AN: Hi. It's been a while, but I have finally returned to you with an update for HPatEC! Happy day!
Anyways, I apologise for my tardiness and thank you all for your continued support. Reviews mean a lot and were what kept driving me back to this story, no matter how stuck or desperate I got. I'd also like to apologise to those people whom I gave false update hope by promising an update by Friday 17th. Due to some unforseen delays, I didn't make that date.
Now, before we begin, thanks again for your reviews, and thanks to my great beta MsCalypso for keeping me motivated whilst writing this. Please remember to review and ENJOY THE CHAPTER!
"Yes, I have a question," Harry spoke up coolly, "When is the actual meeting going to begin? What's Voldemort up to? What are we doing to fight him? What Ministry members do we have on our side? Do we have dirt on those who might turn to Voldemort's side? What about secret keeping? Do I need to swear any vows to keep the identities of other members secret?"
Harry glanced around to note that everyone was looking at him with varying degrees of surprise.
They must've underestimated him, a situation Harry'd been faced with more than once before. He was surprised however, that that problem persisted even after his magnificent performance in the Triwizard Tournament.
"Why would we tell you any of that?" Moody asked, surprising Harry with the redundancy of his question. As a result, he remained silent for a second, before he managed to formulate a response.
"Because that is information I need to have in order to contribute and be able to carry out any tasks I am given to a satisfactory degree?" Harry asked, not understanding why such a question even needed answering. Surely, this was obvious to a man of Moody's background?
"Contribute? Tasks? I don't know what you think you're doing here lad, but the Order is no daycare! You're here for your own safety, not to listen in on any meetings!" Moody shouted, his magical eye now fixed on Harry.
Harry frowned, this was not promising, "Am I not being made a member of the Order?"
"No, you're not." Moody spoke curtly.
In that second, Harry felt a vein throb he'd only ever seen pulse on his Uncle Vernon's forehead.
"To be perfectly clear," Harry spoke in irritation, "you are telling me that I will not be made a part of the Order."
Moody nodded, "Exactly."
"Are you dense?" Harry spoke derisively.
Ignoring the affronted gasp from Molly Weasley, Harry geared up for an angered monologue, "At fourteen, I am a more accomplished wizard than over half of you will ever be! I've won the Triwizard Tournament! At twelve, I killed a Basilisk! I've faced Voldemort three times, routing him twice! The only reason you even know Voldemort's returned is because I saved that idiot's worthless ass," Harry angrily waved a hand in Max's general direction, "from Voldemort AND his Death Eaters less than a month ago!"
Harry paused for a second to let that sink in. Then, before anybody could get a word in, he ended with his trump card.
"And in that month, MY network managed to throw Lucius Malfoy out of Malfoy Manor, take his seat on the Wizengamot, and take most of his fortune! What have you done in the past month?" Harry threw the last bit at Moody, lifting an eyebrow challengingly.
That didn't get a response. Harry basked in the stunned awe of the Order members. Fools, thinking they could humiliate him by refusing him membership.
"The Order doesn't allow children." A tall, bald, dark-skinned man spoke up, his deep, slow voice making the statement seem final.
"And considering the average child, that is a good idea. However, there are surely exceptions for useful assets?" Harry spoke, his disbelief very clear to all present.
"How arrogant are you, exactly?" The unidentified Weasley son asked, frowning at Harry disapprovingly, "You come in here and act as if we should all be honored to be in your presence, demanding respect and trying to ridicule older, wiser and better men than you!"
Harry snorted, "I'm sorry, before I answer that, which one are you, exactly?" Harry spoke mockingly, "Bill or Charlie?"
"I'm Bill." The redhead frowned severely, giving Harry the stink eye.
"Right, Bill, with all due respect - and seeing as you're a curse breaker and former Head Boy, that's something I actually have for you - how is objectively stating my accomplishments arrogant?"
