Disclaimer; The illustrious J. K. Rowling owns everything that resembles the people or places found in the Harry Potter books; everything else you can blame on me.
I was thinking that if I was putting out blame, maybe I should give Dumbledore his fair share, he really does deserve it.
Authors Note 1 – This story was written and completed prior to my posting the first half of the story.
Authors Note 2 – I thank all of those who reviewed the first half of the tale.
Once Upon a Time
Yesterday had been quite a bad day, he had lost Harry Potter and he had panicked; panicking was not good it did not achieve anything but Severus had helped calm him down . . . he was such a nice boy.
He had had an inspired thought . . . after breakfast he would go and see Molly Weasley . . . today was Sunday and tomorrow was the Wizengamot; he needed to get this Harry Potter mess sorted out today . . . and it was just as well nobody knew what he was really up to.
Molly was plugged into the wives gossip network and there might be a rumour about Potter out there . . . of course he would take Severus with him.
When the dastardly duo arrived at the Burrow Molly Weasley was cooking; she had six strapping young boys and when she was at home she always seemed to be cooking.
When he had asked her if she had heard anything about the boy, she had quite happily told him that her Ginny had gone off with Harry and several other girls on some educational thing. Ginny had been very excited; Molly had also told him that it had all been arranged through the goblins at Gringotts; apparently the Potter educational trust was funding it. Hearing this news he had initially been in something of a hurry to get away; however when Molly offered him some of her homemade apple tart to go with his tea . . . how was he supposed to resist it . . . today was behaving itself much better than yesterday.
About an hour later the pair were making their way down Diagon Alley when they were met by one of Dumbledore's least savoury associates; namely one Mundungus Fletcher. The not so petty thief informed the Headmaster that, he had heard that, the pair of them had been declared persona non grata by the goblins; and if they entered any goblin owned establishment arrest would be in their immediate future.
He wanted to rant; he wanted to scream; he wanted to lie on the floor and stamp his feet having a tantrum; today had been going so well . . . all he could do was to go back to his office and have a good sulk.
At the top of the stairs Hermione asked, "I didn't notice them before, but were all of those there this morning?" She was looking at the bookshelves, full of books; they were against the previously blank walls opposite the bedroom doors.
It appeared to be the same in both directions so they went to the right; they all spent some time perusing the titles and they came to the conclusion that there was a comprehensive selection of children's fiction. There were also educational books covering both the magical and non-magical worlds; in the main these were basic introductions to subjects such as history, mathematics and the social systems; both current and historical.
Hermione had been very much involved in choosing the fittings for their library at home; with judicious mental arithmetic she figured that there were between fifteen hundred and two thousand books here. Her smile grew when Padma and Daphne returned from the other side of the stairs, to tell her that the books on the other side of the stairs appeared to be different, and there were just as many shelves.
Miffi arrived and said, "I see that you have already found the browsing shelves, Jiffs decided to put these there for you all; if one of you take's a book off the shelf it will immediately be replaced by another copy of the same book; the books are automatically conjured. I shouldn't think that you would know that conjured things don't normally last, especially books; but as long as these are kept under the wards here they will keep indefinitely; however move them outside the wards and they will disappear. The wards cover the house, the veranda and as far out as the beach; they were extended to the beach because Mistress Lilly, Harry's mother, liked reading whilst she was down there." Hermione could imagine her mother doing pretty much the same.
The whole party had been listening to what Miffi had been explaining to them, and the little elf continued, "Now you came up here to look at the rooms." Pointing she said, "That is Miss Hermione's room and as you can see there are another three spare rooms this side; there are another two spare rooms on the other side, after Miss Luna's and Miss Ginny's room's. The inside of all of the rooms are the same and you can have whatever colour decorations you would prefer, even the wood can be changed, it is very easy for us to change these things so if you get fed up with the colours we can change them again." The elf concluded by saying that she would leave them to look around on their own, and she left.
In an effort to curtail the dithering, Hermione said, "I think that this should be Daphne's room." Whilst walking into the room next to hers. "This is just like mine." She continued, whilst looking around as she walked over to the windows.
The new girls were silent as they looked out at the beautiful view, Luna said, "As you can see the view will be the same from all of the rooms; really truly I don't think that it will make much difference which end you four decide to have as your rooms."
Daphne had turned around and was looking at what was to be her room, "This room is huge . . . where do all of these doors lead?"
"No idea," Ginny said, "but there is one way to find out." She opened the door nearest the window on the right hand side.
It was Daphne's bathroom, "Keep Ginny away from the shower." Luna said.
The response of, "Why," came from at least three girls.
Luna and Hermione explained, in detail, exactly what had happened, earlier in the day, in Harry's shower.
All of the girls were laughing and quite seriously Luna said, "I don't really like wearing clothes, especially when it is warm, and apparently it is always warm here; but I do realise that some of the grownups might start complaining if I started walking around the house with no clothes on."
"Well Luna, you know that Ginny and I don't mind being naked, but the others might need to think about it for a bit."
"I love clothes." Parvati said, "But as to not wearing them when it is unnecessary, I think that I would be o k with that if everyone else was the same way." There were general murmurings of agreement with Parvati's opinion.
Coming out of the opulent bathroom they turned away from the window; there was a three foot space between the headboard of the bed and the wall, so they didn't need to walk around the bed to get to what proved to be the dressing room. It was also enormous, but much to Daphne's surprise there were clothes similar to those being worn by the original three girls; she immediately stripped down to her knickers and put the new Jeans and a T shirt on. All of the girls were pleased to see that Harry had carried on normally and he hadn't taken any particular notice of what Daphne was doing.
Crossing the room, past a couple of very comfortable looking sofas and four equally comfortable looking armchairs they came to the only door on this wall; it lead to a library study.
The library section was at the end nearest the door, the shelves which were filled mainly contained reference books, general and specialised encyclopaedias, and translation dictionaries for numerous languages. About one third of the shelf space was empty and in the middle of it was a single stark white shelf which was embossed with the message, 'ANY BOOK OR BOOKS PLACED ON HERE WILL BE RETURNED TO THE LIBRARY'; it was rather obvious what the shelf was for.
In the middle of the room there were two large desks, both were facing the wall on either side of the room; the one on the right had a very old looking computer, the one on the left was clear, obviously for writing and things. Both desks had comfortable looking high back chairs and there were several other chairs, with castors, spread around the room, also there was a shelf with a very old looking dot matrix printer, not that any of them knew what it was, above the right hand desk.
