Harry Crow

Disclaimer: Since I'm not the owner of these characters, I will probably do things with them that you don't like or agree with. Sorry in advance but that's the nature of fan fiction. To do otherwise kind of defeats the purpose of writing fan fiction, and copying JKR word for word would certainly see a lawsuit heading in my direction.

Chapter 3

"If young Harry here wants to attend Hogwarts, it will need to be under the name his birth parents gave him. Harry James Potter."

The silence that followed that announcement lasted mere seconds as everyone then attempted to shout at once. Dumbledore stood there with a satisfied smirk on his face and watched as the hall descend into chaos for a few moments. The boy simply wouldn't be able to refuse in front of all these witches and wizards, and then Harry would be back under his control. Albus would have until the summer holidays to find a suitable family to place the boy with, so there was no rush for that.

McGonagall finally restored order to the hall before rounding on Harry. "Is this true, are you Harry Potter?"

Harry and his father had prepared for his identity becoming publicly known, it was time to put those preparations to good use. "The headmaster is well aware that my adoptive father for the last ten years has been Barchoke, Senior Accounts Manager at Gringotts, and yes I was once called Harry Potter."

The mayhem this time kicked off instantly and took longer to get back under control. Harry Potter had been raised by a goblin? A goblin he even called father! It was a shocked McGonagall who once more turned to Harry. "How is this possible? I was there the night we left you with your muggle relatives..."

Hermione was of course watching her friend intently and thought she might just have caught a glimpse of Harry's third face. At McGonagall's revelation, he stood that bit straighter and stared directly into her eyes. Dangerous was the only word Hermione had to describe this version of Harry.

"And by what right did you participate in that atrocious event, Deputy Headmistress?"

The professor actually needed to take a step back at the venom radiating from those green eyes, before gathering her wits once more. "I was a friend of your mother and father's..."

The rest of the school couldn't believe it when a student, who hadn't even been sorted yet, cut right across the Hebridean dragon that was Minerva McGonagall. "I think 'was' is the operative word there. Don't expect any warm greetings should you ever meet them again. You did a great disservice to House Potter that night - as well as ignoring multiple laws set-up to protect children. Are you sure you should be working in a school, professor?" The sarcasm Harry loaded the word professor with couldn't be missed by even the thickest of Hogwarts students.

In the silence that followed McGonagall's slap-down, Padma grabbed Hermione's arm to get her attention. "You knew?"

She could only nod by way of a reply, Harry had turned his attention back to Dumbledore and Hermione didn't want to miss anything.

"I thank you for providing me with this choice headmaster, it's rather an easy one to make. You see I was very happy at my goblin school and never wanted to attend Hogwarts in the first place, it was my father who urged me to come here. I shall now be able to return home and tell him I tried my best but was neither welcome nor wanted."

The Hermione Granger who'd left Crawley that morning would probably have placed being expelled from school marginally below being killed in her list of catastrophic things that could happen to her. This Hermione Granger though had travelled to a different country and a whole other world had opened up for her. This Hermione Granger now had a best friend and was not about to lose him. Ignoring Harry's repeated claims that he could handle himself, she shot out her seat and rushed to his side.

"Hermione?"

"If you're leaving, then I'm going too."

Draco Malfoy was seething with anger. He'd made a big play to establish who was the king pin amongst the first years and now looked like a complete fool. Harry Potter had kept his silence, standing there and deliberately letting him dig a deeper hole for himself. Draco had never been so humiliated in his life. His father's instructions were to befriend the boy and then attempt to convert him to their way of thinking, you didn't need to be a genius to see that would never work now.

His anger led to him loudly opening his mouth when he probably shouldn't have, his voice clearly discernible over the hubbub Harry's proposed leaving was causing. "Goblins and another mudblood? Just when we thought the once proud Potter name couldn't sink any lower!"

Harry left Hermione standing there beside a still shocked McGonagall and purposefully walked toward Malfoy.

The blond Slytherin was supremely confident. He was amongst his own house with his godfather sitting at the staff table. He was also certain he could take whatever verbal mutterings Potter came up with and turn them back against him. Draco nonchalantly stood to meet the advancing Potter but was totally unprepared for what happened next.

