Harry faces off against Augusta, gains some political allies, builds his lightsaber and is rid of a couple of pests. Hermione comes over and they make some plans. Slow chapter.
Augusta was not so welcoming as Andromeda had been. From the letter Albus had written, this reckless young fool had led Neville and several other students into a trap that he should have suspected. With the bluntness of a goblin, she spat: “Mister Potter. Why have you risked my grandson’s life?”
Harry had faced off against Voldemort. Augusta was no real threat. Still, he respected the woman. He didn’t really like her, but he respected her. Looking her in the eye, he said: “Madam Longbottom. I begged them all to let me go alone, in case it was a trap…as Hermione suspected. Instead of doing the safe thing, Neville showed the loyalty and courage he has always shown, and refused to remain behind, while I went into battle. If you must blame me than I will accept any censure you choose, but I believe this 'baptism of fire', as it were, has given Neville the confidence you have refused to help him develop.”
“How dare you!?!” Augusta was seething at the insult, but Harry was not done. He drew himself up and formally announced: “A Longbottom has always stood by the Potters. A Longbottom has always stood beside the Gryffindors. So it has been since the beginning, and so it will continue. As Lord Potter, as Lord Gryffindor, I am pleased to call house Longbottom, friend.”
Augusta was floored! She knew Harry was Lord Potter, even if he didn’t show the proper decorum as befit his station, but she never suspected he was the Gryffindor heir as well. Her eyes flicked to his right hand and she saw the two rings there.
Too old to kneel as was proper, she instead bowed as deeply as she could. To her surprise, a hand, held palm up, appeared before her eyes.
“None of that. We are friends. Friends do not genuflect to each other.”
Placing her hand on his, she levered herself up until she met his eyes. “I thank you, my lord. House Longbottom is pleased to call Houses Potter and Gryffindor ‘friend’.”
“Potter, Gryffindor and Black.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I am now the lord of houses Gryffindor, Potter and Black.” Now there were three rings on Harry’s hand.
“But Black is…”
“Not any longer.” Harry interrupted. “Never again will the house of Black be considered…well...black.” He grinned.
Augusta wanted to remain disapproving, but the boy’s smile was infectious. Despite herself, she smiled as well.
“Very well. Would you care for some tea?”
Harry groaned inwardly, but allowed her to lead the way to the conservatory where a wrought-iron table and chairs waited.
Neville was here to greet them. Harry grinned and pulled the shy lad into a hug. Releasing him, Harry spoke. “Neville, I want a Longbottom by my side when I go into battle. I offer you the chance to help to destroy the evil stain of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Will you accept it?”
Neville’s grin told him everything he needed to know.
Augusta was horrified. “What?” She screeched. “You’ve already led my grandson into a trap and now you want to do so again? NO! I will not have it!”
“Madam Longbottom, I urge you to listen before making that decision. The story is long and hard, but will explain why Neville and I are so linked. I offer my oath that I will tell you only the truth, as I know it. Will you listen?”
Augusta really had no choice. Potter had just staked his magic if not his life, on his word. According to the old forms, and according to the oaths of friendship she’d just sworn, she had to give him a chance to explain himself. That didn’t mean she would agree, but she did have to listen.
“You tricked me!” She growled.
“No I didn’t. I meant every word I said.”
As he had with Andromeda, Harry told the story. He told of his suspicions, based upon what he did know, that Albus Dumbledore had set both his parents and her son and daughter-in-law up for murder. He told of his life at the Dursleys, the abuses, the violent beatings, the slavery, starvation, and even the rapes. He told of his seeming ‘rescue’ at the hands of the same Albus Dumbledore through the huge-hearted and overly trusting Hagrid, only to find he was to be subject to more cruelty at the whim of the wizarding people. Neville had already told her of so much of Harry’s life, it was like a revision for a test.
Harry carefully described his years at school, supported by Neville who witnessed a great deal of it. Of Snape’s belligerence and intentional cruelty, Minerva’s apparently willful ignorance and Dumbledore’s callous manipulations.
He told her of his impending release from prison as it were at the hands of Sirius Black, now known throughout wizarding Britain to have been unjustly sent to Azkaban, only to have that chance destroyed because of the childish jealousy of a schoolyard bully who couldn’t let go a grudge against a man dead for over fifteen years. A man he was instrumental in murdering…so he could have that man’s wife as a sex slave.
He told her of Sirius Black’s death at the hands of his own cousin, while he was seeking to protect Harry from his own folly.
Then he told her of his own death at the hands of his uncle, encouraged and abetted by Albus Dumbledore…and what had followed. He showed them a few of the force tricks Yoda had given him and that, more than anything else seemed to convince her. Such tricks, while easy for a Jedi, were considered next to impossible for a wizard. A short session with Neville and he, too, was levitating objects…without a wand.
