So many people have asked me to write a sequel to my 'A SHOCKING DISCOVERY'. Here is my attempt at a story that was even more difficult to write than the original. I hope you enjoy it.
(The Butterfly Effect)
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (et al). That privilege goes to the talented and lovely J. K. Rowling, to whom I am eternally grateful both for a fascinating read and many bedtime stories.
A/N: I wish to thank my sister, FireLemming, for her beta work. She doesn’t even follow the Harry Potter fandom, preferring TLK, and yet, will take time to offer much-needed (although sometimes unappreciated) critical advice.
5:43 PM, (7:43 PM GMT) Jul 7th, 1985:
Somewhere in the forests of Albania, the rodents and snakes and small animals fled in terror. A scream of unadulterated agony burst forth, from a barely-there wraith, as it felt something….something vital, being torn brutally away.
7:44 PM, 7th July, Gringotts bank, Diagon Alley, London.
A young goblin looked up at the soft chime. A thick envelope appeared in the box. Griphook looked over the title on the envelope and rerouted it to the ‘Wills and Trusts’ department. He returned to his seat and began to peruse again, the tome on muggle currency he’d been studying.
Griphook, who had just returned from his fourty-years long ‘journeys of youth’, before settling himself to a proper and respectable career as a banker, was now in his first assignment at Gringotts. He’d been fortunate that Dak Graswold had taken an interest in him, as a distant relative. This position was one he should not have held for at least ten years more.
His temporary diversion complete, Griphook returned to the large book, idly dreaming of the day, hopefully soon to come, when the Goblins would control all the world’s gold.
8:21 PM, 7th July, # 7 Wisteria Walk.
“Albus Dumbledore! How could you!” Minerva McGonagall was far beyond furious, as it was possible to be. Her eyes were narrowed to slits, her face was, a deep red, and the vein in her forehead pulsed angrily.
That one of the furious women before him had no usable magic whatsoever, eased Dumbledore’s mind, not one jot. In fact, it seemed to only make his situation all the more dire. That there were more than a dozen angry kneasles gathered around the three, and glowering at him, did not help his peace of mind, either. Kneasles were fiercely protective of their cubs, and these ones, had long before adopted the messy haired waif.
“I told you…I TOLD YOU, they were the worst sort of muggles, but you refused to listen! You never listen to anyone! You, and you alone, the GREAT Albus Dumbledore, are the only one who knows anything! You alone know what is right and what is wrong! Well, let me tell you something, Albus. You Were WRONG!” Minerva held her hand to her breast and tried to recover a bit of her composure. Alas, ‘twas a futile effort. The more she thought of the poor, dead child, and of Dumbledore’s efforts in the current state of affairs, the angrier she became. She feared that if she couldn’t calm herself, she might have a coronary, or even a brainstorm.
Mrs. Figg took her turn. “I warned you time and time again that they were treating the poor boy miserably. Every single time, you just told me that he was safest there and did nothing at all! Well, guess, what, Albus. He’s safe now! No one can ever hurt him again!” The last words were screeched so loudly, they put a serious strain on the silencing charms Minerva had erected.
The kneasels began to prowl in a closing circle around the ancient headmaster, causing him no small amount of unease.
Minerva Screeched: “You swore to me…to us all, that Harry would be safe! You swore he would be cared for! You swore he would be loved! You never told us you would hand a baby over to vicious, brutal, murdering thugs! Where was the love? Where was the nurturing? Where was the comforting? Where did he turn when he was frightened…or hurt? Oh yes! Most likely they were the ones who frightened him, or hurt him in the first place! From what I heard the neighbors saying, this has been happening from the very first!”
Albus reached out to comfort his old friend, but to his dismay, she angrily pulled away. “Don’t you ever touch me again!” She growled.
Arabella got her second wind and launched a new attack.
“You have betrayed us all! You have betrayed the light, you have betrayed the order, you have betrayed Lily and James, and worst of all, you have betrayed a little boy! A little boy who saved us all from that madman! What’s more, if this prophesy of yours is true, you have betrayed the entire wizarding world! All for your stupid little games of superiority! Albus Dumbledore, you and you alone, are responsible for Harry Potter’s death, and I swear on whatever traces of magic I may have, I will see to it that there is an accounting!”
Minerva added sadly: “I used to trust you Albus, but you have become dangerous. I cannot…I will not, allow your arrogance to destroy us.” She took Arabella’s arm and they disapparated before the shocked Dumbledore could react.
8:32 PM, 7th July. Bones Manor, Lincolnshire.
“Minerva! Arabella! Do come in, please! Amelia Bones was happy to see her old friends, though puzzled by their abrupt appearance. In the background, a giggling five year old Susan was playing her nightly ‘but I don’t wanna go to bed’ game with Tootles and Moppet, the Bones’ house elves.
Dispensing with the pleasantries, Minerva just growled: “Amelia, we have to talk.”
A half hour later, a more-than-furious Amelia Bones was ready to tear Albus Dumbledore’s head off and mount it on a pike…in middle of the ministry’s atrium.
9:03 PM, 7th July, #6 Privet Drive:
“Mrs. Ogilvie, if you knew what was happening, why didn’t you contact someone?” Inspector Timmons asked, incredulous that someone would know of the abuse for so long without doing anything about it.
“Well, I didn’t feel it was my place to get involved in something like…”
“Mrs. Ogilvie, Your refusal to get involved, has cost a child his life this night.” Timmons knew he would catch some trouble for saying that. He also knew that as soon as he returned home, he would hug his daughters tightly to him and let them know, in no uncertain terms, how dearly he loved them.
“Now, see here!” Mr. Ogilvie blustered loudly. “You’ve no cause to say that! My wife has given you the information you asked for. You’ve no right to accuse her of anything like that!” The homeowner’s face was filled with anger and fear.
“Quite the contrary, Mr. Ogilvie.” Timmons replied coolly. “In the commonwealth of Great Britain, under a law introduced by Lady Diana Spencer, and enacted into law nearly ten years ago, anyone who knows of, or suspects the abuse or neglect of a minor child, must notify the nearest constabulary. By failing to do so, you and your wife have made yourselves accessories to a murder. I don’t know if the Magistrate will prefer charges against you, but I can tell you this, all the Magistrates in this area have children.”
9:34 PM, July 7th, Near Taunton, Somerset:
The telephone rang, interrupting Vernon Dursley’s tales of woe once again. He’d been describing the drain on his resources that ‘the freak’ represented. It was his favorite topic of discussion. Truth be told, as he received a rather tidy monthly stipend to care for the boy, his tales were more than a little exaggerated, and the wine he had been imbibing with his dinner, was not helping matters. This was the seventh time in less than an hour that the phone had rung off the cradle.
Growling, he scraped his chair backwards to get the phone. He was going to share a little bit of his mind with people who had nothing better to do than interrupt decent, hard-working folks’ dinners! Petunia had just set the chocolate torte on the table and had gone to the lounge to fetch Dudley.
“Leave it, Vernon.” Marge ordered. “Decent people don’t call after nine. It’s probably just some ruddy telemarketer. Worthless, the whole grotty lot of them!” Marjorie Dursley had been matching her brother drink for drink, and was in no better humor than he was.
