Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Dark Lord Rising

Chapter 29: Breaking the Bank.

by AndrewsQuill 5 Reviews

Some disturbing secrets come to light that may take the war in new directions.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione - Warnings: [!!!] [V] - Published: 2009/05/18 - Updated: 2009/05/19 - 6677 words

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For the first time in his life, Draco Malfoy wondered if he had made a mistake that his father couldn’t rectify. A tiny voice in the back of his mind wondered if his father would even try to get him released but he squashed that thought almost as quickly as it appeared.

The small holding cell in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was a spacious four by six feet and held a bunk bed, a small washbasin, and a stainless steel toilet. Every piece of furniture was magically stuck to the floor so they couldn’t be used as weapons against the guards.

To make matters worse, Draco discovered that he was not alone in his cell. Currently, the man on the top bunk was snoring loudly, obviously sleeping off a drunk, and never heard the guards deposit Draco in the cramped space.

Draco had stared in absolute horror at the large lump on the bed when he realized that he was not alone in the cell. When he turned around to complain, one of the guards smirked at him and made a shushing sound while placing his finger over his lips before leaving for his station at the end of the hall.

Not liking his predicament at all, Draco quietly climbed into the bottom bunk and huddled under the blanket in the hopes that the large man wouldn’t notice him if he awoke. While lying on the bed, his thoughts turned towards revenge against Potter once his father managed to free him.

White-hot fury burned in his veins and in his anger towards Potter and in his anger, he forgot about his bunkmate and slammed his fist into the mattress. The snort from the bunk above made his bowels clench in fear as he was forcibly reminded that he wasn’t alone. Luckily, the large drunkard fell back asleep immediately and didn’t seem to realize that Draco was there.

To afraid to sleep, Draco kept his eyes open and prayed that he would make it through the evening alive and un-violated.

Walden McNair was used to drinking and the hangovers that came afterwards. That was why it took him a few moments to realize that he wasn’t at home sleeping off a bender, but in a locked cage of some type instead. To make matters worse, he also discovered that he was naked with only a thin blanket covering him.

The cage was so small that he couldn’t stand up straight nor could he turn around easily. The only other thing in the cage with him was a bucket in the corner that was magically stuck to the floor that had a foul odor emanating from it.

As he took stock of his surroundings, McNair realized that he was in dire straights. He didn’t think that he was being held by a Death Eater so that left Dumbledore or the Ministry. Since he knew what the Ministry holding cells looked like, he figured that it must be one of Dumbledore’s Order of the Phoenix cells.

Feeling secure in the knowledge that he would be turned over to the Ministry by Dumbledore, where Lucius would have him freed quickly, McNair made himself as comfortable as possible and drifted off to sleep. In his drunken haze, he ignored the fact that Dumbledore wouldn’t have treated him this poorly or he would have been a lot more worried about the identity of his captors.

Dora stepped silently into Harry and Hermione’s room at six in the morning and the sight that greeted her tugged at her heart. Harry and Hermione were embracing each other in their sleep, taking comfort in each other’s presence after their trying day yesterday.

Unfortunately, she was going to have to disturb their sleep in order to get Harry into the Department of Mysteries and out before anyone figured out what was going on. Gently, she shook Hermione’s shoulder and whispered, “Hey, it’s time to get up. I need cutie pie over there to come with me.”

Bleary eyed, Hermione blinked up at Dora and rasped, “What time is it?”

Hearing voices, Harry turned his head towards the source and cracked open one eye. Seeing Dora in their bedroom, he groaned and pulled the covers over his head while mumbling, “Too early. Go back to Remus’ room, Dora.”

Harry’s comment caused Dora to flush a bright red as she spluttered, “I was not in Remus’ room thank you very much!” While under her breath, she muttered, “Not that I wouldn’t mind.”

Hermione’s eyes widened in surprise and Harry poked his head out from under the covers with a huge smirk on his face.