By the end, Augusta was absolutely furious! That anyone could treat a child as Albus had, was more than appalling. She loved Neville dearly. She might not have shown it, but she truly did love the boy. Then, quietly mulling over her thoughts, she wondered about that. She’d never agreed with Franklin’s choice of wife, preferring her own choice of Artemissa Carian, a daughter of an ancient and most noble house that was later destroyed by Death Eaters. The McKinnon’s were anything but, having only attained the requisite seven generations in her grandfather’s time. As a result of the McKinnon blood, she’d never expected Neville to amount to much, but now, she wondered if his less-than-stellar performance until his fifth year, was more her fault than his.
She recalled many a time when he’d come to her as a child, with something he thought important, and she’d dismissed it as worthless. Thinking back, she could see the many times when he’d turned away from her dismissal, his young face sad and disappointed. She recalled only too clearly, the cruelty she’d shown him, the attempts to harm him in the name of trying to force his magic out…and she broke down and wept.
Neville simply wrapped his arms around his gran, and led her to the settee, where he’d cradled her like a father would his most precious child.
Harry excused himself with the request that they think about his words.
Returning to #12, Harry descended once more to the basement where he set the crystal into its frame and carefully tightened down the clamps, ensuring the proper tension was maintained at all times. It wouldn’t do to have a blade that sagged, now, would it?
He retrieved the organic connectors from their growth medium, and began to shape them using his force manipulation techniques Yoda had shown him. He’d need to practice a great deal if he was to save Susan’s aunt, and he didn’t have much time. It was a shame all the time-turners had been destroyed in the Department of Mysteries.
The diatium power cell, by far the most difficult thing to produce, was actually made for him by Professor McGonagall, during the week before he left Hogwarts for the summer. He had sworn Minerva to secrecy on her bond to the Gryffindor line. Working together with Remus and Tonks, they had laboured for days. The odd pair had seen the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy and both knew what, and how, and worked well together. Tonks had also gone to a bookstore in London and acquired copies of the relevant movie-books and some RPG player’s guides. The diagrams contained within, gave precise descriptions and images of the weapon in various stages of construction…or as nearly precise as could be obtained for something that didn’t yet exist. Harry’s ‘induced knowledge’ filled in the gaps.
He’d had to ride hard on Remus to keep his sometimes overly-logical friend from doubting their ability to create such an imaginary device. Still, there were failures…some of them, spectacular. After seventeen attempts, about half of which fizzled, some of which just didn’t work at all, and a few that exploded violently, they had a usable power cell. McGonagall was most pleased, as she’d worked especially hard on its creation and intended to publish a paper on the subject of transfiguring such a device.
Harry was no less pleased, as this single item, meant the difference between life and death! Soon enough he’d teach Hermione, and then the world would begin to change!
Their expressions of pleased satisfaction for a difficult task, done well, went flat as he told them he wanted a hundred more, charmed to draw energy from the ambient magical fields. Minerva’s dry: “I think we shall need to get some help.” produced chuckles from the other three.
She arranged interviews with professors Flitwick, Vector and Glyffs where they both described what Harry needed. The three experts were enthusiastic at the chance for an interesting summer project.
When Tonks had delivered the first of the upgraded powercells to him just that afternoon on her way to the ministry, she’d given him such a crushing hug and a nearly overwhelming snog, that he almost passed out. When he’d recovered, she was wiping tears from her eyes.
“Mum says thank you, Harry. Bringing her back into the Black family is…well, I know how much great aunt Walburga hurt her, when she disowned us.” She explained.
“It was something that should never have been done, Tonks. I’m hoping to turn the Black’s reputation into something that isn’t nearly so dark.”
“Still, we all thank you.” She hugged him again, this time somewhat less passionately.
“Tonks…” Harry changed the subject. “I’m going to need someone to take my proxies while I’m otherwise occupied. I’d like to ask your mum to take the Black seat.”
Tonks was stunned. She actually stumbled backwards to the wall and slid down to the floor.
“Really?” She whispered in a childlike voice.
“Lemmee call her!” Tonks jumped to her feet and raced back to the fireplace, tripping twice on the way.
Moments later, Andromeda Tonks stepped through the floo without so much as a single speck of ash on her robes.
“Hello again, Harry. Judging by the glazed look in your eyes, I can tell Nymphadora has given you my ‘thank you’.
“She did. And you’re very welcome. Now, I want to ask you something far more serious.”
“How may I serve you, my lord?” Andi bowed.
“First, we’ll have none of that. Friends don’t bow to each other.”
“No, but subordinate house members do bow to their liege. As you are liege to three ancient and noble houses, I am expected to offer this courtesy to you.”
“I thank you.” Harry bowed back. “Now, can we dispense with all this and get to business.”
“You are going to have to learn proper etiquette if you’re going to deal with the purebloods.”
“Oh, I’m going to deal with them all right, just not in the way you might be thinking.”
“What do you mean?”
“Andi, please.” She offered.
“OK, then It’s Harry.” Seeing Andi’s eyes widen at the familiarity, Harry smirked. Still she’d offered her names first and it was only proper, to allow her to use his, pureblood or not.
She grimaced at the lack of protocol, but nodded.