Privately Vernon agreed. Still, his evening wasn’t as peaceful as he would have liked. Thinking back, he now felt that he might have gone just a little too far in thrashing the freak. He’d just got a promotion to Sales Director, and he had been in the lounge having a brandy or three to celebrate, when the stupid boy had dropped his Waterford crystal decanter and ruined the set. That decanter set had been a steal, but still, it had cost him the better part of three hundred pounds!
Of course he’d beaten the freak. People like him should know their place in normal society…which is nowhere! He’d made sure to latch the cupboard so the freak couldn’t sneak out and steal food. Part of his punishment was always: ‘no food’!
Senior Constable Claude Nejberger stepped out of his panda car and headed up the stone walk to the nice two-story bungalow. He’d been dispatched to contact one Vernon Dursley at his sister’s residence, because the Surrey police department had been unable to do so. From the back garden, he could hear the incessant yapping of too many young dogs in a too-small place, which had caused so many irate neighbors to call his division and complain.
Nejberger stopped at the door and pressed the bell.
He waited a reasonable time before ringing again. He knew there was someone home because he could hear conversation from the kitchen and the telly was on.
Unbelting his truncheon, he rapped sharply against the door. The echoing noise overwhelmed even the telly. Conversation in the kitchen came to a stop.
“Mister Dursley, this is the Somerset police! I know you are home! Please open the door or I shall contact my headquarters and have special services force the door!”
That got a response. Heavy foot treads stomped their way from the kitchen to the front door. Nejberger slid his truncheon back into its loop and stood away from the door.
The door went flying inward, and Claude was faced with the angriest man he’d ever seen. The man was puce! He worried that Dursley would have a stroke or somesuch before he could advise him of the problem.
“What the ruddy hell do you want?” The angry man bellowed, unmindful that the neighbors were beginning to stir. “Don’t you have anything better to do than bother decent people at their dinners? With all the criminals begging for money and sleeping on the curbs, you have to come and disturb my family?”
Claude hated dealing with people like this. They usually believed that they were somehow ‘better’ than others, and unfortunately, often went out of their way to demonstrate their innate superiority.
“Mister Dursley, I am here because the greater Surrey police department has been trying to contact you this past hour.”
Although Claude was merely a senior constable, he was in line for his inspector’s badge, and given the experience he’d had with all sorts of people, he knew something was amiss. This Vernon Dursley struck him as…‘wrong’.
“Why would the police be trying to contact me?” Dursley was suddenly nervous. Claude wondered why.
“Sir, I’m afraid a burglar broke into your home tonight.” There! Dursley definitely had something to hide. The fat man had gone from puce to pale in seconds flat.
Vernon gaped at him for a few seconds, until a woman who reminded Claude of a nasty tempered old horse his uncle used to own, whispered into Dursley’s ear. The fat man began his bluster then.
“Well. Yes. Quite. Well, I’ll just go and see. Right, then, you’ve done your bit. You can clear off now. I’ll just go and see what’s what.” He babbled. Claude smirked inwardly.
“Mister Dursley, I can tell from here, that you’ve been drinking heavily. I would be remiss in my public duty if I were to allow you to drive in your condition. Why don’t you and your wife come along with me? I can get you to Surrey safely and quickly. I’m sure your sister will be happy to look after your son. Or if you wish, I can contact a nanny from Child Services, and she’ll take him in charge until tomorrow. You’d be able to pick him up at the greater Surrey substation in Little Whinging.
Marge was about to protest a public servant ordering law abiding, decent folk about, when Vernon finally found a few brain cells that hadn’t been pickled. He interrupted her and immediately agreed to accompany the constable. Marge looked angry but when Vernon whispered something, she immediately flashed her eyes to Nejberger. She made some noises about how happy she was to look after her neffy-poo, but Claude could see her heart wasn’t in it.
Nejberger watched carefully for anything else out of the ordinary as Mr. and Mrs. Dursley bade goodbye to their son, who was raising such a fuss, that the neighbors were peering out of their doorways.
He ensured both Dursley’s were buckled into the back seat of his car, before starting the engine. On a whim, he flipped a switch on his dash labeled ‘VTR’. His car was one of the new ones with the military-type videotape units. A camera mounted on the dash and aimed backward, would record anything in the back seat, until it was switched off by a field supervisor, at the very least. Nejberger knew he stood to get in trouble for turning it on without just cause, but something about the Dursley’s just screamed: ‘Something’s wrong, here!’ He had very little to go on, but he decided that he’d have a chat with an old friend while he was in Surrey, Jacob McCaffery.
Nejberger took his time driving to the Dursley’s home, citing the need to ‘maintain a safe and responsible speed’. As it happened, they arrived well after eleven. Unfortunately, the pair in the back seat, had spoken very little and then, only in hushes. The microphone mounted on the back deck should pick up their voices, but it would take some work to find what they were saying.
By the time they arrived on Privet Drive, Vernon and Petunia could see that number four was circled in that ghastly yellow crime scene tape and were wandering in and out of the house. Petunia shrieked as she saw an officer tread upon her prized begonias.
Flashes from the windows told them that they had no more secrets. Worse, it seemed every neighbor on the street was up and watching.
The Dursley’s practically leapt from the car, as soon as Nejberger opened the back door. A familiar figure intercepted them, as they rushed up the walk. Nejberger smiled tightly as his old friend, blocked their way.
“Mr. Vernon Dursley? Mrs. Petunia Dursley?”
“Yes! Yes! That’s us!” Vernon bellowed. “Now get out of my way! My home has been burgled and I want to find out what’s missing!”
“You won’t find him there.” Jacob returned softly. “He’s gone.” Then, louder: “Vernon, Dursley, Petunia Dursley, you are both under arrest on the charges of:
murder of a child, willful and grievous neglect leading to the death of a child, willful and grievous abuse leading to the death of a child and anything else I can find.!” Jacob barely kept his last words from coming out as a growl. He hated child killers, and knew he’d have to work very hard to keep his personal feelings from compromising this investigation.
8th July, 1985, 1:34 AM, South London, the bowery. ‘Old Nick’s place’:
Sheila Dawson watched her old friend weep. Walter Reilly was one of the happiest, most gregarious people she knew. His mood tonight was so out of character, Sheila just knew something horrible had happened. He’d been on the job tonight, somewhere down in Surrey, she thought. Something must have gone horribly wrong to see the usually lively and outgoing man in such a wretched state.
“Walter?” She asked, approaching the burglar carefully. He would never intentionally harm anyone, but he was good in a fight, and with the amount of liquor he’d taken in, he might be…volatile.
Sheila gasped as he turned pain-filled eyes to her.
“Walter! What happened, luv?”
She sat beside him. And wrapped him in a caring embrace. With one hand, she signaled ‘Old Nick’ at the bar, for a bottle and a room. She’d used the rooms over the bar many times, entertaining her clients. Other girls had done the same. Nick kept the rooms neat and the sheets clean, and didn’t charge too much.
“They was a boy there, Sheila.” Walter sobbed. “He died tonight. ‘E was just a baby!”
Sheila knew Walter would never harm a child, so assumed he had discovered the boy already dead. It happened. Not often, but it did happen.
“Oh, Walter.” She sighed, sharing his pain.
