Ravenclaw's Computer

Set during 5th year. Canon Sorting. Harry Potter and Hermione Granger have been actively dating since 4th year when he finally got the gumption to ask her after her amazing ability to get him out of participating in the Tri-Wizard Tournament because of an obscure loophole. Sirius Black is no longer on the run but hasn't received a trial yet (he's in a safehouse guarded by trusted Aurors of Director Amelia Bones). Voldemort did still return but he had to resort to using Cedric as the unwilling blood sacrifice. When Cedric came back and started to make the claims that the Dark Lord had returned, the Ministry tried to discredit him. In this story, Dolores Umbridge is still at Hogwarts as the Ministry plant for DADA/High Inquisitor. She still targets Harry as he made his opinion known that he believes in Cedric's claims. Dobby still ended up showing his beloved 'Great Master Harry Potter and his Miss Grangy' the Room of Requirement when they'd asked him for a place where they could go and hide away from everyone else.

Ancient Runes Workshop/Laboratory

Hermione quietly signed into the laboratory and glanced around at the nearly unoccupied room. There were several tables that held unfinished projects and some scattered notes. She let out a sigh of relief knowing that this was probably the one place in the entire castle that she and Harry could go to without getting hassled by the Toad. Apparently even 'The Umbitch' knew not to invade this room making a lot of noise without a damn good reason or fire off spells with her wand. The volatile nature of unfinished runic clusters was… explosive.

She turned and spotted Harry hunched over one such workspace wearing a head mounted magnifier and a scraper held between his lips as he carefully examined what appeared to be a crown of some sort. She sat down next to him and waited for Harry to notice her. It wouldn't have been the first time she'd surprised him when he was working.

The scent of Hermione's shampoo filled Harry's nostrils and caused him to slow down in his examination of the crown. He glanced up and blinked owlishly at the distorted image of his girlfriend through the magnifier lenses. He could sense that she was smiling at the display and confirmed it a moment later when she reached over and raised the hood out of the way and slipped on his regular glasses.

"Interesting work there, Harry?"

Harry glanced back down at the crown, removed the scraper from between his lips and nodded, "Yup, found this in the Room of Requirement. Strangely enough, it's given me the same sort of slimy feeling that the Diary did back in second year."

Hermione frowned at that, "Do you think that you should be handling it then?"

Harry shook his head in dismissal, "I think I've figured out what the difference is in the activation. The Diary responded when someone wrote in it. This thing, this needs to be worn to trigger the defenses."

Hermione looked closer at the crown. Her eyes widened comically and she let out a gasp of recognition, "Harry! That looks like the lost Diadem of Ravenclaw!"

Harry turned it over and around in his hands, "Yeah, I guess it is. It's also something more than that."

She tried to wrap her mind around the fact that Harry had discovered one of the greatest lost magical treasures in the past thousand years yet was acting so nonchalant.

"It's also a computer."


Harry looked up when there wasn't any sound coming from his girlfriend. The look on her face would suggest that she'd been petrified again.

"Hermione?" He waved a hand in front of her face.

"A… computer? That's impossible. Computers, modern computers at least, didn't get their start until the 1950s."

Harry nodded, "I know that. What I'm holding here is a runic version of a modern computer. Here, look at the back of the crown under the magnifier." He held out the visor and scooted back to let her get a better angle of viewing in the light. He knew she spotted what it was that led him to that conclusion when she let out a strangled squeal of surprise.

Hermione flopped back down into her chair and covered her eyes, letting out a low moan, "Argh, I just realized something. You said you felt the same sort of evilness within the Diadem. That means it's corrupted in some way, right? Nooo… It's going to need to be destroyed." She let her head flop back against the wall and grumbled about idiotic dark lords messing around with priceless historical artifacts.

Harry let her grumble and groan for a moment before suggesting his idea and the reason why he was in the workshop to begin with.

"I think I can repair it, Hermione." She brought her head up and stared at him bemusedly. "Think about it. What we have here is an ancient runic version of a modern computer, right? I'm a rune savant, you're a tech genius. Between the two of us as well as having easy access to the prior work and knowledge done by the world's computer scientists in the muggle world, not to mention that we can get our hands on the tools needed to repair it."

The gleam of interest returned to her eyes as she squinted, cocked her head a bit and held out her hand for the Diadem and magnifier again. While she was taking another look, Harry pulled out his sketches of the rune pathways he'd isolated and determined their function. He also pulled out similar diagrams of modern computer parts and placed them side by side with their magical counterparts. When she finished her examination, she replied that they could at the very least recreate the runes to see what they did under normal circumstances.

"I'd already thought of that. Here, I compiled a list of diagrams. On the left, are the muggle schematics of the audio and video drivers, the motherboard, etc. On the right, are the magical counterparts. You remember how Rowena Ravenclaw was reported to being a Seer? I have a sneaky suspicion that she dreamt of today's computer technology and managed to recreate it using medieval magic. From what I've already determined, the jewels act as the CPU chips and some of the larger components you'd find in a motherboard. There is a line of clusters down at the bottom of the Diadem that appears to act as a scanner and power tap to look into the wearer's head as well as tap into a tiny bit of their magic. What I need help with is figuring out where the corruption lies. Does it lie within the main processor? Is it in the ROM or one of the secondaries?"