Harry walked right up to Malfoy and his hand was a blur as it powerfully backhanded him across the mouth, throwing Draco back onto the Slytherin table.

"You are a disgusting example of what inbreeding can cause, I challenge you to an honour duel."

Albus had been shocked at the boy's refusal to attend Hogwarts, nearly as much as his verbal assault on Minerva. He'd let this situation develop to see if it could be turned to his advantage, the headmaster seized the opportunity that presented itself here.

"Just how do you intend to fight a duel Harry, when you consider yourself a goblin and Mr Malfoy is clearly a wizard? You are aware the law prohibits goblins from using wands?"

"Had I been allowed to attend Hogwarts, you would have found I'm well versed in both wizard and goblin law. Perhaps if you had studied our laws more you would not have been barred from doing business with Gringotts for the last decade. Then again, you don't appear to pay too much attention to wizarding law either, they just allow you to get away with it."

You could be forgiven for thinking that the occupants of the great hall were all shocked out, given what had happened before. This revelation though drew loud gasps of astonishment, almost exclusively amongst those old enough to understand what being barred from Gringotts entailed. They had no way of knowing that the night was still young and there was a lot more to come.

"I am quite prepared to duel Mr Malfoy here while he uses his wand, I have my own weapon."

Harry withdrew a custom-made blade from his sleeve. It had a beautifully carved Hungarian Horntail fang as its handle with a razor sharp stiletto style goblin-forged blade protruding at least six inches from the grip. Even in the great hall's candlelit atmosphere, the blade seemed to capture whatever light was available and reflect back just how deadly a weapon this was. The knife's overall appearance greatly resembled that of a stylised wand.

"I'm afraid I can't let you do that Harry..."

Harry now verbally cut across Dumbledore too. "You actually left me no other option, the entire school faculty sat there and let this moron get away with publicly insulting me and my family."

Severus Snape was acutely aware of his godson's abilities, or lack of. Draco being defeated in a duel his first evening in Hogwarts would destroy the boy's credibility. He was forced to take action. "Mr Malfoy, ten points from Slytherin."

Draco would have loved to rant against the injustice of that punishment, the silk hankie now held against his mouth in an attempt to halt the flow of blood prevented him from doing so.

Harry gave a slight bow to the professor. "My honour is satisfied, though my curiosity is not. Was the ten points a punishment for the slight on my birth parents, my goblin father or Miss Granger's circumstances of birth?" Harry didn't expect an answer and wasn't disappointed.

"As I suspected, a combined total for all three. C'mon Hermione, time to get out of here. That piece of filth publicly calls you the foulest name imaginable and gets docked three points for it, and that only after I threaten to cut him to pieces."

He offered Hermione his arm as the pair headed for the door.

Filius Flitwick suddenly found a lot of things becoming clearer for him. He'd felt slightly ostracised by the goblin community for years now and couldn't figure out what he'd done to deserve it. These occurrences were beginning to make sense since discovering Dumbledore was barred from Gringotts. Albus was his boss, therefore he was tainted with the headmaster's crime by simple association. It was time to make inroads into repairing his goblin relationships, starting with calling this young boy by his proper name. "Harry Crow, Son of Barchoke, can I enquire how you intend to travel home?"

Harry turned and this time his bow was much deeper, it also was done with genuine respect. "Well met Master Flitwick, our director actually named me Old Crow but you weren't to know that. My father calls me Harry Crow so I won't forget my other roots. My father is a wise goblin who also provided me with a portkey home, I will activate it as soon as we clear the Hogwarts wards. I promise on my honour to see Miss Granger safely home."

"Well met Old Crow, Child of James and Lily, Son of Barchoke, Prophesied One."

Hermione had her hand on Harry's arm and felt him stiffen at that, he didn't give any other sign though. They both turned to see it was the sorting hat that had spoken those words, but the old hat was just getting started.

"Your father is indeed a wise goblin Harry Crow, he knows you must come to Hogwarts to fulfil your destiny. Hogwarts is prepared to welcome you, and grant all that welcome entails."

Dumbledore was not happy with that decision. "I am the Hogwarts Headmaster..."

