DISCLAIMER – Harry Potter and its affiliates are the sole property of JK Rowling. I don't own the characters. I only own the plot. NOTE – This story is MINE and not JK Rowling. I have gotten some nasty reviews on some of my other stories telling me that they didn't like the way I portrayed certain characters. If I wanted to do exactly what JK did, I would just plagiarize her work. Fan fiction isn't about following what the original author writes. It's about writing what YOU want using their characters.
DISCLAIMER – Harry Potter and its affiliates are the sole property of JK Rowling. I only own the plot.
DISCLAIMER – Pairings are Harry/ Luna and Draco/ Susan.
DISCLAIMER – Please don't badger me because you don't like the story. If you find that you do NOT like the story, then please stop reading it and move on. You not liking the story will not prove anything if you get ugly about it except showing that you are a fool. If you want the story to go a certain way, then write your own.
Author's Note – The characters will be very out of canon. I enjoy writing the characters as I want to portray them. It's what makes some of my stories the success that they are. Canon characters are boring.
Chapter 7 – To Silence the Banshee
Harry and Severus arrived just in time for dinner. The rest of the group all waited around to see if Harry had gotten his private business done and if there were any troubles. Once Luna made sure that Harry was alright and healthy, Harry spoke to the group.
"Things went as smooth as silk," said Harry pulling out Luna and Hannah's rings and handing them to each girl. "I spoke with Griphook and Lord Ragnok and they gave me permission to bring the Head of House rings for both of you ladies. They said to tell you that it was a pleasure being able to help you in the little fashion that they did. I already have my rings, and I picked up a few more things that I can give to people for Christmas and such from my vault. I had a great time looking around. There are so many things in the vault that I had a hard time deciding on what to pick. Griphook told me that he will send me an itemized list for my perusal later. That way, I can just pick up more items if I want them. For now, let's eat. I'm starving here. I want to stuff myself silly and then maybe we can discuss how we feel about the trial unless the founders have something else planned for this evening."
"Just so you know," said Luna quietly so that only the group of them could hear. "There are still some girls and a couple of boys here that think they can get you away from me and vice versa trying to get us involved in some marriage contracts and other such nonsense. I'm not getting full visions, but from what I can see, some of them are going to do anything and everything to make sure we marry one of them. They are determined to get their grubby hands on the Potter, Gryffindor, and Slytherin fortunes not to mention what I'm due to inherit next year from Ravenclaw. Now that you are heir to the Black family fortune as well, they are more determined. I got brief images of potions being used."
"That's not a good thing," said Draco with a sigh as they sat down and began to eat. "Why can't these idiots understand that we want and need to be left alone? I sometimes think that the castle has a stupid spell on it that affects the way people think around here. Even if they do marry Harry, they can't get their hands on those vaults. You have to be blood related to get the vaults of the Founders or an Ancient and Noble family unless they are willed to someone. I swear some of these people have fluff between their ears. Don't any of them read? Those that have a soul bond aren't affected by love potions and certain charms. They wouldn't be able to steal us that way anyway. It makes me want to start punching people for their absurdity."
"I think I can stop some of that in a few moments," said Harry after swallowing some of his food. "I have a way that will stop people from trying to claim something that they can't from this moment on. I have to speak with Lady Narcissa first. If I'm successful, then I can save all four of us in one swoop. All I ask is that if I'm successful that you make sure to replace what I will loan you until you can get one of your own or pay me back for it. For now, what I want all of us to do is to start scanning the hall suspiciously. We need to make some of the fluff bunnies feel very uncomfortable until I spring my surprise on everyone. If we can make them feel uncomfortable, we can really throw the blood hounds off the scent."
"You know that I'm an expert at making people feel uncomfortable," said Severus with a wry grin. "They don't call me the dungeon bat for nothing. You go and speak with Narcissa right now and let us take over here. All of those that live in the Champion's Tower can assist me. Draco and I can use some of our old persona to make people feel uncomfortable. We have that down to an art form."
"Do you know what he is about to do?" asked Draco as Harry stood up and walked over to Narcissa. "Is it going to embarrass me in any way, shape, or form? If so, then I don't want him to do it. I like our friendship and I don't wish to jeopardize what we have recently acquired. We have worked hard on this over the last few weeks."
"Trust me when I say that you will be pleasantly surprised and grateful," assured Severus as Harry and Narcissa started talking quietly with one another. "He is going to pick out all of the greedy ones in one sting. Some of these boys and girls are not going to WANT to look at his vaults, yours, or any one sitting at this table when he is done. We all know that Harry takes good care of those he calls friend. He would never do anything to embarrass you or anyone else if he could get around it. As much as I despised is father, I can honestly say that Harry didn't pick up the bad traits from James. He is all Lily in that aspect of his personality."