At the far end of the room was an area which was obviously for sitting and reading, there were two very comfortable looking armchairs, each with its accompanying coffee table.
It was very obviously a working study as opposed to one in which to conduct business.
"Assuming," Hannah said, "all of our rooms are the same . . . why do we each need a room like this?"
Believing that the five new girls lives had been somewhat similar to Luna and Ginny's, Hermione quickly answered her, "At the moment we probably don't; my mum and dad run their own dental practice, and all of their business is done from their office in town, but they have a study a bit like this in the house, just to keep track of things. I shouldn't think we will need a room like this for a few years but when we start doing school type work outside of lessons this kind of room will be great.
"Also there is enough room, and chairs, in here for us all to work on something together; if we wanted too.
"Anyway if we get some newer computers there are some great games we can play on them."
Harry tried to help Hermione, "My cousin Dudley had a computer, and he was always trying to shoot something, blow something up or solve some puzzle on his."
"That sounds like a boy thing." Parvati said with a certain amount of derision.
"I assure you that there are some great games for girls." Hermione said.
The next hour and a half was spent deciding who was going to have which of the pairs of rooms; Padma was in the room next to Daphne with her twin sister Parvati in the last room on that side; Susan had the room next to Luna and her friend Hannah was next to her.
Remarkably there had been no arguments; Harry however was confused, all of the rooms were the same . . . what had taken them so long to make their mind's up.
Finally they had all converged on Harry's room for a good look at it, although it was larger, it proved to be very much the same as all of the girl's room's.
However, in his bathroom he found a ten position click stop knob. It was labelled, room one, room two, room three, room four, room six, room seven, room eight, and room nine; the other two positions were identified School and Beach. Without hesitation, Luna set it to beach, pushed the button in the centre of the knob, the mirror had shimmered, so she walked through it; she was quickly followed by all of the others.
The nine of them had exited a portal door onto the veranda of the boathouse . . . they were on the beach.
Quickly checking that there was a control knob to get them back to the bedroom, Luna Ginny and Hermione immediately shed all of their clothes and charged into the water, they were soon followed by Harry and the other six girls.
Hermione had had swimming lessons at school and Ginny had learned to swim in the pond at the Burrow, the others didn't let a little thing like that bother them . . . they just started a splash war.
The battle for control of the universe had been going for half an hour when Parvati said, "Susan, why your skin is turning pink?"
The war stopped and Hermione explained that it was the sun burning her, and they should all go back to Harry's shower.
When they reached the veranda, the jumbled pile of clothing they had left in their rush to get into the water had gone, hung in their place were nine bathrobes each with a folded towel.
Luna said, "It was nice of the elves to pick up our things for us," as she went back through the portal to Harry's bathroom; agreeing with her the rest of them followed her to Harry's shower.
When they thought about it later they considered themselves lucky that none of the adults had seen the nine of them cavorting around in the sea without a stich of clothing between them, it would probably have caused an argument . . . but at the time they didn't care.
Several conversations were subsequently held on the subject of clothing . . . or the lack of it . . . the consensus they reached was that whilst it was just them they would prefer not to wear any. It was also agreed that they didn't want other people seeing them naked . . . for now it would be kept as a private thing between the group of friends.
It was Monday morning and for a change Dumbledore was reasonably happy; he had transported himself from Hogwarts to the Ministry without incident, and entered the Wizengamot chamber his normal one hour before the session was due to start.
When the time came he delivered his opening address, and as he droned on most members seemed to be falling asleep; he asked the routine questions finishing with, "Prior to our commencing with our scheduled agenda, does anybody have any urgent matter to bring before the Wizengamot?"
This was another routine question and he was not expecting a reply.
However the Director of Magical Law Enforcement stood up, and made it clear that she had such business.
She told the assembly of her Saturday starting with Mafalda Hopkirk; then, in detail, what she learned at Privet Drive; of returning to her office and her anger when reading the Potters 'Wills'; her immediately suspecting the legality of The Earl of Blackmore's incarceration; receiving a floo call and going to Devon where she found Harry Potter; returning to her office and then going to see the Goblins; subsequently, at their request, returning to Devon to collect Harry Potter; taking him and several unnamed others back once again to the Goblins; she gave details of Harry Potter's medical checks whilst in Gringotts along with Dumbledore and Snape's transgressions uncovered by the Goblins; Dumbledore subsequently being banned from Gringotts along with the sequestering of all of his assets; and finally being totally convinced that Sirius Black was completely innocent and had been illegally thrown into Azkaban because, she believed, it suited some devious scheme of Dumbledore's.
She finished by saying, "I do not intend to question the Chief Warlock at this time, I have never received a straight answer from him before and I would expect exactly the same if I asked him anything this morning, however I will assure the chamber that my Department will be watching him as will I."
The chamber was completely silent.
The DMLE Director hadn't spared the Chief Warlock or his lackey, Death Eater Snape. Dumbledore had tried, several times, to silence her, but he had been closed down by the Minister of Magic. The third time the Minister was forced to do this; it was accompanied with a threat to expel Dumbledore from the chamber for the duration of the session. The Headmaster knew that there was nothing of particular importance coming up in this morning's regular session, but Amelia was up to something and he would prefer to be here to see what she was up to.
Prior to starting her delivery, Amelia had had one of her aurors place a comfortable chair at the front of the chamber, facing the Wizengamot members at her signal Lord Black was brought in and he sat, quietly, on the chair.
Amelia was still stood, she said, "This is not the long overdue trial of Lord Black, it is an interview in order that the Wizengamot might understand what transpired that fateful Halloween and determine if indeed he has any case to answer. I have not heard most of it, but I have asked him to tell his story of what happened, between his going to Godric's Hollow, and when he was thrown into Azkaban; he has volunteered to take veritaserum afterwards and answer any questions I might have. He has requested that only I will ask him questions for information or clarification; as he said, 'There are obviously some people who have their own agendas and he doesn't know who all of them are.'
"I have to agree with him."
The Earl of Blackmore's story took slightly over three hours to tell, it took another two hours for the list of questionable items to be compiled, and for Amelia to ask Sirius whilst he was under the truth drug.
Lord Black was released into the care of Remus Lupin; major compensation was to be paid for his illegal incarceration in Azkaban.