"...Only as long as the castle allows!" The hat's declaration was followed by a loud clang of a bell being struck, a bell that hadn't been heard inside the castle in living memory. Hogwarts had clearly spoken. "Headmasters come and go but Hogwarts prevails. This school was devised and built by the four founders to teach magic to all those able to perform it, not so some supposed elite fraternity could lord it over everyone else. Hogwarts needs to unite in the face of the coming darkness less all will be lost. Come and sit Harry Crow, let me sort you."

Harry knew his father thought his future was tied to Hogwarts, the hat's actions had just confirmed that. He looked to Hermione for her opinion. "What do you think?"

"Well, we're already here, and you'll still be able to take us home if we change our minds? I'll go and keep you a seat at the Ravenclaw table." Her gaze for that last comment was aimed at the old hat, clearly indicating that any other result was unacceptable.

Harry smiled at her before sitting on the stool and placing the hat on his head.

Dumbledore was livid, he was left standing there looking like the court jester while the main action happens elsewhere. The sorting hat was correct though, one could only be headmaster if the castle allowed. Without Hogwarts cooperation, he wouldn't even be able to access his office. Albus would just have to console himself with the fact that Harry would be here, available to be influenced by his headmaster.

The sorting hat was busily scanning the young boy whose head it was now sitting on. "Oh I am glad to see you easily qualify for membership to Rowena's House. I feel you'll need the friendship of Miss Granger and leadership of Master Flitwick during your stay with us. Therefore it has to be RAVENCLAW!"

Hermione was on her feet, leading the cheering from a surprised Ravenclaw house, they all had thought the-boy-who-lived couldn't go anywhere but Gryffindor. The applause from the house of the lions was at best muted. This boy had just stridden over to the Slytherin table and decked a snake; he then even forced Snape to take points from his own house. How the hell could he be sorted anywhere else but Gryffindor? A pair of red headed twins summed up the feelings of the entire house by continually asking the question, "We didn't get Potter?"

As Harry stood to cheering from his new house mates, he felt a thud on top of his head just before he removed the hat. Reaching into the tattered ancient relic, he removed a bejewelled but definitely deadly goblin-forged sword. The blade was engraved with the name of Godric Gryffindor.

The hat had more to say. "Your heritage allows you to draw that sword, and your training prepared you to wield it. That sword acknowledges you as Hogwarts champion." A scabbard appeared on the stool that Harry soon had expertly fastened around him, the shoulder sash proclaimed 'Ravenclaw' across his chest. He then sheathed his new blade before handed the sorting hat back to an astonished McGonagall.

"Mr Crow, I shall expect you in my office directly after the feast."

"I will have to disappoint you headmaster, the law won't allow that. Since you are barred from Gringotts, you can't be alone with any goblin minor. My father must be present in any discussions we have." Harry respectfully bowed once more to Flitwick before handing over a scroll to his new head of house. "Here is a copy of the instructions the headmaster intended to ignore. Can I ask who Professor Snape is?"

All eyes then turned toward the greasy-haired teacher he'd previously dealt with, Harry again gave the short version of his bow. "No offence to your person or your professionalism sir but you fall under the same laws of distrust as the headmaster. Since it was only his word that prevented you being sent to Azkaban as a death eater, and the goblins certainly have no faith in Dumbledore's word, I shall not be attending any of your classes. I, and any of my friends I ask to join me, will be receiving private potions tuition."

Filius intended to study the scroll at his leisure but simply had to speak to the boy, if only to end the unbelievably strained silence his last remark had caused in the hall. No one was quite sure how to react to how things were developing here. The tension in the air was so thick, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. "You seem well acquainted with a blade Mr Crow, can I assume you've had the proper training?"

Harry's eyes twinkled as he answered his head of house. "Master Sharpshard asked me to pass on his regards, he spoke highly of you sir."

The diminutive professor thought there must be something wrong with his hearing. "You trained under Master Sharpshard?"

Harry nodded, "I was honoured to have him as one of my mentors."