Before either of them could say anything, Dora said in a harsh whisper, “My relationship with Remus is not up for discussion!” When the only response that she received from the teens was a pair of raised eyebrows, she spluttered, “He’s…I’m…We’re…Oh, bugger!”

Unable to contain themselves any longer, Harry and Hermione burst out into a fit of giggles while Dora glared at them. Every time they would stop laughing, they would look up at Dora’s flushed hair color and the expression on her face and start laughing again.

After the third time, Dora’s patience snapped and she hit the teens with a jet of water from her wand tip.

“Dora!” Hermione shrieked as she jumped out of bed, her wet sleepwear clinging to her like a second skin.

Harry sat there like a deer in the headlights as he watched Hermione bounce up and down shaking water off her.

Seeing Harry’s reaction to her wet outfit, Hermione snatched her wand from the bedside table and hit him with a jet of freezing cold water before drying herself with a casual swish of her wand.

The force of the water was so strong that it knocked Harry off the bed. He hit the floor with a ‘thunk’ followed quickly by a pained grunt of, “Ooh, my bum.”

Dora and Hermione heard Harry’s exclamation and started laughing all over again.

Their antics had drawn the attention of the rest of the house who all found themselves outside of the teen’s bedroom door looking in at a laughing Dora and Hermione with Harry no where in sight.

When Harry didn’t reappear from his side of the floor after a few seconds, Dora grew concerned and rounded the bed only to let out an ungodly shriek before turning tail and running from the room with a large snake snapping at her heels.

Hermione knew that Harry must have transformed in order for Dora to go running screaming from the room. A small part of her still shivered in fear at the sight of a large snake slithering across the floor but since she knew that it was Harry, she repressed that feeling and an evil smirk broke out on her face as he neared her.

Just before Harry passed her, Hermione conjured a large aquarium and levitated the snake inside before slamming the lid closed and cooing, “Aren’t you just the cutest?”

The adults all broke out in laughter at the sight of Harry the snake in an aquarium. They absolutely howled when the snake looked up balefully at Hermione as if to say, “Et Tu, Hermione?”

“Oh, fine. I’ll let you out but you have to be on your best behavior.” Hermione said as she smiled down at Harry.

Once he was free of the cage, Harry quickly transformed back and gave Hermione a playful glare as she hugged him and whispered, “That’s for staring at my bits.”

Mischievously, Harry whispered in her ear, “This means war you know.”

Burying her face in his neck, Hermione whispered back, “Pink scales hun.”

“Grrr.” Harry growled playfully as he stepped back to gaze at the audience that had gathered. Cocking his head to one side, he asked, “What are we doing this morning? I thought that Hermione and I were going to Hogwarts for our last day of the term?”

Everyone turned to Dora, her hair turned a blushing pink color from the attention before she said quickly, “I can get Harry into the Department of Mysteries this morning and then I thought that we would head over to Gringotts to empty out part of his vault afterwards.”

Immediately, Hermione blurted, “Why can’t I come with you too?”

Remus explained, “Because we need you to be visible at Hogwarts so people will assume that Harry is somewhere on the grounds instead of with you.”

“Oh.” Hermione said as she thought through Remus’ statement. “Okay. I’ll tell anyone that Harry is just looking around the castle before he returns to his relatives for the summer holidays.” Turning to Harry, she said softly, “You’ll come back to the school once you’re done?”

Nodding in agreement, Harry said solemnly, “I promise.” Before turning to Dora and saying, “Let me get ready and we can get going.”

Harry turned around and headed for the loo while Hermione ushered everyone out of their room and closed the door. Once everyone was gone, she quickly changed into her school robes and knocked on the bathroom door. After a muffled, “Come in.” from Harry, she stepped into the room to see him finishing brushing his teeth.

She walked over to him, wrapped her arms around him from behind, and buried her face into his shoulder. Softly she whispered, “Please be careful.”

Harry turned around in Hermione’s embrace, smiled at her, and said, “Always. Come on; let’s head to the kitchen. I want to grab a quick bite before I have to go.”