Hermione silently took in all of his questions and observations, she read the schematics carefully before stopping his now rambling speech, "Do you have a way to test the individual drivers and circuits without activating the whole thing?" He nodded and pointed to a tablet that was lying at the top end of the table.

"Runic version of a breadboard. I created it back in third year to test out some of my ideas."

She smiled warmly at his genius. She loved it when he let his brains out to play, unlike in first year when he'd been a scared and shy firstie who was determined to hold onto Ronald Weasley's 'friendship' for whatever reason. She was grateful and happy that he'd had ditched the redheaded git that first Halloween after rescuing her from the Troll. Looking back between the charts in her hands and the Diadem sitting seemingly benignly on the table, she sighed.

"It's too bad I can't bring my diagnostic equipment here to school. The magic in the air would fry them."

Harry looked puzzled for a moment before letting out an 'aha' sort of gasp. He dove into his backpack and rummaged around for a moment before triumphantly holding up what looked like a deck of cards. He pulled off the rubber band holding them together and flipped through the selection before removing one and placing it on the table in front of her with a big grin on his face.

With a confused look on her own face, Hermione gingerly picked up the card and looked over the cluster. It took a moment before she realized what it was she was looking at.

With trembling fingers, she gently placed the card back on the table and gazed lovingly at her boyfriend, "I could so kiss you into next week if that card is what I think it is."

Harry's grin could only be described as 'dopey,' "If you're thinking that the card would nullify the destructive nature of magic in the presence of muggle electronics while at the same time using the energy to power said devices then I should learn to hold my breath."

Taking and releasing a deep breath, Hermione leant back again after giving Harry a toe-curling kiss. She scrubbed her hands through her hair and reached to examine some of his notes.

"Have you been able to isolate any of the other features yet?"

Harry mutely nodded and used the scraper point to trace the circuitry of the lower band, "Yeah, I was able to isolate the power tap array and checked to see if it would power up using one of my cards. It draws in ambient magical energy and converts it to whatever the device requires. In this case, the computer runs at about 33MHz while drawing about 12 volts DC."

Hermione looked puzzled, "How does magical energy translate to DC energy?"

Harry shrugged, "We're no closer to understanding the underlying principles of what magic is than for me to figure out how the conversion works. All I can figure is that magic must be just another form of energy as we both know from primary science class, energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely changed, right?"

Hermione bobbled her head as she accepted that premise.

"So to continue, I ran my diagnostic card on the power tap, the scanner, as well as the audio driver. All of it checks out fine. I was just about to check the motherboard itself and the BIOS but I wanted to hold off until I got your impression and any suggestions on how to proceed."

"Well, I think you should hold off until I can get my gear here. I'll need to write to my parents and have them box it up and send it through the mail. Speaking of which, do you know how to ship to Hogwarts using the Royal Mail?"

"Nope, not a clue. I suppose we should speak with Professor McGonagall about that."

Hermione waited for Harry at the door to the laboratory as she patiently watched him clean up his workstation. He placed the Diadem into a protective box and gathered up his notes before dropping the lot into his knapsack. He gazed around to make sure nothing was left out that could be a danger to anyone else and removed a card from the lighted swing arm before turning and heading to where Hermione stood.

"What was that last card you removed? The one from the swing arm?"

"Hmm? Oh, the normal light used is too yellow for my tastes. That card alters the wavelength into a brighter white akin to a fluorescent tube but without the annoying flicker."

The two fifth years managed to navigate the halls avoiding the roving patrols of Umbridge and her Inquisitorial Squad. It was the last thing either one of them needed, Harry especially. After all, carrying around the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw in an ordinary knapsack could start a riot if word got out. After knocking on their Head of House's office door, they heard a Scottish accented voice call for them to enter.

"Mr. Potter. Miss Granger. To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"

Hermione stepped forward, "Professor, what is the normal method for a muggleborn or their parents to ship bulky items through the Royal Mail to the castle?"

A thin eyebrow rose in silent question.

"I need some of my diagnostic tools from home to assist me in an Ancient Runes project," Hermione explained further. The eyebrow came down and the professor's lips pursed in thought.

"Well, the 'normal' method would be for your parents to just go to Diagon Alley's Owl Post Office and ship it directly. The method you are questioning is a bit more temperamental. One would have to address the items to Box 934 at any of the post offices in a double envelope. The inner envelope is then addressed to yourself or whomever you're sending it to. The second method is slower because you have to not only wait on the speed of the normal muggle mail system but also for a representative of the magical mail service to go and pick it up. If I remember correctly, the representative only gathers the mail once a week but I'm not sure as to which day."

