An AU of a Sixth Year AU Story: What would have happened if two liberal American druids had taken Harry to America, before returning with him to Hogwarts? In this chapter, Harry meets Neville and ...
Saturday, July 13, 1991
Harry tumbled out of the fireplace, and as usual managed to land upright. His two siblings tumbled out behind him, and he helped young Henry to his feet (he knew Sabrina would resent it). His step-father came next, while their mother apparated next to them.
Once Harry and Sabrina had made Henry presentable, their parents introduced them to their hosts.
"This is our hostess, Madam Longbottom," Tabitha said, presenting the stern middle-aged woman to her children. "And this is Neville Longbottom, whom I've spoken of. Madam Longbottom, Neville, this is our adopted son Henry Evans and our children Sabrina and Henry."
"Evans?" Madam Longbottom asked.
"Well," Harry said with a smile that to her surprise the stern old witch returned, "that's been my name for almost ten years, anyway."
"What was it before then?" Neville asked, curiously.
"Harry Potter," Harry said. He was surprised at how wide Neville's eyes went with the surprise.
"Really?" Neville asked, a little awe-struck. "You're the Harry Potter?"
"Is there more than one?" Harry joked.
"Well, Mister Potter, welcome back to Britain," Madam Longbottom said. "Neville, take Harry and his siblings outside to play or plant or something. Oh, do try not to forget this -- he is Harry Evans until you reach Hogwarts."
"Actually, make it Henry Evans," Tabitha said. "To be on the safe said.
"You heard that, Neville?"
"Yes, Gran." Neville turned to Harry. "Do you like gardens? We have quite a nice one. . . ."
The children left the reception hall.
"Does Neville have memory problems?" Tabitha asked sharply.
"He does," Madam Longbottom said. "That fool Fudge messed with the boy's mind at the age of two! Two! I'm surprised the boy can even access part of his magic!"
"Can't anything be done?" Henry asked.
"We don't know," she said. "If I tried to get treatment for him, Fudge would have the Ministry after us. The stupid . . . well, I can't really say what I think of him."
"Shall I try to help him?" Tabitha asked gently.
"Well, that's the reason Dumbledore suggested when he asked me to invite you to come," the formidable witch stated. "After all, Neville may become acquainted with the Potter boy at school in any event." Then she noticed the looks she was getting, especially from Tabitha, and quickly backpedaled. "Not that I'm not happy to host you! I'm just very concerned for Neville's well-being. . . ."
"I understand," Henry said, since Tabitha was still glaring.
"I shall need your permission to enter Neville's sub-conscious and memories through his dreams," Tabitha finally stated. "There is likely little I can do for him as a 'quick-fix' without stirring up a lot of pain, although I will try not to cause him any tonight."
"I understand. We shall see how things go tonight then."
Sunday, July 14, 1991
"I understand from the house elf that you have ordered Neville to sleep in?" Madam Longbottom stated with an air of authority. "Is that necessary? He is a very lazy boy, always late."
"It is," Tabitha responded. "He needed his rest after my examinations last night. I doubt if he will remember any of it, but he would be very disoriented this morning without some really deep, healing sleep. We may be able to give him some good news, so he won't feel too guilty about having slept in."
"I see. And that good news would be?"
"His mind is not physically damaged. The obliviation, however, has affected much of his short-term memory. It will take one night of terror, and perhaps two to three weeks of hard dream work, but I believe I can really help him. He will still be a bit more absent-minded than the average boy, but he will find school-work much easier, and I believe his magic will increase a great deal." Tabitha frowned. "There is one other thing that will help that."
"And that is?"
"He should have a properly-matched wand. While he is pleased you would trust him with his father's, Neville may fall a bit behind in classes like Charms and Transfiguration otherwise."
"We're taking Harry to Ollivander's. We were planning on going soon, but I really need to work with Neville. Perhaps we can go on the boys' birthday?"
"Neville believes his birthday is the Thirtieth," Madam Longbottom said. Seeing the questioning look, she added, "I am not certain why Dumbledore suggested the slight deception."
"We believe there must have been some prophecy made, that could have applied to either Harry or Neville," Tabitha answered. "While it almost certainly applies to Harry. . . ."