As soon as he could, Dumbledore hurriedly closed the Wizengamot session and fled back to Hogwarts; needless to say, all of the world's press crucified him.
"Where's Ginny?" Ron Weasley was sat at breakfast in the Burrow.
"I told you that she has gone to a play school." Molly Weasley, his mother answered.
"Why can't we go to?" one of the twins asked. Their mother couldn't tell them apart without looking carefully.
"You're too old; they are only seven and eight years old." Their mother told them.
"I'm eight, why can't I go?" Ron whinged, belligerently.
"I was asked, so I had to tell them that you still couldn't read . . . have you learned yet?" Molly had a dig at her laziest child.
"Play schools should teach kids to read." Ron complained.
"All nine of the children can read, so they don't have lessons to teach reading; they are already going to have lessons for six hours a day and Luna's mother said that you don't get on with Luna, is that true?" Molly queried.
"Loony Lovegood is nuts . . . all girls are nuts." Ron said pugnaciously.
"Well that settles it then . . . eight of the nine are girls." His mother was not happy as Ron and the twins stomped out of the kitchen to the broom shed; she wished that her youngest boy would at least try to learn to read, but he was going flying.
The majority of pure blood witches and wizards were quite happy to live in the closed off society that was the wizarding world. It did however have one often neglected major drawback, and it had nothing to do with the muggles. When something really sensational happened, it tended to stay at the top of the pub / housewife gossip list until it was replaced by some other juicy morsel; unlike the muggles, wizards didn't have television producing an endless stream of drivel to distract them.
Albus Dumbledore was not a happy bunny.
He had not been anything that resembled happy for about three years . . . since Harry Potter had disappeared and his nightmare Monday in the Wizengamot.
Mundungus Fletcher had approached him and Severus in Diagon Alley on the prior Saturday and told them that, for some reason, the pair was 'persona non grata' in Gringotts. Foolishly, it now appears, Severus didn't believe Fletcher and went back to the Alley and into the bank . . . he had never been seen or mentioned again . . . needless to say Dumbledore was very reticent about asking the Goblins about his friend. The last confirmed sighting of Fletcher had been two days after this incident . . . probably not so coincidentally, the rogue had also been going into Gringotts Bank at the time.
The Headmaster had since made enquiries with the Bank pertaining to other matters, he had used a Hogwarts post owl, he was well aware that some of the things he had done weren't exactly within the law as it currently stood . . . or, for that matter as it ever had been.
The first reply he received from the Goblins had been something of a disaster for him.
His vaults had been confiscated, all items that didn't belong to the Dumbledore family had been returned to their rightful owners; this included several Goblin artefacts for which they had been searching; he had been fined for withholding them. Everything else was to be sold to aid with the making of reparations to those, known to the Goblins that he had wronged. It was obvious that the Goblins knew at least some of his misdeeds; gleefully, it seemed, they assured him that the Director of Magical Law Enforcement also knew what they knew. And then, just to rub it in, various other people in the magical world also knew; including some, not too friendly, members of the Wizengamot; these were Wizengamot members who were not too friendly towards him.
Next they very politely informed him that, as his salary was removed from the school vault, they would continue to make reparations with it; he should be clear of his debt in a little over fifty eight years . . . unless they found anything else to add to his account.
Unusually, for goblins, they had offered him some free advice, it was that he should leave Briton and find a job in some third world country where his employers would pay him in cash; deep inside he knew that it was sound advice, but in his arrogance he was too obstinate to take it. As far as he was concerned other people's advice was just that . . . advice for other people.
The day after he had received his most unwelcome letter from Gringotts Bank; he received another one, it was no more welcome, from the International Confederation of Wizards. The Goblins had made a submission to them reference his actions and he was, as of yesterday, no longer the Chief Mugwump of the ICW. He had been replaced by of all things a woman, she was from Butan, wherever that was; what did any 'non-English pureblood' know about being fair and impartial.
The removal of Dumbledore as a buffer between them and the British Ministry of Magic had resulted in the ICW initiating an audit of all of its sponsored services. The most immediately visible effect of this had been the binning of Hogwarts current examination papers, and the introduction of their International Standard OWL and NEWT examination papers; at least they had had a year to make up the educational shortfall.
This had caused outrage amongst the pure blood bigots; apart from Britain and parts of Europe; it was recognised, everywhere else, that pureblood inbreeding was detrimental to the production of powerful magical offspring; this sacrilege was reflected in the I.C.W. examination papers.
He could no longer show his face anywhere in public; in order that he might undertake his duties in the Wizengamot, he had to portkey between his office in the school and the one allocated to the Chief Warlock in the Ministry.
He had only been able to come up with one reason he was still Chief Warlock, it was obviously because he was so outstanding at the job, nobody could be found to replace him. Not being encumbered by needless humility, he would never work out that Amelia had persuaded the Minister to keep him in the job; because after his disastrous Monday he would be far easier to control than any other likely applicant for the position.
Whilst Dumbledore was having his black Monday in the Wizengamot, Harry Potter was in the time compression room at Gringotts with the two Gringotts healers, six Goblin dark arts experts, two unspeakables and of course his eight girls.
Dealing with the soul fragment in Harry's forehead had only taken about an hour and then he and his girls had returned to his house and the beach.
The piece of soul from Harry's scar had subsequently taken four hours to analyse, and what they had found they considered to be very good news indeed. Because Voldemort had split his soul so many times making Horcruxes, Harry's piece of soul had simply broken off when he had cast the killing curse so many times close together at Godric's Hollow; it had nowhere else to go, so it lodged itself in Harry's forehead.
The really good news was that from it they could link up with the soul fragment in each Horcrux and whilst linked, they could destroy it; there was no need for anyone to find the pieces in the physical world.
When the final Horcrux was destroyed they felt Voldemort depart this plane of existence, and their piece of soul died at the same time.
The Goblins would only tell Mme Bones in the wizarding world, she needed to know; they placed no restriction on who the unspeakables could tell, members of the Department of Mysteries were notoriously close mouthed.
Mr Patil, the twin's father, ensured that everyone at the Pottery, who could be trusted, knew what had transpired; this really had only excluded Ginny's parents; the children had all been told, but they were only eight so they were not interested in such things.
It had taken almost two weeks for things to settle down in Harry Potter's hideaway, most of this time the children had spent playing on the beach.