When the young couple entered the kitchen, they were surprised to see everyone there. Curious about the large gathering, Harry asked, “Why is everyone here? I thought that it was just going to be Dora and me going into the Department of Mysteries?”

Sirius put down his mug of coffee and said solemnly, “We’re going along as backup in case things go pear shaped. If that happens, your safety is our main concern.” Seeing that Harry was about to protest, he held up his hand for silence and ploughed on, “No matter what you are about to say, it is our responsibility to keep you safe even if you can take care of yourself. It’s what families do.”

Stupefied by Sirius’ statement, Harry clamped his mouth shut and looked into everyone’s faces in the kitchen. Seeing nothing but the truth of Sirius’ words reflected in their gazes, he dropped his head and softly said, “Thanks.”

The next fifteen minutes they spent going over the plan for where everyone would be stationed, emergency contingencies, and what disguises they would be wearing. Once everyone was comfortable with the plan, Dora stood up and said happily, “Come on, Harry. We need to disguise you too.”

Not waiting for his response, Dora pulled Harry to his feet, led him into the study, and closed the door behind them. From behind the closed door there were a few muffled shouts of, “No,” and “absolutely not!”

About fifteen minutes later, Dora walked into the kitchen with a huge grin on her face. When Harry didn’t follow her in, she raised her finger asking for patience before poking her head back into the study and shouting, “Don’t make me drag you out here! Now come on, we haven’t got all day!”

Everyone heard a mumbled something about, “…rather face Voldemort than go out looking like this.” before a very different looking Harry Potter stomped into the room.

Silence reigned for thirty seconds but it felt like an eternity to Harry as he stood there looking at everyone gawping at him like a fish.

Suddenly, Sirius got a huge grin on his face and Harry felt the knot in the pit of his stomach get even larger. Slowly, he circled Harry and gave out a low appreciative whistle before saying proudly, “You did a wonderful job, Dora! No one will recognize Harry in this get up.”

“That’s because she turned me into a bloody girl!” shouted Harry in embarrassment. Seeing everyone snickering slightly, he blushed to the roots of his now sandy brown, shoulder length hair. Plaintively, he whined, “You really don’t expect me to go out in public dressed like this do you?”

Chuckling, Remus added his two pence worth, “Actually, Harry, I think that it’s the perfect disguise. Who in their right mind would even think of looking for you dressed as a girl?” The glare that Harry sent his way made him laugh a little harder so he walked up and put his arm around the embarrassed teen and said, “Smile for the camera, Harry.”

“What?” Harry blurted in alarm just as the flash went off on the camera that Sirius was pointing at them.

Before Harry could say or do anything about the camera, Sirius passed it to Annabelle for safekeeping. Temporarily defeated, Harry glowered at Sirius and Remus before turning his attention to Hermione. He found her gazing at him pensively. After a few moments beneath her gaze, Harry began to fidget.

Hermione was looking over Harry’s disguise carefully. She found that he made a attractive girl and that made her blush just a tiny bit while she inspected him. With a twirling motion of her fingers to him, he pirouetted on the spot slowly allowing her to see him from behind.

Not sensing anything but reassurance from the bond, Harry did as Hermione requested and pirouetted so she could see his entire disguise.

Slowly, Hermione stepped up to Harry, hugged him tightly, and whispered into his ear, “It’s a perfect disguise, Harry. No one will recognize you at all. I think you look great but don’t get too used to wearing my clothes.”

When they parted, Harry was blushing furiously and Hermione was sporting a small smile with a hint of color on her cheeks. Bolstered by Hermione’s support, Harry turned to the adults and said in a falsetto voice while flipping his hair over his shoulder, “Shall we be going? I need to have my hair done this afternoon and I don’t want to be late.”

Hermione cracked up at Harry’s imitation of a female Draco Malfoy while the adults were highly amused.

“Okay, now that you lot are all done laughing at me, let’s get going. The sooner we get this over with, the sooner I can get back into my own clothes.” Harry opined while making his way towards the front door.

