Disclaimer: Harry Potter is NOT mine! I am not JK Rowling, nor am I one of the precious few that own a piece of JK Rowling's masterful world. I am just a guy trying to have some fun and write some stories.
It had been a month since the Fall of Hogwarts, as the battle had come to be known. And quickly the country knew that Harry was the one who had let Voldemort take the ancient castle, in exchange for the lives of the students there. The news that Harry had seemingly abandoned Hogwarts did not sit well with a sizable percentage of the magical population of Britain, however these were all people who did not have children at Hogwarts or were Voldemort supporters themselves. The majority of the population knew that Harry had made a tremendously difficult decision and those with children who Harry and the Cysgodol saved had thrown their support behind Harry whole-heartedly.
Voldemort had used the lull after the Battle of Hogwarts to gather his remaining forces to the castle. He had sent summons to all his followers from across the continent, and they flocked to their master's call in droves. Dark witches, wizards and creatures entered the country and gathered around the castle. The war had also reached a lull, as Voldemort was seemingly content to stay behind the wards of Hogwarts, he only sent out small squads of Death Eaters to obtain supplies, as during the evacuation, the House Elves that supplied and maintained the castle had followed Harry.
Minister Bones was facing a crisis of devastating proportions. Voldemort, knowing that he couldn't attack magical communities due to the fact that Amelia had lifted the restrictions on her Aurors several months previously, had taken to raiding Muggle communities for supplies, and was not very subtle about it either. In the first week of July, Amelia received a summons from the highest authority of them all; the Queen.
"Welcome to Buckingham, if you would please remain here while you are veted and Her Majesty is informed of your arrival," the head of palace security said. "These men will be conducting the search of your persons."
"Of course, we have no intention of harming the Queen," Amelia said as she and Augusta Longbottom raised their arms. "We are willing to swear an oath to that affect."
"Very well but if you try anything, these men will not hesitate to cut you down," the stone faced man said. The security team each fingered their sidearms, signifying the seriousness of the threat.
Very slowly, both Amelia and Augusta drew their wands and gave their oaths saying that they would not harm the Queen or their lives would be forfeit.
The head of security nodded and then left the room to inform the Queen. He returned a few minutes later and gestured for the two witches to follow him into the Queen's meeting chamber. They were in for a rude shock when standing in front of them, at the Queen's side, was Alastor Moody.
"Mad-Eye!" both witches cried.
"What in Merlin's name are you doing here?" Amelia asked.
"He is here at our direction, as he is our Head of Security, Magical Division," the Queen said firmly.
"Your Majesty, forgive my outburst," Amelia quickly apologized.
"The Queen nodded imperiously. "We understand Minister Bones," she said. "We have made sure that no one knew that Alastor was working for us. He has kept us abreast of the going-ons of our magical citizens, and we are quite distressed at the situation."
Amelia and Augusta bowed their heads at the rebuke. "Yes Your Majesty, the situation is quite tenuous," Amelia admitted. "The return of the Dark Lord has put us in quite a predicament, however we believe that we are better prepared to defeat Voldemort and end his reign of terror once and for all."
"We believe this was said fifteen years ago," the Queen said. Amelia flushed.
"You are correct," Augusta said. "We thought that back in 1981 that Voldemort was vanquished once and for all. We were wrong, we underestimated the depths of the depravity that Voldemort has undertaken to ensure his survival."
"We see," the Queen said. "Alastor has told us that the Ministry wouldn't punish those under the 'thrall' of this terrorist, saying something about the Ministry being exceedingly corrupt. Is this true?"
"To our everlasting shame, it was, Your Majesty," Amelia said, her head bowed again.
"The citizens who claimed the Imperious defense were able to walk because they were able to pay off the right people or that Dumbledore wanted to bring them back to the Light," Augusta growled.
"Yes, Alastor has told us that this Dumbledore is quite forgiving," the Queen said. "Forgiveness is a very good quality for a leader to have but during times of war, forgiveness must be tempered. And as a leader, this Dumbledore has seemingly failed miserably."
"Yes Your Majesty he has," Amelia agreed. "Before I became Minister, I was the Head of the Magical Law Enforcement, and as a former Auror, there was nothing that I hated more than a Death Eater that walked free only because of who they were friends with and paid off."