Shiela helped the distraught man up, and escorted him to the stairs. On the upper floor she found a room with the door ajar and a bottle and two glasses on the bureau. She led Walter to the bed, sat him down and closed the door. Pouring them both drinks, she began to undress him, and them herself.
Several hours later Shiela wandered down again. The looks she got were inquisitive as well as horrified. Old Nick placed a mug of tea before her and pointed to the paper. There, in black and white, were headlines an inch and a half high.
BOY FOUND BEATEN TO DEATH.
The brief story that followed shocked her so much that Nick had to add some whiskey to the tea.
“He didn’t do it, you know!” She announced to the crowd. Shakes of heads confirmed her belief that they thought him innocent. Walter would never harm a child. Everyone knew that.
3:20 AM, 8th July:
“You’d better be dying!” Marge growled as she put the receiver to her ear. Normally she left the telly off the cradle, so she could get her beauty rest, but this night she’d left it in place, so Vernon could call. Still she hadn’t expected the call to be at three bloody thirty in the morning!
“Marge!” Vernon’s voice seemed panicked. This in itself brought Marge’s attention to the fore. “We’ve been arrested. The freak up and died on us! We need a barrister!”
Marge dropped the phone in shock. The boy had died? Vernon was in prison? This was a dream. It had to be. A particularly nasty dream. It must have been all the brandy.
Only Vernon’s tinny voice from the fallen handset, assured her that it was not a dream.
6:40 AM, 8th July, the Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole.
Molly Weasley watched curiously as the regal-looking owl circled her home. Opening the window, she invited the stately bird inside. The owl, wearing a banded collar with the crest of Gringotts bank around its neck bowed and held out its leg.
As she untied the envelope, Molly spoke to the lovely creature. “Thank you dear. Would you like something to eat? I have some Chipolata’s on the stove.”
Bobbing its head once, the owl gulped down some water and gracefully accepted the bit of warm sausage, before leaving the Burrow in a silent rush of wings.
Molly Weasley set the envelope on the table as the teapot began to whistle. The paper arrived, much, as had the envelope from Gringotts. Since the Weasleys had a yearly subscription, the owl dropped its burden and wheeled out of the kitchen before Molly could even offer hospitality.
Sitting to tea, Molly set the rolled up paper aside and opened the envelope. She knew they weren’t overdrawn, and wasn’t worried about the tuition for Bill and Charlie. When Percy began next year they’d have some problems, but just now, they were doing all right. She began to read.
Arthur wandered down the steps and entered the kitchen only to find his wife unconscious on the floor. Shouting: “Molly!”, he rushed to her side, and brushing away the pieces of parchment she held, began to pat her face and rub her wrists. Bill came running down a moment later and seeing what his father was doing, grabbed a flannel from the rod and soaked it in cool water. He applied the damp cloth to his mother’s face, and within a few moments, she’d opened her eyes. Charlie, also stumbled down the steps and smelling the sizzling sausages, was next in line to the kitchen. Together they all lifted Molly and carried her to the settee in the lounge.
“Arthur?” Molly stammered. “Th…the letter!”
Arthur dispatched Charlie to find and retrieve the letter from the kitchen. Having removed the sausages from the heat, he returned with both the letter and the paper.
“Dad!” He was shocked. “Look at this! Harry Potter’s dead! He was beaten to death!”
“What!?!” Arthur gaped at his son hoping he’d not heard correctly.
“Right here!” Charlie returned. “It says he was beaten to death last night…by his uncle!”
With trembling hands, Arthur took the Prophet from his second son. Barely able to feel the parchment he held, he scanned the paper in absolute shock.
“No.” He murmured. “No…this can’t be!” Dumbledore had promised!
BOY WHO LIVED LIVES NO MORE
By Anita Scrivener
“In a shocking announcement, Amelia Bones, head of the
Department of Magical Law Enforcement, announced the
death of Harry, Potter, The Boy Who Lived, at the hands of
his muggle guardians. Such a tragic end for the savior of
the wizarding world!
Newly elected Minister for Magic,
Cornelius Fudge, currently on holiday on the continent,
could not be reached for comment. Said Bones: “We do
not know all the circumstances of this tragedy, but I must
warn anybody who attempts to hold the muggle population
at large, responsible for the actions of a few, that they will
be dealt with most harshly. We have a precarious safety,
hidden away as we are, and the Ministry will not tolerate
any hotheads jeopardizing our safety for personal vengeance…”
Arthur felt his blood begin to boil. He’d disagreed strongly with Dumbledore’s decision to leave the child with his relatives. He’d volunteered to take him in to his own family even going so far as to offer to remain under Fidelus. His family and the Evans’s were related through Molly’s second cousin, after all. Dumbledore would have none of it, however, and insisted that the Dursley’s were the best protection young Harry had. ‘Protection!’ Arthur thought angrily. ‘From WHOM?’ He thought to visit the school at his earliest opportunity and force-feed the headmaster a slice of his thoughts. He also recalled that Minerva was also adamantly opposed to Harry being placed with the Dursley’s. His lips formed into a feral grin. How he would love to be a fly on the wall during that discussion!
Just then, a gaping Bill caught his attention. He was staring at the missive from Gringotts in utter shock. Arthur gently took the pages from his eldest.
When he read what his wife had, Arthur wanted to join her in the faint.
With the death of the heir to the Potter fortune, and the secondary recipients either dead, or incarcerated, or in the case of Remus Lupin, unable to inherit due to his affliction, tertiary beneficiaries were named.
In short, the Weasley’s had just become one of the wealthiest families in Britain…much wealthier than the Malfoy’s.
Two miles away, on the other side of the Otter river, four year old Luna Lovegood urgently shook her sleeping mother’s arm.
“Wake up, mummy! Please wake up!”
Lorelei woke to her daughter’s cries, and sitting up, invited the child to her lap. Wrapping her arms around her precious baby, she murmured: “You have a bad dream, doodlebug?”
“No mummy. A boy died. His name was Harry, and he died most cruelly.”
“I’d say that was a pretty bad dream. Do you want to talk about it?” Lorelei commented. She was a seer and knew her child was as well. Luna’s talent would need much shaping before she could use it well, but usually training didn’t begin until age ten or so. In the meantime, she would be the nurturing mother her daughter needed.
“Mummy. I saw it again. I saw what’s to come, again. The boy who died? He was alive again, but all grown-up. He told me that on the seventeenth of August, just after I turn nine, you are going to die from something he called ‘Magical Backlash’. He said that watching you die, caused me to lose my mind. Please, mummy, let’s take a holiday then. I would hate to lose you. Especially before you could train me.”
“Alright, Poppet. I’ll make sure.”
Luna hugged her mother, kissed her cheek, and slipped off her lap onto the floor. “I love you, mummy!” She called before dancing out of the room as if nothing odd had happened.
Beside her, Meriwether said quietly: “Well, that was odd.”
Lorelei turned to her husband, and agreed. “It looks like I’m going to have to begin her training early.” She sighed.
7:30 AM, 8th July 1985. The Burrow.
“Kids?” Arthur called. His younger children looked up at his uncharacteristically serious voice. Seeing that he had their attention, he continued. “Come sit over here for a bit. Your mum and I have something to tell you.” Ginny immediately hopped onto her mother’s lap as Ron did the same to his father.
