What i like to think would have happened after everything began to calm down. I can't believe no one else ever thought to do this. Please review. (You may wish to reread Chapter 1 of the Goblet of Fire first)
Setting the Record Straight
It had been nearly two weeks since the news report of that horrible mass murderer came out. Some man, for over fifty years had been responsible for countless cold-blooded murders. That man, Tom Riddle, had been cornered by a young Policeman in training and a group of his friends and peers many also in training. Harry Potter was commended for his brave stance against the highly dangerous individual and many speculators reckoned he would go far in the police service. His loyal friends and peers to.
At least that is what the obscure report on the BBC said anyway.
In Little Hangleton there was some mild interest as the name Tom Riddle was the same as that of an unpleasant man who along with his parents, were murdered in cold blood. Though there was never any proof, every one knew that it was that strange man: Frank Bryce who was responsible for killing that Tom Riddle and his family. The People of Little Hangleton were intrigued about the mass murderer that no one had ever heard of. That probably would have been the extent of things but then over the local radio and in the local weekly paper it was announced that the man who had brought down Tom Riddle, Harry Potter, would be travelling to different locations around Great Britain giving talks on the individual that had appeared to have killed countless numbers of people. What was most peculiar was that he was coming to Little Hangleton first. To start this talk.
Nothing of great excitement ever happened in Little Hangleton, or it's neighbour Great Hangleton, with the exception of the Riddle Murders over fifty years ago, so when this talk was announced a large number of residents popped along to the Community Centre to see if it was in any way the least bit interesting.
When residents of the two villages poured into the building they were surprised at the number of outsiders. There were two sets of Cameramen for two different TV channels and a number of journalists with tape recorders and notepads. They all seemed anxious to get recordings of this talk by this unknown… Man?
"Who on earth are they?" asked 71-year-old Doris Smyth
"Don't know!" replied her 74-year-old sister Alison
Both Smyth sisters were in there twenties when the Riddle murders happened. As the only interesting thing that ever happened, the residents were very familiar with the topic, even now, after more than 50 years, the Riddle Murders were still talked and speculated about. By this stage everyone knew that Frank Bryce had killed the Riddles but no one knew how.
The "they" Doris Smyth was referring to appeared to be a Black Man in his thirties and what appeared to be four young teens. The most interesting of which was a tall boy with messy jet-black hair and emerald-green eyes hidden behind his spectacles. There also appeared to be a scar on his forehead in the shape of a lightening bolt. This Boy was standing before a ledger with microphones attached to it. A member of the sound crew was trying to get the microphones to match the young boy. When they had finished the boy moved to join three other teens. One was a girl with long bushy hair and an intelligent looking face, she was holding the hand of a very tall ginger haired boy with freckles dotted all over his face.
Taking the hand of the boy with the lightening bolt scar was a girl who was probably the younger sister of the ginger-haired boy, she too had ginger hair and face full of freckles. Had the locals been nearer they would also have noticed that freckles were dotted all over her arms that were bear.
The four may have been teenagers but they were not dressed scruffily like many of the elderly locals assumed teenagers dressed. The boys were dressed in suits that, despite looking uncomfortable, were worn by the boys with a sense of pride. They were wearing them out of choice rather than being forced into them. The girls were both wearing short sleeved black dresses made of silk. Not the typical 'horrible looking things' that most teenaged girls wore these days but the dresses had a strong elegance about them. All four of them looked like they were about to attend a funeral. Or a remembrance service.
The local population of Little Hangleton took seats facing the ledger. After a few minutes someone somewhere decided that no one else was coming and the Green-eyed, Black-haired boy with the scar came up to the ledger.
There was silence.
"Ladies and Gentlemen! Residents of Little Hangleton." Said the boy "My name is Harry Potter. Thank you for coming to attend this talk. What I have to say is relevant to the affairs of your village."
There was an exchange of glances amongst the local population, both old and young.
"I am currently undergoing training in the police service. A few weeks ago an emergency situation arose and I was involved in an encounter with a very dangerous criminal. Tom Riddle."
Again there was and exchange of glances. What was this about?