Draco sighed and nodded his head. That statement was absolutely true. Even when he and Harry were enemies, that trait alone was one that Draco envied the most. Together, the group scanned the hall and from time to time rested a piercing look at someone or a group. They kept note of those that flushed, looked angry, or those that looked like they were hiding something. Harry rejoined the group and handed a small parcel to Draco.
"Just follow my lead and trust me," whispered Harry. "Things will be so much easier for us once this is done. I haven't led you wrong since all of this started, and I don't plan on it now. You will actually thank me for this later. All of the lessons that the founders have been giving us will finally pay off tonight. They will be proud of all of us."
Draco just nodded his head and let Harry carry out his plan. It was a mark of faith that Draco didn't blush or falter when he realized what Harry handed him and who he looked at. Draco understood his meaning loud and clear. Harry gestured for his dorm mates to follow him. Minerva sat there looking oddly at them for a moment. She knew Harry was up to something, but at that moment, she didn't know what. Severus always had the look on his face that stated to not ask, but her curiosity was eating her alive. She was about to turn her attention away when Harry stopped and looked around the hall.
"Rumor has it that some of the young men and women in this castle think that they can try and interfere with what the founders are laying down for their Champions," he called in a loud voice so that everyone could hear. The Founders were also listening with rapt attention. "If you look at a rumor hard enough, you will find the truth lying somewhere underneath. However, in this case, the truth of the matter is more important than what is being passed around the school. In this case, it's sad to note that the rumors are in fact plots and very accurate in their destinations. The four Founders are working with us to enhance our natural abilities and to learn those that we didn't think we knew. Normally, this would be for anyone, but some people still have it in their minds that they can demand something or attempt something and win the big prize. I'm going to state right here and now that the four Champions of the Founders ARE NOT prizes for you to collect. We are people just like everyone else and deserve to be treated as such."
Minerva wasn't sure what this was leading to. Narcissa and Severus just shook their heads at her before turning their attention back to the drama unfolding on the floor. Harry needed to do this in his style and in his own way without interference from anyone. Minerva then realized that Harry was acting as his titles dictated. What she wasn't expecting was what happened next. Harry nodded to Draco and both young men dropped to one knee. Each held a box in their hands. The eyes of the two female Champions widened in shock and then happiness.
"Luna Mia Lovegood, will you do me the honor of marrying me?" asked Harry as Draco echoed his sentiments to Susan. "By you marrying me, I can ensure that you will never be harmed again. As my wife, you will live the life that you should. I will make sure that you never need anything for as long as we both live. If you agree, then we can combine the blood of three of the founders. You would also make me the happiest man around."
"Oh I beg to differ," said Draco before Luna could speak. "If Susan marries me, then I will be the happiest. I have you beat this time Potter. There is no way that you will be happier than me."
Some of the people around the hall were giggling at the antics. Trust Harry and Draco to still compete. That they were doing it in a friendly manner wasn't lost on many in the crowd. There were a few young men and women that were sitting with angry looks on their faces at what was transpiring at that moment. Those same people knew that there was NOTHING that could be done about it now. Once all of this started, then there was no way they could counteract the situation.
"I accept your proposal," said Luna and Susan in unison before Luna carried on alone. "As your future wife, I can guarantee the same thing to you that you offered to me. My father will be pleased. He told me that he hoped that a nice young man that had good morals and a wonderful personality would ask me to marry him. I have all of that in you. I would be happy to be your wife. It will make our growing soul bond even stronger. It will also tell those that desire to split us up that they have no chance in hell of succeeding in their twisted quests."
"I hope that you are brave enough to tell my Aunt Amelia," said Susan while Harry and Luna started to laugh at Draco's horrified expression. "Though knowing her, she will just say that it's about time you asked me. She really has been expecting this since we found out that we are to be soul bonded. I also agree with Luna that those greedy people that wanted us for more than friendship have a right to be disappointed as we are now officially off the market."
By now, all of the adults were applauding. They watched as Harry opened the box and took out the ring and slid it on Luna's finger. Draco did the same with the ring that Harry handed him with a promise to reimburse him for it.
"This ring belonged to my mother," Harry told Luna softly but loud enough for everyone to hear. "Severus says that the emerald was cut and designed by my father because it matched her eyes. Everyone knows that my eyes and those of my mother are identical in every way. I thought that this ring would be fitting for you as my future wife. I have my dad's ring also that I will wear when we get married. I hope that you like it. If not, I can get you something else."