“Thank you. Now, Andi, I’d like to ask you to be my proxy for the Black seat in the Wizengamooorf…!” He got no farther as Andromeda threw herself at him and gave him such a snog that Tonks was wondering if she should douse them both with a bucket of water! Harry was trapped by the woman wrapped so tightly around him, and was trying to polish his back teeth with her tongue.
“Mum!” Tonks called out after several seconds. “You’re married! ‘Member dad?”
With a brilliant flush, Andromeda Tonks unwrapped herself, and backed off a respectable distance, yet still managed to look dignified as she reseated herself.
“I take it that’s ‘yes’, then?” Harry gasped, panting for breath. Nymphadora snickered.
“I would be more than honored to take your proxy, but I must ask, why?”
“Actually, the reason is Nymmy here.”
“Oi!” Tonks’ hair flared red. “Don’t call me Nymmy!” she shouted.
Harry tipped his head, arched his eyebrow and looked sideways at her in complete unconcern. She also flushed and added: “My lord.”
Harry laughed out loud.
“Andi, I chose you for the seat because of the way you’ve raised Nymmy here.”
Again, Tonks glared, her hair cycling through the reds. Again Harry smirked.
“She joined the old man because she saw the ministry wasn’t doing a ruddy thing to stop Voldemort and he offered her a chance to help. That he lied to her was immaterial. She got that loyalty to a cause from you.
You married a muggleborne despite your family, because you loved Ted Tonks and he loved you. They would have married you off to the highest bidder…I understand it would have been to Lucius-I-have-money-so-I’m-better-than-you-Malfoy. Instead, you decided that it was better to live in abject poverty than be the wife of a cold hearted bastard who only saw you as a decoration on his arm and a machine to produce an heir.”
“I’m hardly impoverished.”
“I know, but that’s beside the point. I need someone I can trust in that seat to support my aims. Not Dumbledore’s, not Fudge’s and most certainly not Voldemort’s. You are one of four that I can think of and one of only three who aren’t under the control of one of them.”
“Who are the other three?”
Amelia Bones, Augusta Longbottom and Arthur Weasley, and unfortunately Mister Weasley is compromised. He’s part of Dumbledore’s little militia, and Molly worships the ground Dumbledore walks on.”
“Yes. He is too close to Dumbledore. What about Amos Diggory? He’s a good man”
“Unfortunately he believed the Prophet, and still feels I’m to blame for Cedric’s death.”
“I’m sorry, Harry.”
“Yeah. So am I.”
With a smile, Andromeda accepted Harry’s offer. She would vote his proxy. They filed out and signed the appropriate forms and with a flair of light, they parchments vanished. Copies went to the ministry, each member of the Wizengamot and Gringotts.
Andromeda took her leave then claiming duty. She hugged and kissed Harry once again, though with a bit more decorum, before leaving through the floo.
Harry escorted Tonks into the basement room where the forge was set up. On the table were his creations.
When he’d shown her the incomplete lightsaber, she’d made a comment about how it looked like a largish vibrator. Harry turned a gimlet eye upon her, and than in an affected accent, informed her that ‘he didn’t need no stinkin’ vibrator!’ while waggling his eyebrows lasciviously. They had both giggled freely until Tonks suggested she tell Hermione. Harry immediately affected great terror, and sank to his knees, pleading for her to keep their naughty little secret. Tonks fell apart, laughing so hard her hair shifted through the spectrum.
Tonks left to go to work and Harry returned to his task.
Ensuring all the components were in place and secure, he slid the whole assembly into it’s casing.
After a final inspection to ensure he hadn’t missed anything, he set the new power cell into the handle of his weapon, and praying for luck, pressed the switch. With a snap-hiss, and the smell of ozone, the humming energy blade flashed to life. Harry grinned manically, knowing he’d done it right. He swung the emerald blade around in a flat arc, and then back again.
His imposed ‘memories’ assured him he had a functioning weapon, but he wanted to try it out for himself.
Deactivating the blade, Harry hooked it onto his newly-made belt and ascended the stairs to the third floor. Deciding to say hello to Buckbeak, as Hagrid was supposed to come and return him to the forbidden forest any day now, he peeked into the hippogriff’s room. Buckbeak greeted him with a bow, which he returned. He scratched under the hippogriff’s feathers before saying: “I’d love to stay, my friend, but I have to test this.” He touched the lightsaber.
Buckbeak nosed the cylinder, and made a questioning noise. Harry unhooked it and held it out sideways so the beast could look. Buckbeak sniffed it, then opening his beak, tasted the thing. Harry was rather surprised, but kept his thoughts to himself when the hippogriff took the weapon in his mouth. Seconds later, the blade flashed into existence once more. Beaky swung it side to side, then shut it down. Straightening his neck, he ‘handed’ it back. Dumbstruck, Harry accepted the Jedi weapon. Buckbeak nudged Harry towards the dueling room. Harry again scratched Buckbeak’s feathers, before leaving. Closing the door, He called: “Dobby?”
Within seconds the hyperactive elf appeared before him.
“Yes, Mister Harry Potter Sir, how may Dobby serve you today?”