"Tom Riddle over the last fifty years, and particularly the last thirty years has been responsible for the cold blooded murder of so many people we are not sure what the precise number is. But at this stage we are looking at possibly as many as 100 people he has personally killed in cold blood."
Harry sighed inwardly, that figure was just a representation of who Tom had killed personally. It didn't take into account those that had survived him, those that were killed as a result of both the First and Second Wars. The muggles could never know about the Wizarding Wars or about the other world. But Harry had insisted that muggles be told something. Of everyone Tom killed personally in cold blood more than half were muggles, including many of his early kills, because muggles couldn't easily fight against magic.
"When I encountered him, alongside my peers, he was heavily armed. Somehow he had managed to manipulate vulnerable yet psychopathic and dangerous individuals to join him. My friends and I were also armed but not as well. Despite this we challenged him, and some of my friends and peers, lost their lives in the process."
Harry's eyes watered slightly at that announcement but he fought it down.
"We eventually managed to corner him, despite being offered the opportunity to surrender to us, he tried to fight back. Leaving me with no choice. It is only now that Tom Riddle has died that we are truly learning the extent of the acts he has committed. Over the last Thirty years he has killed countless numbers of people… including… I discovered… my own parents."
There was a rush of whispering at this revelation. The Smyth sisters look at him carefully. In there old age they were able to truly tell when someone was dead serious… and this Harry Potter was dead serious. His eyes were haunted, and not just by what he had told them so far.
"However I am not here to talk about them. I am here to talk about the second, third and fourth murder victims of Tom Riddle. His own father and Grandparents: Tom Riddle Senior, Thomas Riddle and Mary Riddle."
There was a vast array of gasps at what the young man was suggesting. Someone… other than Frank Bryce… had killed the Riddles…
"Ridiculous!" shouted Doris Smyth "Everyone here knows that Frank Bryce murdered them!"
Harry looked at the elderly lady who had made her outburst… he also noticed that quite a few, but not all, were nodding in agreement "May I ask you name?"
The lady looked at the boy and then answered "Doris Smyth!"
"Well Ms Smyth on what evidence do you base you accusation against Frank Bryce on?"
Doris looked visibly taken aback by the boy. Then she sneered, "Disrespectful youth" she thought "Everyone here knows he did it. He had the key to the house, no one broke in! He murdered them while they slept." Again more nodding of agreement.
Harry looked at the old lady with sadness "Ms Smyth the Riddles were found dressed for dinner in the drawing room. Are you so sure that they were killed in there sleep?"
This question stumped a lot of people, especially the younger years who had gathered there knowledge on the subject from rumours that the riddles must have died in there sleep. This made a lot of them realise that the whole understanding of the Riddle murders was based on gossip. Could Frank Bryce have been innocent?
Not according to Doris "So he killed them while they were awake then. That still makes him a murderer."
"How?" asked Harry calmly again
"How?" repeated Doris in confusion
"How and Why?" said Harry "Method, Motive and Opportunity. I will acknowledge that Frank Bryce had Opportunity but what of Method and Motive? Why would Frank Bryce kill the Riddles and how did he do it?"
Doris Smyth looked taken aback. While those questions had been asked and unanswered at the beginning of the Riddle affair, they had quickly been forgotten about in the speculation. "He… He… he was mentally disturbed, from the war. How are we to know what went through his mind?"
"What evidence do you have to assume he was mentally disturbed, because I found an army psychology report of one former Private Frank Bryce. It states that while he suffered some trauma after the war he was essentially of stable mental health. Not the sort to commit murder without reason." Said Harry
The villagers were stunned silent… no one had ever consulted the Army regarding Frank's mental health, even when he'd been arrested. But Doris tried to catch Harry out… "What of this Tom Riddle of yours. What Motive, or for that matter Method and Opportunity did he use?"