Harry strolled over to where Hermione was keeping him a seat, leaving a now totally bewildered staff table behind. Dumbledore was so shocked at the previous revelations, he forgot all about his pre-feast announcements and just waved his hand for the food to appear. Secrets that he'd kept hidden for years had just been broadcast to the entire school.

Minerva eventually sat beside the headmaster and her expression was thunderous. "I'm calling a full staff meeting for tonight, and you better have some answers for me Albus. I don't like being made a fool of in front of the entire school, especially by a first year. That acceptance letter should have come to me and I'll be wanting to know why it didn't. It must also have conveniently slipped your mind that Harry was no longer at Privet Drive when I frequently asked after his welfare over the last decade."

Any appetite Albus had left disappeared with that. After the evening he'd just had, the last thing he needed was Minerva on the warpath. When he looked down the other side of the table, Severus appeared ready to render young Harry down into potion ingredients. This was not how he foresaw tonight's sorting proceeding.

Filius had also noted his fellow head of house's vicious demeanour, and where his poisoned glare was directed. He decided some intervention was in order. "That was a smart move tonight Severus, young Malfoy's mouth invited trouble he was ill equipped to handle. Knowing at least one of Mr Crow's trainers, I can safely say he would have made mincemeat of Mr Malfoy."

Severus' answer was dripping with barely contained anger. "I intend to confiscate those weapons of Potter's as soon as this feast is over. First years with knives and swords, this place is certainly going downhill."

Filius couldn't let that pass. "I'm afraid you can't do that Severus. Hogwarts has accepted Mr Crow as a goblin student, with all the circumstances that acceptance entails. Mr Crow is not allowed a wand, but does have permission to carry a blade. Asking a goblin to surrender his blade is an even worse faux pas than demanding a wizard hand over his wand."

"The boy is an arrogant little toerag, just like his father. Not even sorted and already making demands, he should have been allowed to leave the castle."

"I think you'll find that was the lad's intention, until Hogwarts herself intervened. I didn't know you'd met Barchoke but I would recommend not insulting him, or his son." Filius held up his hand to forestall Severus' objections that he knew would be coming. "Obviously Mr Crow is not a goblin, he is instead a wizard who has chosen to live his life by their customs and laws. What is the one thing all young witches and wizards are taught about goblins? Never mess with them."

"Potter is a first year student at Hogwarts - nothing more."

"Calling him Potter in that derogatory manner could see you kicked out of Gringotts, or challenged to a duel by the lad's father. I would remind you that goblins fight duels to the death. Should you or your snakes deliberately provoke the lad, he will react as a goblin would. His honour will dictate his actions, we've already caught a glimpse of those actions tonight. Have you ever heard of someone being chosen as Hogwarts' champion before? Harry Crow is no ordinary first year, and you would be foolish to think otherwise."

Harry sat down beside Hermione and noticed the entire Ravenclaw table staring at him. "Eh hi, I'm Harry..."

This proved too much for Hermione, she'd been wound tighter than any watch since stepping off the train. Her accumulated tension found its release as she burst out laughing. "If ever there was an unnecessary introduction, that was it."

With the food now appearing on the table, the ice was well and truly broken. Padma congratulating him for getting into Ravenclaw saw the floodgates open as questions poured in Harry's direction. He began eating and politely ignored most of the personal questions, though did admit he had no idea what a Hogwarts champion actually did.

A pretty Chinese girl was already making cow eyes at Harry, which was in turn making Hermione's blood boil. "Oh Harry, can I see your sword?"

Harry slowly finished what he was chewing before looking directly into the girl's eyes to give his answer. "Why miss, that's a rather personal question, and we haven't even been introduced!" He then turned to his friend with a question. "Hermione, what is that?"

The entire table was now laughing at a floundering Cho Chang, while a beaming Hermione was explaining to Harry what pasta was.

An older boy introduced himself as Roger Davies before trying to give Harry a heads-up. "You have no idea how popular you're going to be with the rest of the first years. The very thought of potions lessons without Snape will soon have them clamouring to be your 'friend'. I just wish you were in third year to get me out the man's class. He's usually vile to anyone who's not a Slytherin, and that was before you announced to the entire hall he was a death eater."