"The ring is beautiful," said Hannah, Daphne, and a few other ladies pushing Harry and Draco to the side. "The piece is exquisite and breathtaking all at once. You are one lucky set of girls to have the hottest men in the castle ask you to marry them. You ladies HAVE to let us help you plan the weddings. Some of us have relatives that do these sorts of things and we learned from them."
Still gabbing, the girls left the area while the guys were standing there wondering how they got dismissed so easily. The professors and guys of their dorm congratulated them on their success. Harry and Draco thanked everyone and quickly left to make sure that their counterparts were safe. They could hear the young women further down the hall chatting about gowns, food, and hair. When it became too much, Harry and Draco called for the girls to let them leave.
"Those of us that are being trained by the founders have to go," stated Harry politely but firmly. "We can't be late for our next lesson even in light of the great news you all just witnessed. I do apologize, but we do need to go. Luna and Susan will be happy to talk with you all later. All we ask is that when you do that you do it where someone can keep an eye out on you all in case of trouble. I don't want my Luna girl getting hurt by someone who is angry with all of this. Her safety is off the utmost importance to me."
With that, Harry and Draco held out their arms for their ladies and escorted them back to their dorms. The rest of their dorm followed quickly with Severus and Narcissa bringing up the rear. The founders were delighted by what Harry and Draco did. They knew that by combining the lines that they would be stronger in the face of danger.
"We knew this day would come," said Rowena. "Once their children are old enough, we can have an heir with all four of our blood in it. This will keep the lines from ever ending and protecting our hard work for centuries to come. We need to do something about the conniving people that are still after our heirs. They can't keep trying to harm our grandchildren. We may need to step in once more and remove some more bad rubbish from our ranks of students."
"I don't think you have to worry about that for too much longer," intoned Severus with a serious look on his face. "Harry is a Potter, Gryffindor, and Slytherin. He will make sure that everything goes according to plan. I knew he was going to ask her, but I didn't realize that he would do it tonight or in the manner that he did. He will make sure that your blood continues on. The one thing that I always envied about him was his loyalty and dedication to people. I'm NOT a people person nor have I ever been or will be. He has enough charisma to outclass, outshine, and out befriend a group of people. He will make an able leader when he gets old enough. He does it already without even knowing or trying."
"I'm so happy for both couples," said Helga smiling brightly. "I know we are pushing them a bit hard, but it's for the best that we do things the way we are. Dumbledore may be out of the picture, but Riddle isn't and he has some powerful people working with him. How did things go at the trial? Were our lessons on decorum worth the effort?"
"You would have been proud of all four of them," answered Severus honestly. "Harry asked for and was able to claim the seats for Potter, Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Peverell. With his help, Luna appointed Augusta Longbottom as proxy until she comes of age at fifteen. Draco and Susan took their seats with Draco sitting in while his mother holds the seat until he turns seventeen. The Wizengamot hit Albus with everything they could and he will be in prison for two hundred and nine years. However, it was Harry who gave the old fool one last kick."
"What do you mean?" asked Narcissa without really thinking. "Harry didn't do anything barbaric like, kicking the old man, did he? I know he doesn't like Dumbledore for what he did, but that's no reason to embarrass himself in front of the Wizengamot by acting like a muggle barbarian."
"It was a figure of speech Narcissa," said Severus with a weary sigh and rubbing his temples. "Harry didn't literally kick him. He gave the old fool some justified punishment. Instead of going to Azkaban where Albus could probably escape, Harry came up with a better solution. The old goat has to spend the time he has left in life or the next two hundred years with the goblins of Gringotts. Mind Magic and certain other forms of magic won't work on the goblins and they have no intention of letting him use magic at all. His new home is the prisons of Gringotts. He will spend the rest of his life creating vaults for new people or improving the older ones manually, or shoveling dragon dung. Either way, he will be busy until he dies or is released."
"I feel like such an idiot," mumbled a very red Narcissa. "Of course Harry wouldn't do something like that. I feel so foolish. I'm glad that things worked out for the best where that old fool is concerned. There is something that I thought about while we were eating and I wanted to bring it to Harry's attention. I don't know if it's possible, but it IS worth a try. If it can be done, then we may have something that will assist Harry and the rest of the Champions get an edge of Voldemort. Merlin knows that we need all of the advantages that we can get."
"I'm going to start working with Harry in using the Elder wand," mentioned Godric. "During the group lessons, we have other histories and such we want to teach the youngsters. We know that Harry has an advantage with DADA, but I think we can get him into a more advanced training method. The others will just have to keep up as best as they can. It's time to work with all of them on the physical aspect of things."
