A/N: As usual, I do not own anything
A/N2: I would like to thank my Shade. of .Grey13 for taking some time off to read through this
Outside New York City
Dan and Emma stared at the mansion in front of them with their mouths open and their jaws nearly hitting the floor of the car.
The two Granger parents – along with Harry and Hermione – were seated inside the cabin of a Lincoln Limousine – the same make and model as the Presidential car of the President of the United States minus the nuts and bolts – as the black Lincoln entered through a massive wrought iron gate fence – it was twenty feet high and wide enough to allow three cars to enter the gate and the driveway simultaneously – and into the one hundred meter long road flanked on either side by large trees that led from the gate to the elevated covered driveway in front of the main doors of the mansion.
As the limousine made its way to the mansion, the Granger parents took the time to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings.
Dan found himself staring at the grounds. It was easily the largest set of grounds that the former SAS officer had seen that was privately owned. Off into the distance, he made out the outline of several vines of grapes growing as well as what appeared to be a distillery. This brought a light smile to the face of Dan Granger as the dentist was a wine connoisseur who enjoyed trying both new and old wine.
Emma found herself staring at the house itself. Although the female senior Granger was a dentist, there was a time when Emma Granger thought that she could be an architect. Staring at the three story house, she was able to easily discern that the mansion was constructed in the Late Renaissance Style.
The driver of the limousine – an employee of the Gringotts Bank, it turned out – expertly maneuvered the limousine into the short driveway before he stopped the car in front of the massive oak double doors that were the main doors to the mansion.
With practiced grace and consideration for his passengers, the driver opened the rear doors of the limousine to allow his passengers out of the vehicle. First out was Dan Granger followed by his wife and the two kids. By the time that Harry – who exited the car last – had his foot on the grounds of the Potter Manor, the driver had already opened the trunk of the limousine and had begun to remove the luggage. Dan had offered to help the man but he refused saying that it was his pleasure to do these things.
Emma managed to remove her gaze from the house so that she may look at the other side of the driveway and blinked in surprise when she saw the horseshoe shaped staircase that lead to the ground level. She had seen such an example before during one of their family's many trips to France and she had fallen in love with such a style before.
Unlike their parents, Harry and Hermione were too busy thinking about the things that they had seen earlier to pay attention to their surroundings.
The Lufthansa 747-300 that carried the party from London to New York had landed exactly on time, saving their driver the grief of having to wait for the flight. Unfortunately, this also meant that the manor would not be ready in time since Emma – being a frequent traveler – had estimated that the flight might be late.
To allow the caretaker time to open the manor and clean it, Hermione had suggested that they visit the magical community of New York City. Harry was only all too willing to endorse her suggestion, and when they were informed by the driver that he was allowed to take them there, both Dan and Emma agreed with the suggestion.
The first thing that Harry and Hermione did when they arrived at the magical marketplace of New York City called Houdini – 'Houdini is an illusionist not a magician', Hermione complained – they made their way to the wand maker. Well, Hermione wanted to make her way to the bookstore first, but Harry was able to convince her to check out the wand maker first.
Of course, both students just wanted to check out the wand maker, they had no plans to buy a second wand, having been informed in Hogwarts that this was illegal. When Harry told the proprietor of the shop this fact, the man laughed in his face before informing him that the rule was only applicable in Britain and several other backwater magical communities.
'Not so in the United States', the proprietor said, 'here, we are allowed as many wands as we want as long as we register them'. After assuring Harry and Hermione that was indeed the rule – and not because he was trying to con them into buying his products – Harry and Hermione were only all too willing to buy a reserve wand.
Harry found his reserve wand fairly quick. His new wand was a fifteen inch redwood with a unicorn tail hair.
Hermione had to go through two dozen wands before she found a match in the fourteen and three quarters inch pine with crystallized North American Red Dragon blood.
After paying for their new wands, they were supposed to make their way to the bookstore – Harry and Hermione's parents could never deny her any wish – when Hermione brushed her hand over a wand that she had not yet tested. The resulting fireworks display was even greater than the fireworks display that Harry experienced when he touched his phoenix-feather wand.
Hermione's third – and true – wand was fifteen and a half inches, made of cedar with the tail of a common fox. She was confused as to why the core of her wand was a common fox at first, but the wand maker explained that the non-magical quality of the core was a sign that Hermione was capable of focusing her magic without the need for assistance from the wand core. The wand maker then further remarked that she might be able to do magic without the need for a focus if she were to practice on it. A fact that she took great delight in.