Harry glanced questioningly toward Hermione, private tuition with Harry was always going to get a yes from her. He then turned his gaze to Padma, the girl was blushing furiously but quickly accepted. "Some of the older students were telling us stories about his classes on the train. Losing points for breathing too loudly?"

Harry again thought a young lady was pulling his leg until older members of his new house started recalling experiences that were even worse than that one. This was a situation they had not foreseen and he would need to speak with his father before inviting anyone else to private potions lessons. As the stories of Snape's abuses got worse, the other six first year claws were now casting longing glances in Harry's direction. He was sure though that Dumbledore would have his father coming to Hogwarts before the week was out, Harry could ask him then.

Dumbledore was left having to make his planned announcements after the feast had finished. The Headmaster's 'avoid the third floor corridor unless you want to die a most painful death' did not sit well on top of all that rich food. Hermione was looking along the Ravenclaw table for some guidance on how to react to that instruction, the shrugs of shoulders she received as answers had the young witch asking another question. "He does know this is a school, right?"

-oOoOo-

The prefects led them out of the hall towards Ravenclaw tower, their new home for the next seven years. Penelope was busy explaining about the bronze door knocker asking them to solve a riddle when the door unexpectedly opened. This particular puzzle was beyond the two Ravenclaw prefects until the knocker itself provided the answer.

"A Hogwarts champion can go anywhere inside the castle, all doors are open to him."

"Em, okay. So if you can't solve the riddle, you need to wait for someone who can - or just stick with Harry." Penelope may have intended that as a joke but Hermione had already made her mind up that's what she was going to do, and not just so she could avoid answering riddles.

They entered the Ravenclaw common room before being divided by gender as the prefects also split to show each of them where they would be staying. Harry was pleased to see a single room with a good sized four poster bed waiting on him. He removed his shrunken trunk from his pocket, placing it at the bottom of his bed before restoring it to normal size. There were places for their clothes and not much else though. The prefect explained this was to encourage the first years to study together, and there was a specific area of the common room set aside especially for them to do this.

Harry headed back down the stairs to the common room, and was not surprised to find Hermione waiting there. Harry felt he had to say something about earlier tonight. "Thanks for standing by me down there, that meant a lot. I found it hard to believe you were ready to walk out of here, after being so excited about coming to Hogwarts in the first place."

"Well, I was hoping to use the journey home to convince you about me attending goblin school."

This drew a slight laugh from Harry, "A portkey would have had us to London in under a minute, not that I would have needed a lot of convincing mind you. Thanks also for not asking loads of questions, I can see how hard that is for you sometimes."

Hermione actually pouted at that. "You have no idea how hard I have to bite my lip, but I console myself by thinking that I already know more about you than anybody else. I hope one day we'll be close enough where you'll be able to tell me whatever's on your mind. The sorting hat calling you 'Prophesied One' seemed to shake you more than pulling that sword out the hat."

"There are some things I just can't talk about Hermione, and that is one of them. You are right though, you do know more about me than I had intended to reveal. One day, I might even be able to tell you everything."

"I'm already looking forward to it." It was time for bed now but neither was quite sure how friends said goodnight to each other. Hermione's insecurities began to resurface as she asked Harry one last question. "Will we go down to breakfast together?"

Harry's answer of 'every morning' had Hermione hugging him again. Saying goodnight like this just felt so right that both of them went to their new rooms very happy with this part of their Hogwarts experience.

-oOoOo-

Albus wasn't experiencing much happiness at the impromptu staff meeting, Minerva was demanding answers and he was loath to give any secrets away. After the boy's earlier revelations though, this had to be treated as a damage limitation exercise. He also decided to stick mostly to the truth, just not all of it.

"If you can remember back, we were all exceedingly busy after that Halloween. The very first day of the Christmas Holidays, I headed off to Privet Drive to check on young Harry's welfare. You can imagine my shock when I discovered Harry wasn't there." Albus saw no reason why he shouldn't embellish his tale to show a certain headmaster in the best possible light.

"Dursley had totally ignored my clearly written instructions; he just didn't believe there could be any danger to him or his family. Not only did he refuse to raise Harry, he somehow managed to find his way to Gringotts. He deposited Harry there like some parcel; the Dursleys thought it was best that young Harry be raised by his own kind."