Harry and Dora were the last ones to leave the house while they waited for everyone to get into position. Everyone had disguised themselves in some fashion except for Andromeda. She was usually seen in the Alley during the mornings so it wasn’t unusual.

Dora apparated them to the alley just outside the Leaky Cauldron and they made their way inside. She noticed Harry fidgeting and hissed quietly, “Stop fussing. You look fine.”

Harry’s only response was to glare at her but he did relax a bit. His feet were a touch sore from the low-heeled shoe and he felt a little exposed even though he knew that everything was covered by the dress and robes. Plastering on a vapid smile, he pretended to inspect his nails like he had seen Lavender and Parvati do hundreds of times.

“Come on, sweetie. We don’t want to be late for our appointment.” Dora said with a light laugh in her voice as she watched Harry put on a show. She was definitely going to show this memory to everyone using a Pensieve. Especially, the memory of the two old guys in the corner leering at the Boy-In-Drag.

Harry and Dora stepped out into Diagon Alley and discretely checked to see if everyone was in place. Spotting everyone, they began heading up towards Gringotts. It had been decided that going to the bank first was the better course of action. The change in plans would allow them to beat the lunchtime traffic at the bank and to enter the Ministry while everyone else was hurrying off to eat.

It was Harry’s first time back to the bank since before his first year and even though he was in disguise, he was eager to visit his vault again. What he hadn’t expected was the reception that they received.

The Goblins had seemed so polite to him during his first trip there. Looking back, it could have been because he was a child but he wasn’t quite sure. The teller was sneering down at them in contempt as they approached the counter. With a surprisingly high-pitched voice, the goblin growled, “What do you want?”

Unnoticed by either Harry or Dora, the goblin had pressed a button beneath his desk that started recording everything said or done at his station. The goblins were in the business of making money and information was worth more than its weight in gold.

Harry stepped forward, placed his key on the counter, and said calmly, but quietly, in his disguised voice, “I would like to visit my vault.”

The goblin inspected the key for a moment then looked back up at the two humans in front of him. The key was genuine and that meant that the young woman in disguise was probably Harry Potter. With a feral grin, the goblin quietly purred, “Right this way, Ms. Potter.”

Harry and Dora barely managed to contain their shock at being discovered so easily. In response, each of them covertly palmed their wands as they followed the goblin down to the cart.

Dora was going through their options while they sped towards Harry’s vault. Originally, the plan was to leave a few pieces of gold in the bank like Sirius had done earlier. Now, she knew that they were too exposed so they were going to take everything. Her biggest worry was what to do about the nasty little blighter driving the cart.

When they reached Harry’s vault, the goblin snapped, “Key.” and held out a clawed hand expectantly.

Before Harry could hand the key to the small creature, Dora stopped him with a touch, took the key from him, and then handed it to the goblin. Something was bothering her and the longer they were down here the worse that feeling was becoming. Returning the goblin’s sneer, Dora snapped waspishly, “Wait outside, we will be done in a moment.”

Without waiting for an answer, she swept Harry past the disgruntled goblin and pulled the door partially closed behind them. Quietly, she whispered, “Take it all, something is not right here. I’ll watch the door.”

Harry didn’t argue with her assessment, he was feeling decidedly uneasy as well. The shoulder bag that he was carrying was actually an enchanted bag that would easily hold the contents of his vault. He opened the bag and set it on the floor before beginning to levitate the piles of gold into it.

While Harry was working, Dora had discreetly warded the door to prevent the goblin from eavesdropping. Once she was sure that the Goblin couldn’t hear what was going on, she whispered, “How much longer?” while never taking her eyes off their minder.

“Almost done.” Harry whispered back as he franticly transferred the last pile of gold into his bag. A tense minute later, he stepped over to Dora and said, “Finished. What are you going to do about him?” he indicated the goblin outside with a flick of his finger.

Thinking frantically about what to do, the strain was evident in Dora’s voice as she spoke, “I’m either going to Obliviate him or put him under the Imperious Curse.”