Claris, the healer who worked for the Goblins had given them a lot of sun screen lotion, also she taught them sun shielding charms they could cast on each other.
Dan, Hermione's Dad, had shown Sirius a magazine with pictures of Quad Bikes and Beach Buggies; it took two days but now all of them were like lunatics charging around the beach; according to most of the adults, far too quickly.
Although, nobody was really that sure, if Sirius could be classed as an adult.
Emma was complaining about the noise from the bikes disturbing her sunbathing and she said, "At least they will run out of fuel soon."
Sirius grimaced, "Didn't I tell you that I put an ever-fill charm on their fuel tanks; they won't ever run out of fuel."
She wasn't slow, Emma asked, "Would one of those work on our cars?"
Remus replied, "Up until a few days ago it would have been illegal but as you know we registered the school with the ICW and Hermione is enrolled as a student so it is ok for you to know about magic; so I guess we can do that for you. However, before you take one of the modified cars for servicing we would need to remove the charm; and of course we will put it back when you get the car back.
Whilst Remus was dealing with Emma, Sirius was trying to convince nine trainee hooligans that their quad bikes were too noisy, so he cast a silencing spell on Hannah's. She had driven it no more than twenty yards before she decided that hated it silenced, and much to all of the adults' surprise, she wandlessly removed the spell.
Harry asked, "What was that word Hermione?"
She started her bike and Harry pointed his hand at it and it gradually quietened until it was only about a quarter as loud; as far as they were concerned it was a workable solution so he did all of the other bikes. Emma would much prefer the bikes to be completely silent but that wasn't going to happen; when she moaned that it was still too loud and Harry cheekily suggested that he could attenuate her ears if she wanted him to; Remus was not amused.
In their more detailed explorations of the house they had determined that what they had first thought of as the school, wasn't really their school at all; the school was through a portal and it could use time compression.
All of the children had found the time compression fascinating; the compression range ran from ten to one to ten thousand to one, the normal time duration ran from one minute to twenty four hours.
By the time Hermione, Padma and Daphne had figured it out they had become very cautious, if you switched it on for twenty four hours at one thousand to one, you would be in there for over two and a half years. One hour at a thousand to one was forty one days almost six weeks; at the maximum setting, ten thousand days is over twenty seven years; it did provide some relief that the school was totally self-sufficient and had a full complement of House Elves.
It would be years (years for them being the time they were actually living, not as it passed in the outside world) before they could begin working on a project they had devised for themselves. What they had decided was that it would be very useful if they could alter the duration of their stay from inside the system; even to be able to simply cancel the compression would be very useful.
The school was on the same estate as the house although it was ten miles up the coast; it turned out that the Potter's owned the land for twenty five miles to the North and twenty miles to the South. It was all along the coast and an average of twenty five miles inland, making the whole estate roughly eleven hundred and twenty five square miles (seven hundred and twenty thousand acres).
The main task for Remus and Sirius had been collecting together groups of tutors; they would leave the real world for two days and spend a year under time compression; the Potter Trust would pay them for their year and everyone seemed happy.
Two days under time compression and twenty six days to assimilate what they had learned meant that the children had thirteen years learning per year; by the time they would normally be due to go to Hogwarts they would have about forty years of education, if they could stand it. The first ten rotations and alternated magical and mundane learning, the theory being that they would be less lightly to become bored doing this . . . it seemed to work well enough.
Their time between time compressed years was spent either shopping or on the beach; it took some of the adults a while to come to grips with the fact that they were recovering from a year of intense studying.
Being as they were now well into NEWT's (magical) and 'A' levels (mundane) a third rotation had been introduced; this covered an introduction to subjects that were not normally found in either mundane or magical schools; mainly technomancy.
Gradually it all seemed to merge into one, and by the end of their second year their tutors were coming from the Research and Development departments of various Potter owned companies around the world.
It had been about two and a half years since all of that mess had died down somewhat and now it was all very likely to start back up again, and most probably it would be worse. In six months Harry Potter was due to come to Hogwarts and with him still as its Headmaster that was about as likely as the Goblins having a two for the price of one sale on Galleons.
He would have to try to arrange something to coerce persuade the young Potter to come to Hogwarts.
Speaking to his deputy, he had very casually mentioned attracting Harry Potter to Hogwarts, and she bluntly told him that if he tried one of his twisted solutions to the problem it would quite possibly be the last thing he ever did.
Surely she had to be mistaken.
Minerva McGonagall had not become Deputy Head of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry because she was either slow or stupid.
When Dumbledore had tried to be oh so subtle whilst enquiring about Harry Potter, she had realised immediately what was in the back of the old coots mind, and she had done her best to warn him off. She most probably knew Dumbledore better than anyone else on the planet, and she realised that the old fool had not been the least bit deterred by her blatant warning against his interfering in Harry Potter's life.
The austere witch had no intention of being caught in any resulting crossfire, generated by the Headmaster's machinations.
As she dealt with the school accounts she regularly went to the Bank; ergo, at her next regular visit to the Goblin run institution she asked to see whoever it was that was in charge of the Potter accounts.
She had been most surprised to be shown in to see Ragnok, the Goblin leader; Dumbledore was in even more trouble than she had first thought; however, she had had no hesitation in telling the Goblins all she knew or suspected of Dumbledore's scheming.
Forewarned was forearmed and she had planted herself firmly in the clear.
Whilst the higher echelons of the British magical community had been staggering along, attempting to ignore Dumbledores screw ups, along with the rest of the world's opinion. Harry Potter and his friends had been receiving a very thorough and comprehensive magical and non-magical education. If they wanted them, all of the nine currently had, or shortly could have, significant positions within the British magical community, and it was important that they understood what that meant, also what was involved.
Sirius Black was Harry's godfather, so as per custom and his parents wills Sirius was Harry's magical guardian, this had been achieved despite Dumbledore's objections. It was also after the Chief Warlock had been reminded, several times, that as the scion of an Ancient and Noble House, Lord Potter did not require a non-magical guardian.
It had been very lucky for Dumbledore that the majority of the Wizengamot members thought that the Headmaster was upset to be losing the Potter and the Black voting proxies; it was quite significant, at least twenty eight votes gone from his control.
It had taken six weeks for Sirius to regain about ninety per cent of his previous fitness level; as the vast majority of this time was spent with him being in time compression; it was actually achieved in less than two days.
