A happy Christmas for all...except the Death Eaters. Amelia uses Snape's interrogaton to make some long awaited arrests. Rita writes an article. Sirius gets a howler. Harry & Co visit the Grange...
Secondly, please excuse any (all) typo’s. For some reason my spellchecker went tits-up and not even reloading my Word 2000 has helped.
PART 24: HAPPY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!
Dec 22, 8:00PM.
With Snape’s testimony, Amelia began her programme. She arranged for arrest warrants for each and every Death Eater who’d bribed their way free. She’d ordered them all served at eight that very evening.
As Malfoy had ordered the pogrom, she opted to take him personally. Neither Scrimgeour, nor Moody was in favor of this plan, as Minister, she should not jeopardize herself unnecessarily. Her response was simple.
“Have I ever sat back and waited while my Aurors were in danger?” They had to allow that she had not. In fact that was one of the things that made her troops so dedicated to her…she shared the danger. On the other hand, she was no longer an Auror. She preempted their line of thought, by adding; “If you insist, I’ll only go on the Malfoy arrest. I’ll stay out of the way, but I will be there.”
Quite honestly, they’d expected no less.
Sealing a heavy envelope, she addressed it to ‘Rita Skeeter’ and asked her horned owl Zephyr, to deliver it.
Lucius Malfoy opened the door to his opulent manor to receive quite a shock. Amelia Bones, Rufus Scrimgeour and a squad of Aurors stood there, wands in hand. Three stunners struck him before he could slam the door.
Narcissa suffered the same fate as she returned from tucking her son into his bed. As soon as she saw the Aurors, her wand was up.
They were faster.
The Malfoy’s house-elf, Dobby, arrived with a loud pop just in time to keep her from falling. As he settled her gently to the floor, and prepared to expel the intruders, Amelia identified herself as Minister of Magic, showed him the arrest warrant and ordered him to assist, as she needed. As a house-elf, Dobby could only comply.
Having the legal justification in subsection 6(a) of Dumbledore’s ‘Death Eater act of 1982’, she ordered the Malfoys isolated from each other in secure holding cells at the Ministry and force-fed purging draughts for three days to clear any traces of antidotes or counteragents to Veritaserum from their systems. She would question them under the truth drug later.
All around the country the same thing was happening to ‘ex’ Death Eaters. Thirty one men were captured. Surprisingly, very few wives bore the mark. Children were taken into protective custody but as soon as their mothers swore a magical oath that they had nothing to do with the Death Eaters’ plans, they would be returned. Those few of the children having both parents as Death Eaters, such as Theodore Nott and Pansy Parkinson, would be held until suitable fosterage could be arranged.
Their only casualty was Dawlish who’d allowed himself to be hit by a curse. That would garner him an overnight stay in St. Mungo’s and a dressing down the next day for being careless. Fortunately for him, it also served to conceal his association with that particular bunch of terrorists.
Due to Rita Skeeter’s penchant for muckraking, she was deeply involved in the transcript of Snape’s interrogation that Amelia Bones had so helpfully provided, and so she was completely unaware of the evening’s campaign. As such, her employer, The Daily Prophet was also unaware, and there would be no announcement for several days to come.
That night, Amelia slept with a satisfied smile on her face.
On the twenty third, The Daily Prophet headline screamed;
HOW INVOLVED WAS ALBUS DUMBELDORE IN THE POTTER MURDERS?
Dear readers, writes Rita Skeeter, special correspondent to The Daily Prophet. We at The Daily Prophet have long suspected Albus Dumbledore was more than a little involved with the murder of James and Lily Potter, and the orphaning of their son, Harry, The Boy Who Lived (albeit possibly no longer.) Yesterday evening, Amelia Bones, Minister for Magic, in yet another effort to prove this administration to be untainted with the graft of the previous one, provided The Daily Prophet with transcripts of the questioning of Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore’s ‘supposedly reformed’ Death Eater. Transcripts that support our theory.
Snape had been arrested In the Great Hall of Hogwarts School for providing the names of all the muggleborns due to enter Hogwarts for the next ten years, to other Death Eaters for the purpose of murder. Albus Dumbledore was also arrested, for obstruction and interfering with the performance of an Auror’s duties. He was questioned in a closed meeting with the Minister, the Head of the Wizengamot, and the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Although the questioning itself remains a closely held secret, as a result of that questioning, he was removed from his position as headmaster of Hogwarts School and confined to his estate in Northallerton.
