of claims and allegations to bring down the likes of Albus Dumbledore. That much was certain.
With that their impromptu meeting drew to a close and the three witches separated to go about their tasks. Amelia flooing to the Ministry to begin her conquest to bring Albus Dumbledore to justice, Minerva going in search of students who might have something to report on their esteemed Headmaster. Her first stop: Draco Malfoy.
Tonks instead decided to pay a visit to her mother. There was something going on with the Black family now, of that much Tonks was sure, and her mum would want to know about it. 'If she doesn't already.' Tonks mused grimly.
(Hospital Wing 1130hrs)
Hermione had finally begun to calm down enough that Harry felt he could speak to her rationally. Neville had also taken a seat in the nearby chair. He was mostly just watching Harry and Hermione's interactions. Once Harry had finally gotten Hermione to calm down, he had pushed himself up to lean against the metal bar on the back of his bed before trying to start some conversation.
At first he was obviously trying to force conversation slightly, changing the atmosphere purposefully to a less tense one, but then eventually it became easier. The trio fell into easy conversation. Talking about classes, Quidditch briefly, even making some jokes here and there about Fred and George's latest pranking adventures—the duo had recently stuck all of Filch's cleaning equipment to the ceiling of the man's office.
Neville smiled some at the conversation ensuing, he wasn't used to being included in conversation by anyone, even other kids his own age. Harry and Hermione had always been a bit of an exception but even then they never spent that much time together. His thoughts turned briefly to the blonde girl, Luna, from earlier and he wondered why she had suddenly decided to speak to him. He wasn't even sure he'd ever seen her before.
Thoughts of Luna soon changed to thoughts of the condition Harry was in though, and Neville wondered what he could do to help. He still couldn't believe anyone would be so horrible as to hit their kid, adopted or otherwise. In the magical world children were precious, treasured even. How anyone could possibly beat a child, their own or otherwise, as Harry's relatives had clearly done to him was unfathomable to Neville.
It suddenly hit Neville as it never had before that Harry was like him; Harry was an heir to an Ancient and Noble family…an heir to an Ancient and Noble family that had been abused. Neville's mind suddenly started going much faster as all of the connotations of Harry's status as both famous and an heir meant to his being mistreated.
'Those sickos are going to have hell to pay!' Neville thought with grim satisfaction. Harry may have had to suffer a great deal already, but in the end, Neville was sure the Dursleys would get what was coming to them. He would make sure of that.
"Harry?" Neville asked, drawing the raven haired boy's attention. "Have you, I mean, does the Ministry know about this?" he asked slowly, unsure how Harry would react. He was surprised when Harry simply nodded.
Continuing Neville said, "Do you know what they're going to do?" he asked, wondering whether they would have shared those details, he doubted it. After all they were only 12, but then this was Harry himself. They would be more likely to tell the child involved then anyone, even if they oversimplified it.
Harry shook his head, "They're meeting with Professor Dumbledore now…I don't know what they've decided." He said simply, uncomfortable with where Neville seemed to be going. Harry had never liked being left in the dark, but he knew that now more than ever he needed to stay quiet. He couldn't drive away these people who had finally accepted him who had decided to take him away from the whips and scorns of the Dursleys.
Harry was unaware of Hermione observing his reactions to Neville's questions, as well as the frown that crossed her face when she noticed the guarded look in his eyes. Her brown eyes narrowed as she watched Harry, something was bothering him, and she knew exactly what it was. Harry hated being kept in the dark.
"Why are they keeping you in the dark?" she asked, drawing both boys attention. Neville frowned at her words, but Harry just avoided her gaze.
"I—they aren't." Harry said, catching himself as he moved to deny Hermione's accusation. This caused the brunette girl to frown.
"They aren't telling you what they're doing Harry…most people call that being kept in the dark." She pointed out.
Harry shook his head, "No they aren't; they just…it's only been a day, 'Mione. They probably just haven't gotten a chance to tell me yet." Hermione didn't like his answer because she knew it was bothering him, but Neville, noticing how uncomfortable Harry looked, decided to change the topic.
"Where are you going to stay for the summer now, Harry?" he asked. In response Harry first froze before his eyes widened as he realized he had no idea.
"I, uh, I don't know yet…summer is a long way off, mate." Harry said, sidestepping the question as best he could. Neville nodded before speaking.
"Well you could stay with Gran and I if you want…um, n-not that you have to." Neville added realizing that he was being rather bold inviting Harry for the summer with Hermione sitting on the other side of him.
Harry looked rather stunned at Neville's offer, his emerald eyes widening as he looked at the slightly older boy. Harry's mind reeled at the offer. 'He would let me stay with him?' Harry thought in wonder. 'But…I've never even spent that much time with Neville…and I never stopped Ron from saying mean things about him…why would he let me spend the summer with him…?'
Finally Harry spoke, "Th-thanks Nev…I, uh, I don't know if they're going to make arrangements for me or-or what, but um, I…thanks." Harry finished lamely, flushing slightly at his inarticulate answer.
Hermione smiled a little at Harry's flustered answer; she didn't often get to see Harry like this…he was so guarded all the time. Even with her and Ron, she internally sneered at the thought of the youngest Weasley, Harry had never been really open. She knew he was still quite guarded as he was speaking to them now, and that Harry wasn't going to suddenly open up to everyone, but it was nice to see him allowing himself to get a little flustered. Even if she felt a twinge of pain in her heart that Harry was so flustered simply at an offer to stay at someone's house for the summer.
It was strange though…Harry was more reactive to Neville's offer than he had been when Ron had offered him to stay at the Weasleys…Hermione decided that she could ask him about it later when it was just the two of them.
As she refocused on her surroundings, Hermione found that Harry and Neville were discussing, albeit awkwardly, Neville's house and what it looked like, the gardens around it and such. Harry looked unusually shy about the whole thing, but she got the feeling Neville made it easier because he was just as if not more awkward about the whole conversation.
The brunette had to smile a little, there was definitely a long way to go, and she had no doubt that Harry was understating his condition to her as well as hiding some things, but maybe, just maybe they could pull him out of this in one piece. With Neville's help most likely, she mused again enjoying the awkward but friendly conversation the two boys were having.
AN:/ So, not my greatest chapter ever I'm sure, but I did finally finish the scene in Dumbledore's office—thank goodness right? I know some of you have been less than impressed with my portrayal of Hermione in this story, and I thank you for that feedback. To be honest I haven't 100% decided how she'll end up in this story, but she will definitely be on Harry's side. That and I think, given this is only second year for them, that at this point even in cannon Hermione was still sometimes kind of annoying, but she will grow away from it. As always, thank you for reading, I love getting feedback, and any favs/alerts are always appreciated,
Next Time: The meeting in Dumble's office has concluded—time for Tonks to get back to Harry with what happened. Also, how will Hermione and moreover Neville react to learning Amelia Bones is Harry's godmother? Fleur's letter is on route as well as Harry's reactions to what she's got to say. Snape and Dumbles, not to mention the Dursleys and everyone's least favourite Weasel still need to get their comeuppance, so that will be fun.
Until then, (which will be much sooner than this time was)
Thanks for reading,