This caused eruptions amongst the staff, up in arms at that last comment. "You are not saying anything I didn't impress upon Dursley at my visit. His answer was that all magic users were the same to him. He and his wife apparently signed some magically binding banking agreement that tied young Harry to Gringotts until he reaches his majority. Tonight, I was hoping to see that agreement broken and have him attending Hogwarts as Harry Potter - we all saw how that went."

Filius was angry at the blatant bigotry being displayed here, that the charms master considered some of these people friends fuelled his temper. "That was a predictable, and also very foolish move Albus. You almost lost us the very thing you were supposedly trying to save."

All eyes had now moved to Filius, but it was Minerva who asked her friend to explain his comments.

"The boy has spent the last ten years living as a goblin, he's not about to renounce that upbringing at his first glimpse of an enchanted ceiling." Filius was encouraged to say more, his own heritage making him the acknowledged expert here.

"If I'm reading this correctly, his father has sent the lad here to be amongst magical children his own age. For what purpose? To help his son make the impossible decision he'll be faced with in a few years. Whether to live his life as a wizard or a goblin!"

Snape blew his top at that. "What a load of hippogriff shit! The boy is a wizard - end of story."

Filius though was equally as angry, and wasn't about to back down. "Just like you are a death eater - yet are here teaching children. Life is all about choices Severus - and you would be making a stupid one if you continue reaching for that wand."

Dumbledore reiterated his Head of Ravenclaw's warning. "There will be no wands drawn here. Please continue Filius, you are highlighting things I hadn't even considered."

"We have to look at this from a goblin perspective. Old Crow living the rest of his life as a goblin, or Lord Potter taking his place in magical society - which would benefit the goblin nation most? That Lord Potter would be an influential member of that society goes without saying. Having someone who was goblin raised in the very top echelons of magical society would be an unbelievable coup for Gringotts."

Minerva was struggling with what her friend was trying to explain here. "Are you saying his goblin father sent Harry here so he would eventually accept being a wizard?"

Filius was nodding, "I can see no other reason that makes sense, they must want Harry to gradually accept his place in the British magical community. Why else would they send him to Hogwarts when they have such a severe grievance with Albus? They are certainly well aware that other magical schools are available. Can you see Beauxbatons rejecting Harry Potter - whatever conditions were attached to his attendance?"

Filius never really expected an answer to his question. The entire room knew Harry Potter could turn up there calling himself Napoleon Bonaparte and still be welcomed with open arms.

"Goblins are barely tolerated by wizards inside Gringotts, those same wizards won't even give them the time of day outside their bank. In the muggle world, goblins stand out like clowns in a circus. Harry Potter singing the praises of goblins would go a long way to changing attitudes in our society, and perhaps even gain a toehold in the muggle one too. We all know about Lily Evans' heritage, and it would appear young Harry has already befriended a muggleborn witch."

This was the best news Albus had heard all night, he was back in the game. "Good, that will give me some bargaining tools when dealing with this goblin. I think we should meet Barchoke as soon as possible."

"Albus, you are already persona non grata with the goblins. Trying to make demands of Barchoke will get you nowhere, and could see you kicked out the castle. In any choice between you and Harry, Hogwarts has already made her decision clear. He is her champion - a position last held by Godric Gryffindor I believe."

Minerva ignored Dumbledore's crestfallen expression and raised a real concern she had with teaching the lad. "How is he going to manage in my class without a wand? Mr Crow may be able to cope in subjects where one isn't needed but charms, transfiguration and defence all require one."

"I really don't know Minerva but I will say this, he wouldn't have been sent here if he couldn't do it. Many years ago, I was faced with a similar choice to Harry. Everyone here knows I'm of mixed heritage, I chose to be a wizard and was therefore allowed a wand. If they have somehow circumvented his need for a wand to perform magic, convincing Harry to make the same choice I did just got a lot more difficult."

Pomona Sprout had quickly recognised that Filius was indeed the expert here. The Head of Hufflepuff wanted to know just what effect having a 'goblin' attend classes would have, and if she would need to give any special instructions to her puffs.