"Yes the ever persistent bane of law enforcement," the Queen said with a wry smile. "We trust that you have solved this issue."
"As well as we can Your Majesty," Augusta answered.
"That is promising to hear," the Queen commented. "However, We fear that this terrorist, that has already nearly taken over the magical community once before, could do so again. Our citizens look to the government, to us, to protect them. But this enemy has the ability to appear and vanish in an instant, kill instantly and leave no trace, and the only one who stand a chance of matching this 'man's' abilities are children! You see why our faith in the Ministry's ability to stop this terrorist is severely shaken."
Amelia and Augusta nodded, trying and failing to hide the winces that came from the Queen's verbal attack.
"So you, Mad-Eye, told Her Majesty about Potter?" Amelia asked.
"Aye, she asked who I would have leading the fight and I told her Potter," Moody said. "He knows that Voldemort won't show us any mercy and what needs to be done to win. Hogwarts showed that."
"This Harry Potter must be quite the leader if he had your approval cousin," the Queen said. "However, his age gives us concerns. He is barely out of his childhood."
"Your Majesty, your pardon, but Harry Potter is no more a child or a boy than anyone of us," Amelia said. "His life up to now shows that."
"Bones is right Your Majesty," Moody said. "Potter might only be 15 but he has lived a life that no child would be able to survive."
"Very well but we would like to meet Mr. Potter," the Queen said. "Minister, you shall send along our request for a meeting."
"Of course Your Majesty," Amelia said quickly, knowing that the request was no such thing. "I shall rely your request immediately."
"Thank you," the Queen nodded. "Now, since the best hope that you have for defeating this monster, tell us why we shouldn't bring in the military and bring the magical world back into the fold by force?"
Amelia and Augusta had to fight back shivers at the Queen's commanding tone. It was the tone of someone who was born to lead.
"Your Majesty, as you pointed out, Voldemort and his followers have the ability to appear, strike and disappear before your men have a chance to respond," Amelia said. "If you permit it, I can have our warders place anti-apparition wards around your forces' bases, that way Voldemort can't use sneak attacks against your men."
"Do so," the Queen said. "Would it be possible to place these wards over other like London?"
"It could be done but the ward would be too weak to do much good and the power needed would be impossible to fathom," Amelia explained. "Even placing them around the space the size of a military base is more of just a preventative measure."
"What if instead of making sure they can't get in, the ward were made to make sure they couldn't leave?" the Queen suggested.
"That would be much easier," Moody agreed. "Also add in a Caterwauling Charm at that to alert the base and the terrorists won't stand a chance."
"See that is it done," the Queen commanded. "Minister, Chief Witch, you will keep us abreast of the happenings of our magical community, correct?"
"Of course Your Majesty," Amelia and Augusta answered in concert.
"Very good, we look forward to hearing from you both in the future," the Queen said.
Both women recognized the dismissal and bowed to the monarch before leaving.
"Amelia, Augusta!" the two women were stunned to see Albus Dumbledore being restrained by several guards. "Surely you can tell these fine gentlemen that I am no threat to Her Majesty. I have come to warn her and advise her on the best course of action against Tom."
Amelia and Augusta turned to each other.
"Carry on soldiers," Amelia said with a mirthless smile. The two women left Buckingham in high spirits.
"Harry, are you sure that this is a good idea?" Sirius asked. "You know that Voldemort and Dumbledore are looking for you, neither of them can get to you here or at Grimmauld Place. For you to leave the safety…"
"Sirius, I get that you are trying to protect me," Harry said. "But I can't just sit here, doing nothing. And I have an important errand at Gringotts."
Sirius nodded, a soft smile on his face. "Fine but at least let me come along," he asked. "You'll need someone to watch your back and besides, I was there with your father when he ran his errand."
Harry sighed, knowing that he had been caught. "All right, you can come but hurry up. I have a meeting with my account manager at 9:15am."
Sirius nodded and quickly grabbed a cloak from the rack by the door. "What are we waiting for?"
Harry rolled his eyes and followed his godfather out the front door of Potter Manor. The Lord Black clapped a hand on Harry's shoulder and the pair vanished with a sharp crack.