“Hello Dobby. I’d like you to locate some stoats or large rats for Buckbeak. He’s being fed dead ones, but I think he’d appreciate something a bit fresher.”
“Of course, Dobby will do! Harry Potter is the greatest, kindest, most loving wizard in the world!” Dobby hurled himself at his embarrassed master and hugged his legs tightly.
When Harry finally prized the overjoyed elf from his leg, he entered the dueling room and sealed the door. Conjuring targets, he began to methodically test the lightsaber. Slicing through things from soft to hard. The blade made short work of all but the hardest of metals. Those took a bit longer. The tests got harder then. Harry activated the interactive training golem Sirius had ‘acquired’…stolen really…from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, had it begin to fire hexes curses and spells at him and sank into the force. The blade caught or deflected them all. After an hour, he decided he had a winner.
Several floors below, in the sub-basement, Dobby had located and captured several rats when he spied a small family of shiny black rats, all cowering from one larger grey beast. With a snap of his fingers, he stunned the intruder. He was about to stun the rest for the hippogriff, but one squeaked its thanks. Dobby could understand! He wondered at this, before deciding it was a magical rat, where the intruder was a common sewer rat. He bowed to the family and gathered up the large pest, placing it into a covered bucket.
He took the bucket up the stairs and into Buckbeak’s room, bowed to the proud beast and opened the bucket. Beaky smelled rats, and immediately snatched out the first one he saw. Crunching down, he was rewarded by the delicious trickle of blood down his throat. Two snaps later the rat had gone down, minus an amputated forelimb. Neither hippogriff nor elf noticed, as the rat’s silvery paw tumbled into the hay and seemed to melt into nothingness.
Finished his testing, Harry had an idea. His training with the weapon would be much better if he had someone or something to practice against. The training dummy could be made to use the weapon, he was sure, and so, he began planning the layout for a second lightsaber.
He intended for Hermione to have the second one, but he needed to see if she could touch the force first. If she could, he would have her use that one until she could make one of her own.
Harry descended the stairs. Forgetting about the creaky step at the landing, Harry grimaced as the wood sang. Of course, the noise alerted Mrs. Black. The mourning curtains flashed open and the demonic portrait began to screech.
“INFIDELS! BETRAYERS! FOUL LOATHSOME BEASTS! MUDBLOODS AND BLOOD TRAITORS! HOW DARE YOU DEFILE MY HOME WITH YOUR UNCLEAN PRESENCE! KREACHER! ATTEND ME! KREACHER! REMOVE THIS FILTHY ANIMAL, IMMEDIATELY!”
Growling at the insufferable harridan, Harry ripped the drapes off the frame. Facing the portrait, he cast a silencing charm, not on the painting, but on the air around it. Walburga’s voice instantly muted to barely more than a whisper. Seeing as how the intruder before her simply stood smirking, with his arms crossed, Mrs. Black stopped shouting. She glared at Harry who simply waited with a disinterested expression on his face. After a while, he dispelled the silencing charm.
“Walburga Black, you know who I am, and you know what these are. He held up his hand so she could see the signets. “Do you recognize me as your lord and master?”
“I DO NOT!” She howled. “YOU FILTHY HALFBLOOD! YOU CONSORT WITH MUDBLOOD WHORES! YOU ARE NOT FIT TO ENTER THE NOBLE HOUSE OF BLACK! I WILL SEE YOU AND THE FILTH YOU TRAVEL WITH, ALL DEAD AND…”
“Harry’s lightsaber snapped to life as he angrily slashed the blade across the portrait. Walburga lost her voice as the emerald shaft cut through her. She fell backwards and within seconds, using his new lightsaber, Harry had removed the entire portrait and frame from the wall. On the floor, he sliced it into smaller pieces and called for Dobby.
He shut down the weapon and growled: “Take this trash to the fireplace and burn it!” Trying mightily to control his rather impressive temper, he closed his eyes and began to focus on expelling his fury. At last, he sank to his knees and opened himself to the force, allowing its soothing presence to wash through him. In the back of his mind he could hear Yoda whispering: “Anger leads to hatred! Hatred leads to suffering!”
And so, he remained for most of the next hour, on his knees, back straight, and eyes closed, communing with the force as the world aged a little more.
Opening his eyes he found the worried Dobby staring at him. Standing, he spoke again.
“Take the Black family tapestry from the wall in the drawing room as well. If you think it can be cleaned, do so, then roll it up for storage. If not, make a copy for posterity and destroy the original. Can I remove those heads from the walls?”
“Oh yes, Mister Harry Potter Sir. You is the master here.”
“Fine. Now you’ve tossed that rubbish into the fire, let’s go to the drawing room. We have some cleaning to do.”
In the drawing room Harry lifted the mounted heads from the wall and asked Dobby to perform the necessary and appropriate funereal rites. Adding, as before, that it wasn’t their fault they were bound to such a horrible bunch of people. As he had been with Kreacher, he would be there at their immolation. Dobby nodded, and vanished with the heads.
Winky awaited her master’s pleasure.