"For one, you demand membership of the Order, only to immediately insult the first person to refuse you. Then you try to mock a man whose spent half a year as a prisoner of war!" Bill yelled, slamming a fist on the table in his anger.
Harry kept his quiet. He didn't have an answer to that.
"I don't know about you Bill, but the kid fought Voldemort and lived to tell the tale! I say that's worth something, why can't he be a member of the Order?" Tonks spoke up, breaking a lance for Harry and getting a grateful nod from him in exchange.
"You know why he can't Tonks, the rules are very clear. No minors." Professor McGonagall spoke up, glancing around the table to see if anybody dared oppose her. When she spotted the Weasley twins opening their mouths, she curtly added, "Nor other current Hogwarts students."
"And as any good student can tell you, Professor, sometimes the rules have to be broken." Tonks fired back, to Professor McGonagall's clear displeasure.
Before the discussion could carry on any longer, Dumbledore interfered, "Clearly, opinions are split, which is why we'll put this to a vote. Should we make an exception to the age limit for Harry, and let him join the Order? I myself, because of conflicting interests, will abstain. Minerva?"
That had shut everyone up. Tension around the room went up immensely. Harry glanced from Dumbledore to McGonagall.
"Harry Potter is an exceptional wizard, the like of which I have never been allowed to teach before. Already, he is more advanced in my subject than most aspiring Masters. But he is also my student, and I will do everything in my power to keep my students away from the war. I vote no." Professor McGonagall spoke, avoiding everyone's eyes as her voice trembled suspiciously.
Dumbledore looked at the woman next to McGonagall, "Emmeline?"
"Clearly Mr. Potter is no ordinary student if he can get such praise from Minerva, and taking the Malfoy fortune away from You-Know-Who is a great achievement as well. I vote yes, although I do wish to know how you managed said endeavor, Mr. Potter." Emmeline, whose last name Harry didn't know, spoke, changing the tally to 1-1.
Harry smiled politely before answering, "That would be the kind of information I share only with those people who will, in turn, confide their secrets in me also. For now at least, I'm not sure the Order of the Phoenix makes that list."
"Very well, the tally is one vote in favor and one vote against, Kingsley?" Dumbledore asked calmly, gazing at the dark-skinned man who had earlier spoken up against Harry.
"No." Kingsley declared, not bothering to offer an explanation, he merely leaned back in his chair, keeping his gaze on Harry.
"Bill?" Dumbledore inquired, accepting that Kingsley, another person whose last name was unknown to Harry, wouldn't expand any further.
"Of course not! Not only is he a child, he's also convinced of his own importance and treats this as if it's a game! He even tries to blackmail us by withholding information that could be crucial to our mission!" The oldest Weasley child shouted, his ears probably the same shade of red as Ron's, though Harry had no way to know for sure, as Bill's long hair hid his ears from sight.
Harry intervened with a frown, "Because having been asked to step up and do my part - before you even knew Voldemort was still alive - definitely doesn't give me any right to demand fair treatment. Is that what you're saying? I should feel honored to risk life and limb whenever Dumbledore comes calling, but can't demand to be kept in the loop?"
Before Bill could voice exactly what he thought of that, Dumbledore calmly inserted himself into the discussion, "This is not the place for childish bickering, we are in the middle of making an important decision. You have both been allowed to say your fill, now settle down and let us continue. Arthur? Your vote?"
Frowning, Arthur Weasley took of his glasses and started polishing his glasses on his robe even as he avoided everyone's gaze, "I believe," He uttered hesitantly, "that Harry here, despite some character flaws, has a valid point unlike that of certain other Hogwarts students," here, he glanced meaningfully at his own sons, "it's been clear from the start that Dumbledore had already relied heavily on Harry before the Order was called back together. It would be unfair to force Harry to risk his life, yet leave him in the dark when he's performed beyond all reasonable expectations time and again. I vote yes."
