Harry and Merope to the Rescue - Chapter 37
I don't own the HP universe, unfortunately.
Author's Note: I'm hoping I've gotten the timeline correct (I keep losing track of it), as this is the summer after Bill's first year, it should now be 1983. I never intended to take so long writing this story to completion, but life, distractions, and lack of imagination keeps happening.
The day after the checkups, Harry and Merope were flying together along the beach shore, as Little Harry played nearby in an area that had been warded and charmed to allow him to safely play in his own little portion of the beach without the adults having to worry about accidental drowning, jellyfish stings, etc. Little Harry was going to be three years old in a few weeks and was currently busy building sandcastles and playing with some of his muggle toys, using his wandless magic to move and animate them around the sandcastle he built. Basil remained watchful as she sunned on a large rock nearby.
While Harry and Merope really didn't have to worry about Little Harry getting into mischief or danger due to the protective wards that surrounded the island, they still remained diligent and kept him within their sights at all times. Sometimes Little Harry would come out with his broom and fly, too, but today he had decided he wanted to play in the sand.
Normally, Sirius (as Padfoot) would be playing in the sand with Little Harry, or chasing the waves as he likes to do, but today he was home with his mother, helping with the Weasley children.
Remus was likely either with Sirius at Grimmauld Place or visiting with the werewolves that had taken up a permanent residence at the island now called Safe Haven. For the first time in his life, Remus enjoyed the company of other werewolves and had actually met a nice woman named Leah that he enjoyed spending time with. She wasn't his mate, but she was fun and intelligent company.
After a few laps on the brooms, Harry and Merope landed on the shore, transfigured their clothing to beachwear, and conjured a couple of chairs to just enjoy the feel of the sun and talk. Harry had been a bit quiet since yesterday, and Merope was giving him time to work through all his thoughts before she asked him about what was on in his mind, although she had a fair idea what it was.
Finally, after about ten more minutes of quiet Harry said conversationally, "The results of the testing yesterday was distressing, I hadn't anticipated how badly the Weasleys had been affected by Dumbledore's games."
"Yes, I imagine so," responded Merope. "Not only does it appear that the healer at Hogwarts did a poor job of removing all the hexes from Bill, it appears that the Ginny from your original time must have been under a love potion and compulsion charm since the time she was a baby. It certainly explains Ron's behavior, too, assuming this is not one of those small variations from your original timeline." She was silent for a moment before she added, "I suspect that had Bill not been bullied so much at Hogwarts, that the only children the healers would have found problems with would have been Ron and Ginny, as they were the ones that were closest in age to Little Harry and would have had the chance of getting close to him in school."
Harry shook his head and sighed as he watched the waves of the ocean rolling in, "You know, I was foolishly optimistic to think that all this world's problems would be solved with the disappearance of the most active Death Eaters. As it turns out, Dumbledore screwed up a lot more people and their views than I first thought. It makes me wonder if he messed with Madam Pomfrey and the professors there at the school. What of Snape? How much of the way Snape behaved and turned out had to do with his past with my mother and how much was from Dumbledore and/or Voldemort screwing up his mind?"
Merope patted Harry's arm in comfort as he continued to speak. "I'm not exactly sure where we should go from here, as far as our next step to fixing the views of the magical people of this timeline, but I'm going to report my suspicions to Mad-Eye so that he can start the process of getting all of the teachers evaluated for mind altering spells and such."
The two fell into a comfortable silence as they watched the waves crashing into the shore. It was nearing time to head back to Potter's Refuge to get Little Harry cleaned up and sit down to have a quiet lunch.
It was later in the afternoon, while Little Harry was taking his afternoon nap, when Harry and Merope sat down to cuddle on the couch together for a bit to talk more. Harry had his head resting on top of Merope's head when he asked quietly, "Merope, I know that the Hallows have essentially made us immortal and we'll need to be busy doing something or we will grow bored, but what are we really doing? Are we going to spend eternity fixing the same world over and over again? Now granted, I think we did pretty well in our last one and I'm grateful we were given the chance to have at least one natural child together, but just the thought of fixing these same people over and over again is making me feel a little barmy."
Merope thought a moment in silence and responded thoughtfully, "I agree, fixing the same people over and over will get ridiculously boring after doing it so many times, but what if we decide ahead of time where we want to go next time, rather than waiting to be pulled to where we may be needed? I mean, if I understand the powers of the Hallows, we can choose to go anywhere or we can just let Fate take us where we can do the most good."
"True," said Harry. "Although, I think I'd prefer letting Fate take us where we're needed most. It's my 'saving people thing,' I suppose."
"Well, we could possibly take short little 'vacations,' here and there. We could look in on Edward's descendants now and again to see how they're doing," said Merope.
"Yes," Harry responded, "I would like that and we won't have to really hide ourselves there, as we left Edward that letter with a copy in the vault so that our grandchildren would know of us."
"Back to your thought, though," said Merope, "this world did have some differences in it, even if they were small, so one can only hope that we will come upon another one with even more differences." Merope then smiled at Harry and said, "To quote your good friend Hagrid, 'No good sittin' worryin' abou' it. What's comin' will come, an' we'll meet it when it does.' Am I right?"
Harry laughed and said, "Yes, you're right and you even got the accent close."
Merope simply smiled in response and turned back into Harry's arms and closed her eyes in relaxation.
"Back to our current timeline, though," said Harry thoughtfully. "We still have more to do to fix this world. As I said, I'll talk to Mad-Eye about my suspicions regarding the teachers and Madam Pomfrey. There has to be some curse or compulsion or something that would cause them to not do their duty to stop or punish Bill's bullies or for Madam Pomfrey to not clear him of all the hexes. I mean, I know they didn't stop the blatant bullying in my original timeline either, but one would think that with Dumbledore gone, they would have felt free to change their normal methods."