“Winky, let’s begin by tearing up this carpet and stripping off the wallcoverings. I want this room to be bright, and filled with life.”
Winky smiled and nodded happily as they set to, over the next few days, brightening up the dreary rooms.
Harry practiced with his lightsaber that evening until his muscles screamed for mercy.
On the morning of the fourth, Harry woke to find Dobby poking him. “Mister Harry Potter Sir must get up. They is someone waiting at the floo!”
Brushing away the last wisps of sleep, Harry levered himself up and grabbed the mug of tea Dobby held out. Gulping down half the mug, he grimaced at the heat.
“Who is it?” He asked, his voice raspy with fatigue.
“She is calling herself, Cary-lin Chapmen. She is with Miss Nymmydory’s mother.”
“OK, give me a moment while I brush my teeth.” Harry rolled out of bed and stumbled across the floor.
His sleep had not been restful the previous night, as Voldemort had been up to some mischief and Harry was invited to watch as he and his minions had decimated a small village. The murders were the least of his crimes. Harry would never again look at a child without seeing what Voldemort’s troops did that night.
Needless to say, the visit had not been pleasant. Harry made a vow to learn occlumency, no matter how hard it was, in order to block off the images. He also renewed his vow to eradicate all the Death Eaters, no matter who they were.
Harry returned to his room, dragged on the clothing and day-robe Dobby had laid out, and ran a comb through his hair. Hanging his lightsaber from his new leather belt, he called out for Dobby. Instantly the overeager elf was there.
“Yes Mister Harry Potter…” was all he got before Harry interrupted him.
“Please ask Winky to set a tea for three, and possibly breakfast as well. Also, can you detect Voldemort’s dark mark?”
“Oh, the fearless Harry Potter has said the dark lord’s name! Harry Potter must not say the dark one’s name!”
“Dobby, in my houses, we are not afraid of a name, but we’ll discuss that later. Can you detect the dark mark?”
“Oh yes. Dobby is muchly familiar with the nasty magic in the evil one’s mark.’
“Good. I’m going to call you to do that. Just now, I need to greet my guests.”
Dobby vanished to his duties and Harry entered the now-spotless parlor. There in the fireplace were two heads. Andromeda Tonks and a woman he didn’t know.
“Aah! Harry. I found Carolyn. May we come through?”
“Please do!” He backed away and palmed his wand.
Andromeda came through with her usual grace, followed by a statuesque blond.
“Stay where you are!” He ordered. “Set your wands on the mantle!”
Andi did as he told them but the woman whipped up her wand and sent a bludgeoning hex his way. Harry deflected it into a wall and ‘called’ her wand to him. With the force, he picked her up and slammed her into a wall hard enough to rattle her teeth.
“That wasn’t very friendly, now was it?” He growled.
The woman just smirked. “You remind me of your grandfather.”
“Harry, please let her down. I’ve sworn an oath of fealty to you, and cannot allow you to come to harm while I am here.”
“Just a moment, Andi. Madam Chapman, let me see your arms…both of them!” He loosed the hold he had on Chapman’s arms.
With an appreciative look, she rolled up first her left sleeve and then her right. Harry could see nothing but pale skin.
Instantly the overeager elf was minutely checking Chapman’s arms.
“They is no nasty magicks here, Mister Harry Potter sir!”
Harry let Carolyn sink to floor.
“Constant vigilance?” She smirked again.
“Absolutely! Moody may be a security fanatic, but he’s right. It ain’t paranoia if they’re really out to get you! I have several people who would love nothing more than to kill me…painfully and over a very long period of time.”
“I quite understand.”
Harry escorted them to the small dining room.
He seated the ladies and called for Winky. She appeared with a fresh pot of tea and asked if they’d like anything to eat.
“I haven’t eaten just yet. Would you ladies care to join me?” He asked as Winky poured the teas.
Both agreed, and Harry got a nod from Andromeda.
“Very good, Harry. When dining with a new acquaintance, you should keep it light. Breads with preserves or butter, perhaps some sliced fruits, and tea or coffee is traditional. No meats and no heavy meals.”
Harry asked Winky to prepare something appropriate.
“I understand you’re in need of a solicitor.” Chapman began.
“I am. I need one who can handle both the muggle and magical side of things, who can act as a barrister when needed and who isn’t afraid of either Dumbledore or Voldemort.”
Harry looked directly at Carolyn as he said Voldemort. Not even the hint of a shudder. He smiled.
“You came highly recommended.”
“I do hope so. The firm has worked long and hard to earn our reputation.”
“From what I heard, I would say that reputation is well deserved. Did you really mail him back in pieces?”
“We don’t like threats.”
“Then you’re exactly what I need. Will you accept a retainer?”
“That depends on what you’d have us do. We will not support any dark lord and while you are the ‘golden child’ just now, tomorrow…”
“Tomorrow, I’ll likely be the rising dark lord again. I will swear an oath on my magic and my life that I will not become the next dark lord. I cannot swear I won’t use some dark methods to achieve my goals though.”
“What are your goals?”