Having been on the receiving end of one and experiencing a near miss with the other, Harry nodded his head in acceptance before asking, “Do you need me to distract him?”

“That would be the easiest thing. Move so you have him between us before you talk to him. I’ll strike the moment he turns his attention to you.” Dora whispered grimly.

She cancelled the charm on the door and Harry walked out to distract their escort.

Putting the goblin between them, Harry cleared his throat, and said in his normal voice, “Excuse me. How did you know who I was?”

The moment the goblin focused his attention solely on Harry Dora struck. Her wand stabbed out as she muttered, “Imperio.” The goblin’s face went slack as the curse took hold. Formulating a plan of attack, she stepped into the goblin’s line of sight and whispered, “Act like nothing is out of the ordinary. Return us to the surface then return to your post and perform your duties normally for the next fifteen minutes. At that point, you will take a break and head towards Knockturn Alley and wait for me.”

Obediently, the goblin climbed into the cart and once they were all seated, he took them back up to the surface.

Harry and Dora didn’t say a word for the rest of their time in Gringotts. Once they were outside, she flashed the trouble signal and began heading for the rendezvous point with her mum so she could get Harry out safely.

Ted was closest to the entrance of Knockturn Alley and it was his job to deal with any tails that followed Dora and Harry from the bank if necessary. Not seeing anyone following them out, he disillusioned himself and stepped into the shadows to wait.

He didn’t have to wait long, a goblin came trotting out of the bank and was heading straight for his position. Instinctively, he knew that the goblin was the tail and he would have to capture the beast. As he was readying himself for a fight, he was shocked when the goblin stepped into the entryway and just stopped like he was waiting for someone.

Looking around to make sure no one was looking; Ted silently stunned, bound, and disillusioned the goblin before making his way towards the Apparition Point with his prisoner.

Goyle, Sr. was heading up from Borgin and Burkes when he saw the telltale red flash from a stunner. Spell fire was nothing new in Knockturn Alley but when the victim disappeared before his eyes and he couldn’t see the attacker, he knew something was out of the ordinary.

Since he was unable to see who was stunned or who had done the stunning, he hastily set a minor Trespassing Ward across the section of the street to alert him when his invisible mystery person was walking by. Fifteen seconds later, something tripped his ward. Goyle, Sr. immediately sprayed a jet of water from his wand across the width of the alley to locate the invisible people.

Ted was so focused on escaping with his prisoner that he didn’t notice the ward until it was too late. The moment he felt the spray of water hit him; he dropped the bound goblin and rolled away from the jet of water.

Goyle saw one shape fall to the ground in front of him and not move. He was momentarily shocked when a trussed up goblin appeared in front of him. He knew that the goblins sold information to Malfoy on a regular basis so it was a good bet that whoever had captured the goblin was part of Dumbledore’s Order.

Not wanting to suffer the punishment if he let the goblin fall into the wrong hands, Goyle aimed his wand at the still unconscious creature and snarled, “Reducto.” The upper portion of the goblin was decimated in a shower of blood that soaked the cobblestone street and the steps to a couple of nearby shops.

Ted stared in mute shock at the goblins remains before more spell fire flashed, causing him to flatten himself even further into the street.

Goyle, Sr. never saw the spell that rendered him unconscious as he fell to the ground in a boneless heap.

“Give me a hand will you?” Remus grunted to Ted as he hoisted Goyle’s dead weight up.

Ted complied immediately and they half carried, half dragged, the unconscious Death Eater towards the Apparition Point as fast as they could. The moment they reached the spot, they turned and vanished with their prisoner leaving the dead goblin behind.

Andromeda and Sirius whisked Harry out of Diagon Alley and into muggle London while Dora doubled back towards Knockturn Alley to make sure that her father seized their quarry and escaped safely.

When she arrived in Knockturn Alley, Dora found a crowd milling about a dead goblin. She whipped out her Auror Badge and yelled, “Everyone back away from the body!” When people didn’t move fast enough for her liking, she barked, “Now!”

