I must confess to being a little bit surprised at you all. One of the biggest and most frequently asked questions regarding this story was actually answered in the last chapter, and yet no one picked up on it! Alright, so it was answered in a rather obscure and subtle way, and I did expect most people to miss it, but for all of you to miss it was quite surprising! Oh well, when it is finally answered for certain, keep in mind that Chapter 27 contained a massive hint.
Also I got a bit of flak from some people last chapter for suggesting that Obliviation has no known method of being reversed. Just to be completely clear, what Hermione does to her parents in the books is not, I repeat NOT an Obliviation. Despite what the films suggest, she uses a False Memory Charm on her parents, not an Obliviate. I know this to be a fact because, when they Obliviate Dolohov and Rowle, Hermione actually states that she has never performed an Obliviation before, therefore what she did to her parents was not Obliviate. Sorry film fans – I like to include things from the films as much as I can but in issues of major contradiction like this, I always view the books as the higher canon.
On a side note, there IS a known way to undo an Obliviate that I did forget about – excessive use of the torture curse, which Voldemort used to get Obliviated information out of Bertha Jorkins. Naturally neither the Staff of St Mungo's nor the Ministry of Magic will not be resorting to that method, as it leaves the victim in a similar state to Frank and Alice Longbottom.
Anyway, on with the show!
Harry Potter: Junior Inquisitor
Chapter 28: Memory Immersion
Chief Healer Amadeus Hopkirk flipped through Harry Potter's file as he marched along a corridor of St Mungo's Hospital. The best mind healers that the hospital had to offer had assessed Harry Potter's mind and spent most of the previous few hours removing the false memories that had been placed in the boy's mind.
Now they had to work on getting around the obliviated memories. The theory was that with the false memories removed from Mr Potter's mind, they would be able to show him his missing memories but from the point of view of others. It was doubtful that this would restore his own memories, but it would at least enable him to fill in some of the blanks.
The problem was, the obliviated memories stretched back for at least a month or more, which could potentially make finding all the people who shared his memories a long and arduous task, depending on how many different people he interacted with on an individual basis.
There were also the memories from times when he was alone – his own private thoughts and feelings. There was little that they could do about those moments, other than hope that his mind would fill in the gaps on its own over time.
For now they had to focus on the big picture. As such their primary goal was to fill Harry in on the major themes of his life in recent weeks. Thankfully Amadeus had it on good authority that one of the biggest players in Mr Potter's life in recent history also happened to be one of the patients at the hospital, which was why he was hurrying to room 4C on the fourth floor of the hospital. With any luck Sarah Abbott would be up to sharing her memories and they could get Mr Potter on the fast track to becoming his old self once again.
Well, that was what they hoped, at least. Memory immersion had never actually been done before, but they had to try.
The Granger family lived in a modestly sized house in the suburbs of Winchester, a city located within Hampshire in the south of England. For most of the year, the house was only occupied by Daniel Granger and his wife Emma.
However, just a couple of hours ago their number had increased to three when a Magical Law Enforcement Officer from the Ministry of Magic had apparated their daughter home from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Now Hermione Granger was sitting on the edge of her bed and working herself up into a right state. Not for the first time since she had come home she wretched loudly and expelled some of the contents of her stomach into plastic bucket that sat on her lap. Her mother, who was next to her, rubbed gentle circles on her back.
"Hermione, you need to breathe dear. The Healers told you to rest."
"But –" Hermione tried to protest, fresh tears rolling down her cheeks "But –"
"I know," said Emma Granger, softly. "I know."
And she did know. An hour and a half before Hermione had been brought home, Emma and her husband had been visited at their dental practice by two Law Enforcement Officers, Muggleborns, who very carefully explained to the shocked dentists all that they knew of the recent events within Hogwarts Castle.
The very thought that such a thing could happen sickened both parents and Emma had left the practice immediately in order to wait for her daughter's arrival back at home.
While she did not yet know all the gritty details, Emma knew that her daughter had really looked up to the Headmaster of her school, and now the pedestal that she had placed the man upon in her mind had come crashing down in a most horrendous way.
That Harry Potter was somehow involved in all of this only served to make things worse. Again Emma did not have all the details, but she had deciphered enough to know that Hermione and Harry Potter were no longer friends, and it was Hermione's fault. And perhaps Dumbledore's too, at least to some extent.
Emma was becoming seriously worried for her daughter. The last time she had gotten so upset that she made herself sick was following her grandfather's death when she was just seven years old.