Harry nodded gratefully towards the Weasley patriarch. Unlike his firstborn, Arthur Weasley clearly understood that Harry was an essential asset for the Order to have.
James Potter, unlike the others who'd gone before him, didn't wait for Dumbledore's prompting to give his opinion, "Students can't join the Order, I don't see any reason to make an exception for him. So, no."
Immediately, Lily gave her own opinion as well, "He can't join, he's too young, and I don't trust him."
In moments like these, Harry really did not understand how he could possibly be the offspring of these two people. James' reasoning he could understand, to a degree. Wanting to have everyone subject to the same rules was something Harry could somewhat respect. Even if it was stupid in this case.
His mother, on the other hand. He could understand her voting no, but why phrase it so oddly? I don't trust him. Why not? What had he done to be mistrusted?
"Nymphadora?" Dumbledore asked, redirecting the table's attention to the pink-haired Metamorphmagus, although the tips of her hair turned red from hearing her given name.
"He won the Triwizard Tournament! Obviously, Harry's a special case! Let him join, it'll be fun!" Tonks grinned enthusiastically as she elbowed Harry in the side enthusiastically.
Dumbledore sighed, "I would say fun isn't exactly one of the Order's priorities, Nymphadora."
Before the Headmaster could continue, his gaze shifted towards the kitchen door, "Ah, I believe Severus and Mundungus have arrived."
The attention of those present shifted as one to the kitchen door, which opened to reveal first Severus Snape gliding in, followed by a stumbling man Harry assumed to be Mundungus.
Harry saw one of Snape's eyebrows quiver for a fraction of a second, before the Potion master's expression returned to its standard sneer.
"I distinctly recall you telling me, Dumbledore, that I wouldn't be called for until I needed to give my report. Why are these children still present?" Snape spoke as he drew his wand, conjuring a chair between McGonagall and Emmeline, who moved over to provide sufficient extra space.
"There is an issue at hand which affects you and Mundungus just as much as the rest of the Order, which is why I called for you. Everyone, aside from Aberforth, who simply doesn't care, and Hagrid, who of course can't attend right now, should be heard in this matter." Dumbledore explained patiently, looking inquiringly from Professor Snape to Mundungus, who'd sat down between Lupin and Fred, and back again.
"Wha's zat?" Mundungus mumbled, his garlic-like stench wafting across the table. Harry nodded gratefully at Tonks as she surreptitiously waved her wand in Dung's general direction, immediately neutralizing the stench.
Dumbledore explained patiently, "Harry here wishes to join the Order, and because of his prior involvement in the battle against Voldemort, the decision has been made to vote on the matter. Minerva, Kingsley, Bill, Lily and James have voted against, whilst Emmeline, Arthur and Nymphadora have voted in favor of the motion."
"Unlike certain others," Snape looked from Molly to Tonks for emphasis as he spoke, "Potter is an undeniable asset whom has proven his value more than once already. Despite my personal dislike for the boy, I would let him join." The dour faced Potions Master said, showing no reaction to the whispers of surprise that went around the table. Harry himself nodded gratefully towards his Professor. Personal feelings notwithstanding, there was at least a healthy amount of respect between them.
Nobody had expected Snape to stand up for a Potter, which was why his high praise earned a surprised reaction from everyone around the table. Dumbledore waited patiently for the buzz to die down, which took almost a full minute, by Harry's estimate.
"Mundungus?" Dumbledore asked, gazing at the shady character who'd been whispering to Fred from the moment he'd sat down.
"Wo's 'at?" Mundungus asked distractedly, reminding Harry vaguely of a Great Dane as his half-lidded eyes swung around to stare back at Dumbledore.
"Are you in favour of letting Harry join the Order?" Dumbledore repeated with a benign smile, ignoring the sleazy scum's slurring.
" 'S fine." Mundungus muttered, muffling a burp in his sleeve.
Harry, and a few others, frowned in disgust. Mundungus' support meant very little to Harry, as the man appeared quite drunk. Still, with both him and Snape voting in favor of him, the count was five to five.