"That could be the real reason why Frank and Alice were targeted," Madam Longbottom concluded. "Yes, you may be right. I saw no reason why those evil people might have thought they knew where that evil being might be hiding. If Frank had known, the aurors would have gone after that beast. They would not have held back."
"Exactly. Well, do I have your permission to talk to Neville? I really can't go forward without his conscious permission."
"Yes, I believe you must. Can the process hurt Neville in any way?"
"It cannot damage Neville in any way, but it will certainly contain much emotional hurt," Tabitha said honestly. "In a sense, we are tearing thick scar tissues to create smaller ones.
"Then go talk with him."
"Thank you, Madam Longbottom."
"You mean, I won't be forgetful? I won't be as clumsy?" Neville asked eagerly.
"You won't be as forgetful," Tabitha repeated. "I have no idea if it will help your physical coordination or not. It will certainly not be worse."
Neville squared his shoulders. "Then we'll do it."
"Good lad," Tabitha said. 'Here is another lad marked for Gryffindor,' Tabitha thought proudly. "Alice and Frank would be proud of you," she added aloud. Neville beamed.
Monday, July 15, 1991
The Ministry of Magic
"Please, sir. . . ."
"I have shown I am an auror of the North American Confederation, with authority from the International, the Warlocks, and the Old Believers," Henry stated. "I may not surrender my wand."
"What's your problem, Franklin?" a growled demanded.
"Oh, Mister Moody! This man won't surrender. . . ."
"Does he have the proper documentation?"
"Yes, sir. . . ."
"Then he's right," Moody growled, "and you know it."
"Very well, sir."
Henry turned to thank Moody, but the words stuck in his throat.
"What's the matter, lad? Look different, do I?"
"You do," Henry admitted. "What . . . how. . . ."
"Come along, unless you have an appointment soon?"
"No," Henry said as they walked away, "I came in early. I have an appointment with Fudge at Eleven."
"Two hours early, huh? Got other people to meet?"
"Yes, I do. Just to visit, of course."
"Of course," Moody agreed. They went in silence until they were in a small office. Moody waved a silencing spell into place.
"If you're wondering how I got so bloody banged up," Moody snarled, "it's because the series of idiots we've had since Voldemort's fall have cut the aurors down below the strength we had before the bastard got started. I was sent out on missions alone that should have had at least two, if not four, aurors. Lost my leg on the last one, but they allowed me to come in on limited desk duty until the First of August, when I'll have my seventy-five years in."
"I see." Moody was more than banged up. He had more scars than a werewolf and was missing an eye (replaced by a magical one that was difficult to look into), the lower part of a leg (replaced by a peg-leg that ended in a claw), and a chunk of his nose. "Where are you retiring to?" Henry asked casually.
Moody made a startling face. "I have a little cottage hidden in amongst the Muggles. Used it as a safe-house. I don't like it, but the area has become run-down and I can't get a decent price for it."
"Where would you have liked to retire to?"
Moody's good eye squinted at him. "Hogsmeade. Why?"
"We'll sell you a small place in Hogsmeade, since there's one suitable," Henry told the old auror.
"Why?" Moody asked again.
"Because Tabitha and I, and our children, are going to be living there for a while."
"You!" Moody said in an excited hiss as he made the connections. "You two are the ones who must have taken the Potter boy!"
"Exactly. And having an experienced local resource would certainly be helpful."
"So Harry Potter will be at Hogwarts. . . ."
"Unless my meeting with Fudge goes very badly, yes."
"Ah. Fudge is an idiot. Convince him it's in his best political interest and he'd bend over and offer his arse to a giant."
Henry winced at the image, but said, "If he gets on the wrong side of us, especially Tabitha, he'd prefer the giant."
Moody smiled another scarred smile. "May I know why else you're here?"
"Harry needs some people he knows in his year, especially those who will likely be in his House. He's met Neville Longbottom, and the next mostly likely boy we were told he should get to know would be a Ronald Weasley."
"One of Arthur Weasley's boys? Good man, Arthur." Moody smiled again. "Which House you think the boy will be in?"
"Probably Gryffindor, although I guess an argument could be made for any of the others," Henry admitted.