Hermione wretched again, but nothing came of it, indicating that her stomach was empty.
Emma placed the bucket to one side and wrapped her sobbing daughter into a protective, comforting hug.
It took a few minutes but finally Hermione's sobs began to subside until, in a strained voice, she asked "How could he do that?"
"Did you hear what that Law Enforcement Officer said before he left?"
Hermione nodded and repeated "Dumbledore fooled a lot of people."
"Exactly. You were one of many, Hermione. That man has let a lot of people down, his school, his students, their parents… But is he worth your tears?"
After a few moments, Hermione shook her head. Emma left her go and she sat up, no longer crying.
"It smells in here…" Hermione noted, as if realising it for the first time.
Emma smiled wryly, stood up, walked over to the window and opened it.
"There," she said "That should help. Now, I'm going to empty this thing and then I'll bring you a glass of water.
She picked up the bucket and made for the door, calling back as she passed through "Why don't you read a book to take your mind off things?"
Hermione nodded at the suggestion and got off of her bed to search through her trunk for her copy of Northanger Abbey, the novel by Jane Austen that she had taken with her to Hogwarts to read in her spare time.
Because there had been so little time to gather her things together before leaving the castle, everything had been thrown into her trunk in a rather haphazard manner. Hermione began pulling out all sorts of things, clothes, textbooks, parchment, in an attempt to find the novel.
Just as she pushed aside a spare set of robes, she came across a book. Not the one she was looking for, but it was her favourite book. "Was" in the past tense, that is.
It was "Hogwarts; A History" and it was currently open. A full-page photograph of Albus Dumbledore was looking up at her, smiling pleasantly and his eyes twinkling behind his half-moon glasses. On the opposite page there were several columns of text, discussing the role that Hogwarts Castle had played in the war against Lord Voldemort. Halfway down the page, though, there was an enlarged quote cutting through each of the columns, as some publications were wont to do.
"He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named never once targeted the castle itself, leading many to believe Albus Dumbledore to be one of the few people that he ever feared…"
The overwhelming feeling of devastation that had been overpowering all of her other emotions for the past few hours suddenly dissipated, to be replaced by a bubble of anger. The bubble quickly expanded, filling her with so much rage that she lifted the book out of her trunk and, with a primal scream, threw it across the length of her bedroom and out of the open window with such accuracy that most Quidditch captains, had they seen it, would have attempted there and then to sign her up as a starting Chaser whether she could fly on a broomstick or not.
There was a clang from outside, indicating that the book had hit something metallic, possibly the portable barbeque that had yet to be stored away for the winter.
The sound popped the bubble and her anger left her, leaving Hermione to sink back down onto her bed with her face buried in her hands.
Pansy Parkinson was lying on a bed in an unfamiliar bedroom. The heavy black curtains were drawn shut over the window, leaving a small, flickering candle on the bedside table as her only source of light.
She could, of course, have opened the curtains and let the sunlight in, but Pansy rather liked things this way. She did her best thinking when in an environment such as this. Something about the flicker of the candlelight and the gloom beyond the glow helped her to relax. If only they would let her take her written exams in these conditions…
She was currently at the Manor House of the Greengrass family. Try as they might, no one from the Ministry of Magic could track down her parents, leaving Pansy in a state of limbo.
After arriving at St Mungo's Hospital with Harry Potter, Astoria Greengrass, Katie Bell, Luna Lovegood and Natalie MacDonald, Pansy had been given a thorough check over by a pair of Healers, despite her insistence that she had avoided consuming the drugged food. Once the healers were satisfied, she had been sent to wait in the Visitor's Tearoom up on the fifth floor of the Hospital, under the guard of two Law Enforcement Officers.
She had purposefully sat away from the rest, not exactly feeling as though she belonged there and certainly not in the mood to impose herself upon others. From her seat against the far wall she had watched as first the MacDonalds had arrived for Natalie, followed by Mr Lovegood for his daughter, Luna, and the Bells for Katie.
All three girls had protested vociferously when their parents tried to get them to leave – all three girls were determined to learn of Harry Potter's well-being before they would even consider leaving.
A short while later Mrs Greengrass turned up for Astoria, accompanied by an Auror who had informed Pansy that all attempts to contact her parents so far had proved fruitless. Pansy had merely nodded her head in understanding before continuing to sit quietly, lost in thought.