Of course, that resulted to a rather long session on wand cores and wands in general. Harry and Hermione both wondered why their other wands had magical cores on their other wands. The proprietor remarked that their wand cores were fairly common animals in the first place and had very limited magic. When Harry told the proprietor about his phoenix feather wand, the man could not say anything but remarked to himself – silently – that it was curious. They had to get as far away from the shop as possible after that.
Since they spent a considerable amount of time in the wand store, Hermione's visit to the bookstore did not last as long as she would have wanted. She did make the observation that there were a lot more books available in the store and these products included several books that were on the restricted section of the Hogwarts library. When queried, the proprietor of the shop admitted that there were only two classifications of books in the United States magical world – General Patronage and Parental Guardian required. 'Simply put', the bookstore attendant had said, 'You can buy anything you want as long as you are seventeen years old, and whether it is about dark rituals or basic potions, we do not care. The only reason why the books about dark rituals are forbidden for kids is because of their sexual natures, nothing more, nothing less'
After their visit to the bookstore, Emma decided that they had spent enough time in their diversion and they promptly made their way back to the parking area where their driver dutifully waited for them. After that, it was a comfortable two hour drive to the manor through wide roads that very few people seemed to use. During the two hour drive, they only saw two other cars.
Dan and Emma led Harry and Hermione into the manor house. It was, as Emma had expected, tastefully decorated. Emma – ever the frustrated architect – noted that while the outside of the manor might have been designed using the Late Renaissance Style, the interior was a Baroque style, particularly, the Rococo style.
The moment that they entered the building, there was a pop in front of them and a creature that neither Harry nor Hermione had ever seen before was now standing in front of them.
The creature bowed towards Harry before it bowed towards the Grangers before saying, "Welcome to Potter Manor in New York, Master Harry Potter sir, I is Toto, the chief house-elf of Potter Manor in New York"
"Er…" Harry began, unsure of what to say next. He gave a side glace towards Hermione, but even the smartest witch of her age appeared to have been taken aback by the greeting, leaving Harry on his own. With a mental sigh, the boy-who-lived turned towards the creature – which had introduced itself as a house-elf, therefore, it must be a house-elf – and said, "Thanks, I'm Harry, and this is Hermione and her parents"
Toto again bowed towards the Granger's and repeated his greeting before asking them to follow him to the living room.
As he enumerated the facilities in the grounds – 'Yes, Mister Grangy, we is having our own wine label' – and in the manor itself – 'Yes Missus and Miss Grangy, we is having a library, but it is being closed for today because the other house-elves is fixing the books – Toto led them through halls filled with artwork that Hermione commented were mostly about Harry, with a laugh. Harry asked Toto why the paintings in the halls all appeared to be centered on him when he was informed by the house-elf that the eldest Potter males all look alike for some reason when they were younger.
"So this man" Hermione began as she pointed towards a painting showing a look alike Harry Potter standing behind a young boy drawing a sword from the rock, "is one of Harry's ancestors?"
"Miss Grangy is being correct, Miss Grangy" Toto replied while nodding his head, "This is being the first Lord Potter, Lord Merlin Potter who is also being known as Merlin of King Arthur's Court" the house-elf pointed towards the boy drawing the sword from the stone, "this is being Arthur Potter, Lord Merlin Potter's second son also being known as King Arthur"
"But Arthur is not Merlin's son" Hermione commented, "He was his pupil, his protégé"
"You will find that there are some things in the history of the two worlds that have been purposely mucked up by our historians" a voice from the far end of the hall said.
Everyone turned towards the source of the voice and found a relatively young man standing there. Harry and Hermione studied him. He looked to be about Dan's age, but both mages knew that if the man was magical, then he could be past seventy years of age and he would still look to be in his early forties. He was well-built, tall and carried himself with the aura of a person who had seen a lot in his life.
"Lord Potter and Miss Grangy, I is introducing Master Kyle Sanders" Toto said.
Kyle approached the party of four with a smile in his face and shook hands with all four of them, "Kyle Ludwig Sanders" he introduced himself, "Transfiguration and Charms Master, graduate from the University of Bavaria – Magical Section"
"There's a magical section?" Hermione asked.
Kyle laughed as she looked at the young woman. It appeared that she was exactly as the goblins had described her, and to the teacher in Kyle, that was something that he was happy about, "Why don't we go meet with your other tutors while I tell you all about the magical section of the University of Bavaria?" he suggested.
Harry and Hermione were only all too eager to go. Kyle had to convince Dan and Emma to come with them. The two parents were unsure if they needed to be there since they were not magical, but Kyle insisted for their presence since Harry and Hermione were their children. Kyle's comment of, "Besides, we will be living with each other for the next four years" had both parents also wondering what the man meant.