During the questioning, Snape confessed to spying on Dumbledore for his Master Lord You-Know-Who (Ed: While the fear of a name only increases the fear of the man, in this case, there is sufficient fear of this particular name to justify our not printing it.) and on one evening in the infamous and disreputable Hogshead Inn in Hogsmeade, Snape was caught by Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus’ brother who was prosecuted by the former Chief Wizard himself, for casting inappropriate charms on a goat. (For details of Aberforth Dumbledore’s conviction and the question; why was a language charm inappropriate? See page 11.)
This striking and refined purveyor of verity has to wonder why Dumbledore would hold a private conference with a potential seer, someone who could possibly see into the future, someone who might utter just such a prophecy, in such disreputable surrounds, especially during a time of war, rather than in his triply warded office in what has long been called ‘the safest place in Britain’?
This spy was caught with his ear pressed to the door of a private room in order to capture the privileged conversation being held there between Dumbledore and a hopeful applicant for the position of Divination teacher. During the conversation, this woman, who has yet to be identified, proved that her talent was valid, by uttering what is suspected to be a true prophecy. This prophecy is in fact registered in the Ministry’s log of prophetic utterances, and should be located in the Hall of Prophecies in the secretive Department of Mysteries. Snape stated, under Veritaserum, that he was discovered at the door by innkeeper Aberforth Dumbledore, and forcibly evicted through a second storey window into the midden, having heard only part of this prophecy
The part he heard was: THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD APPROACHES, BORN TO THOSE WHO HAVE THRICE DEFIED HIM, BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES…
Not coincidentally, this radiant and elegant journalist believes, our missing boy-hero Harry Potter, was one of two boys born at the end of July. The other being Neville Longbottom, son of Franklin and Alice Longbottom, who were tortured to insanity by Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, and Bartemius Crouch Jr, son of the former head of the Department of International Cooperation and one time head of the DMLE. (See the reprinted article: BARTEMIUS CROUCH SENTENCED TO AZKABAN. Page 13)
This Death Eater spy took that information directly to his master, thus ensuring He Who Must Not Be Named focused his attention directly on the Potters and Longbottoms.
When this stylish and sophisticated correspondent attempted to interview Madam Longbottom, current Chief Witch of the Wizengamot, she became extremely belligerent, raised her wand and literally snarled; “My family has suffered enough. Neville does not know his parents because of that madman, and his parents do not recognise either of us! I will not have him to suffer further because of your insensitivity. You will leave us alone or I will hex first and ask questions later.” (How sane is Augusta Longbottom? Should she be allowed to control the Wizengamot? For indications that Madam Longbottom is involved in the International Conspiracy for Mercantile Profits, see page 5.)
Dumbledore is on record as saying that Severus Snape was in fact spying on He Who Must Not Be Named, at great personal risk, however, Snape’s testimony tells a different story. According to his own words, Snape was in fact, a willing and avid Death Eater, spying on Dumbledore, and not for him. The following statement was taken directly from Snape under Veritaserum: “The master ordered me to go to Dumbledore and confess that I just joined the Death Eaters and that I had overheard him saying he would target the Potters first. I was to pretend great remorse that my bringing the prophecy to the dark lord resulted in the blood traitor, the mudblood and their spawn being targeted. I was then to volunteer to spy on the master.” (Editor’s Note: We at The Daily Prophet abhor the use of that vile epithet, but as Snape’s testimony was reported verbatim, we felt it necessary to leave the word as it was uttered.)
Further questioning under the powerful truth potion, has told us exactly what Snape did to become a Death Eater and this reporter for one, is quite sickened and disgusted. The dark lord requires that his servants, and yes, that is exactly what he calls his Death Eaters, to torture, ravish and murder while using all three of the unforgivables on their victims. Moreover, while many of our ‘upstanding’ citizens have claimed ‘Imperius’. How can that be? To use an unforgivable, one must really ‘mean it’. Imperius robs the victim of conscious control over their actions, so how can they use those curses to take the dark mark? This reporter wants to know.
Severus Snape will be given a proper trial, unlike Sirius Black. (See the reprinted: SIRIUS BLACK INNOCENT. PETER PETTIGREW FOUND ALIVE. UNSUNG HERO SENT TO AZKABAN BY CHIEF WARLOCK DUMBLEDORE. Page 17)
If convicted, and given such damning testimony, he most likely will be, Snape stands to several life sentences in Azkaban Prison, if not the Dementor’s Kiss.
