Summary: Harry realises Minerva was just as blinkered as every other Pureblood in Magical Britain. And that he was a horrible friend to Hermione.


Minerva turned out to be in the castle, a bit annoyed by Harry's high-handed insistence on speaking with her immediately. However once he began talking about what he'd observed, discovered, and concluded she paled dramatically.

"I don't see it stopping Minerva. As long as there is prejudice and bigotry at least one or two witches are going to see the Volturi's offer as more palatable. And you can't pretend they are lying because they aren't. In fact they are being a damn sight more truthful than you are regarding career prospects," he added giving Minerva a pointed look.

She shook her head. "No! I won't allow it."

"You can't stop them from contacting the students once they turn seventeen, or even during the summer," Harry pointed out.

"They're vampires trying to tempt young innocent witches!"

"And I'm pretty certain Hermione made sure they were fully informed before they signed any contract," Harry said calmly. "Besides once the contract is signed it can't be broken. Not by us and not without a penalty."

Minerva shook her head. "You must talk to them," she insisted. "Change their mind."

Harry stared at her annoyed and irked. "Must? I don't have to do anything you say Minerva," he said softly, dangerously. "You aren't my teacher and you aren't my keeper. And if you continue to talk like this you won't be my friend either."

The Headmistress recoiled before collecting herself. "You don't understand Harry—" But he did not let her continue.

"Oh I understand a lot more than you. Vampires are giving these witches and wizards a way of escaping poverty and starvation, to get qualifications and good work that will help them build a future for themselves and their families. And we can't do anything because they are Italian citizens, living in Italy and following Italian law. By treaty law we cannot set foot in Volterra without an invitation from the Volturi. If we trespass the vampires will have every legal right to kill us."

Minerva looked around the room. "What about Hermione?" She was determined to get her way. "I'm sure she will help us."

Harry gave her a disbelieving look. "Minerva, get your head on straight! Hermione is the one who's organizing this!"

"It can't be her!" Minerva insisted. "She wouldn't do this to us."

"She would," Harry countered bluntly. "She doesn't care about the rules anymore. And you know what she did to Edgecombe and Umbridge." The first still had facial acne scars from the cursed contract and the second always had a nervous breakdown when she heard horse hooves or neighs. Harry softened at the dismayed expression on his old House Head. "Besides, I already tried sending several owls when I was in Italy and London. All of them were returned undelivered."

Minerva nodded slowly. It looked like she was finally accepting reality. "And you told Kingsley about this?"

"Yes. He's known of this for a while now. Well, not the emigrating witches but about Hermione taking a vampire consort from the Volturi."

Minerva shook her head looking everyone of her years. "I never suspected this. She had spent many weeks researching vampires and covens in the Restricted Section but I never thought she'd go to them like this!"

Harry nodded slowly. "Do you have a list of references she used?"

"Irma might have a record."

"I'll stop by and ask her, to see the books Hermione used. It might give us a better idea of what Hermione had planned."

"How could she do this?" Minerva moaned. "She's betrayed the Light by taking up with vampires and tainting my poor innocent stu—"

"Minerva! Stop it!" She started at the sudden build-up of energy in the closed office. Pages and tapestries started fluttering, portraits murmuring in reaction. "I won't tolerate any prejudiced talk from you or anyone!" She opened her mouth to protest then shut it at the sight of her old student. He was standing, almost looming, small sparks flying from his unruly hair, his eyes eerily similar to the Killing Curse green. "I kept quiet before to keep the peace, to support the majority, to not make waves, and Hermione left. She left me." Minerva did not know what to say to make the hurt in his eyes go away.

"Miss Granger always supported you and Mr Weasley."

Harry snorted. "Supported. Sup-por-ted. Past tense Minerva. I doubt she even thinks about me anymore. She got married, had kids, has a very large extended family, is part-owner of a very large profitable company, an advisor to the Vampire Kings; all without even sending me a letter or invite." It hurt to even say it out loud because it cemented the damage in the once close relationship. When had it happened? Harry could not say.

Maybe it had been fractured from the start, their Hogwarts years, because Harry had always given preference to Ron over Hermione. Harry had always taken it for granted, that Hermione would always support him, that she would always be there, ready to back him up… and she had until the day she vanished.

He inhaled sharply and concentrated on controlling his magic.

"I'm going now. Don't talk about this to anyone else, not yet. Kingsley will be calling the Order to meet and discuss this."

Minerva nodded mutely and watched her old pupil leave her office without saying another word. She didn't call after him because she did not know what to say, she did not know how to fix this, and she was too shaken to go to the Burrow. Harry was on bad terms with Molly and distant with Arthur. If she talked to them he would see it as a betrayal.

So Minerva held back and waited for Kingsley to summon the Order.

~ooOoo~ooOoo~ooOoo~

TBC...