The duo reappeared at the Diagon Alley Apparition point, just blocks away from Gringotts. Sirius quickly waved his wand over his and Harry's heads, casting a pair Notice-Me-Not charms to make sure that Harry was not inundated with crowds of lovers or haters. The pair quickly made their way up the gleaming marble steps of the bank, just as they were about to cross the threshold of the bank; Sirius quickly cancelled the charm on himself and approached a goblin guard. Everyone knew how badly goblins took witches and wizards trying to sneak into the bank by the use of spells, the last person to attempt to do so was rumored to have become dragon dung.
"Excuse me sir but my friend has an appointment with his account manager but does not wish to be seen and cause a scene," Sirius said lowly. "He offers an oath that he does not wish harm on the Goblin Nation but if his presence is known to the population at large it could cause quite a riot."
"Who is this person's account manager?" the goblin asked gruffly.
"Sharpshard," Sirius said. The goblin's eyes widened for a quick moment before he nodded sharply.
"Very well, I will escort you and your friend to Manager Sharpshard's office, please wait while I inform my superiors," the guard said.
"Thank you sir," Sirius said and stepped back to Harry's side.
After a moment, the goblin returned with another goblin. "If you would follow me Lord Black, I will lead you to Manager Sharpshard, he is expecting you."
"Thank you sir, lead the way," Sirius answered. Harry and Sirius followed their goblin guard through the bank's front lobby and off the main floor to a hallway lined with dozens of doors.
"Here you are Lord Black," the goblin guard said, coming to a stop at a dark wooden door.
"Thank you sir," Sirius said. "May we have your name, good sir?"
"Gripclaw, my Lord."
"None of that my Lord stuff," Sirius waved the adulation off. "Just Sirius."
Gripclaw nodded and knocked on the heavy wooden door.
"Enter," a deep voice called from the office. Gripclaw pushed open the door and held it open for Sirius and Harry, who had cancelled the Notice-Me-Not Charm when they had left the main hall of the bank.
"Lord Black and Lord Potter to see you Manager Sharpshard," Gripclaw announced.
"Thank you, please come in my lords," Sharpshard called from behind his desk. Harry and Sirius entered the brightly lit office. "Please have a seat my Lords."
"Thank you for seeing us Manager Sharpshard," Harry said.
"Of course Lord Potter," Sharpshard said. "Now what can I do for you?"
"First off, don't call me Lord, Mr. Potter is fine," Harry said with an easy smile. "My family might have gained a Lordship but I have done nothing to earn that title."
"You might think that Lord Potter but your defeats of the Dark Lord," Sharpshard held up a clawed hand, "and I don't mean 1981. That we, the Goblin Nation, believe that was your parents' doing more than your own. No, I speak of your battles against the Dark Lord in 1991, 1992 and then last year. And if the Dark Lord were to have victorious, we know that he would have turned his sights on the Goblin Nation. So for those actions you are certainly entitled to be known as Lord Potter."
Harry had to fight back the embarrassed blush that was threatening to erupt across his face. "You do me great honor with your private Manager Sharpshard," he said. "I will try to do right by these words."
Sharpshard nodded. "Now, why have you asked for this meeting?"
"I wish to know the status of my family's accounts and to visit the family vault," Harry said.
"Of course, give me a moment to retrieve your family's account holdings and then I shall escort you and Lord Black to your vault."
"Thank you," Harry said. Sharpshard nodded and snapped his clawed fingers. A thick parchment folder appeared on the desk with a pop. The goblin picked up the folder and opened it; he took three pieces of parchment from the folder and laid them out in front of Harry.
"These are self-updating ledgers for your family's liquid and investment holdings, your family's heirlooms and a portfolio of your family's real estate holdings."
Harry picked up the folder with the ledger of the Potter family holdings. His eyes shot open at the amount of gold that the Potters had amassed, he nor his great-great-grandchildren would never have to work a day in their lives. Setting the ledger aside, Harry picked up the folder with the Potter real estate holdings. He noticed that his family owned several dozen places of residence, including flats in London, Paris and New York, homes in Brighton, Oxford, southern France, Colorado, the Bahamas and several others in various cities around the world.