Following his usual obstructionist policy, Dumbledore has made himself unavailable for comment.
As both Lucius and Narcissa were marked, Draco was expected to remain with the Child Services Division for a few weeks more, before he could be placed; but on learning of her sister’s incarceration, Andi Tonks stepped forward and offered to foster him.
When asked why, Andi answered; “He’s a child. What kind of society would we be if we were to hold him accountable for his parents’ crimes?”
Leslie Anne Bettows of the Child Services Division agreed and began to process the parchmentwork.
On Christmas Eve, Sirius Black woke to the sound of a howler.
SIRIUS ORION BLACK! The bright red letter shrieked at him. IT’S BEEN SIX BLOODY MONTHS SINCE MUM GOT YOUR LAZY ARSE OUT OF AZKABAN! WHY THE BLOODY HELL HAVEN’T YOU VISITED…OR FLOOED, OR EVEN WRITTEN? IS THAT TOO HARD? Sirius winced as the howler expounded at length about his breeding, fashion sense and probable hygiene, before exploding with enough force to knock him over the edge of the bed.
The worst part of it was, he couldn’t identify the voice. It was female, of curse, and young, and probably pretty, but that was about all. Moony was able to think more clearly, and wondered; “Who the ruddy hell was that?”
“No idea. Sounded cute though.”
“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” Remus rapidly waved his hands before him in a universally recognized ‘Back off!’ manner. “Sirius, didn’t you hear? She said ‘My mum!’ That barrister Chapman doesn’t have any children. The only other people who helped get you out were Harry, Amelia and Andromeda, and Amelia doesn’t have kids either. Since you told me Andromeda was working for Chapman; that means whoever it was, is related. If Andi’s her mum, then that means she’d have to be your…I think niece. Yeah, whatsername.”
“My niece? I don’t have a…hold on a tic.”
Harry chose that moment to enter, his face still damp from his morning scrub-up. Like Sirius, he’d been alerted by the howler, though not quite as loudly. “Your cousin’s daughter is She Who Will Not Be Named, otherwise known as Nymphadora Tonks. I think she’s right. You, my canine uncle, need to get thee hence and get ready to do some serious, as it were, groveling.” Remus groaned at the familiar pun.
Sirius immediately took on a face like a rainy day. He wasn’t used to apologizing…not for real anyway, but Andi would know if he was piling on the rubbish.
He pondered his dire situation before hitting on a fabulous idea. Bribery! Yeah, that should work! He worked through all the things that he knew Andi liked, unfortunately, he didn’t’ have any of them here.
“Should I bring them something?”
“That might be a good idea, but nothing tacky.” Harry smiled.
“Oi!” Sirius protested. “What makes you think I’d bring something tacky?”
“I know you.” Came Harry’s bland reply.
Remus chuckled. “He’s got you there, Pads.”
“Shut up.” Sirius growled.
Harry spoke again before the two Marauders could start.
“Andi’s a Buddhist, so how about some jasmine scented joss sticks?”
“Incense. They’re short incense sticks you can buy at an Asian market.”
“Will you come with? Help me pick out the right type?”
Harry sighed, but agreed. “After Breakfast.”
On the way out, Harry pressed a ten pound note on Sirius, saying; “This will be a mundane store. They won’t take Galleons.”
About an hour later the three were in a quiet little store that somehow exuded the feeling of peace and serenity. In one area were many ornately carved cabinets of various sizes, each having one or two sets of doors, the purpose of which was to Sirius, a complete mystery. Shelves to one side were filled with bowl-shaped brass bells with tones ranging from deep to sharp. There were matched sets of cups and candle holders, golden circular medallions on pedestals depicting birds with their wings in a circle, and assorted other bric-a-brac. A short, older Asian woman with grey hair, and wearing a white shirt over black trousers greeted them. Harry stepped forward, bowed politely, and explained in a language nether of the two Marauders understood. She smiled and turned to Sirius.
“You would like incense?” She asked in heavily accented English.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Your cousin is Buddhist?”
“Yes, though I didn’t know it until today.”
Harry stepped in saying; “Gomennasai, Gozaimasu.” Then turned and spoke to Sirius. “There are around eighty five Buddhist sects in the world, each with it’s own traditions. While the Buddhists are far more easygoing than other faiths, what would be a gift in one might not be in another.”