"Very well, Remus?" Dumbledore asked, looking at the werewolf who'd been leaning away from Mundungus.
"I don't think having Harry join would be a good idea." The already graying man spoke calmly, not deigning to expand further upon his decision.
Dumbledore didn't even need to address Black, as the lord of the house spoke up immediately, giving voice to the internal debate he'd apparently been having, "Well I can't deny he's good with a wand, and we can always use good fighters, and if he really did manage to have Lucy thrown out of his own house then the kid clearly knows what he's doing. So why wouldn't we let him join?"
The last part seemed a rhetorical question, as Black didn't wait for any answers before coming to his decision, "No, he can't join."
That was it. No explanation. Harry felt his hopes shatter beneath him. Molly Weasley was up next, and she definitely wouldn't let him join, which would put the tally up to eight against five, with four votes left. There was no way Harry would beat those odds.
By the time the stunned fourteen year old refocused, Molly had already made her opinion on the matter very clear, and the man with the purple top hat who was sitting next to her had apparently voted in Harry's favor, based on the glare Molly was sending him.
"Hestia?" Dumbledore asked calmly, directing his question at the black-haired witch sat between pink top hat man and a square-jawed man whose blonde hair looked almost exactly like straw.
"I say we let him join, I really want to know what this Malfoy thing is about!" She spoke excitedly, looking from Dumbledore to Harry, and back again, as if actually expecting a response.
The blonde man nodded curtly, "It's fine by me," he smiled contentedly before nodding at Harry approvingly when the latter nodded his own head in appreciation.
Wait. Harry suddenly realized a very big thing. That vote put things at a tie. Eight votes either way. Which meant that the final vote would make the difference. He might still win this!
"No." With that one word, Mad-Eye Moody shattered Harry's freshly restored hopes.
For a second, he lost his self control, "I HELPED SAVE YOUR LIFE YOU UNGRATEFUL BASTARD! WITHOUT ME BARTY WOULD'VE KILLED YOU THE SECOND HE WAS FINISHED WITH MAX!"
Harry shoved his chair back harshly, jumping up in the same move, "I'd like to thank those who saw reason and voted in favor of me joining the Order, that being said, as I am clearly not wanted here, I will be retiring for the evening. Black, make sure I can get into that library by tomorrow morning."
With that, Harry turned, threw open the door to the hall, and swept out of the kitchen. Stomping up the stairs in frustration, he took sick enjoyment out of the cursed portrait's wailing which accompanied him as he stormed up the stairs to his room.
The next morning, Harry had calmed down a bit. He was still frustrated at the Order members who'd refused him membership, but the anger had turned from hot rage to cold fury. For now, he achieved nothing by fuming and venting his anger, so he repressed it and he would focus on things he could actually influence. First and foremost on that list was his lack of an arm.
Slipping quietly into the kitchen, Harry hoped to get a quick breakfast, find Black, and disappear into the library, before he was forced to socialize with any other inhabitants of the house.
That plan was foiled immediately as the kitchen was already populated by Max, Granger, Mrs. Weasley and her four youngest, who were all surprisingly quiet as they ate.
As Harry quietly moved to the far side of the table, he noticed the twins leaning into each other, the Weasley girl - Mary? Suzy? Cindy? - nodding off with one elbow planted in her porridge, and Ron outright snoring as his three slightly more awake friends looked on in exasperation, amusement or a mixture of the two.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Weasley was clearly wide awake, as she spotted Harry whilst he tried to quietly sit down at the far end of the table, "Oh Harry dear, I was just about to send Ginny - aha! Ginny! - up to go wake you. What would you like for breakfast?" The Weasley matriarch asked cheerfully, looking at Harry enquiringly from behind the twins, pan with sausages still in hand.