"I have an idea that might help," said Severus. "We can try it out first thing tomorrow morning. Shall we get on with their lessons for the night? The sooner we get it done, the sooner they can get whatever homework started, finished, or what have you done. I know that even though we are teaching them as we are that they are still young men and women and they need to do some leisure activities as well. Maybe we can treat them to something in the muggle world every now and then as a reward for their hard work and dedication."
When the group made it back to the Champion's Tower, they sat around at their desks and waited for their instruction to begin. Narcissa took the floor first as she wanted to present her idea and thought before they forgot it and it was lost in the flow of time. She was certain that it could be done. It was a matter of doing it that caused her concern.
"I'd like to present a thought to Harry," she began while pacing slightly. "We noticed that Dumbledore lost the Elder wand to him with a simple Expelliarmus. When you were in the graveyard, didn't you tell me that you and the Dark Lord fought and your wands combined? Also didn't you tell us that your wand beat his?"
"We did duel," answered Harry with curiosity. "We both cast a spell at the same time and a gold beam shot out and connected the wands for a bit. It was how Cedric was able to tell me to bring his body back and I got to see my mum and dad. There was a bubble of energy in the connecting light. I knew that if that bubble touched my wand that I would lose the fight. I pushed every ounce of energy I had into making sure that the bubble touched his wand and not mine."
"That's what I thought you explained to everyone when you came back," said Narcissa. "Draco told me he overheard what you had said about the wand connection. We later learned that your wand and the wand of the Dark Lord are brothers. It was during Draco's eavesdropping days that he learned where Dobby went and about the pudding incident and such. Now that you boys are friends, we know more as you outright tell us."
"Were you going somewhere with the recalling of what happened with the wands?" asked Harry slightly confused now. "I always knew that Draco was listening. I made sure he knew about Dobby as a way to rub it in Lucius' face. That man should have known better than to attack me. Dobby knocked him down three flights of steps."
"The reason I brought this up is simple," acknowledged Narcissa suppressing a grin. "If you were able to claim the Elder wand with a simple Disarming Spell, then why haven't you been able to claim the wand of the Dark Lord due to your wand beating it that night in the graveyard? From what I know about wand lore, when a person beats another in a real battle or duel, the wand switches allegiances. My thought is that you can get his wand and stop the twin core protection from saving him when and if you two fight again. With you having the Elder wand, you have an advantage as you and that particular wand bonded."
"Then I have a few questions," admitted Harry after a moment of thought. "Didn't you all say that the prophecy is a fake? If so, then why do I have to meet him again? I don't want to fight him anymore than I have to. If the prophecy is a fake and it's something that Dumbledore started, then anyone can defeat him just as easy as anyone else. I don't want to become a murderer."
"While it is true that the prophecy is a fake, HE doesn't know that," said Rowena slowly. "We all know that you don't have to fight him or destroy him, but he doesn't know that. He heard part of the prophecy and that was enough for him to continue to come after you. What Narcissa has presented is an option even if it is a dangerous one. You can claim his wand, but to do so, you would have to meet him face to face again. That may not be the best course of action. All you can do is wait and be patient while we hang on to that knowledge for the future. He doesn't have the Slytherin magic that he thinks he does, nor will his wand work on you again the future as you have defeated it."
"I'm sure we can do that," admitted Harry after a moment. "I would rather not, but if it can't be helped, then it can't be helped. I just hope that I'm better prepared the next time that I meet him. I don't want another repeat like we had in the graveyard. I would like to know that I can hold my own against him and make it so that I have a better chance of winning should I have to fight him again. My next question is do we have any more information on his remaining horcruxes? The sooner we get the rest of them, the sooner anyone has a chance of stopping him once and for all."
"We know that the Ministry is working on it," said Severus. "We know that Sirius is doing all he can to find and destroy the items. We have taken care of the locket, diadem, your scar, the diary, and I think they got the cup. That leaves two left. We are sure that his snake is one and the ring. Once we have those two items, we can make sure he is down for good this time. He can't come back if he doesn't have an anchor."
Harry breathed a little easier hearing that. He knew that Sirius and the rest were working hard. He just wanted to make sure that they were actually making progress on their searches. He knew that there was much to do, but he didn't want anyone that he cared for to get hurt in the process. He was not stupid enough to think that it wasn't a possibility that something would go wrong and he would lose another person close to him. Anything was possible when you were dealing with a Dark Lord.
"Before we get to our lesson for the night, I have a personal question for Draco," stated Harry a bit hesitantly. "These last few weeks with you being our friend have been wonderful. We help each other out and everyone is surpassing the school with knowledge and skill level. What I would like to know is WHY you accepted all of this so readily and did the one eighty from being a total prat to the nice person that you are now? What happened that led you to accept all of this so easily?"