At some point she, along with just about everyone else, had fallen asleep and sometime during that slumber Daphne Greengrass had arrived has well, freshly released from Hogwarts.
At nine-thirty a Healer had come up to speak to them, informing them that they had figured out what was wrong with Harry and that they believed that they could put it right. It was obvious to Pansy that the Healer had only told them that much in order to persuade them to go home and, luckily for him, that's exactly what they did, satisfied with the knowledge that Harry was in the best place possible and that he was okay… ish.
Pansy had been quite surprised when Astoria had persuaded her mother to let her go home with them, but she had not been in a position to reject the offer. With still no word from her parents, she could either have gone with the Greengrass family or remained in the St Mungo's Tearoom.
In truth, Pansy did not know what had made her take Astoria with her when the staff had discovered them all hiding in room 7B, all she knew was that she had grabbed the younger girl by the hand and run for it.
Whatever the reason, she was just glad that the Greengrass family was inclined to return the favour by giving her a place to stay.
But she could not stay there forever, though. She knew that much.
She wondered where her parents were. Had they been summoned by Voldemort? She knew that her father had received the Dark Mark during the last war, but to the best of her knowledge, her mother had not. Why would they both be summoned?
Perhaps the answer to that was linked to everything else that had been going on lately. Before he had been sent home, she had overheard Draco telling Theodore Nott that the he had overheard his father say that the Dark Lord was keeping a low profile while he went after information. Perhaps all these recent happenings had jeopardised that information and risked the Dark Lord to being exposed, forcing him to call all of his followers and their families to his side before they were rounded up.
That was the only thing Pansy could think of on that front, and it was as good a theory as any.
But she had to think of herself now. With her parents missing she would have to find other ways and means. Perhaps she would have to get into contact with the other side of her family, those that her father never talked about, except to curse their existence. Would they want anything to do with her? She didn't know.
There was also a chance that she would not get that far anyway. What if her parents did come for her? What if she was whisked away to hide with them and the Dark Lord? She didn't much fancy that!
So, despite having a place to stay, Pansy Parkinson was in still in limbo. She had a lot of thinking to do regarding her life and those in it.
Just to make matters worse, her tummy hurt and she could not stop the tears from leaking slowly from her eyes.
The home of Muriel Prewett was most certainly the home of a stuffy old spinster. Apart from a few books, everything in the house was at least a century old. The abrasive Muriel fussed about, muttering under her breath about anything and everything named Weasley as she cleared the decorative silk pillows off of her ancient sofa.
Meanwhile, three of her great-nephews and one great-niece lingered uncomfortably in the doorway, trying to stop their eyes from watering from the smell of dust balls and cabbage.
"Well," she grumbled at last. "If you're going to stay here then sit down. And I'll have no noise. Not while I'm reading Rita Skeeter."
And with that she sat herself down in a wing-backed armchair, pulled out a book entitled Armando Dippet: Master or Moron and promptly disappeared behind it.
Fred nudged Ginny in the back and, nervously, she made her way forwards, followed by Fred, George and then Ron. One by one they sat down upon the ancient sofa, which creaked ominously under their combined weight, and began looking around for something, anything, to occupy their minds.
They found nothing.
Ron let out a sigh, only to wince when Muriel lowered her book in order to glare at him. Ron's ears went pink as he cast his eyes downwards. This satisfied Muriel enough to resume her reading.
As they sat there, with only the monotonous tick-tock-tick-tock of the grandfather clock in the hallway providing reprieve from the suffocating silence, the four youngest Weasleys began to wonder just what they had been thinking when they had decided to come here rather than go to Percy's flat above the Slug and Jiggers Apothecary in Diagon Alley.
The Healers had run into a slight problem. While Sarah Abbott, her daughter Hannah and Hannah's friend Susan Bones had all been more than happy to supply memories for Harry Potter to view, Harry himself was not so keen on the idea of viewing them.
Given the events of the past few days his reluctance to let anything near his mind was quite understandable, but it was frustrating for those who only wanted to help him.
To make things more difficult, they could not just simply sedate him as they had when they had scanned his mind and removed the false memories that had been planted there by Dumbledore, as Harry needed to be conscious in order to view the memories contained within the hospital's pensieve.
They needed to call for backup.
Supported by her husband, and with Hannah and Susan following on behind, Sarah made her way to Harry's room.