"Merlin, I didn't know how much my family had!" Harry whispered.
"Pup, your family has been around for over ten centuries and they have always been shrewd businessmen," Sirius chuckled. "It is a rarity that a Potter were to make an unsound financial decision."
"Indeed," Sharpshard agreed. "And the fact that your family has straddled both worlds has benefitted them greatly."
"I think I've seen enough of this," Harry decided. "If I could, I would like to visit the heirloom vault?"
"Of course Lord Potter," Sharpshard said, getting to his feet. Sirius and Harry following suit. The goblin led the pair to a hidden door at the back of his office, which reveled a hidden corridor with a cart waiting. The trio climbed in and they were off.
"Vault 128, Potter heirloom vault," Sharpshard announced. Harry and Sirius climbed out of the cart and approached the vault door. Harry frowned at the lack of a keyhole. "You must place your hand on the seal Lord Potter, and then the door will open."
Harry placed his hand against the cold iron door and flinched when he felt something prick his hand. A gong sounded inside the vault and a great hiss from the door. Harry pulled back his hand and stepped back just as a seam appeared in the door. It swung open without a sound. Harry's jaw fell open at the interior of the vault. The massive 'cave' was filled with mountains of trinkets, suits of armor, swords, shields, tapestries and dozens of other odds and ends that the Potters had amassed over the centuries.
"Wow," Harry whispered as he took in his family's possessions.
"Harry, I know that you want to take a look around but we don't have a whole lot of time," Sirius said. "Lets find Hermione a ring and let's go."
Harry nodded though not really listening to Sirius' words. He slowly made his way deeper into the vault, his eyes spinning from one thing to another.
"Harry!" Sirius' voice called out from across the vault. "Over here."
Harry turned away from the collection of weaponry that the Potters had amassed over the centuries and made his way through the maze of items that littered the vault. Sirius was standing next to an old looking wooden chest with the Potter crest in place of a lock. Harry placed his hand on the crest like he had on the vault door and hid a wince when the chest pricked his hand again. The chest's seam broke without a sound and opened. Inside were dozens of rings of all shapes and sizes, adorned with diamonds, emeralds, rubies and all manner of fine gems.
At the tope of the pile of jewelry was a simple platinum ring with a flawless diamond atop it. Surrounding the ring were several pairs of earrings, necklaces and pendants, all being made of emeralds or sapphires. 'This is it,' Harry thought reaching in and selecting the ring as well as a sapphire pendant and a pair of earrings.
"What do you think?" Harry asked Sirius.
"I'm probably not the best person to ask about jewelry," Sirius said with a wry laugh. "I never had a long enough relationship with a girl to even contemplate what you are doing. But I know Hermione, and I know she will love you regardless."
Harry blushed slightly and fingered the ring that he hoped would soon adorn Hermione's finger.
"Come on you love-struck puppy, we should get back to the house," Sirius said. Harry nodded and quickly pocketed the jewelry. The pair returned to the cart where Sharpshard was waiting for them. After a quick ride back to the surface, Sirius and Harry left the bank and made their way to the Apparition Point and popped back to Potter Manor.
"Harry!" Hermione cried as Harry and Sirius appeared in the front hall of Potter Manor.
"Hey Hermione," Harry grinned as he embraced his fiancé. "How's it going?"
"Ok, you got an owl while you two were out," Hermione answered before stealing a quick kiss from Harry.
"Whose it from?"
"No clue, the owl wouldn't let me take the letter," Hermione told Harry. The teen arched a brow.
"Oh, well then let's see who wants to talk to me so badly."
The regal owl leapt off its perch and landed on Harry's shoulder and then stuck out its leg. With deft fingers, Harry untied the scroll from the owl's leg and unfurled it. He scanned the letter, his eyes widening with each passing second. The letter fell from Harry's numb fingers after he had reached the bottom.
"Harry?" Hermione asked as she went to pick the letter up.
"It's from Mad-Eye," Harry said, nearly collapsing into a nearby chair. "He says that he works from the Queen as her head of Magical Security and she wants to meet with me."
"What!" Hermione and Sirius cried. Instantly the pair devoured the letter.