“Ah.” Sirius replied, not really understanding. Religion was rare in the western Wizarding culture, as most organized religions had gone out of their ways to vilify, or even demonize magic…and magic users. Belief in the pagan gods still existed in Europe and the states, but even that was dying out.
“What sex are they?”
“What sect, with a ‘t’.” Harry corrected as Remus stifled a snort. He returned his attention to the woman. “Nichiren.”
She turned to a shelf and brought forth three differently colored boxes. Seeing as how the child before her had the understanding, she spoke to him in rapid Japanese. He nodded and translated.
“These are among the most commonly used scents in Nichiren households, the gold is sandalwood, the red is rose, and violet one is the Jasmine. Since I know Andromeda doesn’t care for roses, I’d recommend you buy one sandalwood and one jasmine.”
“Touch the gold box. Don’t tap it, but touch it, and then the violet one. She’ll understand that you want to buy them.”
Sirius did as Harry told him and received a friendly nod in return.
She wrapped the boxes in a heavy white paper tied with string, and placed them on the countertop, saying; “Eight pounds, eighty.”
Sirius nervously passed over the tenner hoping it would be enough. She counted out one pound twenty but Harry curled her hand over the money with his and smiled. She smiled broadly back, bowed and said: “Domo Arigatou, Gozaimasu.”
“Dou itashimashite.” He returned with a bow of his own.
When they’d returned home, Remus asked; “When did you learn to speak Japanese?”
“About eight hundred years ago.”
“Wow. This is going to take some getting used to.”
“You’re telling me?” Harry shot back with a barely hidden smile. “I don’t have to eat all my meals in pill form anymore, and the damned dirty apes haven’t taken control yet.”
Sirius did a doubletake sputtering; “Apes!?!” as they’d just watched Charlton Heston a few days previous.
Harry just stared at the ceiling and whistled while Remus fell apart laughing.
After he’d recovered from the joke, Sirius pleaded with both Harry and Remus to accompany him on his mission to expiate himself. They both accepted, but Harry quietly sumoned his camera…for documentary purposes only, of course.
The Tonks’ home was a nice two-storey lap-sided saltbox with a sand colored roof and dark green shutters. It sat on the end lot of a tree-lined cul de sac in Bucklesham. They rang the bell and the door instantly swung open, though there was nobody present. They stepped into a glassed-in atrium with heavy reddish tiles on the floor and comfortable looking seats along the walls. Directly in front of them was a glowing sign that read; ‘SHHHH!’ and they could hear what sounded like unfocused music from the next room. Harry smiled and took a seat, gesturing his companions to do the same. Lifted eyebrows from both Marauders prompted him to explain in a near whisper; “Just now, they’re chanting. It’s a form of meditation. They’ll be done within a few minutes.” He lifted a magazine and began to read. Seeing as how they had no choice anyway, both older men did the same.
Ten minutes later, the chanting came to a stop with the ringing of a bell. Harry set the magazine down and stood. Remus and Sirius followed suit.
Moments later a woman with a friendly smile and dark brown hair, entered the atrium.
“Sirius!” She greeted him with a hug.
“Hello, Andi.” He returned warmly.
“Damn you boy, don’t you know how to write? I’ve been going crazy wondering how you were!”
“Yeah. I found that out this morning. I’m sorry, Andi. I’ve been kind of busy trying to get my life in order and taking care of James Junior over there, that I forgot all about thanking you.”
Andi turned her head and when she saw the black-haired boy sighed; “Harry Potter.”
“Hello, Mrs. Tonks.” Harry greeted her. “I also want to thank you for your work in getting the dole sponge here, out of prison.”
“Dole sponge?” Sirius protested. Harry ignored him.
“If it wasn’t for Nymmy’s howler this morning, we probably wouldn’t have visited for years.”
“Howler?” Andi gaped, and then yelled; “NYMPHADORA!”
Immediately a teenager with dark red hair stormed in yelling; “Muum! Don’t call me Nymp…Oh! Ummm.” She’d seen their guests.
“That’s right. Oh! Ummm!” Andi growled back, then added; “A howler?”
Nymphadora turned pink…hair included. “Well, umm, he hasn’t called an’ it’s been six months an, I just wanted to get him here cause he’s your favorite cousin an…” Poor Nymphadora stopped talking and just looked at her shoes.