Once everyone was far enough away, she pressed the tip of her wand to her badge to send an alert to the Auror office that she needed assistance. While she waited for back up to arrive, Dora began checking for other signs of blood or a struggle.

She was relieved when she didn’t find anything that indicated that her father or Remus had been injured. Her fears temporary allayed, she began interviewing the denizens of Knockturn Alley for anyone that might have witnessed the altercation. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t find anyone willing to admit to seeing what happened even though she knew that at least a half a dozen people had to have seen something.

Her back up arrived fifteen minutes later, unfortunately it was in the form of two known Fudge flunkies. Aurors Dawlish and Stevens took stock of the scene and then walked over to Auror Tonks.

Just as Dora was about to go over her findings, Dawlish snapped, “You had us come down here for a dead goblin? I’ve got better things to be doing than checking into the death of every non-human species that you see fit to associate with.”

“You moron!” Dora snapped back before continuing in a more professional tone, “That goblin was killed by a wizard. Don’t you think that should be cause for concern?”

Dawlish was getting a little hot under the collar and his cheeks were flushed in his anger over being called out publicly. Dismissively, he said, “One less goblin doesn’t mean a thing and you don’t have any witnesses or suspects that say otherwise, do you?”

Her less than professional reply was mumbled so quietly that it was lost on the wind. Gathering her composure, Dora said, “Well, since you feel justice has been served, I’ll let you handle the scene while I tell the Director the bad news.” Without waiting for a reply, she stalked off towards the Ministry to make her report.

Arriving at the Ministry, Dora headed down to the Law Enforcement offices to give her report to Amelia. Hopefully, her superior would understand the deeper ramifications of what had led to the goblin’s murder.

Knocking on Amelia’s door, Dora waited until she was ushered in and the Security Charms were cast before getting down to the details.

“We have a problem with Gringotts, ma’am.” Seeing her superior’s curious expression, she quickly continued, “I took someone to Gringotts today under disguise and they recognized the person immediately.”

“We always suspected that they were able to identify clients in their bank. Why is this a problem?” Amelia asked politely.

Dora peered over at her superior before deciding that it was honest curiosity and not disinterest before replying evenly, “Because someone just killed the goblin that I was about to interrogate in Knockturn Alley.”

Amelia reached up, removed her monocle, and pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration. Tiredly, she said, “The last thing that we need is open warfare with the goblins. Too many people have all of their family’s gold, heirlooms, and important papers in one of their vaults.”

Giving the younger woman sitting across from her a measuring stare, she asked pointedly, “Who were you escorting to the bank this morning and why?”

Stalling for time, Dora said, “We were removing large amounts of gold in case Gringotts fell or they sided with Voldemort.”

“Stop stalling, Auror Tonks, and answer the rest of the question.” Amelia ordered in her no nonsense voice.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Dora did the only thing that she could think of and asked, “Would you promise to not tell anyone who I was with today? The ramifications would be a major blow to our plans if it got out and would probably drive the goblins into Voldemort’s camp.”

Amelia studied the young auror for a moment as the silence stretched on into the realm of uncomfortable. After a few more moments, she said, “I promise that I won’t tell a soul about who you were escorting to Gringotts today.”

“Harry Potter.” Dora said as she dropped the proverbial bomb on Amelia.

Letting out a low whistle of air, Amelia leaned back in her chair and looked at the ceiling while she thought about Dora’s statement.

She knew that there would be a mass panic if it were publicly known that Harry Potter was removing large amounts of gold from Gringotts because he didn’t trust the goblins.

Then it all seemed to click together in her mind as she thought over what Auror Tonk’s relationship was with Harry Potter. “You’re mother is a Black isn’t she?” Not waiting for an answer, Amelia ploughed on, “Your parents were recently registered as Harry Potter’s guardians, and Albus Dumbledore doesn’t know about the change yet.”