“Oooff!” Arthur complained as bony limbs mashed sensitive tissues. “You know, Ron, you’ll soon be too heavy to do that.” Ron looked up at his dad’s face with guileless eyes. Arthur sighed. This boy was going to break many hearts later. Just now, they had to learn an awful truth.
Fred and George sat on the couch and Percy took the other chair. Bill and Charlie already knew and they were flying in the orchard.
“Kids…” Arthur sighed, wiped his eyes and began anew.
“You kids are all very young, and I wish, by Merlin’s beard, I didn’t have to tell you this.”
Now the children were becoming frightened. Their father had never been hesitant to speak of anything. Not even when Fred had asked where babies came from…in the middle of a dinner party. Arthur had simply taken him aside, told him that there were times and places for certain questions and then explained where babies came from. A slightly green Fred ran up the stares to confer with George and neither of them came down for several days.
“Now, children, don’t fret so. Your father simply wants to tell you of something that happened which will affect your later lives. Nothing just now. I’m afraid it will affect Ron and Ginny the most, but you will all be involved.”
Ron and Ginny both looked terrified. Molly swore to herself.
“Alright, let’s begin again.” Arthur spoke. “It’s nothing bad for us, but it was very bad for someone else, OK?”
Nods followed, and he began again. “You all know the story of Harry Potter…” Of course, they did. Half the children of the wizarding world knew that story. Molly had told Ron and Ginny that tale as a bedtime story since the very first. The twins also had been lulled to sleep by their mother’s melodic voice describing the tragic tale.
“He’s my hero!” Ginny piped up. “Someday I’m gonna marry him!”
“I’m afraid not, dear.” Molly spoke regretfully. “You see, Harry Potter is dead.”
Dead silence answered her. Molly felt tears form in her eyes. The little girl she held stiffened and began to tremble.
“Harry was very badly hurt, recently and…well…last night, he died.” Arthur finished in almost in a rush. His eyes also filled.
For the first time since they were born, Fred and George were absolutely still. Percy and Ron were speechless. Ginny, however, was not.
“NOOOOOO!!!” She screamed, causing everybody there to wince in pain at the damage their ears were taking. “That’s not true! You’re fibbing! He’s not dead! He can’t be! I’m gonna marry him!”
“NO! No! No! No!no!no!no!nonono!” Ginny wailed. She kicked and fought her mother’s hold, trying to get away from ‘the fibber’.
Ron just stared at the black-bordered paper on the table. There, the headlines announced the fact. Harry Potter, the savior of the wizarding world was dead. He turned it to him and was about to read the page when Molly gently drew it away from him.
Looking up, he watched as she folded the paper and tucked it into her apron all the while trying to calm the hysterical Ginny. Seeing his mother’s struggle, Ron did the Gryffindor thing. He left his father’s lap, reached out and pulled his little sister from her mother’s grasp and onto his own lap. Sitting on the hearthrug, he held the fighting, screaming girl, rocking and stroking her back, weeping along with her until they had both fallen asleep.
Molly wept as she saw, for the first time, the love her youngest son held for his sister. Strong arms encircled her as Arthur wrapped her in a warm embrace. To the side, Percy, Fred and George also watched their little brother comforting their sister.
Arthur cleared his throat. “This is going to be hardest on them, boys. Please treat them right. They need our love and our support just now.” To her surprise, all three nodded. Bill and Charlie both walked in and added their assurances to those of their brothers.
8:00 AM, 8th July 1985, Greater Surrey Metropolitan police department, Greater Whinging substation.
“I am here to arrange for bond for Vernon and Petunia Dursley!” Marge spoke in a pompous, attention-gaining manner. Sure enough, every eye in the place was turned her way. Even those people who were obviously criminals, looked at her. Strangely enough, the expressions ranged from anger to outright hatred. Marge blanched a bit, but forged ahead.
“Where do I go to post the bond?” She demanded of the desk sergeant. A man wearing silver insigne on his collar, came out of the glass office in the corner, and spoke. “Miss Marjorie Dursley?”
At her sharp nod, he continued. “I’m Captain Jennson. I regret your trip here has been in vain. The magistrate has reconsidered the subject of bond for Vernon and Petunia Dursley. As Vernon Dursley is being held under the capital charge of murder, and the lesser charges of grievous neglect and abuse leading to death, and Petunia Dursley has been named as being complicit in those crimes, and as they have no real ties to the community, they’ve been adjudged a flight-risk, and bond has been denied.”
“Why, that’s absurd!” Marge bellowed, puffing up like her brother had taught her. “Vernon is an upstanding member…a very pillar of the community! Out of the sheer goodness of his heart, he took in that pitiful, worthless wretch. It’s not his fault the boy was too scrawny to handle a good beating. He should have been drowned at birth, in my opinion. That’s what I do to pups that don’t make the grade!”
Captain Jennson frowned. He loved animals and this overbearing woman had just told him that she drowned pups. Hoping to make it a full set, he asked her: Miss Dursley, your brother has a son that was left in your care. Where is he?”
“Not that it’s any of your business, but I asked Colonel Fubster to watch him until I returned.”
This got a reaction from a man in a brown suit, on the other side of the fence. He looked up sharply and asked: “Colonel Mallon Fubster?”
“Yes!” Snapped Marge. “What business is that of yours?”
“Captain, I served with a Colonel Mallon S. Fubster in Southeast Asia for two tours. He was retired seven years ago, for severe psychological instability. The year before last, he was arrested for holding a meter reader captive in a steel cage in a pond in his back garden. The man was in filthy water up to his neck for two days before the methane service found him.”
“Well that was simply a case of mistaken identity.” Marge Blustered. “The man clearly looked…”
“Asian.” The suited man interrupted. “The only thing mister Gucuyan ever did, was be born Asian. He wasn’t Vietnamese. He wasn’t Thai, Laotian or Cambodian. He was Filipino. He had never even been to Viet Nam. Sir, I really don’t think Colonel Fubster is a suitable guardian for anyone, especially a young child.”
“Well I don’t give a fig for what you think!” Marge snapped. “Mallon Fubster is an old friend of the family and I trust him with my dogs! That should be enough for the likes of you!”
A second man entered from the glassed in office in the corner.
“Miss Dursley?” He asked politely. Marge could see his clothing was top drawer, and the people around him treated him with sincere respect. She decided he was the one to get to know, pasted a smile on her face and offered her hand. He shook it once and released it. Marge frowned. That wasn’t very polite!
“Who are you?” She asked bluntly. Well, if this man was in the office he must be a police official of some sort. Even high-ranked public servants should know their places.
“Please, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Alfred Eddings Newmann, Esquire. I couldn’t help but overhear what you were saying. You knew how your brother treated this Harry Potter?”
“Of course I knew. If Vernon felt it was appropriate to give the boy a well-deserved hiding, he is well within his rights to do so. Worthless, the boy is. Just like his parents! Drunken layabouts, the lot of them!”