With uncharacteristic empathy, Sirius stepped forward and wrapped his little cousin in warm arms, saying; “Thank you, Dorrie.”
She seemed more accepting of ‘Dorrie’ than of her given name, and snuggled into her cousin’s arms.
Andi introduced them to Ted, who’d been snickering at the entire display, and escorted them into the lounge. Tea was steeping and so as soon as they were settled, Ted went to ready a tray.
Their visit was as such visits usually are; enlightening and embarrassing at the same time.
Andi thanked him sincerely but not profusely for the Joss sticks, and promised to use them as soon as her current box was empty.
They turned to family things and Andi ‘let it slip’ that Tonks had been lusting after a certain redhead with a fascination for dangerous, winged, and usually fire-breathing animals.
This, of course, earned her an outraged glare from her daughter, and a long, drawn out; “MUUUUUUMMMM!”
Harry had never known that Tonks had dated Charlie Weasley while in Hogwarts. Given their personalities, he thought the easygoing dragon wrangler would be a good match for her, not to mention he felt that Remus was far too old for her. In the world he’d grown up in, they’d connected, but it was a war, and during wartime, people often did desperate things. This time, with Voldemort and Dumbledore both on the way out, there would be no war, and they could grow up without the interference of two old megalomaniacs who, as Merlin had told him; “Presumed to think themselves gods, and waged war to divide the Earth betwixt themselves.”
On he other hand, he still had to set his uncles up with women who could tolerate them.
That afternoon, Harry trotted across the frozen ground to Hermione’s home, bearing a stack of presents. Remus and Sirius followed him with more gifts.
Judith invited them in and an excited Hermione bounced up to Harry hugging him fiercely and giving him a little kiss on the cheek. Both blushed brightly, and the adults there wisely didn’t say anything.
Hermione led Harry to the tree where, according to Granger tradition, the presents would be piled, rather than having a stack on each person’s bed. The Grangers felt it was more fun to see the recipient’s face as he or she opened the present.
Dinner was a festive affair with laughter and lively conversation. Christmas carols played from the stereo, filling the background with joyful sound.
Sirius Remus and Harry had decided to simply stay over rather than return to their own home, so as to share in the next morning’s gift exchange as soon everybody was awake.
After supper, they toasted cheese, bread and chestnuts, told stories of Christmases long past and sang carols, and generally had a great time.
At Sirius’ behest, but unbeknownst to the Grangers, Moppet popped silently into the kitchen, cast a soundproofing charm and began to prepare the next day’s feast.
A thousand years old or not, Harry’s body was five and at around nine thirty, freed from most of his adult responsibilities, he allowed himself to drift off to sleep, cuddled together with his Hermione in a little ball on the couch.
After taking some blackmail photos, the Grangers picked up the sleeping children and carried them to their beds with the Marauders following close behind. Tucking the two in, all four adults kissed them goodnight before turning off the lights and departing down the stairs.
Harry would have been embarrassed and gratified at the same time, to know of the gentle care they showed him.
Christmas morning dawned under a freshly laid blanket of snow. It was in fact almost seven before the bushy haired brunette opened her eyes. Immediately she bounced from her bed and raced to Harry’s room. Flinging the door open she woke everyone in the household by shouting; “Harry! It’s Christmas!”
Not satisfied her yell had done the trick; she followed up by leaping onto his bed and pulling his blankets off.
Harry, never a fan of early mornings, mostly due to the Dursley’s tender mercies, buried his head under the pillow…for all the good it did him. Hermione yanked the pillow away and threw it across the room, bouncing up and down on her best friend.
Harry decided enough was enough and immediately began to reacquaint himself with Hermione’s very sensitive flanks.
She screamed as he tickled her, falling off the bed in the process. The shriek followed by the distinctive thump had all four adults tumbling out of their own beds, and into Harry’s room. There, they find the two youngsters tickling each other mercilessly.
Judith and Remus had both grabbed their cameras as they left their respective rooms, and now snapped away, hoping for moments in the future to use them to embarrass their kids.
Peals of laughter rebounded from the walls as Harry and Hermione both tried to find an advantage. Unfortunately for them both, they discovered each was as ticklish as the other.
Judith and Mackenzie finally separated the happy combatants and ordered them into the bathroom to brush their teeth before heading down to their presents.
‘Presents’ was the magic word, as it were. Both children raced to the bathrooms to brush up.