It was clear to her from the moment that she stepped into the room that Harry did not recognise her. It was clear, however, that he still knew who Hannah and Susan were, for his eyes immediately became clouded with suspicion as they locked onto the pair of Hufflepuffs.
"What are they doing here?" he demanded, angrily.
"We're here to help you Harry," replied Hannah, sounding more than a little worried at his tone of voice.
"Help?" spat Harry in disgust. "Why would a Hufflepuff help me? I remember you two last year, badmouthing me at every turn, wearing those badges Malfoy made!"
"Harry," interrupted Sarah before his ranting could continue any further. "Harry, do you remember me? I'm Sarah. I was friends with your mother when I was at school."
Harry turned his anger filled eyes towards her and looked her up and down before replying "I have never seen you in my life."
"You have Harry. We met over the summer holidays. You just don't remember because you were Obliviated."
"That's what they keep saying," said Harry, gesturing towards the healers in the room. "But I didn't have any gaps in my memory before I came here."
"Harry, the person who Obliviated you placed false memories in your mind in order to fill in the blank spots that they left behind. The healers removed those false memories, but they can't unlock the Obliviated memories. That's why I'm here Harry. We want you to watch other people's memories of what you did during the summer so that you can fill in the blank spots. We have a pensieve and a whole collection on memories for you to look at so that you can remember. Won't you please look at them?"
Harry stared at her for several long moments, clearly wrestling with his emotions. Finally he said "Prove that you knew my mother."
Seeing the opportunity for what it was and seizing it with both hands, Sarah turned to her husband and asked "Edward, could you go home and get the picture of Lily, Mary, Alice, Marlene and I that's on the mantelpiece?"
He nodded and left the room.
Waxwings School for Magic was located on the edge of the mostly magical village of Puddlemere in the Piddle Valley area of the county of Dorset. The School Building itself had once been the local primary school for the immediate area, having been built in 1750. A little over sixty years ago the local authority had decided that they could not justify having a school at Puddlemere as well as one at the nearby Puddletown, so the Puddlemere school had closed.
The building had been put up for sale and was purchased by a young wizard named Magnus Winston with the intention of opening a magical school aimed at providing an education for the poorer Lesser and Clan families, as well as poorer Muggleborns.
Waxwings, as it had been named, had soon risen in esteem and before long was outdoing the Frogspawn Academy, the original establishment with the same aims. Frogspawn Academy had been victim to years of mismanagement by richer purebloods who liked to boast about their involvement in "Giving the poor a chance" while at the same time actively keeping the standards low so that their own children would face less competition when it came to finding work.
Within five years of Waxwings School for Magic opening, Frogspawn Academy had closed down due to lack of student numbers. Since then Waxwings had gone from strength to strength, providing excellent education for those who simply could not afford Hogwarts, another institution that had been hijacked and led astray by the pure-bloods – Hogwarts having originally been intended for everyone now served the richer side of the wizarding world, no matter what others said.
It was to this school that Griselda Marchbanks was now headed. She and the two others with her walked over the wooden bridge that crossed the River Piddle (for which the area was named) and stepped onto Waxwings' grounds. Unlike Hogwarts, Waxwings did not have a lot of ground surrounding it. A short pathway ran up through a sloping lawn at the front of the school and large garden area used for Herbology could be found to the back of the school, but that was about it.
But then, the school did not specifically require a huge amount of land. The home pitch of the Puddlemere United Quidditch Team, along with their two training pitches, was within easy walking distance and the students of the school were granted permission to use the training pitches for their own practice. The village itself also had a large recreation ground, complete with a cricket pitch, a football pitch, a basketball hoop, two slides and a swing set, giving the students plenty of options.
The group passed through the front doors of the school and were met with a sign that read;
"All visitors must report to Reception."
Underneath those words was a decorative black arrow pointing off to the left. Turning that way they saw an office behind wooden framed glass walls. The door to it was open and a sign above the door read Reception.
Madam Marchbanks led the way into the office. There was no one sitting at the reception desk, instead the receptionist was standing by a filling cabinet, rifling through one of the drawers. When she did not look over at them, Griselda rang the bell on the desk.
"One moment, please," said the receptionist as she pulled a file out of the cabinet and shut it. She approached the fireplace in a corner where a disembodied head of a man was floating in the flames.
"The code is JJ713-2Q, Mr Knight," the receptionist read from the folder.
"Excellent," said the man. "I'll have the forms in the post this afternoon. Thanks again, Mrs Brydon."
With that his head disappeared from the fireplace and the flames died away.