“Miss Dursley, It gives me the greatest of pleasure to place you under arrest for the crimes of accessory to murder, accessory to grievous abuse resulting in the death of a minor child, and accessory to grievous neglect resulting in the death of a minor child. And least, abuse of animals. I heard you declare you drowned pups that did not meet your standards. In the commonwealth, that is a rather serious violation of the animal protection laws.
Marge realized that she’d made a mistake, spouting off like she had. She then made another. She fled. Or tried to. Swinging her arms wildly, she knocked the constable who had appeared beside her, to the floor and raced for the door. She never made it. Suddenly she was lying on the ground, screeching and twitching as sixty thousand volts coursed through her body. She voided her bladder and collapsed as the sergeant removed the stun-gun. Newman stood over her, and said: “Now, let’s try this again.”
Handcuffs were ratcheted around her thick wrists and Marge was helped to her feet. She snarled at the well dressed man: “I’ll have your badge, copper! You would assault decent people who have done nothing. I’ll see you never work again!”
“Miss, Dursley, I greatly fear there will be little chance of that. In fact, I was sent here especially by Her Majesty to begin the preliminary case against your brother. Oh, by the bye, my official title is not ‘Copper’. It would be ‘Her Majesty’s Own Prosecutor. Of the Crown’s Prosecution Service.”
7:53 AM, July 9, 1985 London:
Joshuah Grunning stared in shock at the paper. The story told of how one of his chief employees had beaten a child to death in his own home. Dursley had never even indicated that the boy lived there. He had always claimed only one son.
At a few minutes before eight, the doors swung open, and in walked Joshuah’s senior vice-presidents. Each had a paper, or was reading over someone’s shoulder.
When they had greeted him, gotten their morning teas and seated themselves, he cleared his throat.
“Well, let’s get to business. I presume you’ve all seen the paper?”
Unanimous ‘ayes’ and ‘shocking news, just shocking!’ answered him. Joshuah was interrupted by a soft knock at the mahogany door. A head peeked in. A head he’d not seen for almost eight years. This man seemed so out of place in a boardroom, what with his shabby tweed jacket and his worn and shiny trousers. One of the junior men stood to ‘escort’ this interloper out, when Joshuah stayed him with a raised hand. He rose, walked to the door, and greeted the brown haired man like an old friend.
“Remus! It’s been far too long! We’ve just started. Would you care to sit in?”
“No thank you, Joshuah. I have something I have to do. I just wanted to ask you something. Do you know who that boy was?”
“Unfortunately no. The paper has a policy of not printing the names of children. Especially in conditions such as these.”
“His name was Harry Potter.”
“You don’t mean…?” Joshuah’s face turned grey at the news. He felt faint.
“Yes. He was James’ son. He was sent to live with them after…” Remus Lupin took a calming breath, though Joshuah could see he was anything but calm. “Goodbye, Joshuah. We shan’t be seeing each other again.”
Joshuah stared at the door as it closed. From the other side, he heard a faint ‘pop’. He turned to face the rest of his board. Almost staggering to his seat, he sat heavily, burying his face in his hands. Stephan Collins, his senior vice-president of finances, poured a fresh cup of tea and placed it before his boss.
Looking up, with tear filed eyes, Joshuah whispered: “Thank you, Stephan.” He sipped his tea, and then addressed the puzzled vice presidents.
“That man was Remus Lupin. He was one of four young men who gave me the money to found Grunnings. He just gave me some awful news. The boy who was killed was the son of one of the other men, James Potter. James and his wife Lily, were murdered by some gangster on Halloween of ‘81. I thought Harry had been killed as well. It turns out that he was sent to live with the Dursley’s.” Joshuah broke down again, crying: “I dandled that boy on my knee!”
Each of the men and women present gaped in shock. They’d all heard of the delightful boy called Harry Potter, and seen photographs of the precious child, and now to learn that not only had one of their employees been his guardian but he’d also been murdered by that very guardian, was too much to take.
Joshuah’s eyes turned cold.
“I think Grunnings cannot afford another scandal like the last one. Vernon Dursley is abrasive and rude to those he does not consider his equals or his betters. He’ll toady to those above him on the ladder but he’ll step all over those below him. In addition, we have dealt with Vernon’s sexual harassment charge, after discovering it was an affair gone wrong, but to have a murderer on the payroll is far beyond. I recommend Vernon Dursley be terminated forthwith and we find another director of sales. Hopefully one who is not as abrasive as he was.”
To no one’s surprise, the vote was unanimous. Moments later, a notice of dismissal, was posted to number four, Privet Drive.
Remus’ body was discovered by his landlady three days later, as she came to collect the rent. He lay face-up on a heavy plastic tarp. Beside his body was a crystal phial with a wooden stopper and a note.
The note read simply:
My pack is dead. I have no reason to go on.
Perhaps in the next great adventure, I shall be
with those who love me and not be burdened
with this curse
According to the coroner, the phial had contained the most toxic mixture of animal venoms he’d ever seen. Death must have been nearly instantaneous. Interestingly enough, on autopsy he discovered a partially dissolved capsule containing a heavy concentration of silver nitrate. He couldn’t, for the life of him, understand why it was there.
8:21 AM, 12th July, Gringotts Bank:
Griphook looked up at the sound of the chime. As before, he closed his book, and stood. He stretched and stepped over to the box, withdrew the heavy envelope and sent it to ‘Wills and Trusts’.
“Hmmm!’ He thought, ‘That’s two in four days. Who knows? Mayhaps they’ll kill themselves off ere too long.’ He shrugged, returned to his seat and reopened his book.
8: 35 AM, 12th July, 1985, Azkaban Prison:
The dementors signaled the guards that another one had died. Clearing the area, the two Aurors found themselves in one of the warrens that held the convicted death eaters. One by one, they ensured the captives were still breathing. Finally, they came to the cell of one Sirius Orion Black. Cast in the foul prison several years before for betraying the Potters to You Know Who, and then murdering Peter Pettigrew and a dozen or so muggles…no loss, that.
In Black’s cell, lay a body. One Auror, a young man named Kingsley Shacklebolt on his first year of post-qualification service, almost lost his lunch. The body was soaked in blood. Opening the heavy oaken door, they found that Black’s arms had been torn open, as though by a huge dog. But there was no dog, or any other animals, besides the ever-present rats, anywhere around. In the corner lay a crumpled front page of The Daily Prophet. The headline read: “Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived, lives no more.”
As they were lacing the bag around Black’s body, Kingsley noticed something odd.
“Hold on, Mike!”
“What’s up, Shack?”
“Look. Look at his arms.”
“Bloody as hell, yeah, but I’ve seen worse. Now when I was just a rookie, I was in this pub fight where…”
“No! I mean, look at what’s not there!”
“He’s got no dark mark! All the rest of them have one, but he doesn’t.”
“You’re right.” Agreed a furiously thinking Michael Muldowney. “OK, It’s your call. You can file a request for Bones to come down here, and check this, or you can forget you ever saw it. One way, you’ll be mired in paperwork until Monday, the other, we’ll be hoisting them at the ‘Stars and Garters’ tonight.”
Kingsley didn’t even have to think. As a rookie Auror, he was still filled with the desire to save the world. Muldowney knew that.
“Call Bones. Let’s not leave this to chance. I’ll secure the area.”