"Well, we'll see. Go on and meet Arthur. You'll like him, but don't be fooled by his enthusiasms and mild manner. There's a core of steel in that one."
"That's good to know. May I use your quill?"
"Sure, go ahead. That one won't bite."
Henry looked at the quill warily, but wrote on the back of one of his Muggle-style business cards.
"That one can be trusted?" Moody asked. When Henry looked surprised, Moody just tapped his magical eye. Henry understood, and just nodded. Moody also understood the cryptic name was that of a Gringotts' goblin, who would arrange for the money needed for the cottage in Hogsmeade.
Wednesday, July 31, 1991
Harry and the four Dorffs flooed to the Leaky Cauldron at 9:00. Henry escorted Harry into the Alley proper, while Tabitha checked on the arrangements for lunch.
"Wow," Harry said, looking about in awe. "This is a lot different than Carantouan."
"It is," Henry agreed. "The magical districts in New York, Montreal, Philadelphia, and New Orleans are more like this, only the first two are even bigger. Come on, first stop, Gringotts."
"Then where to, Dad?" Harry asked eagerly.
"Well, you already have nearly everything you need. We do need the school uniforms, though, and we want to see if we can get you a better wand. Anything else you need, birthday boy?"
"How about an owl?" Harry suggested.
"All right. Gringotts, Malkins, Ollivanders, Eeylops. I'll pick up your textbooks. Let's go."
Harry had quite liked his trip through Gringotts, although he had been truly astounded at the amount of money he had. His step-father had explained the Potter family's finances to him, but to actually see all that gold and silver in his 'current account' had been amazing.
He had also been introduced into someone who had to be a half giant. Hagrid, the grounds keeper at Hogwarts, had looked more than a bit wild and intimidating at first glance, but when Harry saw how glad his step-father was to see the being, Harry relaxed a little. In moments, Harry was glad he had met the friendly near-giant.
Hagrid had even ridden with them to the vaults, although he was very secretive about what he was getting from vault 713. Whatever it was, it was something small, Harry saw, and it had been the only thing in the large vault. It was curious, but not really important. Harry was just glad that the cart ride was such fun.
He was rather bored now, however, as he stood being measured for his school robes while his step-father picked up his pre-ordered school books for him.
As he was standing being measured by one assistant, a blond boy came in with another.
"Hello," the boy said. "Hogwarts, too?"
"Yes, just starting."
"Me, too. My father is picking up my books while my mother is picking up my wand," the boy said in an exaggeratedly bored manner. "After we're done here, I want to look at the racing brooms! It's a shame we can't have our own until the Second year. Do you have a broom?"
"Oh, yes," Harry said. "A Golden Arrow."
"Never heard of it," the boy said with a sniff.
"It's an American racing broom," Harry told him.
"Oh. Do you play Quidditch?"
"No," Harry said in a frustrated tone. "They don't allow you to play Quidditch until you're thirteen on the town pitch. Quodpot is almost as much fun to play, although Quidditch is a lot more fun to watch."
"You're an American?"
"No, my parents were killed in the war, so I was went to America with some of their colleagues. I'm Henry Evans."
"Draco Malfoy. Which House do you think you'll be in? I'm hoping for Slytherin."
'That's another good reason to hope not to get Sorted there,' Harry thought, but what he said was, "I guess each House has something good to be said for it. Everyone I've met has said I could be sorted into any of them."
'Well,' Draco thought, 'at least he's not a Mudblood.'
Henry came in at that point, and Harry was glad to make his escape. There was just something about Draco Malfoy that made Harry uncomfortable.
When he mentioned it to his step-father, Henry nodded. He gestured slightly towards an elegant wizard striding towards the clothiers. "That's Lucius Malfoy, the boy's father. He was probably the number two man in You-Know-Who's command structure according to some, the number three man according to others."
"How did he get off?" Harry asked. He wasn't surprised that his step-father had used a euphemism for Voldemort. He had been told to do the same in public.
"The British wizarding world is still a rather eighteenth-century place. Connections mean more than truth."
"You mean he was able to bribe his way out of trouble?"
"Because there was little direct evidence," Henry added.
"Who was the real number two? Sirius Black?"