The receptionist, now identified as one Mrs Brydon, returned to the filling cabinet and put the folder back before taking a seat behind her desk and addressing the three newcomers.
"Good afternoon and welcome to Waxwings School for Magic. How may I help you?"
"I'm Griselda Marchbanks from the Wizarding Examinations Authority. This is my co-worker Mr Russell Johnson and this is his assistant Miss Elisabeth Prang. We have a meeting scheduled with the Headmistress."
"Oh, of course; I was told to expect you. If you don't mind, we just need to give you some security clearance. Madam Marchbanks, if we could start with you…"
Griselda Marchbanks was stunned. Security clearance? She was the Head of the Wizarding Examinations Authority.
Sensing her surprise, Johnson came to her rescue. "I should probably have informed you before we got here, Griselda, but this is standard procedure at here at Waxwings. The examination administrators have to go through this every year here."
Griselda gave a nod of acceptance, now regretting never having visited Waxwings in person.
"What do you need for this security clearance?" she asked Mrs Brydon.
"Well to start with you will need to prove who you are," explained the receptionist. "Your Ministerial identification badge should suffice."
As Griselda opened her purse to locate her badge, Mrs Brydon went over to the wall and pulled a metallic handle that hung down from the ceiling. Somewhere nearby a bell chimed and not a minute later two men arrived. One was a rather tall and well-muscled individual in his mid-thirties while the other was a slightly overweight man in his forties.
Both men were dressed in grey robes and each wore golden badge with the word "Security" written on it.
"Robert, Gordon," said Mrs Brydon. "We have three guests requiring security clearance."
Robert, the younger of the two, nodded and held out his hand "Your badge, please."
Griselda handed over her Ministerial Identification badge and he looked it over before taking out his wand and tapping it a couple of times.
Next to him Gordon approached the other two. "Ah, Russell, good to see you," he said conversationally. "You too, Elisabeth."
"Good to see you as well, Gordon," replied Russell as he and Elisabeth handed over their badges in a well-practiced manner. "Keeping well?"
"Oh, can't complain," said Gordon as he examined their badges.
Finally Robert declared "Everything seems to be in order" and handed Griselda her badge back.
"Excellent," said Mrs Brydon. "Now, if you could sign here, Madam Marchbanks…"
She turned and saw that the receptionist was holding an inked quill above a thick book which was open to about the middle. Each page was broken up into is columns, each one with a different heading. In order they were Date, Name, Time in, Signature, Time Out and Signature.
"Standard procedure, Madam Marchbanks," explained Mrs Brydon upon noticing her puzzled look. "All guests have to be signed in when they arrive and signed out again when they leave."
Griselda nodded and took the quill. Guests did have to report in at the Security Desk at the Ministry, after all, so why shouldn't a school have something similar? As she signed her name, she made a mental note to arrange for this sort of thing to be implemented at Hogwarts when it reopened.
"Wonderful," said Mrs Brydon, taking the quill from her and handing it to Russell before picking up something else from her desk. "Now if you could just pop this on…"
"What is it?" asked Griselda.
"It's a lanyard," the receptionist replied. "All of our staff keeps an eye out for unknown visitors. This simply lets them know that you have reported to reception and been given a security check.
The lanyard was a long loop of braided leather with a small thin, rectangular piece of wood, about half the size of a postcard, tied to it. On that piece of wood was a blue piece of parchment with Griselda's name written on it, along with the reason for her visit.
She looked over at her co-workers and noticed that they had both hung their respective lanyards around their necks without batting an eyelid. Griselda mirrored their actions and noticed as she did so that Mrs Brydon was wearing one as well, though her piece of wood had green parchment on it.
"Colour coded?" she asked.
"Yes. Blue is for guests, green is for support staff, the Professors have white and all of our students have yellow ones. Now then, Russell I believe that you know the way to the Headmistress' office?"
"Of course," said Russell and led the way out of the room.
Griselda Marchbanks left the reception office with her mind buzzing. Her first official visit to Waxwings had already given her a lot to think about, and she hadn't even had her meeting with the Headmistress yet!
Edward Abbott returned with the photograph that his wife had asked for and Sarah immediately showed it to Harry.
"There you go. That's me there, and there's your mum."