"Just treat Harry the same as any other first year..." Filius ignored Snape's sneering 'finely some sense' and continued with his advice, "..please inform me if you come across any specific problems - I will approach him in regard to not having a wand tomorrow morning."

The meeting then broke up but the four heads of house remained behind, Minerva soon got the ball rolling. "I'm assuming you know what the sorting hat was talking about when it called the child Prophesied One? I'm also assuming you have no intention of sharing that with us?"

Albus replied in that infuriatingly calm way of his. "You are of course correct in both your assumptions Minerva, that is something that should never have been mentioned in such a public place."

She had expected no other answer. "What about 'handling the school's finances would be good experience for you Minerva - give you practice for when you're headmistress.' In light of the fact we now know you were barred from doing business with Gringotts at the time, would you agree you are a manipulative, lying bastard?"

Minerva never gave Albus time to conjure more lies, she just kept right on after him. "Every time you told me Harry Potter was fine was nothing but a bloody lie - you had no idea of the child's condition or welfare. He could have been locked in a cupboard for all you knew. What will you do when this story breaks, as you know it must?"

"My great age has at least taught me at least one thing. Problems are like bridges - best crossed when you come to them."

"...And the scar you wanted to leave young Harry with? It looks as if that was another of your decisions the goblins didn't agree with."

"It would appear so Minerva."

"Since you've spent the last ten years lying to me, you no longer have the right to use that name headmaster. Oh, and get that thing out the third floor corridor - otherwise I'll go over your head and see it's taken care of myself. It would be a shame to have a decade of experience running this place and not get the chance to be headmistress. It goes or you do!" Minerva marched out of Dumbledore's office, her threat hung there though - as real as any of the paintings in the room.

"Pomona, could you please tell Minerva that there is really no point in heading for Little Whining. The Dursleys had moved by the time I went back to have more discussions with them that summer."

Pomona left to check on her friend but Filius had a parting comment for the two who were going to remain. "Mr Crow is a Ravenclaw, and bound by law not to associate with both of you. If I should discover either of you attempting to break that law, I'm willing to see how much of Master Silvershard's teachings I remember."

Filius strode out of there, leaving two thoughtful figures behind.

It was Snape who finally broke the painful silence. "Do you think the brat knows about the prophecy?"

"The boy knows far too much for my liking!"

-oOoOo-

Hermione was up early and hurrying down to the common room, she didn't want there to be the slightest chance she would miss Harry for breakfast. Not only did she not miss Harry, Hermione ran right into him as he raced through the Ravenclaw entrance.

This collision had an unexpected effect on the young witch, it solidified Hermione's views on the three faces of her friend. His first was clearly Harry, the boy who had sat and chatted for hours with her on the train yesterday. His second face was the one he showed the public, Hermione considered this his Harry Crow personality - with a touch of Pride and Prejudice thrown in for good measure.

The young witch now had his third persona clearly etched in her mind, and what a picture it was. Gone was any pretence of the suave Mr Darcy, Hermione thought this Harry was more likely to be the son of Zeus and Hera. Here was a young Ares who was obviously in training, and he looked very good for it.

His hair was tied back in a short ponytail and Harry now wore his new sword strapped on his back. It was the roman like tunic, made of some animal hide, that really held her attention though. That it fitted him like a second skin really emphasised his physique, Hermione couldn't help but think Harry was amazingly developed for someone his age. His tunic was as black as his hair and glistened nearly as much as a clearly sweating Harry. She also just happened to notice that the tunic stopped well above his knees. He offered his apology for running into her before mumbling something about needing a shower. Saying he would be back down shortly, Harry then headed up the stairs at speed. Unable to take her eyes off him, Hermione watched Harry every step of the way.

Hermione giggled to herself, laughing at the thought of her mum and dad's reactions to the first letter she would be writing home. Her parents were in for quite a few shocks from their bookish daughter. Not only did she have a best friend at Hogwarts, Hermione needed her mum to send some exercise clothes as soon as possible! If morning exercises made Harry look that good, then Hermione Granger just had to give it a try.

A/N thanks for reading.