One of the things that the children found surprising was that to rise to their inherited position they needed educational qualifications; it semi explained the headmaster's constant attempts to devalue the OWL's and NEWT's from Hogwarts.
None of the nine were stupid and they all knew that their knowledge of magical society had started as virtually non-existent, and living in the pottery didn't do anything to increase it.
Although it was important this wasn't what Sirius was talking about; the girls needed five OWLS to be considered, any time, before their twenty first birthday; Harry needed those as well as three NEWT's for his majority, however this could occur when he was twelve. Needless to say, the girls were originally incensed, however by the time they had had six months of occasional lessons on the subject they all understood how the system was designed to work; this was a long way from saying that any of them approved of the system.
It had taken a year before they had gone to the Headquarters of the ICW in Basle (Switzerland) to take, and pass their OWLS; six years could be added to this because of their time spent under time compression. However they each did have ten passes with at least five O's; at the same time they had been taking muggle school subjects and they took and passed twelve G.C.E. 'O' level subjects at a school in Truro (Cornwall).
By the end of the next year, with their now regular periods spent in time compression, they each had at least five NEWT's at O; all nine of them were much better educated than any students leaving Hogwarts. There was a whole raft of subjects in the ICW prospectus which were not taught at Hogwarts; both the Ministry and the Wizengamot had tried to ban their teaching in Britain. However the ICW threatened to withdraw its approval from Hogwarts and offer all of the students all of the schooling they wanted at one of their approved schools in Switzerland.
It is remarkable how quickly agreements can be reached when the proper incentives are applied; there was no requirement to actually teach any of these subjects, even though they could not be declared illegal. At the same time the ICW commenced an audit of all of the spells and magic on the British list of Dark Magic and a whole raft of spells were released from this restriction. In conjunction with this several groups of spells were added to the lists; these were mainly the spells used by the pureblood elitist families to ensure a male heir and those used to abort a female foetus. Surprisingly the dissention was not too great; until, having heard the whispering, the ICW installed their own detection equipment and operatives to police these rules; it was all the Ministry could do to avoid a riot.
Dumbledore had had enough; he used his portkey from Hogwarts to the Ministry his nominal one hour before the session was due to start, today he was going to take control of Harry Potter. At his behest, the Ministry had sent a summons to Lord Potter telling him that he had to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his education on penalty of forfeiting his real estate, land and titles. He would teach Potter to reject his invitation to attend the country's premier school of magic.
When he entered the Wizengamot chamber he was rendered almost speechless.
The Wizengamot comprised sixty one seats, one was the Chief Warlock; four were those of the Minister of magic with three members of the Ministry who he could nominate, and one was the Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Fifty of the seats had originally been for the clan chiefs of the various clans in existence when the Wizengamot had been founded; the final five seats were for Merlin and the four founders heirs who had originally set up the Wizengamot.
Each seat had one vote, however there was an additional scale of votes allocated to members with titles, these were cumulative and members with more than one title had their voting entitlements added together. The scale ran: Duke - fifteen votes; Marquis – ten votes; Earl – eight votes; Viscount – four votes; Baron – two votes; the title of Lord could be used to refer to any of them, provided they had a recognised title. There had never been a magical with the entitlement of the title Prince. As an example Sirius Black was the Earl of Blackmore eight votes and the Baron of Savoy two votes, plus the one for his seat eleven votes total. Over the years the Potter's had been very astute and it was only the Goblins, (and possibly the Potters) who knew exactly how many votes the Potter family had; however apart from anything else he knew that Potter had two Earldoms.
Originally it had required two hundred and fifty votes to form a quorum; over the years this figure had been reduce, currently it stood at seventy five and there were mutterings about this figure being reduced even further. Tradition had it that the members informed the recorder how many votes they could cast; this was to ensure that there were sufficient votes present to form a quorum. The recorder was forbidden, on penalty of their magic, from divulging how many votes any of the members could cast; Albus had always thought this to be a rather strange rule.
The final five seats had never, in anybody's memory, been occupied; they were set to the left, opposite the Ministry seating.
Today this area had a shimmering dome over it; Dumbledore stalked towards it whilst drawing his wand.
He was intercepted by Keri Jones, quite a senior female auror, "We have been asked to inform all members that it would be very unwise of them to cast any magic on or at the dome."
Dumbledore was annoyed, "How do I know that it is safe?"
She answered exactly as she had been briefed, "The Department of Magical Law Enforcement has asked The Department of Mysteries for their assistance in ensuring its safety, and we have been assured that this is the case; provided it is not interfered with. It is however a defensive shield, primarily for the defence of those inside it."
He was now even more annoyed, "The DMLE should call me to check such things."
Keri had been a student at Hogwarts, however she had never particularly liked or trusted Dumbledore and she smiled, softly, "According to the Wizengamot rules, it is the job of the Department of Mysteries to ensure the safety of such things. Additionally, there was a list of people who were expressly prohibited from checking the dome's magic, it comprised all of the people who, after the last demise of Voldemort, offered the imperious defence and had no veritaserum trial, after their having been accused of being Death Eater's. The only other name on that list was yours . . . sir."
Dumbledore's hubris had upped the ante from being annoyed to being livid, he lifted his wand and cast an analysis charm at the dome. As he did this the auror shouted, "Down!" as she dived to the floor, she was joined by several people who had come in after the Chief Warlock, and had been listening; none of them were hurt. Dumbledore however was not so lucky, his wand exploded and it severely damaged his right hand, also he also felt like he had been kicked in the groin by a giant.
Amelia Bones had been urgently summoned, ignoring Dumbledore she turned to the senior auror on the scene, "Auror Jones, What happened here?"
Keri Jones described exactly what had transpired and several members of the Wizengamot who had witnessed the events corroborated her story.
Dumbledore was still on the floor ranting, and the medic who had been seeing to his hand had to silence him whilst she explained to Amelia why he had to go to St Mungo's Hospital. Amelia agreed with her assessment, and detailed two aurors to accompany them, telling the aurors to ensure that the Royal Wizard was secure.
He was still far too self-absorbed to realised it, but Dumbledore had been set up; Amelia had hand-picked the mediwitch and aurors who were in the chamber when the old fool arrived, also those who had followed him in. The instigators didn't feel badly about what they had done because the whole scheme relied on the Headmaster reacting like the arrogant berk he usually proved to be . . . and he was kind enough to oblige them; if he had behaved rationally he would still be with them.