Kyle led them to the main living room. The room was about fifty feet long and twenty feet wide with floor-to-ceiling windows on one side that reminded Dan and Emma of the Sun Room in the Versailles. There were several comfortable looking sofas in the room and everyone could see that there were already several other people inside the room.
"If you is needing anything, Master Kyle, Lord Potter, you is summoning Toto" Toto said before he disappeared with another pop.
"Well here we are" Kyle said with a smile as he motioned to the room. He turned towards Harry and smiled, "Gringotts managed to contact the best of the best for you Lord Potter, you…" he was cut off by Harry who insisted that he be referred to by his first name, "Harry, then" Kyle said with a smile, he sighed and then continued, "As I was saying, you can be assured that by the time we are done with you, you and anyone else whom you choose, will be experts in magic and fairly a lot of other stuff"
"Will you be one of our teachers?" Hermione asked.
Kyle nodded, "Charms and Transfiguration" he replied, "If you wish, I could also teach you some non-magical fighting techniques and tactics, but that is not required so that is your choice" he then turned towards a woman who had stood from her chair and made her way to his side.
Harry and Hermione – as well as Dan and Emma – looked at her and their jaws dropped as they realized that they had seen her recently, "Amanda Rowena Stone, I will be your potions professor" she said before she turned towards Hermione and asked, "How was the headache?"
"Didn't feel a thing after whatever it was that you gave me" Hermione replied, still awed by the fact that the flight attendant in their cabin would be one of her professors.
"Excellent, family recipe for the altitude sickness cure, one of the things that I will be teaching you so you would not be needing me to make it for you when you take another flight" Amanda said.
"Mandy" Kyle warned, but he only got a smile from the pretty woman in response to his rebuke.
"Charles Reginald Smith" one of those who were still seated in one of the sofas said, raising his hand. He looked towards Harry and Hermione at the same time that they looked at him – and got the impression that he was lazy – before he continued, "I will be your defense instructor, in addition to being your physical fitness instructor" he smiled even before anyone could comment, "What, you think that you can expect to defeat a few wizards relying only on your magical power?"
Harry and Hermione both shook their heads furiously. After their first impression of the man being lazy, they had thought that was it, but when they looked at him again, he seemed to radiate power and suddenly, he was carrying himself with the aura of a man that you do not want to mess around with.
"Archibald Perry Smith" the man who was seated opposite Charles Smith – and looked exactly like him – said, he frowned towards the first Smith before he turned towards Harry and Hermione, "We are brothers, but please, do not think that just because we are brothers we have the same attitude" he sighed before he added, "I always thought that he was adopted" – judging from the fact that they appeared to be identical twins, that would be hard to prove – "I will be your History of Magic and Astronomy professor" he added towards Harry and Hermione.
"Cynthia Payne" a plain looking woman wearing large tortoise-rimmed glasses said as she stood up and made her way towards Harry and Hermione, "Runes, though I also teach dancing in my spare time" she smiled towards Harry and Hermione before she commented, "With the way that you two are going, you might need it"
Harry and Hermione blushed, before Cynthia spotted Dan and Emma. The Runes professor curtsied towards them and then said, "I also give free lessons in dancing for couples, you know"
Dan and Emma blushed as well and began to ask themselves if they really should be present in this room.
"Cynthia" Kyle admonished the runes professor. Unlike Amanda, the runes professor noted the man's admonishment, who was probably head of the team of educators that Gringotts had sent. The Runes professor curtsied towards Kyle before she mouthed an apology and sat back at her seat beside a now sitting Amanda.
"I watched them during the flight from London" Amanda said, smugly and with a grin on her face that was as wide as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was long, "They will need those dance lessons soon enough" she looked towards Charles and added, "the young master might be needing some of your patented pick-up lines soon enough too, Charles"
"Ah, Mandy, if only my lines would work on you," Charles said with a smile, and then his smile vanished and was replaced by a dark look, "then I would probably only be all too willing to date a banshee, at least I can stand their shrieking better than I can stand yours"
"Peter Bernini" the last person among the assembled entourage stood up and shook hands with Harry and the Granger's, "Arithmancy and Theory of Magical Creatures as we obviously cannot bring the lives ones here" he smiled towards Dan and asked, "SAS?"
A surprised Dan nodded, but before the head of the Granger family could ask the professor how he knew, Peter said, "I recognized you, September, 1985, Operation Red Sunset"
Dan stared at the man and then nodded once, "I see" he commented silently, he stared at the professor and asked, "Which unit?"