Mike turned away, to contact the head of the Auror department. He smiled thinly. ‘The boy’s good. If he keeps this up, he’ll turn onto a damn fine Auror!’
Amelia Bones arrived within a half hour. She was not well pleased to have to venture to the island fortress, as the dementors affected her more than most. “Now, which of you two idiots called me here for a dead Death Eater?”
Paling as much as his complexion would allow, Kingsley stood nervously forward, and spoke. “Madam Bones, I don’t think Sirius Black was a death eater. He’s got no dark mark.”
With those few words Kingsley both unintentionally assured his own future and began an investigation that would rip into the very underpinnings of the wizarding world.
6:32 PM, 15th July, 1985, Nice, France:
In a warm and inviting chateau, in southern France, rented for a family holiday, by Doctors Judith and Mackenzie Granger, the two dentists were watching in shock as a pure miracle occurred! In the library, their precocious daughter Hermione, was dancing as only a child can, and squealing in happy laughter as several of her stuffed animals swooped and swirled through the air about her, ruffling papers on the desk, bumping into everything, knocking books off shelves and generally making a mess.
Twenty minutes later, came a knock at the door. When Judith opened it she found two women, well, a woman and a girl of about ten. The girl had pink hair and wore denim shorts and a tank, and the woman was dressed in a well-made summer weight jacket and skirt. She wore sunglasses perched on top of her dark brown hair, and had a friendly smile.
“Good morning, Doctor Granger. My name is Andromeda Tonks, and this is my daughter Nymphadora. Judith smiled at the face the girl made, when her mother used her name.
“May I help you?” Judith asked politely, wondering how this Ms. Tonks could possibly know her name.
“Rather, I think we can help you.” Andromeda returned. “We’re vacationing here as well. When the magical discharges you saw were noticed, the French bureau of accidental magic determined who was staying here, and asked my husband, Nymmy here…” Again the preteen scowled, but turned to the younger girl and stuck out her hand. “…and me, as the nearest British magic users to come and see you. I think we can help to explain the peculiar happenings you’ve just witnessed.” Hermione shyly took the older girl’s hand and smiled brightly at her vibrant hair.
The next hour, they spent in discussion, as Mrs. Tonks and her husband Ted, who had shown up several minutes after Andy and Nymphadora, explained the magical world and demonstrated their magical gifts, with Nymphadora taking the show by storm, as she morphed from one form to another. The Grangers, though professional Dentists, were reared in an earlier and less inhibited era. They had little difficulty in understanding and even accepting the magical world…after suitable demonstration, of course, as just another part of nature. When they found that there were several magical schools in the world, they became more interested then ever. Andy contacted Madam Maxime, from Beaubatons, and asked her to come around the next day for an interview.
8:35, PM, 17th July, 1985, the Burrow:
“Muuumm!” Percy whinged. “Have you seen Scabbers?”
Molly shuddered at her son’s affection for that filthy beast. She’d never liked Scabbers. Not that rats were a problem with her, as she’d had a few during her own youth. It was just that particular rat. There always seemed to be something…off, about him.
“No, dear. I’ve not seen him all day.”
“I’ve looked all over for him. Do you think Fred and George have him? It wouldn’t be beyond them to use him in their wonky pranks!”
The twins in question entered, protesting their innocence. “Mummy! We haven’t seen him! The last time we saw him was just before breakfast. We told ‘Percy the Prat’ here, but he never believes us!”
“Don’t call your brother that!” Molly snapped. Her twins were certainly a handful, but she also knew Percy was not blameless in their ongoing feud. “Where was Scabbers when you last saw him?”
“He was in the lounge.” George began.
“The door was open.” Continued Fred.
“He may have gone for a walk.” They ended together.
“He’s a rat!!” Percy shrieked. “He doesn’t go for walks! What do you think? He has a date? Maybe he’s found a nice lady rat and took her out for a morning stroll?”
“Percy, you’re overreacting.” Molly soothed, brushing one of Percy’s curls into place. Percy shook his head away. He hated it when she did that!
“Don’t worry, luv. I’m sure Scabbers is perfectly fine. Go on to bed. He’ll be back in your room before you know it, I’m sure.”
Only slightly mollified, the fuming Percy stomped up the stairs. Before the twins could escape, Molly grabbed each of their collars with practiced ease, and hauled them up short.
“If I find that you two did have something to do with Scabbers’ disappearance, you will live to regret your actions.” She growled before releasing them.
“Mum.” Once again, they launched into their ‘twinspeak’.
“We may be pranksters…”
“Bend the truth a bit…”
“But we have never…”
“Outright lied to you.”
“We don’t know…”
“Where Scabbers is…”
“And we haven’t done anything to him.” They finished perfectly in synch.
Molly agreed. Her sons were boisterous and irrepressible pranksters, and their honesty was sometimes suspect, but they had never told her a direct lie. Their looking her in the eyes and saying that they had nothing to do with the rat’s disappearance, told her that she could believe them.
“All right. And thank you for telling me. It’s past time you two were off to bed as well.” She kissed each on their foreheads, and sent them on their way.
11:37 PM, 17th July 1985, Ottery Saint Catchpole:
An orange Kneasle kitten with a squashed in face, proudly carried a dead rat, nearly his own size, in his teeth, intent on taking his first kill to his mother. Instead, the jarring bark of a dog nearby startled him. He dropped the rat and flashed away. The dog, a local mutt with a nasty temper, spied the rat and snatched it up, deciding it would do as his supper. That thought was interrupted as another dog arrived. This more aggressive animal seized the tail end of the rat intending to steal it away from its’ pervious owner. Unfortunately, the first dog was having none of that. He gripped the rat firmly between his teeth, and pulled.
Rats are not really meant to be used to play tug-o-war, and soon the two dogs had simply torn it in half. Neither dog noticed the missing toe on the ugly creature’s right front paw.
2:36, PM, 11th November 1985, Wizengamot chambers, Ministry of Magic, London.
Amelia Bones called for a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Minister Fudge. Bones’ investigation had gone deeper than expected and the end result was the forced testimony, under veritaserum, of all the suspected Death Eaters, including Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Without Lucius’ influence, Fudge had no chance. The measure passed nearly without opposition. Despite her vehement objections, Bones was selected as his replacement, due in no little measure, to her hard-earned reputation of absolute incorruptibility.
The Malfoy’s young son, Draco was taken in by a pureblooded wizarding family firmly aligned with the light, who carefully taught him with love, respect and discipline, that his father’s ideals were not even close to being right. In the end, when Draco was sorted into Ravenclaw house along with her son, Ron, Molly Weasley was quite proud of herself.
Dobby the house elf accompanied Draco to the Weasley home, and served faithfully, although he frequently came into contention with Molly over the doing of chores.
Augusta Longbottom was seen weeping as she left the chambers, that day. Many thought she was weeping for the dead child-hero, Harry Potter, as were most of the witches and wizards in Britain. But in truth, she was not. Rather, she was weeping for the injustices that she’d heaped upon her grandson, Neville, whom she thought to be a squib. Bellatrix’ torture of Neville’s parents had been quite enough to send the child into shock. That an obliviator named Gilderoy Lockheart, had ‘adjusted’ the memory of a one year old child, quite against both department policy and wizarding law, finished the job. Little Neville was nearly powerless, but he still maintained his love for his great uncle Algernon’s herbalry and frequently demonstrated an instinctive understanding of the plants. This told her he that could possibly be returned to his former power. Augusta knew that her insisting he become just like his father, had contributed greatly to the damage, and swore an oath on her magic to try to undo the harm she’d caused.