Merope heard the thoughtful tone and squinted an eye open to look back at him. Then Harry turned to her and asked, "How would you feel about working at Hogwarts? Business is slow for HP Investigations, as the aurors have been able to handle their caseloads and have not needed additional help. I'm receiving the occasional private requests, but that would be easy enough to handle from Hogwarts."
Raising an eyebrow in question, Merope asked, "What of Little Harry? Surely you don't expect us to raise him from Hogwarts?"
"Hmm," said Harry. "You're right, dear, maybe now is not the time for both of us to work at Hogwarts, I was just thinking you would be excellent for the History of Magic position or for Muggle Studies, as I was thinking about applying for the Defense Against the Dark Arts position. I'd suggest any of the other positions as well because you are certainly well qualified, but they already have competent professors in place, with the exception of Snape. Though now I think about it," Harry started to trail off in thought, "they may need a Transfiguration professor, since McGonagall is now the Headmistress."
"Dear, you're rambling," said Merope. "Regardless of how many positions might be available, someone needs to remain with Little Harry and I much prefer that person to be me."
"Of course," said Harry. "It was only just a thought, maybe I'll apply as a professor in another reality or timeline, or perhaps wait until Little Harry is a student, that way I could keep a better watch over him."
"Dear," Merope mumbled quietly, "you're still rambling. We have plenty of time to make whatever decisions need to be made. You'll speak to Mad-Eye before the summer is over, so that he can hopefully have the teachers and Madam Pomfrey cleared before the new school year. After you have spoken to Mad-Eye, we'll start planning Little Harry's birthday party and decide who, besides our normal circle will be invited. The sooner Little Harry gets introduced to other little witches and wizards, the sooner the other children will view him as a potential friend, rather than just the famous Boy-Who-Lived."
"You're right, dear," said Harry, before they both dosed off for a brief nap on the sofa, before Little Harry came running out and woke them up.
THE DAILY PROPHET
TROUBLE AT HOGWARTS
By: Rita Skeeter
Dear readers, after a thorough investigation by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, it has been reported to us that all of the professors and the resident healer of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have had to be admitted to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries for an extended stay, due to what appears to be extensive exposures of different forms of mind altering and control magics and/or potions.
It is not yet clear at this point what type of mind magics (or if any of them included one of the Unforgivables) had been used on which professor, nor is it clear the exact length of time each professor has been suffering from such condition, nor even who was the witch or wizard behind it; however, one can only deduce that it had something to do with the late Headmaster Dumbledore.
A Ministry spokesperson had this to say, "We are deeply saddened by what has been apparently happening at Hogwarts under our very noses under the guidance of the late former headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. The Wizengamot will be gathering together in an effort to reach a solution that will prevent such mishaps in the future. Thank you."
THE DAILY PROPHET
BLACKS FORMALLY ADOPT
By: Rita Skeeter
Dear readers, not only has Mrs. Walburga Black taken over guardianship of those poor, orphaned Weasley children, it seems that she had decided to formally adopt them into the House of Black!
Mrs. Black's son, Sirius Black, had this to say on the matter: "I'm very excited to welcome my new younger siblings into the family. Our home has never been more lively and they get along great with my godson and each other, as well as all of the other members of our extended friends. I look forward to teaching them pranks to pull on all those bullies my brother, Bill, encounter at Hogwarts."
Do you hear that young Hogwarts students? I hope you are all sufficiently prepared!
Severus Snape had just finished informing Minerva that he was retiring from teaching to pursue his own dream that was focused on potions research and development and not teaching stupid dunderheads. He was now sitting in his private quarters contemplating everything he had learned during his stay in St. Mungo's, as he sipped on a glass of firewhiskey. He decided that he would first spend the evening making potions needed to stock up the hospital wing, and tomorrow he would begin packing up his belongings and hope that Minerva was successful in hiring back Slughorn.
He was trying to come to terms with the fact that Albus Dumbledore had been manipulating him his entire life "for the greater good". There had been several nearly undetectable compulsions and charms. Now that they were removed, he no longer felt irrational anger at the thought of James Potter, or that his childhood best friend had married the wizard. He realized it was his anger towards James and the loss of Lily that sent him running straight to Voldemort, he didn't think he would have done so had he not been pushed to do so by his irrational anger.
Thoughts of Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived didn't trigger hatred for the child that could have been his.
And finally, he no longer felt like he had to live his life alone and in bitterness, longing for the life he could have had with Lily Evans.
Life was going to be different for him now, he thought to himself as he swallowed the last of his firewhiskey. He was no longer controlled by two manipulating masters. He was free. Free to live. Free to find love. Just free.
Poppy Pomfrey was busy getting the hospital wing ready for the new school year. She was now free of the compulsions to ignore and not treat any non threatening or unobvious injuries. She was free to report any abuse she detected when a student came to her for help. She was free to actually do her job!
She shook her head to herself as she organized all of the new potions Severus had brought her before he told her goodbye. "Why that old goat didn't want me to do the job I was hired to do is beyond my understanding," she mumbled to herself.
Minerva sat in her new office, having been officially cleared by St. Mungo's to be fit to run the school. She sipped on her Scottish whiskey as she stared at Albus Dumbledore's portrait with narrow eyes and said in her Scottish burr, "If ye wur aye alive, a'd strangle ye wi' yer ain fluff, ye auld coot. Ah will fin' a wey tae banish yer portrait yin day."
The portrait of Albus Dumbledore just twinkled back at her declaration.
Author's note: I used scotranslate dot com for Minerva's dialogue.