Hermione looked thoughtful and tapped her chin with a finger as she quickly and silently worked out how long it would take her parents to crate and ship her gear.

Harry then asked how much such a service cost.

Professor McGonagall tugged off her glasses and let them dangle on a chain around her neck while she rubbed the bridge of her nose, "Direct from Diagon Alley, I think it's 4 Galleons for a crate measuring one meter square. I'm sorry; I don't know what the height restrictions are. I also don't know what the conversions would be if you were to take the indirect method."

"Could we use your Floo to contact them and find out?" Hermione asked.

Minerva shrugged, "I don't see why not. The Floo powder is in the vase on the mantle, the address is Diagon Alley Post Office."

While Hermione was busy making the Floo call, Harry was being questioned by the professor on some of his latest experiments with runes. He replied that his Runic Deck of Cards were working out splendidly and handed the set over. He was in the middle of pointing out one particular feature when there was a loud banging on the office door and a screeching voice emanating from the other side.

"Minerva! Open up! By the order of myself, the High Inquisitor, I demand that you open this door immediately!"

Minerva let out a low hiss of disapproval and rose to her feet, purposely taking her sweet time to reach the door. Harry grunted in amusement at the mini rebellion. Hermione took no notice as she was still in the middle of her call.

The door burst open and Dolores Umbridge waddled in a pink clad fury, "Minerva! You deliberately kept me waiting. That is totally unacceptable. Now, I have been alerted to an unauthorized Floo call being held here in the castle. I suspect Potter to be trying to contact Sirius Black or some other subversive member of Dumbledore's coterie." She pulled up short and her chins wobbled a bit when she spotted Harry sitting in front of Minerva's desk and nowhere even close to the fireplace.

With a sweeping gesture, Minerva gleefully and condescendingly pointed out Dolores' error, "See? Mr. Potter couldn't possibly be trying to contact anyone unless he's doing it with the power of his mind. Now, if that's all Dolores?"

Umbridge just huffed in indignation and ignored Minerva's invitation to leave, pushing past the elder professor to further examine the room. Just as she rounded the desk, she spotted Hermione's body sticking out of the fireplace and yelled in righteous anger.

"I knew it! I knew that there was an unauthorized Floo call being placed!" She started reaching for Hermione with a fat fingered hand, "I'll have you in detention now."

With a sudden burst of light and a stinging hex hitting her hand, Dolores yelped and leapt back before crashing to the floor in a heavy thud. Minerva stood over her, glaring her anger at the rotund, toad-like nuisance.

"Pulling anyone out of the middle of a Floo call is a dangerous thing to do! You could've injured her greatly and I won't have my students put in harm's way by their…professors." Minerva raged.

Dolores pointed one fat finger at Hermione who was just now completing her call, "That call was unauthorized and you are interfering with my job!"

Minerva sat down heavily in her chair and sighed with great annoyance, "Dolores, you're making a fool of yourself as usual. The call in question went to the Diagon Alley Post Office and was an inquiry into their shipping fees. I had forgotten a specification and since Miss Granger was available, I asked her to do it while I continued my conversation with Mr. Potter. Now, does that satisfy your incessant questioning?"

Dolores rose to her feet and tried to draw herself up into something resembling a commanding presence. To Harry's mind, it just made her look like she'd gotten hit with a Bowel Loosening Hex. The squat toad gave one last warning about trying to usurp her authority to bring order and discipline to the castle before storming out. Harry silently glanced between his Head of House and his girlfriend, the latter who was staring at the remnants of the scene in puzzlement, and shook his head in exasperation.

"Professor? I don't understand why you put up with her. Don't you outrank a High Inquisitor or whatever it is she thinks she is?" Harry inquired as he gathered up his rune cards.

Minerva let out another grumble of dissension, only some of the words were intelligible, "Unfortunately not. The position of High Inquisitor is an old one, dating back to the time of the Founders and therefore is in its own rank separate from the one set down by the Board of Education. Believe me, if it was possible, I'd personally launch her through the Floo back into the Ministry where she came from." She turned to Hermione, "Did you find out the information you were asking about?"

Hermione nodded, "Yes, Professor. The crate needs to measure no more than a meter square and half that, high. The cost is 4 Galleons one way and can be ready to ship the moment my parents sign it over."

"Did you ask how it's being shipped? I can't see them using an owl to lift such a heavy crate," Harry temporized.

Hermione nodded at that, "The clerk said they use a house-elf for the larger transports." Harry made a semi-interested grunt of reply to that.

After thanking their Head of House, the two trekked back up to their Common Room where Hermione went in search of her writing tools and a roll of parchment. Harry in the meantime went in search of the Weasley Twins to share an idea he'd had for a prank rune.

[A/N: Whew! So that's the beginning of a whole new story that's been floating around in my mind after a conversation I had on the Harmony & Co.'s Facebook page. It's tough for me to describe anything technical without making it read like a bone-dry government manual. Did this flow right to you all? Please leave a comment, compliment or suggestion! Thanks.