"There are a number of reasons that the transition was so easy for me," admitted Draco after thinking about the question for a moment. "The first one is that we are related. A Black family member CAN'T do lethal damage to another Black family member. While neither of us have the name of Black, we are still part of the same family. Both my mother and your grandmother are Blacks. The magic will not allow us to detrimentally harm one another. We are able to fight and argue, but not harm with the intent to kill or maim."
"That's one logical way of looking at it," said Harry thoughtfully. "Being family helps. It would also explain why you never physically harmed Ron or Ginny. They are descendants of the Black family as well. With us being more in line with the family, it is a little different with us. What is the other reason? You stated you have more."
"The other reason is that like you, I'm a very intelligent person," said Draco shrugging. "Mother and Uncle Sirius said that things had to be a certain way. I didn't like what father preached about muggles and muggle born. I like the idea that everyone with magic should get along. I did what I had to do to stay out of the way of his anger and disdain. I didn't want to be disinherited from the family for something childish like not agreeing with him. It was simpler to put on a fake face and do what he asked. If you notice, even though I verbally sparred with you, not once did I outright attack you with intent to harm. Even that day I sent that hex at your back, it wasn't anything more than a Stinging Hex. Crouch just ended the confrontation before it got out of hand. I don't hate you and never have. Like all of us that hide from the Dark Lord, I played my part to stay out of the line of his anger."
"That does make sense if you think about it," said Susan. "Draco never did anything dangerous to anyone. Ninety nine percent of what he did was verbal abuse and nothing more. It wasn't even that lethal if you think about it. He found one thing to use and stuck with it until a better opportunity came into effect. Also, some of his verbal garbage was due to all of us being so young. We are more mature now and we know that things have to be a certain way. None of us present are stupid or weak. We know that there are things that we need to learn and do to make this world a better place for all magic users."
The adults and ghosts all nodded with relief at the words that were going back and forth. Things had a way of working themselves out if you just let what was to happen, happen. Harry and Draco now talked to each other about issues when they arose. Neither went after the other halfcocked or angry. They sat down and discussed the issues like mature people would and came up with sound ideas and decisions.
"I want to tell you about that locket," said Salazar bringing the group back to the purpose of the gathering. "When I created it, it had mainly one purpose. It was designed to help those of MY blood speak the language of snakes if they didn't have a natural affinity for the gift. Like the others, I made sure that I created something that would assist my heirs if they didn't inherit key traits of mine. The ability to speak parseltongue isn't just limited to our family. We know that people in India can do it as snakes are a main part of their lives. However, it isn't a common gift of those in THIS part of the world or of those without the Indian blood running in their veins. When I learned that I could speak the language, I wanted to ensure that every one of my bloodline would be able to do so as well. It is a powerful and useful gift after all. So much good can be done using the language. Healing and protection are top benefactors with a spell said in parseltongue. Therefore, I created the locket so that anyone possessing it that had my blood running through their veins would be able to speak the language even if they couldn't before."
"Many people believed that we imbibed our personal items with great feats of magic," said Helga continuing on. "We just added spells so that the one thing we are known for would be the greatest gift that we could leave to those that carry on our bloodlines. It was later that some of our descendants found the items and added their own spells and such to the items changing them from their original purposes. My Cup was to assist those in need of healing. I have no idea what it does now."
"Probably not anything anymore," mumbled Harry with embarrassment. "If it was a host for a Horcrux, then it is destroyed and all magic that was put into it was destroyed. If we can find your notes, we can always create ORIGINALS of the four items and not have all of the extra crap that was placed on them. I would love to take the time to study your notes and see what we can do to bring back the image and power that the four of you placed in this school. We don't want it to be a battlefield anymore. We want to be able to learn what we are here to learn and not worry about propaganda that doesn't have anything to do with us."
"I think what he means is that it doesn't have anything to do with us yet," added Draco. "We do have to worry about that in the future, but we SHOULD be able to just be teens and finished learning how to control our magic rather than being slammed into the politics that goes with everything these days. Some of the laws and such given are so stupid that I can't believe that people even follow them. Lucius was bad about using his money to pass laws to harm innocent people."
"I never wanted anyone not of our blood to have that locket," admitted Salazar nodding at Draco and Harry's insight. "Many of my spells were designed using parseltongue as the basis. I knew that if someone other than a Slytherin got their hands on that locket that they would be able to not only speak the language, but to read it as well. This is why I hid my books and such from those that would make my hard work go dark. Tom Riddle can speak the langue, but he is not of the blood. When he got the locket, he used it for dark purposes. That's why we want those artifacts that have been tainted destroyed. We don't want unsuspecting people to use the items thinking that they can have the gifts that are meant for those of our blood. We don't want hundreds of people in the British Isles knowing how to speak parseltongue. We also don't want my books and spells to fall into the hands of others."