"We don't know," Henry said. "Remember, we don't know the full story of what happened the night your parents were killed. If Black was indeed the Secret Keeper, as he was supposed to be, then the official Ministry story is likely correct, and he may have even been the number two man, if Malfoy wasn't."
"Is there any doubt Black betrayed my parents?" Harry asked.
"Not much," Henry said. "I didn't know Sirius well, but I thought I knew him well-enough to be surprised at the idea of his betraying James, even today. Still, the real reason I have some doubts is because of how fast the whole thing was tied up, without even a trial."
"That's not legal, is it?"
"It is in Britain," Henry said with a slight snarl. "Remember that, son. You're not in North America now. They copied an idea from the British Muggles called the Defense of the Realm Act. Under DORA, they can do a lot of things under the name of security that are not really legal."
Harry thought upon that, and then something white caught his eye. "Oh, Dad!" Harry exclaimed, grabbing his step-father's arm.
"What is it, son?"
"That is the prettiest owl I've ever seen!"
Henry looked across the Alley at Eeylops, and decided Harry was right. "You go on into Ollivander's, and I'll see if that owl would be a good one for you, all right?"
"Just a moment!" A few seconds later, a man with white hair and strange silver eyes came in. "Ah. Harry Potter. I was told to expect you." The man gave Harry an absent, odd smile. "I remember every wand I have ever sold. It was only a few years ago, it feels like almost yesterday in fact, that I sold your father his wand. Mahogany and dragon heart string. Pliable, hinting at great powers in transfiguration. Your mother's first wand was a ten and a quarter inch willow and unicorn hair, very swishy. Excellent for charm work."
"What was her second?" Harry asked.
"Ah, willow again, and phoenix feather. She lost the first in a fire fight. Now, I had a note from Dumbledore. I was going to try something else first, do the standard measurements, but seeing you, I think I'll take his suggestion." The old man set a box on the counter and opened it. "Give this a swish."
Harry picked it up, and felt a warmth in his fingers. He swished it down, and a huge cascade of red and gold sparks filled the room.
"Excellent!" Ollivander cried out.
"What is it made from?" Harry asked.
"Holly and a phoenix tail feather," Ollivander replied. "Only two feathers from that phoenix have been used for a wand. I came across the first by accident. I put it in a yew wand. The very wand that gave you that scar you're trying to hide."
"We do not say the name," Ollivander said in a reproving tone. He gave Harry a chilling smile. "That is a very powerful wand you have, Mister Potter, so we must expect great things from you."
"He did terrible things, but was still a very powerful wizard, and he was almost certainly the most powerful member of his generation," Ollivander corrected. "I hope you will be equally great, although far less terrible."
"Thank you . . . I think."
Ollivander gave Harry a warmer smile now. "Seven galleons, please. And I will not even mention your name until you are safely at Hogwarts."
Harry paid and hurried from the shop. He was happy to be out in the sunlight, and was happier to see his step-father bringing the great snowy owl in a cage.
So far, it had been a happy birthday.
As the pair walked away, a small gaudy beetle flew off of Henry's cloak and went into a nearby open window on a third storey. The beetle transformed into Rita Skeeter, and she sat down on her small sofa, her heart beating.
She had followed Lucius Malfoy out of Knockturn Alley largely on a whim that morning. She knew very well that even if she could prove Malfoy had been lying about being under the Imperius Curse, she wouldn't get anywhere under the current Minister, and might very well end up dead.
She loved her job, but not that much. She had just been curious.
She had therefore followed young Malfoy into Madam Malkins more for practice than for any reason. She had been surprised to see Henry Dorff come in. She had met the man just once, back in November, 1981, when he had been trying to interview Sirius Black after his capture. The auror had had no more success than the media had.
Still curious, she had followed the man and his son out of Malkins, and now she had a scoop indeed.
Harry Potter had returned to Britain. Few had known where the Boy-Who-Lived had been since his parents death, and those few had not said. Even the current Minister didn't know.
Now, she knew.
The boy seemed to be traveling under an alias of some kind. She needed to check that out. She had a scoop, and if she could keep it, it might be a good idea to do so. But at some point, when she could make the biggest splash, the world would know.