Downstairs a tray had appeared with mugs of hot chocolate and piled with sticky-sweet and utterly tooth-destroying cinnamon buns. The Granger’s eyebrows lifted at the display of magic, but having gotten, if not used to, at least accepting of magic over the past months, they understood when Remus introduced them to Moppet. The little elf explained how she was bonded to the house Potter and was very happy being of service. She also explained that she was well aware of their sugar restrictions. They thanked her and told her that Christmas was one of very few days that the dentists would relent and allow their daughter to let loose. This year had been the exception. They did, however, take Hermione aside and demand that she brush extra carefully after she opened her presents.
Her presents included quite a few items of clothing to replace those she’d grown out of, some costume jewelry, a lockable diary for her secret thoughts, some drawing pencils and paper for her burgeoning artistic skills, some puzzles and games including the infamous ‘Mousetrap’ which they all had fun playing. Remus had gotten her a model of the galaxy that Judith eyed with interest. If this was accurate, and Remus assured her it was, she could study the stars when the sky was overcast. In England, that was pretty much all the time.
Sirius bought her a training broom, and one for Harry as well. When the Grangers started to object, Harry explained the height and speed limitations to them and told them that the wards he’d placed around their homes included one that prevented the neighbors from seeing things too clearly in their backyards. Flying would be perfectly safe, as long as they didn’t do anything too stupid. He also explained that he was an expert flyer and an accomplished coach.
Remus got her a wizard’s chessboard and promised her to teach her to play, which garnered him a million watt smile. Both adult Grangers were fascinated by the animated pieces, but not so thrilled when Harry told them what happened to them during a game.
From Diagon alley, Harry bought her a locket with a half-carat sapphire inset in the front. The stone anchored some very powerful enchantments including a ward to let him know if she was under attack, and a reusable portkey, to escape such an attack should she need to. He’d show her how to use it later. Engraved in a beautiful boilerplate script, around the stone were the words, “Hermione and Harry, best friends forever.” From Harrods, he’d gotten her a pink ‘My little Pony’ with purple hearts on it’s sides, which he’d enchanted to gambol and play just like its television counterpart.
Needless to say, she was thrilled.
For the elder Grangers, Sirius had gotten a large ever-warm throw for snuggling under. And Remus had provided a selection of elf-made wines.
Then the jokes started. Harry had gotten collars for Sirius and Remus. Padfoot’s collar was a diamond-studded band in a fetching shade of pink, with the words; Everybody’s Favorite Hound Dawg inscribed on a golden plate.
For Remus it was a heavy black strap with stainless buckles and sharp studs all around. It also carried an inscription. I can make it to the gate in three seconds…can you?
Remus’ gift to Harry was a black T-shirt with the legend; BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!
Sirius got him a stuffed black dog that peed on him whenever he hugged it.
From Hermione he got a twined friendship bracelet of brown, purple and green yarn. He had her tie it onto him that very second, and hugged his thanks, making both children turn cherry red.
The Grangers got him a brown leather-bound journal and a personalized gold-nibbed fountain pen made of rosewood, which he adored. The elder Grangers took great pleasure in telling him the pen was Hermione’s contribution.
As a joke, they got Harry and Hermione matching jumpers in blue and black with HIS and HERS on the fronts. Again, both kids resembled beetroots.
In a Ministry receiving home in London, little Draco Malfoy was scared. His father had told him never to show fear, but his father wasn’t there. All around him were big people he didn’t know, and that frightened him. Dobby wouldn’t come like he usually did and Draco wondered if something had happened to the elf.
The ladies at the receiving home wished him a happy Christmas, but Draco wasn’t happy, not in the slightest. He wanted to go home! He wanted his own room and his own bed and his own clothing but most importantly, he wanted his mummy!
Instead, he got someone else. She looked like his mother but not exactly. Andromeda Tonks sat down on the floor and said; “Hello, Draco. My name is Andi. I’m your aunt.”
“Mummy tol me my aun’ was named Bellatrix an’ she’s in prison for being a pureblood.”
Andi sighed. Narcissa had always placed far too much belief in the pureblood rhetoric, and now it would come back to her. “Draco, that’s not exactly true. You have two aunts; me, and my sister, Bellatrix. Your Aunt Bella is in prison for hurting people. The reason you don’t know me is that my aunt Walburga, disowned me when I married my husband, you see, my family has always insisted that only purebloods are good enough to marry. My husband is a muggleborn.”