Amelia looked around and called, "Thaddeus Siskins, will you come here please."
A short balding wizard approached and asked how he might be of assistance; Amelia told him, "You are the Deputy Chief Warlock and as you have seen, the Chief Warlock has been incapacitated, you will have to take this session of the Wizengamot."
Siskins looked like he had wet himself; when he had been offered this job Dumbledore had made it very plain that if this situation ever occurred he was to cancel the session and reschedule it when the whiskered old fool was available, "We can postpone the session until the Chief Warlock is available."
"Siskins!" Mme Bones said with some asperity, "There are people at and coming to this Wizengamot session today, who have far better things to do with their time than chase around after our delinquent Chief Warlock. Besides which; you receive a stipend of twenty five Galleons a week for the title you hold, ergo it is your job to run this session. It is perfectly in order for the recorder and the Wizengamot Clerk to assist you."
At this moment the Minister of Magic arrived with his semi-tame pet toad, "What's that?" She screamed, drawing her wand.
Keri stepped towards her saying, "Don't do th . . ." Before she had finished, Delores Umbridge had fired a blasting curse at the dome . . . it came back with interest.
His Senior Undersecretary was dead and Fudge was livid, "Why didn't you get between her and that dome?" the Minister bellowed.
"Because I try not to get in-between a demented witch and her target; if she was not now passed her sell by date I would recommend that she try again, and you could try your recommended technique."
"Auror Jones! Go to my office immediately." Amelia had moved her auror out of Fudge's line of fire; she was very pleased with the way things had gone.
It did not take long for the elves to clear the body and the mess from the floor so Amelia suggested that they take their seats so the session could start.
Siskins was doing quite well with his opening remarks before he reached the part where Dumbledore's world had fallen apart, about two and a half years earlier; he asked if anybody had any preliminary business to bring before the meeting.
Amelia made her opening move, "The Minister's office has sent a summons to the Lord Potter telling him that he has to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his education on penalty of forfeiting his real estate, land and titles. It is signed by Delores Umbridge on behalf of the Minister of Magic.
"I ask the Minister . . . why was this sent?"
Fudge was in a panic; however his Senior Undersecretary was dead, and the original instigator, Dumbledore, had been carted off to St Mungo's ranting in a manner that suggested that it would be a while before he managed to get out . . . best option . . . deny and lie . . . "I have no idea."
She wasn't born yesterday, and as this morning's situation had developed Amelia had anticipated that her question would produce an answer like this; she sent in a probe, "No idea at all?"
The Minister breathed a sigh of relief, "Not really, however most of us are aware that Dumbledore seems to have an unhealthy obsession with Lord Potter, just why he has never even hinted at, whilst in my company, and we have all seen that Mme Umbridge could act rashly at times.
"I would like to add that the British public would like to see Harry Potter attending Hogwarts."
Harry had stood and moved to the front of their enclosure, "Is Madame Griselda Marchbanks with us this morning?"
A very old lady stood and Harry beckoned for an auror to come to him, he passed the auror the folder he had been holding and asked him to take it to the Head of Magical Education . . . he asked, "Madame Marchbanks would you please review the contents of the folder and inform the Wizengamot of your observations."
It took the Head of Magical Education the best part of five minutes to assess the folder's information and come to a conclusion; she stood back up and said, "I am sorry to have taken so long but at first I did not believe what I was reading; so I checked and found all of the documents to be authentic, so I have to ask what subjects you were expecting him to teach?"
There was a babble of noise, the majority of people in the room were confused including the Minister, so he asked, "I believe that most of us are at a loss to understand precisely what you mean, and so could you please explain your last statement?"
Standing again Griselda answered, "The folder is from 'Y Crochendy Hud Ysgol' which has been translated for us, The Pottery Magic School. It contains Owl and NEWT certificates for nine students, eight of them are girls and the other is a boy, their current calendar ages are ten and eleven years old. I will make a summary and read out a representative sample.
"Ginevra Weasley, age ten, pure blood witch; ten OWLS six are O's, also ten NEWTS seven are O's.
"Luna Lovegood, age ten, another pure blood witch; twelve OWLS seven are O's, also twelve NEWTS nine are O's.
"Daphne Greengrass, age eleven, full blood witch; twelve OWLS eleven are O's, also twelve NEWTS ten are O's; she has Honours in Technomancy.
"Honours mean that the student has the highest score in the world the year they took the examination; Hogwarts has not had an honours student since Lilly Potter, Harry Potter's mother, scored Honours in her Potions NEWT more than fifteen years ago.
"Hermione Granger, she is age eleven, and she is a first generation witch; she scored fifteen OWLS all at O, she also scored fifteen NEWTS once again all at O. She obtained Honours in Runes, Arithmancy and Charms; Hogwarts has never in its history had a triple Honours student.
"I don't think that I would get out of here alive if I didn't read out one more.
"Harry Potter, I think that we all know that he is aged eleven, also we know that he is a half-blood wizard; he also managed fifteen OWLS all at O and fifteen NEWTS again all at O. He scored Honours in Defence, Curse Breaking, Warding and Transfiguration.
"All of the nine students passed all of the subjects they took, and no two of them took all of the same subjects. Also, although I have not checked completely through it, there are muggle G.C.E. O and A level pass results for all of them; I think that it would be fair to say that if they bothered to take it, they would all find their Non Magical Studies NEWT extremely easy.
"So I will ask again, what subjects would you like any of them to teach?" She sat back down, smiling.
The room was totally silent.
Parvati and Hannah were whispering in a corner and giggling, looking up the very pretty young Indian girl asked, "So Sirius, do you think that they will try to dream up some other way to try to get us into Hoggy Warty?" It didn't show often but she was still a young girl and was giggling again.
The setting sun was in his eyes as they were sitting on the veranda of what had become their home, he answered, "I am still not sure that you should have let them know how they could contact us, and whatever they offer you, you can easily counter. If they start offering things that start to look reasonable you could ask for things that would be difficult for them . . . you could ask for Malfoy senior to stand trial under veritaserum, to prove he was never a Death Eater. Of course they will question this and you can say that you don't want to go to Hogwarts if Malfoy junior has been pre-programmed by someone who most people believe to be one of Voldemort's major supporters.