"You have to understand one thing," said Godric. "When a powerful witch or wizard like us creates something, we want to protect that item from those that would use said items opposite of what we created them for. Even the modern practitioners of the old ways keep their books and blessed items a secret so that others can't find or use them in manners that they were never designed to be used for. It's why the sword stayed in the office of the Headmaster or Mistress of the school since I passed unless it was needed by one of the Gryffindor bloodline. It isn't a common sword or weapon. It enhances one's ability to fight by giving them endurance and a better ability in DADA. It won't tell you what spells to use, but it will make the spells that you do use stronger. The sword is another wand in a sense that you can use to cast spells. It's why it's such a valuable item of the Gryffindor line."
"Keep in mind that as Godric's last living heir, that you can use the sword just as easy as he did," stated Rowena wisely. "He used it with great efficiency when he was alive. The sword will work just as well for you as it did for him. All you need is a bit of practice. Once you get the hang of it, it will be second nature to you. Add in that we will teach you all wandless magic and you will all be powerful enough to stand against anyone that is threatening the castle or each other."
"While we may not be able to actively cast the magic ourselves, we can give you the theories and people like Severus and Minerva can help you with the practical aspects of things," said Salazar. "We are your guides only. Much of what you have learned or done since the night we intervened has been done on your own power and steam. We just help you when and how you need it. Each of you present in THIS tower is very unique in your own way."
"The rest of the school is unique as well," assured Rowena when Harry's face darkened. "What we mean is that those of you here are here because of something we saw in you that we can help you enhance. There are key elements in all of you that the rest of the school will never have. We are your voice and Severus is your arm. We will teach you what we know."
The group all talked well into the evening about things they needed to know for the upcoming weeks. Harry and his party would ask questions and they would all sit and listen with rapt attention to what was being said about the subject matter at hand.
"We need to bring Hermione back," said Harry suddenly startling everyone. "I know she was partially acting under her own reconnaissance, but she was being influenced. She is the lesser of all of the evils that happened in this situation regarding Dumbledore and the Weasley trio. Hermione may have acted badly, but she really did help when it came to making sure that we learned what we needed to in order to pass our classes. If we can forgive Severus for what he did, then we can forgive Hermione also. Just make sure that all monies that she got are repaid, and we will be alright. She can make a Vow to never do anything like that again."
"I'll speak with Sirius, Minerva, and Amelia about it," promised Narcissa. "You do have a point. She wasn't dark or evil. She just fell to the influence and was used. She may have done certain things on her own, but she was being coerced. You are right that she should be forgiven. I have no doubt that Sirius will work with us on this."
Harry nodded as the group was dismissed to do homework or enjoy their evening with normal activities. Severus wasn't that hard of a task master when it came to overloading them on homework. Yes he made them do reports and such, but he assisted as much as he gave. Minerva, Filius, Pomona, and a few others were just as guilty about it as he was. They wanted the teens to learn, but not overload them with too much information all at once.
The days flew by. Hermione was brought back to the castle and was told what she needed to do to remain. She had no issues with giving a Vow to not harm Harry or the other Champions again. She also made a Vow to not be such a know it all. She volunteered to assist the residents of the Champion's Tower with research and tutelage as recompense for her former actions.
"I had time to really think about how petty I was being," she explained. "I knew I messed up and have been beating myself up over it since I was suspended. I made a mistake and I don't intend to make it again. My parents grounded me while I was at home and even when I return for the holidays and such, I will still be grounded, but I can live with that. I am VERY sorry for what I did and I SWEAR I will never try something like that again. I have no right to be jealous because someone is doing better than me. That just makes me a bad person and I don't like being a bad person. I will work hard to repay every knut I took as payment. I know that all of it was returned minus the interest, but I intend on paying it back."
"Welcome back to the light sister," said Harry grinning at her. "We can put you in the girl's dorm and Susan and Hannah can help you get caught up with your schoolwork. I have reams of notes on everything that the founders taught us since you left. You are going to be amazed at some of the things we learned."
"Don't forget that you lot have to go to Molly's trial tomorrow," said Narcissa. "Make sure that you all dress appropriately. Severus will still be going with you. As all of you behaved so impeccably the last time, I would like to go with you all and observe how you act during this trial. Draco can still sit for House Malfoy and the rest of you can sit in your allotted spots. Severus will still sit with you to act as defense in case of an attack on your person through magic or physical contact. You have all proven that you are efficient in handling the affairs of the voice."