Wanting to stop this 'sending-Ginny-to-wake-you'-business in its tracks, Harry smiled back politely, "I'd like a few of those sausages if you don't mind Mrs. Weasley. And you don't have to send anyone up to wake me, I will probably be keeping unconventional hours during my stay."
Mrs. Weasley scuttled over to place a few sausages on his plate, which Harry was less that bothered by. What did bother him, were her next words, "If that's what you want dear, just be sure to be in the kitchen for breakfast by 7 a.m. at latest so we can discuss the day's cleaning and assign tasks."
"I'm sorry," Harry responded slowly, "I fear you've misunderstood something somewhere along the line. I'm not here to clean. I'm here for two reasons. Those are the library and my family's safety. Helping you clean this dump, whilst certainly an important and for far too long neglected task, is not something I will be doing."
That… did not go over well. Harry calmly chewed on a sausage as Mrs. Weasley, who'd been stunned into silence, struggled to respond.
"I'm sorry dear, but that wouldn't be fair to the others. It's already preposterous enough that Albus made Sirius open that library to you, when that's clearly no place for a child. You'll be helping out with the cleaning just like everybody else." Mrs. Weasley eventually replied, still smiling, though there was something fragile to it now.
Harry got the idea that objecting further wasn't the best idea, which was supported by the subtle yet frantic gestures the twins were making behind their mother's back.
Which was fine, as getting caught up in an argument with Molly Weasley would be pointless anyways. This was clearly a woman who had very strong opinions where it concerned 'children'.
So, Harry stood up, picked up his still half-filled plate, and walked out of the kitchen.
The library was on the second floor, and from what he'd gathered from Mrs. Weasley, Black had already cleared Harry for entry. So he went up the stairs quickly, ignoring the raised voice calling after him from the kitchen, and hurried into the library, the door opening without resistance.
Closing the library door firmly behind him, Harry turned around to behold the room which hopefully held the secret to limb-regrowth.
Unfortunately, Grimmauld Place's library had clearly been as neglected as the rest of the house. There were spots of mold on the ceiling, some of the wallpaper had gotten loose, and a thick coat of dust covered the rest of the room.
With a frown, Harry observed the situation. He wasn't exactly allowed to use his wand, but then again, he was under a Fidelius.
Relishing the moment greatly, Harry pulled his wand. He let out a satisfied sigh as he could feel a familiar tingle race through his arm. Then he moved.
Whilst Harry rapidly fired Scourgify after Scourgify at the ceiling, a wave of water swept over the dark hardwood floor behind him, sweeping away dust and filth and gathering together the accumulated filth into a sphere which was then quickly vanished. The wallpaper was patched with a swift Reparo as soon as the last patch of mold had been Scourgified.
Re-examining the room, Harry was pleased with the results. The slightly musty smell was easily taken care of, a soft scent of pine replacing it with a simple twirl of his wand. Now the library was actually fit for use.
Raising up a chair and desk out of ice, Harry cast a distrustful glance at the desk that stood off in a corner of the library. It had been suspiciously clean of any and all filth, which was a clear sign that it was more than it seemed.
Glancing around the library, Harry couldn't help but smile slightly, "This, I can work with."
Good things never last, Harry thought bitterly as he heard the library door open.
Looking up, Harry was surprised to see Mr. Weasley close the door softly behind him.
"Mr. Weasley, how might I help you?" Harry asked, swiveling his chair to face the older man fully.
"Well we're about to have dinner, so I decided to come and ask you if you want to join us." Mr. Weasley answered, as he righted his lopsided glasses.
"Ask me? I was under the impression that mealtimes were enforced?" Harry asked with mock sincerity.
Scratching at the back of his head awkwardly, Mr. Weasley appeared quite embarrassed, "Molly told me that you were being quite disagreeable with her."
"However," the balding man continued hurriedly when he noticed Harry's frown, "I'm not blind to Molly's tendency to try and coddle you youngsters. What's your take on things?"
That surprised Harry. Someone who actually tried to get more information before forming an opinion? He hadn't seen much of that in the Order, so far.