"Susan's aunt would be dancing for joy if she could get Veritaserum into Malfoy, and she would have him spilling the name of every Death Eater, all of the Voldemort supporters and his financial backers.
"I shouldn't really be surprised, but Hermione was right three years ago when she stopped us and the Goblins telling the world that despite what anyone else might say Voldemort was completely finished; if it is played properly the pure blood supremacy movement can be totally eradicated."
Fudge had been coerced into offering up Lucius Malfoy as bait to attract Harry Potter into Hogwarts; later it had been obvious that the Minister had actually believed Malfoy's lies, as in his protestations of innocence; so it hadn't just been the bribes. Y Potters, as they now called themselves, had helped plan the demise of the blood bigots; Fudge had told Amelia when he was going to put Lucius Malfoy in the hot seat. As soon as she knew she had arranged with the Goblins to restrict access to all suspect death eater vaults from the evening before the Malfoy's outing in the Wizengamot.
Remus and Sirius had worked with Luna and Ginny to create a communication link between The Director of Magical Law Enforcement and the Director of Gringotts Bank. The device was runic driven, and it took the form of a golden chain around Amelia's neck and a speaking stone on Ragnok's desk; Luna had thought that the talking stone was cute.
As Malfoy named names the Goblins closed all of their vaults, and Amelia issued arrest warrants; concurrently PBLC foreclosed any outstanding loans against them. PBLC was the Potter Black Loan Company, it had absorbed all of the other wizarding loan companies, thus making it the largest such company in the British magical world.
Without significant financial backing it is all but impossible to mount a meaningful resistance against the authorities.
At dinner with the nine three days later, Amelia tentatively asked, "Azkaban is bursting at the seams and our holding cells are groaning; what are we supposed to do?"
Thinking that it was best she did it, her niece Susan answer was not in the least tentative, "You are not going to like the proper answer, although you probably already know it.
"It is generally agreed that the greatest military strategist who ever lived was the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu; he said; you never leave a live enemy behind you; you should send all of those you have finished questioning, through the Veil of Death. The rest of the guilty should follow them when you have finished questioning them. It is not meant to be nice, it is simply efficient; it is rather obvious that you are talking about Death Eaters and all Death Eaters are cold blooded murderers, it is how they get their mark; if they ever get out they will begin killing innocents again.
"These people chose to become what they became, the protean charm Voldemort used to mark them can only be taken by them voluntarily, it could not be forced on them.
"Forgiveness is a personal thing, and provided it is distributed fairly, to those who repent and genuinely regret what they have done; it is an admirable quality for a school teacher; however, it should only be offered to those who truly repent. It is not something that can be offered by the State; Dumbledore nearly managed to lose the last war because he never understood this; he never understood the difference between killing and murder; murder is wrong; however the state killing terrorists who are murdering their subjects is justifiable. Please be careful aunty, we all love you and we don't want anything to happen to you; the families of some of the people you will have left behind are nearly as bad as those you will be executing."
Susan was now crying and she was being comforted by Hannah and Luna.
Harry tried to help, "We all know that what Susan has said is correct; what was never stated in the Wizengamot is that apart from anything else, we all have Masteries in Defence; I don't think that I would be overstepping the mark if I said that if you need us, we will all help you as much as we can."
All of the girls were nodding their agreement with Harry's statement of intent.
Those scheduled for execution included Cornelius Fudge and all of his cronies, and this left an opening for those remaining, of the Dumbledore faction, to attempt the resurrection of the deluded old fool. As Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Amelia had been given the task of rebuilding the magical government; basically from scratch. She declared herself open to allowing Dumbledore to explain his policies before an open secession of the Wizengamot; whilst she was to be allowed to question him, using veritaserum if necessary; he would not be permitted to avoid the question's he was being asked.
Amelia drew the whiskered old fool into a discussion of his oft quoted greater good; after applying sufficient truth serum the truth and the facts were, to the horror of almost everyone, eventually revealed.
It had originally been planned when, at the age of twelve, along with his very good friend Gellert Grindelwald, they devised their policy of the greater good; their only difference in opinion was in the method of its implementation. The policy envisaged the pure blood elite ruling over the Magical World and the Magical World ruling over all of the muggles; Dumbledore wished to achieve this through a policy of subversion; Gellert preferred violence, because it was quicker.
Gellert's idea was to back some megalomaniac Muggle tyrant who would conquer and unify the muggles; in this process millions of muggles would probably die . . . so what? Ultimately his cabal of wizards would overthrow the tyrant taking over the leadership of his organization. Subsequently they would insert pure blood wizards into controlling positions in the various departments required to control the vast muggle population.
Towards the end of the session Amelia was elected Minister of Magic, and Dumbledore was sent back to hospital; the demise of their leader allowed the new minister to gradually replace all of his former supporters who were in positions of authority.
The executions of the convicted death eaters followed within days.
"Did you see the robes and that jewellery that Ginny was wearing; it must have cost a bloody fortune?" Pop, his mother had smacked Ron Weasley across the back of the head for swearing.
"No more than two or three years of Dad's salary." Percy opined; they had all been at a winter solstice ball held at Green-acres the Greengrass family home.
"I still don't understand why you wouldn't let me go with Ginny?" Ron was in a snit.
"Because you couldn't read, you only just managed to pass your pre Hogwarts reading test two years later, and thank goodness they don't test writing, I doubt that you would pass now.
"Percy, I know that you are a prefect and have other things to do, but you must find time to regularly help your brother." Molly had had enough.
"Honest I have tried mum but as soon as my back is turned he disappears off somewhere and hides; or he is flying a broom." The twins were nodding their agreement with Percy's explanation.
"I spoke about him with the Headmistress tonight; she said that he will be banned from the Quidditch pitch until his school work is up to scratch. She also suggested that you give him detention with her until he pulls his finger out, you or she can tutor him there, and make sure that his homework is done." Molly was smirking, Percy was looking resigned and Ron was looking horrified.
It had taken the best part of four years for the violent reaction to the execution of over five hundred convicted death eaters to die out. The first year and a half had been the worst; several times disenfranchised groups of pure blood fanatics had success by attacking small groups of aurors.
Groups of thirty plus rebels, ambushing and winning against five or six aurors, does not mean that the fighting ability of the rebels is necessarily that good. Gradually growing bolder due to their occasional success, the rebels all banded together and over one hundred and fifty of them waylaid the Minister of Magic and her party of twenty five aurors.