“Yes, ma’am. That’s correct. Sirius adopted him recently, so he is now technically a Black. We didn’t want to leave any legal loopholes that could end up with Harry being placed somewhere that wasn’t safe.” Dora said gravely as she considered the ramifications of Dumbledore or worse, Malfoy, getting their hooks into Harry’s guardianship.

“What happened to Harry’s muggle relatives?” Amelia asked shrewdly.

Smiling in appreciation for the Dursley’s suffering, Dora proudly said, “They signed over guardianship immediately once they were told about being watched by witches and wizards all of the time. We moved them to Australia where they unfortunately ran afoul of the local police. The last I heard was that Vernon Dursley was doing some time in jail and had lost his job. Petunia was looking for work and their whale of a son was forced to attend the local public school.”

“And who are Harry’s muggle guardians now? The Grangers?” Amelia queried perceptibly.

“Please keep that quiet. We don’t want that getting out and putting them in more danger than they are already in.” Tonks pleaded.

Amelia nodded in agreement but she wasn’t fooled. She knew that Hermione’s parents were under heavy protection. “I will need to speak to Mr. Potter about what happened at Hogwarts yesterday. He isn’t in trouble but we are going to need his testimony to secure our case against Draco Malfoy.”

“I’ll see what I can arrange and get back to you, ma’am.” said Dora honestly.

“Thank you, Auror Tonks. Please keep me posted on the goblin issue. As of right now that is your primary case and you are to only report to me.” Amelia said with a hint of dismissal in her tone.

As she stood up, Dora said, “Yes, ma’am. I’ll keep you informed if anything develops.” Without a backwards glance, she headed out of the Ministry intent upon heading back to headquarters immediately to find out what happened in Knockturn Alley.”

Andromeda, Sirius, and Harry arrived back at the Granger’s house about thirty minutes after they left Diagon Alley. They had hopped in a cab and had the driver take them on a tour of London to lose any pursuers before apparating back to the house.

The moment they were in the kitchen, Harry turned to his two escorts and said worriedly, “What happened?”

“We don’t know yet.” Andromeda said worriedly as she slumped down into one of the kitchen chairs.

Sirius answered Harry’s unspoken question, his voice grave, “I’m not sure, Harry. I saw Moony moving towards the entrance to Knockturn Alley right after the goblin went in. That’s all we know at this point until we visit headquarters and chat with everyone else.”

When neither adult seemed to be getting up, Harry prompted, “Well? Why don’t you head over there and find out?”

Silently, Sirius stood, patted Harry on the shoulder as he walked by, and said softly, “I’m just glad you are alright. Please get one of the elves to take you back to Hogwarts while we head over to headquarters and find out what happened.”

Harry nodded in agreement and as he stood up, Andromeda hugged him and said softly, “Take care, Harry.”

Winky was already in the room and before he could call out, she said, “I can take you back to school, Master Harry.”

“Thank you, Winky. Let me go get changed and then we can go.” Harry said as he watched his adoptive father and his, for lack of a better term Aunt, leave the house.

Once he was ready, Winky shifted them from the house to the kitchens in Hogwarts. Seeing Dobby carrying a tray of hot rolls, Harry snagged one and said, “Thank you both for everything. I’ll see you in a few hours.”

Harry paused just inside the kitchen and tuned everything else out except for his connection to Hermione. After a few seconds, a smile broke out on his face when he realized where she was on the grounds. With a wave goodbye to his elves, he headed out towards their garden down by the great lake.

While Harry was heading down to meet up with Hermione, Ted and Remus were busy making Goyle, Sr. comfortable in his new cell.

After removing Goyle, Sr.’s clothing, they covered him in a thin blanket and stuck him in another one of the cages. Their task done, Remus stood up and transfigured a wall to separate the two cells and placed Silencing Spells up to prevent the two prisoners from seeing or talking with each other.

“Do you want to wake him up?” Ted asked Remus while he looked at the unconscious man in the cage.

Rubbing his chin in thought, Remus said, “I do, but we should wait until Dora gets here and then dose him with Veritaserum first. I want answers about why he murdered that goblin.”