"Yeah, the Queen met with Amelia Bones and Augusta Longbottom," Harry said rubbing his brow with a free hand. "She knows that Voldemort has returned and that he is behind these attacks, and she is not happy obviously. Mad-Eye told her about what I did in the Fall of Hogwarts, and Amelia and Augusta confirmed it, saying that I might be the only chance that we have of beating Voldemort. She is ordering me to appear before her to discuss this situation."
"You have an audience with the Queen?" Hermione exclaimed.
"Yes," Harry said wearily. "Now, Amelia, Augusta and Moody have pretty much passed the buck onto me. They pretty much told Her Majesty that I'm the only one who can beat Voldemort."
"I think we need to have a talk with those three," Sirius growled. "They were well out of line saying that you were the only who can beat Voldemort, you are only 15. I know that that blasted prophecy says that you might beat him but that doesn't give them the right to just make you the scapegoat."
"What prophecy?" Hermione asked. Harry and Sirius turned to Hermione, both had forgotten that she was in the room.
Harry sighed and explained to Hermione the existence of the Prophecy that Trelawney had made before Harry had been born. He told her that the Prophecy was made to Dumbledore and that Snape had heard the first half of it. Hermione's face grew thunderous as Harry explained the issue.
"Why that manipulative bloody bastard!" Hermione screamed. "He knew! He knew why Voldemort came after you and all on the say-so of that fraud! Oh, I'm going to strangle that bearded bastard with his own short hairs when I see him!"
Harry and Sirius flinched at the vehement insults and threats that were spewing from Hermione's mouth, most of which seemed anatomically impossible. But Harry knew that if anyone could find a way to make them so, it was Hermione.
"So what are you going to do Harry?" Sirius asked when Hermione had finished coming up with incredibly viscous threats and tortures for Dumbledore.
"The Queen, and Amelia, Augusta and Mad-Eye."
"Well its not like I can refuse an audience with the Queen, now can I?" Harry asked with a raised eyebrow. "As for Amelia and Augusta, after my audience I'll speak with them, and Moody." The hard glint in Harry's eyes reminded Sirius of Harry's grandfather, Charlus, whenever the man would speak in the Wizengamont. Sirius nodded.
"Does the Queen say when you are supposed to appear before her?" Hermione asked.
"The letter said to contact Moody as soon as possible, and he'll set the thing up," Harry answered.
"Well then, you better do that," Hermione ordered. "Because the longer you keep the Queen waiting, the less receptive she will be to you." Harry nodded and quickly summoned a pen and paper. As soon as Harry had finished the letter, Hedwig swooped into the room and landed on the counter next to Harry.
"Hey girl, up for taking this to Moody for me?" Harry asked. Hedwig tilted her head as if to tell Harry, 'Really?' Harry, Sirius and Hermione all snorted with laughter at the owl's behavior. Harry deftly tied the letter to Hedwig's leg. The snowy owl nipped Harry's finger gently as if to reassure him before silently winging off.
"Now then, where the hell were you two this morning?" Hermione asked sharply, turning to pin the pair with a stern glare that was nearly a carbon copy of McGonagall's own.
"Well Mione, we…um…we had to run an errand," Harry stammered, his hand reaching for his pocket.
"An errand? What type of errand?" Hermione asked.
"I'm going to let Harry explain this one," Sirius said as he dashed out of the room.
"Coward!" Harry cried after his godfather before turning back to his fiancé. "Well Mione, Ginny pointed out a glaring flaw in our plans and I went to correct that flaw."
"Flaw? What are you talking about…" Hermione trailed off as Harry knelt down in front of her and pulled a small box out of his pocket.
"She pointed out that you don't have a ring so Sirius and I went to the bank to see what my family's vault had and I believe I found the right one. So Hermione Jane Granger, will you marry me?"
"Yes," Hermione whispered through her hand. Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she gazed down at the ring in the box. "Of course yes Harry."
Harry smiled broadly as he plucked the ring from the box and slid it onto Hermione's finger. She lifted her hand up and admired the ring's diamond as it caught the light. Harry got to his feet and took Hermione's hand; she looked up at him, her eyes still brimming with tears. Their eyes met for a spilt second before Hermione's hands fisted themselves in Harry's hair and their lips crashed together in a heated kiss.