“You’re the blood trader who married the mudblood?”
“Draco!” Andi was outraged that her nephew would know such a disgusting word as that…especially at his tender age. He shied away from her at her outburst.
“That is a horrible word, and I don’t ever want to hear it again! Yes, you are a pureblood, and so am I, but that doesn’t mean that we are any better than anybody else. That kind of thinking is wrong, and it only leads to hate and pain. Now, because you’re family, I’ve offered to take you into my home as family. I’m your sister’s closest relation, after all, but if you want, we can try to find someone else.”
Draco had been in this place for less than three days and he already didn’t like it. He held out his arms pleadingly.
Andi gathered up one of the youngest victims of the Death Eaters’ bigotry and held him close. Draco, for his part, revelled in her embrace. It was very much like his mother’s, except not so stiff.
Sitting the boy on her knee, she said; “Now, we’re going to have to have some rules.”
“Yes, rules. Rules are a part of life. If you want to get along with the people around you, you have to live by a set of rules. They tell you what you can and cannot do and tell other people the same.”
“OK.” He whispered, wondering what he’d gotten himself into.
“Now the first rule is this: The word Mudblood is absolutely forbidden. If you use it, I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap…understand?”
~Wash what?~ he wondered. Still having to give up a word he really didn’t use anyway, wasn’t all too hard. He nodded.
“Good. Next rule. We don’t have a house elf like Dobby, so we all chip in and get things done. That means you will clean your room by yourself, and help to clean the rest of the house…I said help…not do it all. My little girl, Dorrie will show you what you have to do. Do you understand?”
“I don’t know how to do that.”
“Don’t worry. It’s not hard.” Andi smiled. Hopefully she’d gotten to the boy before the training his parents had given him had gotten too deep to undo. She knew her sister was headed for a cell in Azkaban, and so it was her responsibility to teach this darling little boy that their ideals weren’t as wonderful as they’d thought.
Boxing day wasn’t a comfortable day for Remus. The full moon would be at around seven-thirty the next morning, so he’d miss the hardest part of this cycle; he wouldn’t transform, but he’d been feeling off for the past few days and Judith had noticed. When she’d cornered him on it, he’d had to admit that he’d been keeping a terrible secret.
“A werewolf.” She repeated in a flat tone. “A real werewolf? Like as in changing into a furry bloodthirsty monster under the full moon and running around howling for fresh meat, kind of werewolf?”
“Erm…” Remus was more flustered than he could imagine. Given the Granger’s acceptance of Harry Sirius and himself with all their foibles he had, for once in his life, completely forgotten about his affliction. “I don’t go howling for fresh meat…” He answered, somewhat lamely.
Harry chose that moment to speak up. “Mrs. Granger, Remus is a werewolf because he was bitten by a psychopath when he was five. He’s lived with this disease for the past twenty few years. Even now, ‘Mione is working on a treatment for him. You don’t have to worry about Hermione’s safety. Remus takes tremendous precautions to prevent anybody from getting close enough to even chance being bitten.”
“Well, for starters, there’s a little storeroom in the ‘Book Cave’, with a two inch armored steel door. It’s stronger than your average bank vault. He’s spent the last two moon cycles in there. Conversely, I can also run with him in the Forbidden Forest on Hogwarts grounds. That’s a magical forest filled with people of all species, from Acromantulas to Zoophytes.”
“How can you run with him? Can’t you be bitten?”
“Werewolves aren’t dangerous to other animals. Sirius is an animagus. So am I. He turns into a large black dog.” Sirius complied by becoming Padfoot. As he shifted back, Harry went on. “Me, I have several forms, an advantage of having lived for as long as I have.”
“What forms, Harry?” Sirius asked. He’d never considered that his young/old godson could be an animagus.
Harry sighed. “Well you’ve already met one form, Sirius.” With that, he shifted form becoming the sparhawk called Swift, who’d delivered the note telling Sirius he was still amongst the breathing. Shifting back, he snickered as Padfoot and Judith both gaped at him, then shifted again. This time, he became a medium sized black cat, just as Hermione wandered in. As soon as he saw him, she plopped down on the floor to caress the pretty stray, and dragging Harry into her lap, she asked. “Mummy, can I keep him, pleeease?”
Judith couldn’t help but snicker, as Harry became Harry once again, this time on Hermione’s lap. “You can keep me as long as you want.”
