Half a chapter, as I try to push through Writer's Block.
The ionized smell that usually came from the ruins of Hogwarts was gone today, Harry noticed, like the air after a good rainstorm. Hermione had gone to coordinate with the volunteers for the day, as Harry began the weekly sort through the materials the wards had prevented visitors from taking. The Threstrals had defended Hogwarts and all the adult horses had died in the final attack, the colts took up a bare fraction of the stables, which were barely in Hogwart’s wards, in the Forbidden Forest. Upon discovering the place, Harry could finally see why the job of Groundskeeper had been so appealing for Hagrid. There were numerous outbuildings geared to different species of animals, as well as insects, all hidden by ancient wards that made the area impregnable to those not admitted by the Headmaster or Groundskeeper. Harry thought that perhaps it was the inspiration for the Fidelius.
Harry was the Headmaster, though only the former staff and Hermione knew that fact. It had been a failsafe set up by Dumbledore in his first year. If Hogwarts fell, Harry would be Headmaster, to prevent the wards and enchantments from coming into hostile hands, which included those of the Ministry. As expected, the survivors among the former staff, beyond Poppy were all in St Mungos, save McGonagall, who was in a muggle hospital undergoing an experimental treatment for the nerve damage she'd sustained from a dozen Crucios. Until they uncovered the Gargoyle to the Headmaster's office, no staff appointments could be changed, and so Harry was the only fit wizard able to enter the stables.
Today the house elves must have been busy, or sensed he wasn't there for a chat, as none came to greet him. The magic of the ruins was too violent for their health, especially as it was mostly the oldest and the youngest that survived. Harry usually took special time to tend the Thestrals, so Hagrid's work of decades taming the herd wouldn't be lost, but today he was there to check a hunch.
The Return Room today was mostly empty. The four cornerstones that defined the space the wards would return to, were still visible despite the pile in the center. This time, beyond the pens, and rocks, the only other material returned from would be thieves were books and parchments, some of which were red marked as illegal copies from the library. Harry leviated the books out of the room, and took them to the former nursery/treatment room. It was the most sterile of the rooms of the stable, being fully enclosed, with a stone floor. As Harry added the books to the shelf, the charmed parchment affixed to the bookstand, added the titles to the list, with the date Harry placed them on the shelves, as well as the last "guest" to hold the book. Sure enough, when Harry checked, the Ministry attempted thefts and duplications now only focused on a single subject: time magic.
And here I post because I hope it will help shake out the rest of the chapter from my skull. :)