“Just now, to eliminate Voldemort, break Dumbledore’s hold on magical Britain and try to get the sheeple to think for themselves. In the future, I intend to set up an academy for those who have a special talent.”
“An academy for Jedi?” Carolyn smirked.
Startled, Harry gaped at her.
“You’re shields are pathetic, Mister Potter, and you let far too much into your surface thoughts. You also took my wand and you held me against the wall without a wand…and I can see your lightsaber.”
Harry growled. He’d known that his mind shields were crap, but thought he’d gotten at least a little better.
“Don’t worry about it. From what I could see, that miserable excuse for a…I can’t even call him a man. He taught you nothing. In fact, his attacks seemed more designed to destroy what little natural shielding you had already developed, most likely on Dumbledore’s orders. I have some associates who teach the art professionally. They can have your shields up in a few days and impregnable in a few weeks…if you work at it.”
Harry nodded and jotted down some notes.
“How do you know about lightsabers? Aren’t you a pureblood?”
“Technically, yes. My mother is a half blood, but her mother was a pureblood, and my father was a pureblood so I’m still considered one…and my family has always loved the cinema.”
“All right. Yes. I intend to start a Jedi Academy.”
“Harry, at the risk of seeming ignorant, what is a lightsaber?” Andi asked.
Harry unclipped the weapon from his belt and laid it on the table. “A lightsaber is the weapon of a Jedi knight. It’s essentially an energy beam contained in two rotating magnetic fields. It can cut through pretty much anything but another lightsaber blade, and deflect other forms of energy, such as curses.” Harry gave a demonstration by summoning the ugliest old iron bowl he’d ever seen, from the mantle and deftly slicing it in half.
“And this is what that Yodel gave you?” Andromeda asked, as he shut down the weapon.
Harry chuckled. “It’s Yoda, and yes.”
“Yoda?” Chapman queried.
“Have you told her anything?” He asked Andi.
“No. That would have been a violation of your trust. You’ll have to tell her the story.”
“Alright. But I want an oath that this goes nowhere else!”
“I can’t give that oath if it will compromise my professional integrity.” Carolyn returned.
“I can understand that. How about this then: You give me an oath that you won’t discuss anything here without my permission unless it compromises your professional integrity, but bearing in mind that I intend to retain you as my family solicitor.”
“I can do that.”
Carolyn swore the oath and Harry launched yet again into his story. At the end, Carolyn was as angry with Dumbledore as Harry was. She made her choice.
“What would you have me do?”
“I want you to handle any and all of my legal issues. The laws were written my greedy old men to screw over pretty much everybody but themselves, and their descendants are even worse then they were. They’ve included plenty of loopholes in those laws for them to exploit, usually at others’ expense. I want those loopholes covered! Specifically make sure Dumbledore cannot retake control of me, or my assets, in any way, shape or form. I want all proposed or offered contracts for marriage or betrothal or the like…especially anything coming from the Weasleys, voided or refused, in as polite and proper a manner as possible. Molly worships Dumbledore and he could try to control me through Ginny. I also want a controlling interest in a muggle drill company called Grunnings, and if you can swing it, I want a controlling interest in The Daily Prophet. Do you have a problem working with goblins?”
Carolyn was somewhat startled by the segue, but replied: “No. We get along very well with the goblins. It would be stupid not to, considering they control all our gold. They’ve told me that they deeply respect our ethics, and wholeheartedly endorse our business practices…in fact, I understand they want to adopt me.”
“You will be conferring closely with Graswold. Until this is over, he will be handling my fiscal affairs personally.”
Both Andi and Carolyn were astonished. Graswold was the leader of the entirety of the Unified Goblin Hordes, and he was acting as personal accountant to Harry Potter?
At their look of shock, he added: “He owes me because I did him a favor.”
“That must’ve been a hell of a favor, Harry!” Andi blurted out.
Harry just smiled.
Winky arrived then and served up a simple but refreshing breakfast of sliced fruits, crusty bread rolls with butter and several kinds of preserves, and tea.
When they’d eaten, Harry announced: “I’m going to visit the Longbottoms now, and ask Augusta to take my proxy for the Potter seat. Is there anyone you’d recommend for the Gryffindor seat?”
“Amelia Bones.” Both women chimed.
“Sorry, she can’t. She’s going to be the new Minister for Magic. She’s not allowed to vote either her seat or take proxy for any one else.”
Harry…” Carolyn ventured. “Just now, I’d recommend you involve as few people as possible. I’m on the council. I can vote both my family’s seat, and Gryffindor’s, if you wish.”
“Well, I am trusting you with my legal health, as it were. Why not my ancestral vote as well. Which would you prefer Potter or Gryffindor?”
“Actually, I’d recommend you offer Gryffindor to Augusta. She already votes a few seats and as Dumbledore’s prime competition for the chief’s position, the prestige of the Gryffindor vote would help her immeasurably…especially when she deals with him. I usually agree with her votes anyway and tend to vote in a like manner, so we can form a bloc. With Andi and hopefully a few others, we can form a bloc large enough to control the council.”