Harry stared down at the photograph, not knowing what to think. It showed five girls about his age standing together on Hogwarts grounds with the Black Lake a short way behind them. They wall laughing and waving at the camera. Two of them Harry did not recognise, but the other three…
Looking at one of them was almost like looking at a female Neville Longbottom with a different nose and mouth. Harry had never seen her before, but she had to be Neville's mother, Alice. The second, standing in the middle, had long, dark red hair and Harry's own eyes… his mother Lily. And as for the third…
The third was standing right next to him, offering to give him help that he wasn't certain he needed.
In the photograph she was standing right next to Harry's mother, each with an arm slung around the other's shoulders. They were quite clearly friends, possibly even best friends. And if that didn't earn her a chance with Harry, then what did?
Harry decided that this was enough evidence for him and finally he looked up and addressed the Healers in the room. "Show me when I met her over the summer."
The Healers jumped at the chance. There were nearly fifty glass ampoules on a table in the corner, each one labelled according to the memory contained within. One of the healers quickly found the memory asked for and poured it gently into the pensieve as one of the other healers helped Harry to get out of his bed and walk over to the pensieve.
Harry gazed down into the pensieve as the silvery contents swirled about. Somewhat nervously he glanced back over his shoulder. Sarah gave him an encouraging nod which steeled his resolve. If she truly was his mother's friend, and if she was telling the truth, then he had to know…
He leaned forwards and was drawn into the memory.
"I need a drink," muttered Scrimgeour as he pulled out the bottom drawer of his desk and fished out a bottle of brandy and two glasses.
"Bit early for that, isn't it?" asked Amelia as she accepted the glass he pushed her way.
"It must be after five somewhere in the world," he replied before downing his glass and pouring himself another.
It had taken then nearly an hour to subdue the rioting crowd in the atrium, but finally, following twenty six arrests and more than three times that number being dragged off to St Mungo's for treatment the crowd had, at long last, dispersed, grumbling but content in the knowledge that any further information pertaining to the crisis at Hogwarts would be announced over the Wizarding Wireless Network once decisions had been made.
Another four hours later and all those arrested in the atrium had been questioned and released on bail.
After smacking his lips, Scrimgeour asked "So when do we resume questioning Dumbledore's little Order?"
"Not until tomorrow," replied Amelia after taking a sip from her brandy. "I think that we're all too tired to be asking questions now and tiredness leads to mistakes, something that we cannot afford. Everyone needs to go home, get a good night's rest and we can begin again nice and refreshed first thing tomorrow morning."
"I'll drink to that," agreed Scrimgeour before draining his second glass.
Amelia mirrored him.
Harry stumbled backwards from the pensieve and collapsed onto the bed.
"Harry!" exclaimed Susan.
"Are you alright?" asked Sarah, coming to his side.
It took Harry a couple of moments to pull himself together enough to state "You really were telling the truth."
"Yes," agreed Sarah. "There are plenty more memories for you do view. Do you want to see them?"
Harry nodded his head.
Sarah looked up at one of the Healers who had been waving his wand over Harry as he caught his breath.
"You'd better take a few minutes to rest, Mr Potter," he stated. "Then you can view the next one."
Harry nodded again and swallowed thickly, not noticing that Sarah, Hannah and Susan were all crying tears of happiness.
"Just how many students are we talking about, Griselda?"
Professor Jennifer Winston was a talk yet kind looking woman of about forty five. Her black hair was pulled back in a ponytail and her robes were a dark maroon colour with a golden trim, coincidentally and rather unintentionally, almost mirroring the chosen colour scheme of Gryffindor House at Hogwarts.
"Three hundred and nineteen," replied Griselda. "Numbers have been down since the end of the last war but have been picking up in the last few years."
"Yes, we did note Hogwarts dropping its tuition fees slightly in order to lure in a few more Muggleborns each year," commented Professor Winston. "And don't think that we haven't noted the drop in the number of Weasleys either. Seven children in total for Arthur, wasn't it?"
"I believe so, yes."
"And yet not one of them came here. Their cousins did, but somehow Arthur can afford to send seven children to Hogwarts."
"Well he did marry into the Prewitt family…" began Griselda, who did not yet know of Dumbledore's involvement in the Weasley's education.
Professor Winston eyed the older woman carefully for a moment before continuing. "Despite the downturn in numbers, three hundred and nineteen students are a lot to accommodate, even for a non-boarding school. What assistance will we get from the Ministry in this?"
"What sort of help would you require?"
"More teachers would be a start."