Hermione moaned deeply in her throat as she parted her lips and bade Harry's tongue entrance to her mouth. She dimly felt Harry's arms encircle, one at her waist, the other circling her head. All Hermione could feel were the hard planes of Harry's muscles against her chest, his fingers clenching at the small of her back and in her hair. Harry's fingers sent trails of fire up and down Hermione spine as the rough and calloused tips caressed Hermione's neck and the thin strip of skin that had been exposed by Harry's wandering hands.
Hermione gasped as Harry's lips left hers and began traveling down her cheek and the column of her throat. She felt heat began to pool in her stomach as Harry's lips found the pulse point on her neck.
"Harry," Hermione's breathless moan of his name sent all of Harry's blood rushing south.
"Harry, we need to stop," Hermione moaned, trying to regain control over her raging hormones, which was proving exceedingly difficult to achieve as Harry was continuing his assault on her senses. "Harry, please stop we can't keep this up. Sirius could come back at any moment and I don't think you want him to see us doing this."
The thought of Sirius finding the pair in such a hot and heavy moment quickly killed the blood flow rushing through Harry's body. Reluctantly, Harry pulled his lips away from Hermione's skin and released her.
"You're right, we'd never live that down," Harry whispered in a raspy tone that sent shivers down Hermione's spine once more. The pair stepped apart from one another and quickly brushed down and smoothed out their rumpled clothing. "Come on, we better find Sirius before he makes a fool of himself."
"Harry, I know that we told the Cysgodol about us getting married," Hermione said. "But what about the others, like Mrs. Weasley, Professor McGonagall and Moony?"
"We'll tell them soon enough," Harry said. "I'm sure one word gets out, the adults will want to give us a party or slap us silly, one or the other."
"Harry, this is serious," Hermione laughed, slapping the raven-haired boy's shoulder. "You know that Molly will disagree with what we are doing."
"And since when has that stopped us," Harry asked with a laugh of his own.
"There you two are," Sirius exclaimed as Harry and Hermione entered the sitting room. The Lord of the House of Black was sitting in a chair facing the fireplace and the two portraits of the Potters past. "What took you so long? Hermione didn't turn you down, did she Harry?"
"Sirius, of course I didn't," Hermione cried. "Why in Merlin's name would you think that?"
"Well, you two have been alone for nearly half an hour, it was either that or you two were off snogging," Sirius laughed. Both Harry and Hermione blushed brilliantly, which sent Sirius to the floor howling with laughter. "You two were snogging. Celebrating your engagement were you?"
Harry didn't think he had ever felt so embarrassed.
"Sirius!" Hermione squeaked as she tried to hide her face in Harry's chest. Laughter rang around them from Sirius and the portraits of James, Lily, Dorea and Charlus.
"Had enough laughing at our expense?" Harry asked.
"Not quite," Sirius quipped as he and the Potter continued to laugh. After a few more minutes of laughing, Sirius, James, Lily, Charlus and Dorea finally settled down.
"So you two are getting married then?" Dorea asked. "It is a big step for you two, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly."
"We know," Harry said. "But this is the only way for Hermione to get her magic back, and…I don't know if I…"
"Humph," Hermione grunted, elbowing Harry in the side.
"All right, all right, I don't know if we will win this fight," Harry admitted. "Voldemort has nearly 50 years of experience on me plus all his Death Eaters. I know that my friends are talented and powerful but we're just kids honestly."
"Harry, do you really think we can't win?" Hermione asked.
"I just don't know Hermione," Harry said, taking Hermione's hand in his own. "Look at the facts, Voldemort is arguably the most powerful wizard alive, he's got an entire army at his disposal and we've got a fractured Order and…"
"And the Cysgodol," Hermione interrupted Harry. "We are all behind you."
"But what if its not enough," Harry asked. "Look do I think we can win, yes, but I'm not prepared to risk your life or anyone else's on something that has such little chance of success."