Andi?” Harry turned to the brown haired woman.
“I agree, Harry. Carolyn is more adept at political maneuverings that I am, and since I was raised a Black, that’s saying something. With Augusta along, I’m certain we can form a controlling bloc.”
Alright. That’s how it will be. Should we go there or should I invite her here?”
“Lets floo her and ask her, her preference.”
Harry threw a pinch of floo powder into the flames, called out: “Longbottom mansion!” and thrust his head through. After the interminable spinning stopped, he found his head in the Longbottom’s parlor.
“Harry!” Neville greeted him.
“Hey Neville. How are you doing?”
“A lot better now. Gran’s in the conservatory. Can I go get her?”
“Please do, Neville. I need her advice.”
“OK, I’ll be right back.”
Augusta appeared shortly and addressed Harry.
“Lord Gryffindor. How may I help you?”
“Madam Longbottom, I have an offer for you. I have Andromeda Tonks and Carolyn Chapman with me. May we come through, or would you prefer to join us?”
Augusta was startled at Chapman’s name. She was well aware of the law firm Chapman & Associate’s and their efficient and often brutal reputation, both in the courtroom and out. She’d never had need to seek out the firm as she’d had Cheatham and Crowen representing her family for decades, but she thought she’d like to get to know the woman.
“Please come through.”
Harry stood back and gestured. “Ladies?”
Once through, Harry wasted no time.
“I have asked Andi to vote my proxy for the Black seat and Carolyn to vote one of the others. I’d like to ask you to vote the third and between the two if you, figure out which one you’d prefer, Potter or Gryffindor.”
“Voting either one would be good for me, as I also vote the proxy for Hathor and Mynes. but as Miss Chapman has likely told you, the Gryffindor vote, while not as close to the Longbottoms as the Potters, would be more influential in controlling a certain old meddler.”
“She did, and I agree. I felt it better to leave that choice to you because you will be intimately involved in the council, where I will not.”
“Very well. I shall take Gryffindor.” Augusta decided.
“And I’ll take Potter.” Carolyn added.
“And together, we can combine our votes with Augusta’s.” Andi tossed her two knuts into the conversation. "That will give us seven votes. Longbottom, Potter, Black, Gryffindor, Chapman, Hathor and Mynes.” That’s a sizable bloc.
“You can probably count on Amelia’s vote as well, as she’s going to be too busy being minister.”
“You seem rather certain of yourself.” Augusta was disapproving of Harry’s temerity. “The vote has yet to be taken.”
“Oh I think I can assure it.” Harry gave an evil smile. “I’m the primary witness, after all, and I intend to hammer that incompetent fool into the ground! By the time I’m finished, and the testimony will all be genuine, I promise you, he won’t be able to run for second assistant to the ruddy dogcatcher! Now, here’s what we have to do…”
The grins around the table would have been recognized by any Slytherin.
Harry returned to 12 Grimmauld just in time to be forcibly plunked down at the table and ordered to eat. Winky stood there frowning, with crossed arms, and a ladle in one hand. Despite Snape’s repeated assurances, Harry wasn’t stupid. He dug into his stew.
Hermione arrived via the portkey he’d given her, kissed him well and departed to her favorite place in the house…the library.
While he was eating, he had an idea. After he was done, he called out: “Dobby?”
Instantly Dobby appeared. “How may Dobby serve you Master Harry Potter sir?”
“What have I said about calling me master?”
“Dobby is terribly sorry, Mas…Mister Harry Potter, but Dobby is being a house elf and Harry Potter is being a great wizard.”
“Maybe, but Hermione is being an even greater witch. More to the point, Hermione hates the idea of my owning slaves. If she hears you calling me ‘master’, I won’t be shagging her any time soon!”
Hermione growled from the doorway. “You keep that up, Potter, and you won’t be shagging me for the rest of your miserable life! Parseltongue or no!” She popped through the door to the library bearing a heavy tome and as quickly, retreated into her sanctum.
Harry muttered: “Shit!” and buried his head in his hands.
A minute passed before she returned, sans book and wrapped her arms around him and spoke in her sultriest voice: “Although, I suppose you could…convince me…if you really tried.”
“Then let’s go try!” Before she could resist, Harry had swept her up in an embrace and carried her, shrieking and laughing, up the stairs to his room.
From the room, Dobby could hear moans and giggles along with a few cries of passion, before a sound damping charm went into place.
“What is they doing?” He asked his mate.
“Never you mind what they is doing! They is doing what they is doing and that is not your business!” Winky scolded, before turning to her tasks, flushing, because she knew what Harry and Hermione were up to. Dobby would too, if he were directed to the knowledge, but…well, she’d tell him later that evening...after they’d retired.
Shrugging, Dobby also turned to his work.
An hour or so later a distinctly rumpled Harry came down the stairs, followed by an equally mussed Hermione. A few charms from the elves and both humans were looking more civilized. Hermione went into the kitchen to ask Winky for some tea.
Dobby looked up from the table. “Yes, Mas…Harry Potter? How may Dobby serve you?”