10:07 AM, 4th December, 1985, Crown court, County town; Guildford, Surrey. Courtroom 10: Senior Justice McClain, presiding:
“Vernon Malcolm Dursley, You have Been adjudged guilty by a jury of your peers, of the crimes of murder of the minor child, Harry James Potter, the willful and grievous neglect leading to the death of a minor child, the aforementioned Harry James Potter, and the willful and grievous abuse leading to the death of the minor child Harry James Potter, and finally, the willful and grievous neglect and abuse of your son, Dudley Malcolm Dursley. You have been given the opportunity to justify or even to explain your actions and you have failed to do so. Your defense, based upon the supposition that Harry Potter was a freak, and so, deserved whatever happened to him, is unacceptable to this court, to the laws of Great Britain, and to the Queen, herself.
The fact that Harry Potter was a wizard is of no consequence.” At Vernon’s horrified look, McClain added: “Yes, Mister Dursley, this court is aware of the magical world here in Britain. Her Majesty has also preferred charges against one Albus Dumbledore for his part in this disgrace. I assure you, while we may not be able to imprison him for his crimes, we can insure he does not affect any more children.
To beat a child is appalling! To starve him is beyond criminal! To force anyone to sleep in a cupboard of any sort, for any reason, is far worse than barbaric! Your neglect and abuse has shown this court that not only are you an unrepentant murderer, but unfit to watch your own son, as well. Your pandering to Dudley’s every whim is just the kind of abuse that has been proved to produce sociopaths in the past.
In addition to the mandatory sentence imposed upon you by the laws of Great Britain, for the crime of murder, you shall never again have any sort of contact with your son. It is this court’s most fervent hope, that while you are plainly beyond redemption, your son may not be.
It is therefore, my happy duty to remove you from the population once and for all. You are hereby commended to the Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight, for the remainder of your natural life. If it were up to me, I would just as soon send you to another island. The island of Azkaban! I understand people sent there don’t last long, and their minds last even less time. You should be grateful the crown no longer panders to the whims of individuals, else I would be pressing firmly for your public execution, as an example to others, as to what happens to child abusers and murderers. Fortunately for you, the crown does not. Were I you, I would be thanking any god you respect, that Great Britain no longer prescribes capital punishment! This court is adjourned!” Justice McClain rapped his gavel sharply on the bench, signaling the beginning of Vernon’s lifetime incarceration.
8:47 AM: 10th December, 1985, Crown court, County town; Guildford, Surrey Courtroom 19. Justice Strauss presiding:
“Petunia Iris Dursley you have been adjudged guilty by a jury of your peers, of being accomplice to the crimes of murder of the minor child, Harry James Potter, and the willful and grievous abuse leading to the death of the minor child, Harry James Potter. You have also been found guilty of the willful and grievous neglect leading to the death of the minor child, Harry James Potter, and finally, guilty of the willful neglect and abuse of your own son, Dudley Malcolm Dursley. Your acceding to his every whim is almost as bad as what you have done to, and allowed to happen to your nephew.
I cannot express my disgust strongly enough! To beat a child is appalling! To starve him is worse! To force anyone to sleep in a cupboard of any sort, is the sort of thing one would expect from the Nazi’s, at Auschwitz or Buchenwald, not from those who are responsible for the well-being of our children!” Strauss was seething, as she’d been throughout the trial. She’d asked the Crown’s Court to recuse her from this duty, but they’d refused, citing the probability of the appellate court overturning the verdict in the event of any sort of irregularity. She’d grit her teeth and ensured there was none. The case was airtight.
“What of my son?” Petunia dared to interrupt. Strauss glared for a moment at the interruption, then answered.
“Your son has been removed from your sister in law’s care when she was arrested as accessory to the crimes of which you have been found guilty, and placed in a psychiatric care facility for abused children. Hopefully he can rise above the spoiling he has been subject to, and in time, prove to be a contributing member of society.
Justice Strauss looked at the paper she was reading then returned her eyes to the miserable woman before her.
“Mrs. Dursley, Were it up to me, you would be facing Azkaban…”
“Azkaban!?!” Petunia was appalled that the court even knew of…that place…of those people!
Strauss, smiled thinly at the women’s discomfiture.
“Yes, Mrs. Dursley, the Crown’s Court does know of the magical population in Britain. As I was saying, were it up to me, your punishment would be far harsher than what has been decided. Be that as may be, a single voice has spoken in your behalf, pleading leniency of Her Majesty herself. He has accepted the responsibility for at least some of what has transpired and so, Her Majesty has asked this court to hand down the lesser sentence. Were it not for his intercession, you would indeed be handed over to the Aurors and incarcerated in that place. Your actions have murdered a child, and a wizard child at that. The wizarding population revered Harry Potter as their hero. I would hate to see what they’d do to you. As it is, you are hereby committed to the Bronzefield prison for women in Middlesex, for a term of not less than fifty years. Have you any questions?
“Who spoke for me?” Petunia thought she knew, and really didn’t want to confirm the knowledge.
“His name is Albus Dumbledore.”
Petunia’s reaction was all that could be expected.
12:32 PM, 7th January 1986, County town Taunton, Somerset: South Somerset Magistrate’s court. Courtroom 4: Justice Morton presiding:
“Marjory Anne Dursley, you have been convicted by a jury of your peers, of being an accessory by knowledge aforethought, and failure to act on such knowledge, to the willful and grievous neglect and abuse, leading to the death of a minor child, one Harry James Potter. Of the neglect of your nephew, Dudley Malcolm Dursley, by your knowledge aforethought, and failure to act on such knowledge, of your brother’s inappropriate catering to each and every selfish desire of young mister Dursley despite the gluttonous and gratuitous nature of those desires. Of the willful neglect and endangerment of said child, Dudley Malcolm Dursley in your decision to grant custody, even temporary custody, to one whom you knew to be unfit as a guardian, namely one retired Colonel Mallon S. Fubster, formerly of Her Majesty’s Armed forces. Of assault on a peace officer in the commission of her duties during an attempt to escape from lawful custody. Of attempted escape from lawful custody. And least, of the abuse by overcrowding of the bulldogs you raise, and the killing by drowning of said bulldog pups that do not meet your unnecessarily strict standards. You are hereby remanded to the women’s prison at Cockham Wood for a term of not less than twenty-five years. You will also pay a forfeiture of twenty five thousand pounds, and you will have your breeder’s license revoked for the rest of your life.”
Vernon Dursley was found beaten to death in his cell, four months later. What no one had apparently considered, was first; Convicts were able to discover more than they were credited, and second; Convicts also had children.
Petunia served three years of her prison term as the ‘plaything’ of a cellmate, before she began to rant about ‘freaks using magic’ to conquer the world. Her cellmate, tiring of her, filed enough complaints about her behavior, that she was examined by the staff psychiatrist and adjudged ‘unreasonably paranoid, manic/depressive and subject to delusional hallucinations’. She was placed in a psychiatric facility, where she attacked an attendant, with a knife she’d stolen from the kitchen, claiming he was a wizard come to kill her. She spent the last eight years of her life heavily medicated and confined to a security cell.