"Harry look at me," Sirius said. "Look at me," he barked when Harry refused to meet his godfather's eyes. "I know that you are scared Harry, we are all. Don't you think for a minute that your parents, Moony or I weren't scared bloody shitless when we realized that we were in the thick of this war! Well we were, everyday we felt could have been our last! And you know what, we lived each day like it was our last. You can't change the fact that yes, people will most likely die in this war, all you can change is give your friends the best chance to come out alive and whole. And to do that is to train them and believe in them. War carries risk, we can't win this war without risking everything."
"Harry, being afraid is not something you should be ashamed of," James said from his portrait alongside Lily. "I was terrified whenever I would have to leave Lily and you when you were a baby to go on a mission for either the Ministry or the Order. I was terrified that I would never get to see either of you again. What got me through was the fact that I knew I was risking my life to ensure that you both would have a better life to live."
"That's what we are fighting for, the hope of a better future for our loved ones and children," Sirius said.
"I know that!" Harry snapped. "But you are all just putting this all onto me! This damn Prophecy, Dumbledore and everyone looking to me to lead them! It's all getting to be too much."
"Harry," Hermione said softly. Harry looked up at his fiancé. "I can't understand what you are going through, I don't think anyone could. But you don't have to do this yourself; you are not alone in this. So what if this so-called Prophecy says that you are supposed to defeat Voldemort, it doesn't say that you are supposed to do it alone. Bloody hell Harry, don't you dare shut us out! We want to help you! I will be at your side no matter what Harry, there's nothing that you can say or do that will stop me, do you understand?"
Harry wilted under Hermione's fierce and fiery glare. "Ok Hermione," he said. "I know that you guys will help me but…"
"But nothing buster," Hermione interrupted, poking Harry in the chest. "I am going to everything in my power to make sure that you win and that we live together for a very long time and…" Hermione paused, as her face grew brilliantly pink, "have a family of our own."
Harry's eyes widened at Hermione's admission. A soft smile appeared on Harry's face as he cupped Hermione's chin, locking eyes with her. "I would love that Hermione," he whispered. Sirius, James, Lily, Charlus and Dorea looked on with warm smiles at the couple.
"Thank you for coming," Queen Elizabeth said as Harry entered the Queen's meeting chamber.
"Of course Your Majesty," Harry responded. "Your summons didn't leave me much option though."
The Queen gave Harry a thin smile. "That it did," she said. "Now Alastor has told us quite a bit about you but we have learned that it is best to find out from the subject himself. Now tell me Lord Potter, why should I allow you, a child, to battle a supposed terrorist when we have an entire county's military might to bring against this foe?"
Harry starred at the monarch before him. He could feel the regal authority emanating off the older woman. Harry knew that he had one shot to convince the Queen. "Your Majesty, your concerns are well founded and honestly I don't know why you should let the wizarding world resolve this issue itself. The wizarding world is rife with corruption, bigotry and the people following the loudest voice. Honestly, if it were not for the fact that Voldemort is pure evil, I would seriously contemplate letting the wizarding world fall. But Voldemort would not stop at just the wizarding world, he hates the 'muggle' world even more than the wizarding world."
"Muggle?" the Queen asked.
"It is a degrading term that most of the wizarding world uses to describe those who can't perform magic," Harry explained. "What they don't realize that the vast majority of the world's population can't perform magic, and the outside world has come leagues farther than the magical world in terms of all manner of advances, socially, politically, economically and technologically."
"Yes Alastor has told us that our magical citizenry is quite behind the times," the Queen said. "What would you call the non-magical peoples of this world?"
"Humans," Harry answered instantly. "I don't know if you have heard my story but after my parents were murdered on Halloween 1981, I was sent to live with my aunt and uncle. Neither of them were magical, in fact they despised anything to do with magic. Until I received my acceptance letter from Hogwarts, I had no clue about magic. And now, after spending five years in the magical world for the most part, I can say that magic is just a gift that some people have, much like singing, painting or oration. And that gift can be used for both good and evil. Most of the magical citizens of this country are good people, weak minded but good overall. However, the minute few who have money are in majority control of the wizarding world, and those who have power and no one to answer too will grow corrupt and dangerous to the world."
"So you are saying that we should bring the magical world back into the fold and under our direct control?" the Queen asked.