"Your wife seems to be under the impression that she has the same level of authority over me that she has over your children. I am not here to help with the household. I am not here to socialize and I am not here to be ordered around like a nine-year-old! I am here to get my arm fixed and to keep my family safe." Harry explained, his frustration at the Order, and Molly Weasley in particular, colouring his voice.
"I understand. You're used to being treated based on your merit rather than on your age. But Harry, to be fair to Molly, your attitude so far hasn't been all that stellar either." Mr. Weasley spoke lightly, moving closer to look at the books Harry had been consulting.
Harry was forced to look up at man who'd voted in his favor the previous evening. Suddenly, Mr. Weasley seemed far more than the soft-spoken joke of the Ministry that Harry had expected him to be.
"You've been here for less than a day and you've already mouthed off to everyone who disagrees with you, making an enemy of my oldest son along the way. When you didn't get what you wanted last night, you threw a temper tantrum. Do you consider that the behavior of a reasonable, responsible adult?" Mr. Weasley asked casually, leafing through one of the books Harry had already discarded for being lacking in information.
That… stung. And come to think of it, the man had a point.
"Anyways, I really should be getting to dinner. Molly made chicken casserole, my favorite. If you want to come down and join us, feel free to. But if you can't make it, I'll have Molly save you a plate for later."
As Arthur Weasley nonchalantly strolled out of the library, Harry stared at his retreating figure confusedly.
Harry drew in a fortifying breath before glancing at his desk again.
He really had been behaving like a self-entitled little prick.
The behavior Mr. Weasley had described was that of a self entitled child who didn't get what he wanted. Dudley used to behave like that. Draco once behaved like that. Merlin, Harry expected Max might still behave like that on occasion.
Having always considered himself an even-tempered, reasonable and responsible adult in a teenager's body, this reality check was… unpleasant, to say the least.
How much damage had his behavior in the past day done? And, more importantly, what could Harry do to improve on the poor first impression he had left on the Order of the Phoenix?
Silently, Harry slipped into the kitchen. He ignored the glances thrown his way as he sat down at the far end of the table. Spooning some still warm peas onto his plate, Harry acknowledged Fred and George's nods from where they sat playing Exploding Snap against their brothers, before focusing on his food. Apologizing to the Order would be unpleasant enough as it was, no need to do it on an empty stomach.
Whilst he ate, a few other Order members entered the kitchen behind him, and grabbed some food for themselves as well. Clearly, events like last night, where everyone assembled to have a grand dinner, weren't the norm.
"What's got you looking so glum, chum?" Tonks asked cheerfully as she sat herself down opposite Harry. Her hair was a bright blue for the occasion, and she seemed to be in an awfully good mood.
"Well there's this Dark Lord I pissed off a few weeks ago, maybe you've heard of him?" Harry deadpanned, not bothering to look up when a loud bang was followed by Bill Weasley's cursing and loud cheers from his brothers.
"Pish posh hogwash, plenty of us have pissed him of at one point or another, but you don't see us glooming up the place." Tonks said casually, inspecting her nails with a bored expression.
"Oh really? And what did you do to qualify for that group?" Harry asked incredulously, looking at Tonks expectantly.
"Well I was born for one. You don't know who my mum is, do you?" Tonks inquired curiously.
"I have yet to have the pleasure," Harry admitted, "and this is relevant how?"
Tonks grinned, "My mom was born as Andromeda Black, middle daughter of lord Cygnus Black. She was disowned for marrying Muggleborn Ted Tonks. I, as her daughter, am very not popular with the old crowd."
Noticing Harry's surprise, she hummed thoughtfully, "You know what? Arresting Gallagher for Muggle baiting probably didn't help!"
"That might do it. I maintain that there's a difference, however." Harry spoke, not agreeing that Tonks' circumstances and his own were of equal severity.