Marjory Dursley died of a coronary shortly after her brother. She lived the last months of her life, a broken woman, in an isolation cell, as she’d attacked an anger management counselor on her third day in prison.
Dudley Dursley was sent to the St. Brutus’ Secure Center for Troubled Youth, for therapy until he learned that he was not, in fact, the center of the universe. After that, he was fostered to a nice family in Kent. Together they began to grow, as a family should.
Over the next years, there were a few interesting incidents that no one could explain.
Several hundred miles away, in the Hogwarts register of incoming students, a new name appeared on the rolls.
One bright summer day in early July, shortly after Dudley had turned eleven, a tall, stern-looking woman named Minerva McGonagall came to call.
Dudley, who now went by his middle name, ‘Malcolm’ accepted his invitation to Hogwarts and on the train, became friends with Neville Longbottom, Ronald Weasley, and Ron’s foster-brother, Draco Malfoy, and Hermione Granger, who had transferred from Beauxbatons, because her parents preferred she be a bit closer to home.
Before the sorting feast, after all the children had been placed, Headmistress McGonagall stood and rapped on her goblet. When silence pervaded the Great Hall, she spoke.
“Welcome to Hogwarts. Before our feast, I would like to ask each of us to bow our heads for a student who should have been here, but is not. A student who, even before he could talk, did the wizarding world a service of incalculable import. This student was murdered by his own uncle six years ago. I ask a moment of silence please, for Harry Potter.”
Malcolm knew she referred to his cousin, and having learned the truth, wept along with the others.
The potions mistress, Artemisia Wormwood, called Malcolm and Hermione ‘Two of the brightest stars to have graced Hogwarts in decades’. Severus Snape would have disagreed, but then, Snape was sharing a cell in Azkaban Prison with his favorite inner-circle Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy.
By the end of their first year, Malcolm, Hermione, Neville, Ron and Draco had pulled so many silly pranks and had had so many run-ins with the faculty, that the headmistress dubbed them ‘The Marauders, reborn’. The twins took them all under wing and taught them the ins and outs of ‘proper’ pranking.
Upon their entrance into the hallowed citadel of learning that is Hogwarts, Ginny and Luna became the sixth and seventh members of the group.
Albus Dumbledore had been forced to retire at the behest of the Wizengamot, for his part in Harry’s fate and that of the five years worth of Hogwarts students who had had to give up on their dream careers due to Snape’s intolerance. Each of those who wished, would be given special tutoring by ministry instructors in the arts of Potions, and offered a chance to sit their NEWT’s again. As a result, by early 1990, Minister Bones found herself with enough Aurors and healers for the first time since before Voldemort’s fall.
A/N: I got several requests to write a sequel to ‘A Shocking Discovery’ so I did. Unfortunately, as these things sometimes do, the story began to write itself. I started out with Dumbledore getting reamed royally by Minerva and Mrs. Figg, and getting the Dursley’s taken care of. Then other people entered the picture. Voldemort. The lady in six, Sirius, Remus, Pettigrew/Scabbers, Aunt Marge, and Col. Fubster all played a part in Harry’s life before Hogwarts.
Because of this , I had to rewrite a great deal. I made the scene between Dumbles, Minerva and Arabella shorter but (I think) more effective.
Although my sister and sometimes-beta, FireLemming, thinks I made the story a feelgood piece, I don’t think I did. I just followed what I considered to be a logical path. There are some good things to come from Harry’s death, as well as some that are not so good.
For instance, Hermione would be, for the most part, unaffected. She never knew Harry before her letter, and so she will go on without having met him. Her early interaction with Andromeda and Nymphadora Tonks would help her to acclimate early and likely she will would have less trouble dealing with others her own age. This would carry over to her muggle life as well. Meeting Mme. Maxime would introduce her to the idea of other magic schools in the world, so Hogwarts wasn’t the only choice for her.
Since Luna meets him in her vision, and he warns her of her mother’s accident, that particular twist is removed. With her mother alive, to properly train her innate psychic abilities, she would be more confident in those abilities and with that newfound confidence, perhaps she won’t be so put upon in school.
Dudley is a product of his environment, but he’s only just turned five. He has six years to be deprogrammed. I figure it would take only two.
Draco is just like Dudley. He’s got time before Hogwarts. He can be retrained.
Ron never develops his overriding jealousy and feelings of inadequacy, because his family now has money enough to buy new things for the kids, although Arthur and Molly will still show him that there are things he cannot buy.
Ginny will know without doubt that her hero is gone, and will seek out another to love, and maybe she will discover she has more to offer the world than simply as a brood mare for the ‘hero’. She and Luna were friends in canon and likely will remain so.
Because of his grandmother’s pledge, Neville will become more active with his friends. He is no longer at such a magical disadvantage.
Remus has nothing left to go on with but agonizing transformations each month, which make him extraordinarily dangerous to everybody around him, and will likely kill him before he reaches fifty. His decision to die on his own terms is one I can agree with.
Precisely the same thing can be said for Sirius.
If Fudge and the rest of the Ministry Death Eaters are out of the picture, and the purebloods cannot buy their way free, perhaps the wizarding world can take a step into the future, rather than remain mired in the past. Snape can no longer intimidate students into not trying for the two most critical careers, so when a much weaker Voldemort does make his play, the wizarding world will be that much more prepared.
Really, the same can be said for Dumbledore’s well-meaning meddling.
In law enforcement ‘feelings’ are very important. Often a case will be made because an officer ‘feels’ something is off. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. An example is when you enter your house, and smell something different than usual. Your first response is to investigate. In this case, Vernon’s reactions would have set my hair on end, too.
I don’t know the exact wording in the child abuse reporting laws in GB, or when they were enacted, but I suspect they are very close to those here in the US. Lady Spencer had been very involved in children’s protection even before her marriage to Charles.
County towns; Guildford, Surrey, and Taunton, Somerset, are the rough equivalents to American state capitols. The Crown Court, in the County town, is where capital offenses would be tried. Minor crimes can be dealt with in the local courts.
‘City’ status is conferred by ‘Letters Patent’ or by royal charter, not by the size of the population. Usually the cities were places that had cathedrals, though there are exceptions. London, Portsmouth and Leeds are cities, while other population centers equally large or even larger are no. Go figger
Parkhurst is a prison complex on the isle of Wight, it is a class ‘A’ prison (maximum security for extremely violent offenders) It was downgraded several years after Vernon died. (1996 following the escape of three extremely dangerous prisoners.)
Bronzefield prison in Middlesex was Great Britain’s only class ‘A’ prison for women.
It is primarily intended for female prisoners who pose a significant hazard to themselves or others. It is also the only prison in England for female murderers.
Cockham wood Prison in Kent, is a ‘closed’ women’s prison with higher security levels equivalent to ‘B’ for men. Prisoners stay in cells and are not allowed to leave, as in ‘open’ prisons.
St. Brutus’ doesn’t exist, but since it is in canon, I decided to use it here, just in a slightly different manner.