"We do expect you all to act like the proper young men and women that we are guiding you to be," admonished Minerva. "Rude remarks and such will NOT be tolerated. I don't think I have anything to worry about, but I am one that will worry anyway. I hope that each of you learns just a little more about what is expected of you. Good luck and I will see you all when you return."
The next day they left to attend Molly's trial. When they got to the Ministry, they were once again surrounded by an escort for their safety. Due to being the heirs of the founders, it was against the law to print anything about Harry, Luna, or Susan without their express permission. That Draco was under the protection of the three heirs made it so that nothing could be printed about him either. Once in the courtroom, the teens and Severus quickly got set up in their box and waited for the rest of their peers. Neville was sitting in for Augusta for House Longbottom while she acted as proxy for House Ravenclaw. Severus was busy explaining a few things to him quietly while everyone else got settled.
"We are here today for the trial of Molly Weasley nee Prewett," intoned Augusta. "Aurors, please bring in the prisoner. As she is not here for dark purposes, we request that she not be bound to the chair at this time. However, if she begins to act in an unorthodox manner we will reconsider that option. However, she will answer our questions truthfully and we will get to the bottom of her involvement on the attempts on Lord Potter's safety as well as her involvement with Dumbledore. We don't have time for traitors or thieves."
Harry and his party watched with a dispassionate look on their faces as Molly was brought in. She was placed in the chair and everyone waited to see what she would do. When she just sat there and didn't do anything, Sirius cleared his throat and began the trial.
"We are here today to find out what your involvement is regarding the happenings surrounding Lord Potter," Sirius told her. "Behave yourself and we won't bind you to the chair. Start acting up, and we will not only bind you, but we will silence you until we get the information that we want. Do you understand what I'm telling you? We will NOT tolerate you yelling or making threats. You will behave in a mature fashion or you will suffer the consequences."
"I understand," she whispered. "Do what you have to do. It isn't like I care much anymore. Everything that was promised to us has been taken away and we will never see it. I don't care what you do to me so long as my children are looked after."
"Your youngest two will have to appear before us so that we can see just how far their actions have gotten them into trouble," stated Augusta. "Once we know just what they did and who they did it to, then we can make a better judgment from there regarding further punishment if needed. As for the rest of your children, they have done nothing wrong and will not be held accountable unless we find that they knew or participated in the schemes revolving around the harm of Lord Potter."
"So far we know that potions have been used on Hermione Granger," said Amelia. "We know that your youngest two children are involved. As it stands, you have been implicated in assisting in the endeavor to place Lord Potter under the influence of potions that would make him obedient to your youngest son and your daughter. Potions Master Severus Snape has informed us that the over usage of these potions could quite literally kill the victim if they are used too much or wrongly. What we want to know is what your involvement is in this diabolical plan was. What part did you play in aiding and abetting your children in trying to harm the Lord of an Ancient and Noble Family as well as the last heir and now Head of House of two founders of Hogwarts?"
"I provided them with the ingredients that they couldn't steal from Severus," admitted Molly. "Albus wanted us to make sure that we assisted him in keeping Harry under control. When Hermione mentioned an Obedience Potion, I jumped on the opportunity to fulfill his wishes. Once Harry was under our control, we could have easier access to his money and artifacts. If we succeeded, Albus stated that he would reward us with a part of Harry's vaults. He knew more than he let on about Harry's heritage."
"Have you at any time accessed my vaults without my knowledge or permission?" asked Harry. "It seems to me that an awful lot of people knew about my accounts and yet no one bothered to tell me about them until I decided to inquire about it personally. You owe me the truth. Did you access my vaults without my permission?"
"Yes," whispered Molly to the astonishment of the crowd. "When you reentered the magical world, we still had five children in school. When we agreed to work with Albus, he gave me a copy of your vault key. I made several withdrawals from your vaults. Albus said that it was part of our payment for working with him to keep you under control."
"What did you use the money for?" asked Harry as he pulled out statements from the bank and passed them to Sirius. "How many times did you take money from my vaults and what did you use it on?"
"I accessed your vaults five times," admitted Molly. "The money was used to send Percy, Fred, George, Ronald, and Ginny to school and get them as many new supplies as we could. I also used some of that money to help around our house a little."
"I have passed over the statements from my accounts," Harry explained to the panel. "In it, it shows that Mrs. Weasley did in fact make five withdrawals from my vaults. The total amount is roughly at about fifty thousand galleons. I honestly don't know how to proceed. If she is telling the truth and the money went to help the Weasley children through school I won't make a big deal of it. I have always said that I would help them. However, what makes me upset is that she took it rather than asked me for it. She also took it from vaults that I didn't know I owned at the time."