Looking at Harry seriously, Tonks frowned, "That's no reason to be miserable. If you let that stuff affect you, the Dark Side wins!" She finished, loudly and dramatically, staring at Harry intensely.
Harry let out an amused snort, "Really? Me being in a bad mood will make the," here, Harry inserted air quotes, " 'Dark side', win? I thought the Dark Side could only win by killing us all?"
Tonks clapped in her hands enthusiastically, "Oh, you're going to be fun. Unfortunately, we're supposed to do the meeting thing now, so I'll annoy you some other time." That statement was followed by an unapologetic grin.
Ignoring the Metamorph, Harry looked up to see that all non-Order members had already vacated the kitchen, and the final members were currently getting seated in order to get things started. Only Dumbledore was still missing.
"Must you really? Can't you annoy one of the many Gryffindors in this place? They'll get frustrated far more easily." Harry stalled, still waiting for Dumbledore to arrive so he could mend his relationship with the Order. To some extent at least.
"Now where's the challenge in that?" Tonks asked with an impish wink.
Harry was spared from answering that when Dumbledore entered and sat himself at the head of the table.
"My apologies to you all for my tardiness, there was a dispute amongst the elves concerning the workload. Both cleaning shifts are claiming a newly available corridor on the fifth floor as part of their cleaning responsibilities," Professor Dumbledore explained, drawing amused snickers from the typical crowd, "You may all rest easy however, as the problem has been solved. The right to clean said corridor will alternate between the two on a weekly basis."
The Headmaster smiled benignly, before glancing over at Harry, "Harry, do you have something to share before we start our meeting?"
Harry scraped his throat, glancing at the table in a rare moment of hesitation. There was no escaping this however. He needed his working relationship with the Order members to be decent at least.
"I… apologize for my earlier behavior," Harry spoke eventually, "I have been under some stress these past few months, but that should not excuse my behavior. I hope that we might put the events of last night behind us, and cooperate peacefully from now on."
When no immediate reaction was forthcoming, Harry continued, "As a token of my good will, I would like to share the new information I have before leaving you to your meeting."
"And what information is that , Mister Potter?" Professor McGonagall asked curiously from her seat further up the table.
"As you should know, Draco Malfoy was cast out by his father, for reasons unknown by the public, at the start of his third year at Hogwarts." Harry started, leaning forward to ensure he had everybody's full attention.
"Draco and I became friends in our first year. By the summer of his second year, he had grown highly skeptical of most of the views his father held. When Draco questioned his father, and actively spoke against him, they had an enormous argument, with Draco being beaten to within an inch of his life."
"Once rumors reached us that Lucius was shopping for a new wife, so that he might produce a new heir, Draco started training so that he might challenge Lucius to a duel, for the position of Head of House. That duel took place about a week ago. Draco won."
"The injuries he sustained were, unfortunately, rather severe. Because of this, Lucius reached Gringotts hours ahead of Draco. He managed to liquidate a number of smaller shares and assets, and emptied a few of the vaults. That fortune has probably gone directly to Voldemort."
Gasps rang out at the name, leaving Harry disappointed, as he'd been hopeful that the Order of the Phoenix wouldn't fear a name.
"However, the Mansion, the monthly revenue and the accounts have been taken from them. We expect this to severely weaken his position as Lucius was one of Voldemort's primary benefactors. Draco also plans to use his seat on the Wizenagemot to call attention to Voldemort's return, and to campaign for increased funding for the Aurors as well as pre-emptive questioning of previously 'Imperiused' Death Eaters. Does anybody have any questions?"
When no response came forth, Harry silently stood up and left the kitchen. Now, he could only hope that he'd changed a few opinions.
So that's chapter !42! out of the way, it sets up a lot of stuff, and gets some necessary dialogue and start of character development out of the way. Action will be lacking for a while, as it kind of has to take a backseat during the OoTP-summer. I hope you enjoyed the chapter and please leave a review!
Signing off, Peeves'