Hermione squeaked in shock while the adults laughed.
Judith smiled, but refused to be drawn from her topic. “I’m amazed, Harry, really, but if Remus becomes a werewolf…well aren’t you in danger of…well…being eaten?”
“Oi!” came from Remus’ who was more than a little insulted by the idea, while Sirius hastened to explain that their former friend Peter had never been in danger from his furry companion, and wolves frequently hunted rats. Harry waited until they’d run down before saying: “I don’t think Remus could handle eating me.” before becoming a huge black and grey wolf, easily six feet long and weighing in at eighty-five kilos. That brought shocked stares from everybody; everybody but Hermione, who squealed, scrambled to her feet and darted from the room. Harry immediately shifted back and went after her.
“Please, Hermione!” He cried out, as she disappeared up the stairs. “Don’t be afraid of me!”
“I’m not.” She hollered back. “I want a picture!”
Harry nearly melted in relief. Hermione pelted down the stairs with her little camera and ordered him to change back.
The adults peered into the lounge to find Hermione directing Harry in pose after pose while happily snapping photos.
“Judith, I have held Remus under control as Padfoot, and I don’t weigh nearly as much as that wolf.”
Judith had to sit down. This was going to take some getting used to.
As he’d expected, Remus didn’t transform, but he was still irritable and surly that entire day. He tried to keep his distance…just in case, and for the most part it worked, but at around seven, Hermione kissed him good night and told him she hoped he’d feel better in the morning. It was the first time in nearly twenty years that anybody had done that and he felt a tear slide down his cheek. He hugged the little girl good night and retired to number thirty-two. Harry found him in the cellar admiring the My Little and offered him the choice of sleeping in the little starship or in his storage room.
‘Mione seconded the invitation, and so, Remus Lupin walked onboard a sentient starship, had a good meal, conversed for a few hours with an intellect superior to his own, and for the first time in many years, had a restful nights’ sleep.
On December thirty first, Hermione was as excited as any six year old can be. Tonight, for the very first time in her whole life, she was going to be allowed to stay up until midnight! She and Harry played together, watched ‘Matilda’ on the telly, practiced the piano, had a snowball fight with the left over snow from the Boxing Day fall, wrestled and played some more.
Unfortunately, that pretty much wore them both out.
As on Christmas Eve, they both crashed long before they intended to, although they did manage to fight sleep until almost eleven, and as on Chiristmas Eve, the adults gathered the two up and tucked them in.
New Years Day dawned cold, damp and grey, and yet there was the feeling of something new having been brought to the world. There was a freshness, a sense of coming excitement for the next year.
Two sleep-rumpled children woke to find the house pristine and breakfast waiting. Moppet had popped in after everyone had gone to bed and had cleaned up the mess that the adults had made.
They ate and then, sat in the lounge watching cartoons on the Beeb.
The adults left their beds at a quarter after nine, and stumbled down the stairs to the kitchen, where they found hot tea and coffee and a sausage and egg breakfast awaiting them. Just as they’d tucked in, Moppet appeared with hangover potions, and a scolding for any who needed them. Interestingly enough, it was only Sirius who’d overindulged. The rest of the adults could only snicker as the little elf told off the much larger human for drinking too much. Sirius could only hang his head in shame until she was done.
A/N: Bhuddists are amongst the few organized religions who do not condemn magic.
£8.80 may seem like a lot for two boxes of incense, but during that time frame, I paid an average of US$8.oo per box of 100 sticks, and with the average exchange rate in the 80’s and 90’s, of £1.8:$1.oo, it works out.
Chanting: Buddhists take chanting seriously. It’s both a form of meditation and a prayer at the same time. Also if you listen to the chanting in the background during the Buddhist temple scene in the movie ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ you’ll see what I mean about sounding like unfocused music.
At this point, Nymphadora would be about thirteen.
Remus/Tonks: one half your age plus seven years. He was born in 59-60, given that James official birth-year is 1960, he would have been about 21 when he died. Lily was a few months older I believe. Tonks would have been born in 74 because she told Harry in OotP (July of 95), that she “only qualified last year”, three years of Auror training on top of that, plus seventeen years would make her birth year 1974. In ‘98 she would have been 24 and he would have been 38-39. Using the ½+7 rule, she would have been two to three years under that mark. Using the alternate ‘age minus fifteen years’, she would have just barely made it.