Ted grunted in agreement and moved towards the door to the basement to fetch the truth potion from the pantry.

Dora rushed into the kitchen of Number 12 and spotted her dad coming out of the pantry with a bottle in his hands. Relief flooded through her and she flung herself into his arms and exclaimed, “Thank goodness that you are all right. I was worried when we found the dead goblin.”

“There, there, Dora. Everything turned out fine.” Ted soothed his daughter as he rubbed her back. When they separated, he told her, “Remus stunned my attacker, it was Goyle, Sr., and we have him in another cell downstairs.” while he shook the small vial of Veritaserum in front of her.

Dora gave a half-hearted smile, beckoned towards the basement door, and said, “Shall we then?”

Remus looked up when he saw Ted return followed by Dora. He had been trying to figure out why Goyle would kill a goblin and all signs pointed to nothing good at all. “Ready?” he asked his two companions as he opened the cell, levitated the large man into a chair, and bound him magically.

Ted stepped up to the unconscious man and administered the three drops of Veritaserum. Once he was sure that the potion had taken effect, he waved his wand and woke Goyle up.

Not wanting Goyle to get his bearings or see his interrogators, Dora shone a bright light into his eyes from her wand tip. She had been reading up on techniques used in the muggle world to disorient people under questioning and knew that the light would help.

Goyle blinked stupidly at the bright light when he awoke. He couldn’t remember how he got here but he instinctively knew that it wasn’t a good thing. Unfortunately, the potions induced haze was keeping him from thinking too hard or he would have been more concerned with his situation. As it was, he made a feeble attempt to move before realizing that he was bound to the chair.

“Why did you kill that goblin?” Remus asked in a calm voice while adding his own light into the mix when he saw the confusion on Goyle’s face.

Sweat was breaking out on Goyle’s brow as he desperately tried not to answer the question. However, the potions grasp was too strong and he slurred, “The Dark Lord has been paying the goblins for years for information on all major account holders and anyone he deems a person of interest.”

Remus nodded in acceptance, it was as bad, or worse, as he feared. Who knows what kind of information the goblins had sold over the years that had been put to use by the Death Eaters that escaped justice after Voldemort’s fall from power.

Ted and Dora both let out low whistles as the Death Eater confirmed a horrible plot against the majority of the Wizarding world.

The next question and answer made them all just a bit more paranoid, “What were you doing in the Alley?” Dora asked once she had recovered from the earlier revelation.

Goyle turned his head towards the feminine voice but all he got for his troubles was a bright light shone in his face as he answered tonelessly, “We were looking for Sirius Black and Harry Potter so we could capture them and take them to our Lord.”

“Bugger.” Dora swore softly before asking a follow up question, “Do you know which disguise he wore to Gringotts?”

“Yes.” Goyle said as his head lolled to the side while a small rivulet of drool ran down his chin.

The bright red flash of a stunner from Remus’ wand hit Goyle right in the forehead causing the large man to rock backwards tipping his chair over with a resounding crash. “We need to tell Dumbledore about this bit of news.” Remus said somberly while he levitated the Death Eater back into his cell.

“I agree.” Ted rumbled in his deep voice while his daughter nodded in silent agreement.

Looking at his two friends, Remus said wearily, “Don’t hold any meals for me. I’m sure that Dumbledore is going to play his usual games.”

Dora patted Remus on the small of his back as he headed out to complete his unwelcome task with a wistful look on her face.

“You like him don’t you?” Ted asked his daughter softly.

“I do.” was her simple reply.

Ted nodded once, turned to his daughter, and said, “He’s a good man with a lot of baggage.” When Dora turned to look at her father, he smiled back at her and said warmly, “Just so you know, we approve.”

He walked out of the basement with a spring in his step and a light smile gracing his lips as his daughter stood there blushing like a tomato. It was the little moments in life that were so special sometimes and he was glad to have shared one with his daughter. Every little bit of happiness helped with the dark times looming.
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