Harry sighed "I'll start with Motive since that is most important. As I mentioned Tom Riddle, the murderer was the son of the Riddles son of the same name. Junior was born and grew up in an orphanage in London. His mother died less than an hour after Childbirth, living only long enough to name him Tom, after his father and Marvolo after her father. Tom Marvolo Riddle. From what we can tell Junior grew up a very disturbed child. He seemed to lack empathy and tormented and bullied other children at the institute. Some of them never recovered from it, he was a particularly nasty. He seems to have been fuelled by hatred of his father, whether for leaving his mother to die or for leaving him to grow up in a miserable setting is something we'll probably never understand. We know that in the period before the Riddles died that a 14-year-old girl at Juniors boarding school was found dead, in unexplained circumstances." Harry paused and made sure everyone was looking at him. "She was found lying in a bathroom, a look of terror on her face. As if she'd been frightened to death."
That piece of news shocked everyone, including the Smyth sisters. Her death was very much the same as Riddles.
"We also know that at this time Junior was trying to find his family, then he suddenly stopped. At the time people believed that he failed to find them but there was no way to verify this as he didn't easily make friends. We actually doubt that there ever existed an individual he cared about in any significant way. We now believe he tracked his father's family here. He appeared to stop looking about two weeks before the Riddles were murdered and one week after he arrived back from the orphanage. Child care officials then were far more lax than they are now. It was not uncommon for Junior to missing for days at a time. In any case we think one of his trips out was to here, or more specifically the Riddle House. While you no longer have one now, back then there was a railway station with frequent trains to and from London was there not?"
The older generations nodded.
"There we have Motive, family hatred combined with mental instability, and Opportunity. Now method, that is slightly harder…" said Harry
Everyone was leaning in closer, even Doris Smyth.
"Tom Riddle was, while mentally unstable, a genius. Including in chemistry. The Boarding School he attended was highly prestigious and had access to some of the best facilities in the country."
"How could an Orphan attend a prestigious boarding school?" asked a woman in the audience.
"The School in question use to, and still does for the most part, look for particularly talented children, particularly orphans and those in poverty. Tom Riddle was noticed as a child. In any case the school had access to chemicals that all but a few other labs in the world, much less the country had access to. Riddle was able to use those chemicals hand in hand with his own genius to create a poison. It's only in the last year that we've even been able to determine what this poison does. It kills a person without leaving any trace in the blood or the skin. The only clinical evidence that we've ever been able to find is a significant increase in calcium mineralization in the bones that has a few chemical traces that are easy to overlook. However what we are able to determine is that this poison forces the consumer to endure their greatest imaginable fears. It takes on average 10 to 20 minutes to kill upon consumption."
The room was silent, this boy… had just claimed that a long held belief in this village was… wrong.
"What about the key though how did he get in?" asked a young man
Harry looked at him "You have to bear in mind that this poison is very difficult to trace, impossible if you don't know what you're looking for. There are a number of scenarios that Riddle could have used. The most plausible theory we have is that Junior poured a couple of litres of this poison into the water tank which at the time was located round the back of the house. Remember Frank Bryce claimed to see a 16-year-old boy with black hair heading up to the Riddle House the evening before the bodies were found. He wouldn't have even needed to enter the house. The poison was and is that effective, it disappears eight hours after it has been unsealed and can be mixed with anything from stew to moisturising lotion and kill anyone who consumes or ingests that substance inside the eight hour window."
Everyone sat there digesting this information.
"How can you be sure this happened?" asked Doris again, but she was more politely curious than sneering this time around.
Harry smiled "We found the poison's formula amongst Riddles notes last year, some of the notes date back to his school years so we know he had the ability back then. We also exhumed the bodies of the Riddle family four years ago for analysis, we didn't find anything but we kept samples. Late last year we found traces of the poison in the calcium minerals of the bones." Harry took one more deep breath "Riddle also claimed to have murdered his father's family many times over the years. After he was killed two weeks ago there was no doubt. His DNA matches that of Tom Riddle senior. They were father and son."
There was suddenly a general agreement amongst almost all of the villagers. Tom Riddle killed the three Riddles, his father and Grandparents. Frank Bryce was innocent.
"I'm afraid there is something else I have to tell you all." Said Harry, the villagers all looked at Harry "Frank Bryce to… was murdered by Tom Riddle!"