"It would seem that she has been listening to Dumbledore for some time," said Susan while Luna and Draco nodded in agreement. "She has pretty much been brainwashed to think that Harry is some kind of bad guy that needs to be kept under lock and key. What I don't understand is why they felt the need to listen to Dumbledore in the first place. I can understand that he WAS the leader of the light, but this is Harry Potter we are talking about. At fifteen months old, he stopped the Dark Lord. His actions since that time have more than proven that he isn't a dark wizard and never will be. He even saved Ginny from a basilisk and a portion of Voldemort's soul."
Luna leaned over and started whispering to Harry. He listened closely to her before nodding his head. They glanced over at Severus and he nodded his head in agreement as well. Harry sat there in thought for a few moments to think about what he wanted to do next. Sirius, Augusta, and Amelia all waited patiently as he organized his thoughts.
"It would seem that even though she was part of the idea, she really didn't do much," said Harry. "Now I'm not saying just let her go with a slap on the wrist. She was part of the plan to place me under people's control and she did buy and send the ingredients to her children. She also stole money from my account. It would seem to me that she did all of this due to what she was told by the supposed leader of the light. While she has admitted that she has played a role in this scheme, the theft part was for the benefit of her children. It isn't like she stole my money and went buy herself loads of jewelry and homes and such. I think she should be punished, but I don't think she should go to Azkaban."
"What if we make her do so many years of community service?" suggested Sirius. "That way, she can give back to the community while paying for her crimes. In most ways, I do agree with you on everything. I think she did most of what she did to assist her children. While we don't condone theft and substance abuse, she didn't go overboard with her actions. She has admitted her guilt and would have been sentenced to twenty years in prison. What if we just give her that many years of community service instead? On top of that, we need to know what you want to do about the actual money she stole."
"I'm not worried about the money," said Harry waving away the concern. "It did go to a good cause even if it was diabolical in the way it was handled. Fred and George are still like brothers to me. I'm not happy with Ron and Ginny, but until recently they were like family. I think giving her the community service would be more beneficial than her spending her time sitting in a prison cell when we have far more nefarious criminals out and about."
"Molly Weasley, for your role in the attempt to harm Lord Potter, we are sentencing you to twenty years of community service," said Augusta. "Lord Potter has graciously stated that the money need not be repaid, but you will make restitution somehow to him for the theft. While he is generous enough to allow the money to be wavered, you will need to do something to make amends for what you have done. If at any given time, you are not where you are supposed to be, you will find yourself in Azkaban. You ought to be REALLY thankful that Lord Potter is so generous and forgiving. If that had been anyone else, they would have declared Blood Feud on you and attempted to wipe out your entire family."
"An Auror will be by your home within the next forty eight hours to give you your schedule," stated Sirius. "You get NO second chances here. If you mess up in the slightest of ways, you will see prison garb and a two by nothing cell for the next twenty years."
"Thank you," said Molly. "Thank you, Lord Potter for being such a wonderful person. I will make amends to you somehow. I will never forget your leniency and generosity."
"Don't we need a caretaker now that you are our personal tutor?" Luna asked Severus. "If we haven't replaced you yet, then she can serve her time at Hogwarts as the caretaker. That way, she can do what she needs to do while still working within the community. That way, there are more eyes on her to make sure she is doing what she is supposed to be doing. She also still has two children at school for the rest of this year that she would probably enjoy seeing from time to time."
"That's a great idea," said Sirius as Severus nodded. "We will take it from here. How about you lot get back to Hogwarts and enjoy the rest of your day. We will keep you all abreast of the situation. Thank you so much for the insight and wisdom that you are possessing while sitting in your spots. You have our gratitude for it."
With that, Severus and the teens met up with the rest of their party and returned home. Harry paced around his room for a bit while pondering over the events. This trial was far easier than the one for Dumbledore as she did less wrong. What she did was bad enough, but Harry just couldn't send the woman to Azkaban for things like that.
"Oh well," he muttered to himself. "What's done is done. She will either sink or swim. Maybe once she realizes that all of this time she could have been doing things to make their lives easier so that she didn't need to resort to theft, she would have been better. I only hope that the trials for Ron and Ginny go just as smoothly."
AUTHOR'S NOTE – This is as good a place as any to stop. Thank you all for your patience as I write this story. Please keep in mind that while Narcissa's comment was totally unusual for her, she had a lot on her mind during that time slot. She was listening, but wasn't listening if that makes sense to you.