“I’m wondering. Can you duplicate a magical item?”
“No, Harry Potter Sir. Dobby can make it look the same, but it will not be magical.”
“Hmmm. Well, it really doesn’t need to be. Can you make something like that ‘appear’ to be magical?”
“Oh yes. Old bad master used to have Dobby making magic tasting copies of many things.”
Can you still get into Hogwarts?”
“Oh yes. Headmaster Professor Albus Dumbleydore sir, does not know that Dobby is no longer working at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!”
“Can you get into his office?”
“Oh yes! Dobby can do so easily!”
“What are you up to, Harry?” Hermione had just reentered the room carrying a porcelain tea service. Winky followed her with a tray laden with pastries
“There is a sword in Dumbledore’s office that belongs to me. Either through right of conquest, through acceptance, or through bloodlines, but it does belong to me. I’d like to bring it here. Also, there is a rather large, dead basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets. Maybe I can harvest the thing and sell the parts for potions ingredients.”
“Dobby can get the sword, and leave a magic tasting one in its place, but Dobby does not know how to enter the Chamber of Secrets.”
“It looks like I’ll have to go there personally.”
“Harry, you can’t risk going to Hogwarts. If Dumbledore catches you there, you’ll be his prisoner. He can do whatever he wants, and claim he never saw you.”
“Yeah. And he’d do just that.” Harry agreed.
“Is there any way I can find out when Dumbledore is gone…maybe a vote in the ICW?”
“They is the annual meeting of the International Confederation of Wizards, to elect new officers, this coming Thursday, in Geneva. Headmaster Professor Albus Dumbleydore must be present.”
“OK, we can worry about the chamber then. Will you go to Hogwarts and get the sword?”
“Dobby will do!” Dobby popped away and returned two seconds later. “Headmaster Professor Albus Dumbleydore is in his office. The sword is in a glass box in a corner.”
Dobby was about to twist his ears when Hermione’s gentle hands caught his. He looked up at her with the same adoration he held for Harry.
“OK, we’ll wait. Still, we can set up the rest. I think it’s time for HaihRiegh to make an appearance.”
Harry apparated to the bank, wearing his breastplate and sword. As he ascended the steps, the two goblins at the top both gave nice toothy smiles and thumped their pikes against the marble. Harry grinned and thumped his breastplate, in acknowledgment before passing through the silver doors.
Inside he stepped right to the counter, by passing a dozen other people, most of whom were purebloods. A goblin immediately opened his window and politely inquired in Gobbledygook, how the bank might serve him. In the same language, he requested an audience with Graswold.
Moments later, Slashsack arrived in the lobby, thumped his chest, and announced himself as an escort to the most honored Dak. Harry returned the salute and followed him from the room, listening to people complain that the window Harry had gone to, was again closed. One particularly strident voice asked why that unknown wizard got such preferential treatment. As the large doors swung shut, Harry heard a goblin teller say: “When you have killed a goblin in single combat with bare blades, you will be accorded the same rights. For now, you can wait in line!”
In Graswold’s office, Harry explained his intention to retrieve Gryffindor’s sword from Dumbledore on the 18th and place a copy in its stead. He asked for a portkey, which could penetrate the wards around the ministry without disrupting their protections.
Harry made the deal even sweeter by telling Graswold of the basilisk in the chamber and offering half, if they could harvest everything usable from it. All the goblins would have to do was provide another portkey capable of passing through the wards around Hogwarts, that could handle several thousand pounds of dead snake, and a skilled tailor to create a set of dueling robes for himself out of his share of the basilisk hide.
Graswold chuckled at the prank Harry was planning. Most people did not know that goblins loved pranks as well as the twins. A good prank was the stuff of word and song, and being as the now-famous warrior, HaihRiegh was pulling this one, it was sure to go down in lyrical history. That this giant basilisk would make his clan even wealthier was only //Mok Tah\\!
Within moments, Harry held two pieces of bronze. One about a foot square, which would go to the chamber of secrets, and one smaller one meant to be pinned to clothing.
“I suspect this is not the only reason you have come here today, Lord Gryffindor. Speak your mind. What can Gringotts do for you today?”
“Actually, you are correct, and there is something else.” Harry replied.
“I need to speak with the Queen.”
A long silence greeted him.
“HaihRiegh…” Graswold spoke at last. “To speak with the Queen of England is not so easy to arrange…even for us.”
“I understand, but if I didn’t think it was absolutely necessary, I would never ask this of you. I intend to bring war to her country and I must make her understand that she needs to keep her subjects away from it.”
Graswold slumped. Sighing, he spoke. “There are channels…channels that have not been used in far too long. I will make use of those channels but I cannot guarantee she will be receptive.”
“All we can do is our best. You have my complete faith and trust.”
The grin that broke Graswold’s face in two was nearly as blinding as Hermione’s. Once again, he knew his decision to ally with this wizard would usher in a golden age for his people.
A/N: Mok Tah is Klingon blood wine, but I think it’s sounds so very goblinesque.