There was complete silence. Harry Potter was greatly turning the understandings of the entire village upside down.
"As I'm sure most of you know Frank Bryce was reported missing four years ago. We have since received testimony from one of Riddles… accomplices… that Riddle and that accomplice were squatting in the Riddle house and were confronted by Mr Bryce when he caught them. Riddle murdered Bryce in cold blood. Like he has so many others. We also understand that by this stage Riddle had acquired himself a familiar: a Python. We believe that his relationship with this creature is the closest he has ever come to feeling fond of another being. The point of the matter is though that after Bryce was killed, his body was then fed to this Python. There is no evidence of Frank Bryce's body remaining but we have no reason to doubt the testimony of the witness to this event and we have found evidence that the fireplace in the Riddle House has been used in the last five years despite the fact that it has been uninhabited for decades. We are also aware of at least two other bodies fed to the python over the years."
Everyone was truly shocked by this. There had been some speculation that Frank Bryce had finally 'done the decent thing' and left Little Hangleton behind. Harry Potter had shocked the residents of the village to the core. Frank Bryce was innocent and murdered by the very man that framed him.
It was now time for Harry to sum up his talk "I am giving a series of talks around the country, each on the victims of Tom Riddle. The vast bulk we are only just becoming aware of. Others, like that of Frank Bryce, police have been working on for years. It is my hope that people will come to recognize the murder victims of Tom Riddle. I hope that all of you will bear in mind everything I have told you, I can't make you accept it but I live in hope that you will accept everything I have said as truth thank you." Harry left the ledger and he, the three other teenagers and the black man they were with left.
The group got into a ministry car which set off away from Little Hangleton. Ginny threw her arms around Harry.
"That was a very nice idea Harry." Said Hermione "Frank Bryce definitely deserves the recognition you just gave him."
"I just can't believe the magical world let him suffer like that." Said Harry "I mean when they arrested Marvolo Gaunt why didn't someone also inform the Muggle authorities they had at least apprehended someone or had the Magical Law Enforcement take over the case?" said Harry
"Clearly the Magical Government needs a lot of reform." Said Kingsley "That is the task we face."
"That's what we're here for." Said Ron "It's a shame you're going back to school Hermione. We could definitely use your help."
"I know Ron but I really want to get my NEWTs. I will be better qualified to help you then. Besides you can still write to me, asking for advice I don't mind. Though if you could limit the amount of owls you send during the exam time I'd be grateful."
Ron smiled at his girlfriend "You do what you want. You've earned it. Besides which it would be such a waste for Hermione Granger never to complete her education."
"You can also keep me company." Said Ginny "I'm going to need it, I already spent a year apart from Harry and you guys." She snuggled into Harry's side "Who are we talking about next?" she asked
Kingsley smiled at the teenagers that he was working with to rebuild there society. "The next victim of Voldemort is actually still alive. A junior Minister from the last Muggle Government called Herbert Chorley. Someone put a badly incanted Imperius Curse on him and he made very public display a duck impersonation. We just released him from St Mungo's the other day. Both the current and former Prime Ministers will be in attendance."
"I take it we're going to use 'modified poison' as the cover?" asked Harry
"I think so don't you?" asked Kingsley
Harry nodded. It was going to take some time but Harry was determined for muggle victims to be recognised.
One Year Later
In the Hangman Pub in Little Hangleton there was quite a lively crowd. People were discussing local events, which were not much, and other events happening in the wider world when the barman began tapping a glass. Everyone went silent.
"As you will all know, 56 years ago today the three members of the Riddle Family were murdered by their son and grandson and framed an innocent man. The people of this village wronged that innocent man and forced him into a life of solitude and isolation. We can never make amends for the suffering we enforced upon him in life. So in death we acknowledge his innocence and remember him. Ladies and Gentlemen. Frank Bryce."
"Now I invite you all to join me in a minutes silence to reflect upon the memory of Frank Bryce and all those killed by Tom Marvolo Riddle."
Please Review and remember all those who died in the war against Voldemort, even the muggles. Or not it is just a story after all. The best story in existence!