Within seconds of the first spell being fired nine teenagers arrived, they immediately put up one of their reflecting shields, and it was virtually all over; one hundred and fifty seven terrorists dead and one auror slightly injured.
Being pure blood as an ideology was effectively over, and logic ruled.
"What are we going to do about us?" Daphne asked; they were all about fifteen calendar years old, although with time compression they were all nearer forty five.
He was in his bedroom sitting in a big armchair, and the eight girls sat on sofas and in other chairs.
It was an unexpected question with no context, so Harry asked, "Would that be you and me 'us', or all of 'us' as a unit 'us'?"
Hermione tried to fill in some context, "The so called adults are down stairs now and we believe they are talking about marriage offers they have received for their daughters . . . even my mum and dad have had some. We have all reached the age when boys and girls start thinking about each other . . ."
Harry was looking bemused, so Luna interrupted, "Sex Harry . . . sex, and marriage, and babies, and . . . and things."
"Thank you Luna for helping me out of a hole I was digging myself into." Hermione smiled.
Harry looked serious, "For years I have thought that we would always be together, and I am very happy with that; but I have been revising all of these books we all went through years ago, with Sirius, and I have realised that it is not my decision to make. I have the means to marry you all legally, even in England, and what we own here is larger than Luxembourg; and the country we are in has no rules that would prohibit my marrying you all . . . what I am saying is that whatever we decide to do is legal.
"It is a decision we must each make for ourselves; I will be happy if any or all of you decide to stay for the long haul; but as I just said you each must make your own decision."
Hermione stood and walked over, plonking herself on his lap, she inexpertly kissed him quite seriously, and said, "I'm with you for the long haul," and she kissed him again.
The procedure initiated by Hermione was repeated by all of the other girls before Susan said, "We need more practice at that . . . kissing . . . a lot more . . . or more than that even."
Ginny smirked, "I think that we should go down stairs and join the discussion, if we leave that lot alone for too long who knows what trouble they will get themselves into."
There was a fair bit of giggling as they left Harry's room and went down stairs.
The very loud argument seemed to switch off as the nine entered the conservatory; in the room were all of their current parents or guardians.
Ginny was smirking, the nine had a pretty good idea what had caused the ruckus and Ginny had volunteered to start their response off, "What's the problem?"
Y Potters knew what had created the problem; their calendar age was fifteen, and they all looked about eighteen and very fit; intellectually they were closer to forty five and the people of their calendar age appeared to them to be children.
The adults all started talking at once and all that came out was babble; she shouted, "One at the time please; although it would be better if you picked one person to explain your problem; to maybe curtail some more arguments, I would suggest that it should be the current British Minister of Magic."
Amelia looked at her compatriots and then said, "Excluding the Grangers, we have all received letters asking us if the old tradition of betrothals is still in operation, and basically if it isn't what is going to replace it; as you heard, we didn't really reach a conclusion. I suppose that we should ask you all what you think of it. I will add that we have all, including the Grangers, received tentative offers for your hands in marriage."
Ginny again answered, "Most of the old system as it stood should never return; selling a possible son or more usually a daughter before they are even born is totally repugnant, and the reasons for it are worse. Your society has become insular; muggle children have birthday parties from before they start school at five until they no longer want to have them.
"Wizards bundle their previously isolated eleven year old children off to boarding school; where three-quarter of them are stuck in another one of the Houses, without so much as a by your leave, and they are then left to get on with it; they are not going to meet potential mates this way.
"Is this deliberate on the part of the pure blood fathers, so they will marry whoever they are told to?
"Changing your society is only just starting; changes have to be made so you don't revert back to the old ways; if you are not careful they will quickly sneak in through the back door. We have written a long article for all of the wizarding press, it outlines what we have been saying; children do not ask to be born and when they are they become your responsibility to nurture and look after; they are not your property. None of us are chattels to be auctioned off to the highest bidder to fill the parent's bank account; or to soften some otherwise questionable business deal."
Harry decided that it was time for his intervention, "As most of you are probably aware, my family is relatively very old, and that we have two Earldoms and seven Baronies a total of twenty seven votes in the Wizengamot.
"Well we have been searching through records in the older Potter houses and vaults; we also worked in tandem with Gringotts. We have found that I hold eleven Dukedoms these were earned between six hundred ad to one thousand ad, and were granted, for services rendered by the various Kings of Mercia. Mercia seemed to be generally expansionist, and the Potters ran an early magical school in Mid-Wales, it basically produced warrior knights; a group of these Knights was at the forefront of Mercia's expansion. All of the Dukedoms were current at the founding of the Wizengamot, and all were signatories to the original charter; in my vault I still have all eleven Ducal Signets.
"All of these young ladies have suggested that they would like to stay with me permanently; if they do, they will all be Duchess's, and I will pay a stipend of twenty thousand Galleons to their families. Traditionally the stipend was ten thousand Galleons because if your daughter suddenly became a Duchess then your family would likely move into a higher social circle; I have increased the stipend to cover inflation.
"The Dukedoms are Gododdin; Kyle; Rheged; Bernicia; Elmet; Deira; Magonsaete; Burford; Tamworth; Degannwy and Rhuddian. Being honest I had never heard of any of these places; I don't even know if any of them still exist; that however is irrelevant."
Dan asked, "How on earth will you decide who will have which title?"
Harry smiled and said, "I won't, I do not wish to die an early death."
"So just who's going to be doing the deciding then . . . Potter?" Daphne asked with some asperity.
Harry smiled at her, "You will . . ." he could see the mounting explosions . . . "I figured that you would all be called something like, Duchess Ginny 'one of those weird names' Potter; so people will forget the weird name and call her, Duchess Ginny Potter. If that is going to be the case anyway I will let you all pick which one of the weird names you want . . . and while the eight of you decide I will ride my quad on the beach.
"Oh, and Lord Greengrass, from something Daphne has said, I would like to ask your permission to ask your daughter Astoria, if she would like to join us here.
"According to Amelia this whole thing was started off by Higher Magic; so to finish it I was thinking that I should go with Y Potters and whoever else has a vote in the Wizengamot, and claim my eleven Dukedoms . . . it should be quite entertaining."
And they all lived happily ever after . . . although the British magical world was never the same again.
Note 3 - Once again loose ends all over the place . . . he who cares should tie them all up.