"Well we should be able to help you there. While Hogwarts is closed, its Professors for Astronomy, Arithmancy and Ancient Runes will all be needing employment. We will, of course, pay their salary using Hogwarts' funds."
"I'm afraid that we do not offer any of those three subjects here," said Professor Winston. "As I already mentioned, we are not a boarding school, meaning that the students return home every night. That rules out Astronomy. Arithmancy and Ancient Runes were both dropped from our syllabus several decades ago due to lack of interest."
"But there are Hogwarts students who are taking those studies," said Madam Marchbanks. "Surely arrangements can be made so that their education in those subjects is not too badly affected."
Professor Winston considered this for a few moments before nodding her head. "I'll see what I can do about finding space for Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. A night time class like Astronomy may be too difficult to include unless your Professor is prepared to simply teach theory for the duration of their stay here."
"I will speak with her," Madam Marchbanks assured her. "As for additional help, I'm sure that we can come to some financial agreement, and I'm certain that we can count on Hogwarts' Head Boy and Girl, along with the Prefects to assist in making the move as smooth a transition as possible."
"Very well. We will, of course, require some time to get ready. Give us a fortnight to prepare things, and then we'll have the Hogwarts Prefects come by for a few days to get used to the place before everyone else arrives."
"Excellent. Thank you," said Madam Marchbanks. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a few parents to write to."
"If you could send our receptionist a list of those parents we will send out a copy of our school syllabus so that they can make an informed decision. I understand how you would ideally like for all of those students to come here and remain together, but I'll not have students here who quite clearly do not want to be. And I'll be contacting you regarding our financial reimbursement."
"Of course. I don't suppose that I could take a copy of that syllabus for myself, could I?
Professor Winston opened a drawer on her desk and pulled out a twenty page booklet. A quick flick through showed photographs and text detailing the day-to-day lives of the school, a guide to each subject and a who's who for each member of staff.
Madam Marchbanks made sure to make a mental note of that too.
The Healer stowed his wand away and turned to the others in the room. Harry had only viewed five memories before becoming too exhausted to go on. Of course, given the varying lengths of the memories in question he had actually taken in a huge amount of information.
That, coupled with the fact that there was still so much that he did not know, accompanied by the shock of what had been done to him at Hogwarts had led to a highly emotional afternoon for the Boy-Who-Lived. He had wanted to continue on, but everyone else, with the urging of the Healers, had convinced him that he needed to rest for a while.
He had fallen asleep the moment his head touched the pillow.
The Healers had taken the opportunity to examine Harry's mind in order to see how well things were going.
"Well, so far there is no sign that the Obliviation is being undone," concluded the Healer. "However he is managing to build up a mental picture in his mind regarding the order of various events. The memories that you have supplied are by no means perfect fits, but they are helping him."
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief at that.
"Thank Merlin," muttered Hannah.
The Healer continued "Needless to say, you three are not the only ones to have interacted with Mr Potter during the past few weeks. If you could, write to everyone that you can think of and urge them to come to the Hospital as soon as they can.
"I'll go home and talk to Auntie Amelia," said Susan. "She'll have more than a few memories to add, and so will Mr Greengrass."
"I'll write to Padma Patil," said Hannah. "Harry will want to remember his date with her!"
A/N: You know how in the past I've said that some chapters are a complete b***h to write? Well this one was the Queen of them! Every time I sat down to try and write it, there was just nothing happening. You know it's not going to be your day when you sit in front of a Word document for forty five minutes and all you've written is the story title and the chapter number!
I didn't completely waste that time tough. I managed to start that one-shot collection that I have been threatening to do for a long time now. "Bolts from the Blue" is now six short stories strong with a combined total of nearly seventeen thousand words, so if you haven't checked it out yet and are looking for something to read, then my all means do so!
In addition to that which was noted at the top of the story, some reviewers have complained that they thought Mr Abbott was either dead or an absentee father. I admit that I did not go back to check, but I can assure you that it was never my intention for that to be the case. I guess he is kind of an absentee father as his work keeps him overseas for much of the time, but he is there for is family and certainly contributes to their financial well being.
Also, some people had issues with the use of multiple patronuses. All I can say to you is you'd better read Deathly Hallows again. Specifically "The Sacking of Severus Snape" as Professor McGonagall sends out three of her cat patronuses at once, one to relay a message to each other Head of House.
Finally, thanks to "Dr Stranger" for coming up with the title for the last chapter. I appreciate all suggestions made, but in the end "Repercussions" won out!