Peter smiled and shook his head, "Classified" he said.
Dan nodded, and then went back to his own musings. The former SAS operator knew enough to ask after being told that the information that he was seeking was classified.
A pregnant silence descended among the group after the exchange between the two men. After about ten seconds, Kyle pointedly cleared his throat, prompting Harry and the Granger's to look towards him just in time to watch him as he informed Harry and Hermione, "These will be your core subjects," he said, "there will be other subjects available, but we, or rather, I, did not see the need to include them in your syllabus as I do not think that they would be of help to you" he smiled before he added, "Of course, I can be wrong"
Amanda snorted, but a pointed glare from Kyle silenced her allowing the leader of the professors to continue, "Amanda was kind enough to volunteer" – from the looks on her face, it was obvious that she did not – "to come up with a schedule that would see you have at least three hours of instructions in all subjects every week, she will have it ready by tomorrow and we can begin our studying the day after"
"Er…" Emma began as she tentatively raised her hand. Kyle looked at her and she continued, "Grimfist mentioned something called a time chamber..?"
Kyle nodded, "Yes ma'am" Kyle replied with a polite nod, "This manor is equipped with a time compression device that is designed to stretch time. One week outside the walls of the chamber would be equal to almost four hundred days inside the walls," he explained, "We are going to turn the machine on the day after tomorrow, and stop using it after a month, should give us four years, we skip the next week so that you and your family can have some fun outside of these two studying, and then we turn it on again after that week for another two weeks before we allow them to return to Britain"
"Why even make them return?" Charles asked, "From what I heard from the goblins, the premier educational institution in the world" – he said that with obvious sarcasm - "is going to the pigs"
"Ours is not to question why, stupid egg-head" Archibald suddenly said towards his brother, he proceeded to smack his brother at the back of his head before he continued, "Besides, didn't you want to go to Britain?"
Charles snorted, but did not say anything else, allowing Kyle to continue with whatever it was that he wanted to say. He turned towards Harry and Hermione and said, "I am not authorized to tell you why, but the goblins are steadfastly refusing to tell you the prophecy unless you return to Britain to hear it personally" he shook his head and added, "Personally, I think you should hear it as soon as possible, but since I do not know where the damned orb is anyway, there is nothing that I can do"
"I guess that it has something to do with protecting their bank" Hermione said after a few moments of silence, she looked at Harry and saw him staring at her with a questioning look, prompting her to explain, "the goblins are not known for lifting their fingers to help humans, they only do it if they have something to gain from doing it"
"So they are helping me so that I will feel compelled to help them protect their bank?" Harry asked in disbelief. Hagrid had told him that the bank was one of the safest places in the world, so what could little old Harry Potter do to help protect the bank? Gringotts had curse-breakers and have heavily armed security goblins that Harry was sure he could not top, so the boy-who-lived could not see a reason why the goblins wanted him unless it had something to do with….he turned towards Hermione and she nodded before Harry said, "Voldemort"
"Probably" Kyle agreed, "I mean, Grimfist did say that the prophecy claimed that only you can defeat him, the goblins must be hedging on that"
"Backstabbers" Charles commented under his breath.
"They helped you pay your way through defense school, Charlie" Amanda said with a superior smirk.
"A fact that I am not going to forget, if those conniving bastards have their way, I am sure" Charles replied with a snort. Beside him, Archibald looked up to the skies and merely shook his head.
Kyle motioned with his hand and the entire room was silenced. Harry and Hermione felt no magic being used, so they could not be sure if the professor used wandless magic or if he just commanded enough respect from all the assembled professors that a mere motion with his hand was enough to silence them.
"We are going to do our job" Kyle said, pointedly and towards Charles, who cringed and merely nodded. Kyle turned towards Harry and Hermione and then said, "Pay no attention towards Charles's antics, he is a good professor and he will teach you everything he knows, he just would like to forget that the goblins paid for his school tuition before he got himself in the military"
Charles snorted, but apparently, he was not about to interrupt when Kyle was the one speaking. Kyle ignored him and continued addressing Harry and the Granger's, "For now, why don't you settle into your rooms and wait for dinner? There certainly is nothing else that we can do"
Dan and Emma nodded, agreeing with Kyle's suggestion. Kyle summoned Toto a few moments later and the energetic house-elf was only all too willing to help Harry and the Granger's to find their rooms.
The only snag was when the house-elf thought that they only needed two rooms. A quick chat with the elf, however, dispelled any thoughts on the mind of everyone that Harry and Hermione were going to share rooms.