"Perhaps in time," Harry admitted. "But it must be done slowly and in the right way lest the wizarding world become afraid and turn against the outside world. One of the most prevalent fears that run amok in the wizarding world is the fear that the 'muggles' will find out about them and run them to the ground. History has shown that mankind is not as accepting to different people as it should be. And the fact that a group of people having magical powers living amongst the wider world will most likely not sit well with some people."
The Queen nodded. She could see that this boy was much more aware than she would have thought. "Perhaps we will come back to this topic at a later time," the Queen said. "The matter at hand is why we shouldn't bring the military into this conflict? Your Minister and Chief Witch said that our military forces would not fare well against this Voldemort and his minions due to their ability to appear and disappear very quickly, leaving the military no time to react to an attack."
"Minister Bones and Madam Longbottom are essentially correct," Harry answered. "There are measures that can be placed to ensure that these rapid attacks are controlled but they wouldn't stop them all together. Voldemort is fighting a guerilla-type war and while we know where his major home base is, it would be unwise to attack him there."
"If you know where he is at, why not tell us and let us have the RAF bomb the base and be done with it?" the Queen asked.
"His base is the former school Hogwarts," Harry admitted. "And if the 'muggles' were seen to destroy Hogwarts, you would give Voldemort all the new recruits he could ever want. Hogwarts is a bastion of hope and strength for the magical people of Britain, and if it were to be destroyed by non-magical people, the wizarding world would revolt. And you would be facing an even worse threat. Voldemort must be stopped by the wizarding world and through magical means lest the magical world feel that the outside world is seeking to invade and destroy it."
The Queen nodded slowly. "We see, then what do you suggest?" she asked.
"Give us time," Harry said. "The Minister and Chief Witch have most certainly told you that supposedly I am the only one who can defeat Voldemort." The Queen nodded. "This theory stems from a Prophecy that was given several months before I was born."
"And do you believe this 'Prophecy'?" the Queen asked.
"It does not matter if I believe it or not," Harry said. "Voldemort does believe it, and he won't stop trying to kill me because of it. And we have an advantage because of that, he is fixated on me, and he will be blind to all other things."
"You are taking quite a risk Lord Potter," the Queen said. "You are but a child, and yet you fight a man's battle."
"I wish it were not so Your Majesty," Harry said. "I just wanted to be a normal teenager, make friends, learn how to use magic, perhaps find someone special but ever since I reentered the magical world, I have been treated as both a hero and a villain. I just want this pointless war to end, and I will do all in my power to see that it does quickly, with as few causalities as possible…"
"But you are not sure if you can defeat this Voldemort, correct?" the Queen asked.
"Yes Your Majesty," Harry admitted. "I will not lie to you, Your Majesty. I do not know if I can defeat Voldemort but I give you my oath that I will not stop until either Voldemort or I are dead." A silver flash swirled around Harry signaling his magic accepting the oath. "Give me until Halloween."
"What?" Elizabeth asked, her expression rapidly changed from cool scrutiny to surprise.
"I am going to seek to end this war by Halloween at the latest," Harry said. "Every Halloween something happens, it is the date of Voldemort's greatest defeat and I know Voldemort, he is too prideful to accept such a defeat and he will try something around that date."
"So you seek to provoke the beast as it were?"
"A crude example but yes Your Majesty," Harry agreed. "An angry Voldemort is a reckless Voldemort and he will be prone to mistakes. And that is something I can take advantage of."
The determination in Harry's eyes surprised the Queen. She could see that Harry was serious about doing everything in his power to end the conflict as soon as possible, even laying down his own life to do so. She took a deep breath and then spoke. "Very well Lord Potter, we shall give you until Halloween to end this threat. But if you fail, we shall step in and end it ourselves. Do we make ourselves clear?"
"Crystal Your Majesty."
A/N: Well there you have it, the newest installment of 'Rise from the Ashes'. Hope you all enjoyed it, we are winding down for this story. Only a couple more chapters left, no more than four. Please let me know how I'm doing for this story through a review at the bottom of the page or a PM. I take every review seriously, as long as they are not flames, if you don't like my story tell me why or just don't read it. But constructive reviews are the best way for me to improve. So let me know, til next time