Chapter 2 - Egypt

Warnings - non-explicit character death.

Lucius Malfoy had had an odd afternoon at the Ministry. The place was abuzz with gossip and rumors.

Cornelius Fudge was dodging him today. Sigh. That meant that Albus Dumbledore was in the building and putting pressure on the man to stay away.

Lucius dropped by his secretary's desk again. Good. This time the wizard was there.

"Ah, my good man. I have a small gift for you Wetherby, to show you my gratitude for all of your help." Lord Malfoy extended a long envelope. It contained 2 passes to a magical production along with pre-paid refreshments before and after.

The man was Hufflepuff, class of '73, and remembered Malfoy all too well from their time at school. Even if he clearly hadn't remembered him!

"Close, Lord Malfoy. Weatherwight. Wetherby was the previous man. But, it's only been 2 years, 8 months. I'm sure that you just need to hear it again. Some people need a little more time. And thank you for the offer, but I wouldn't want anyone thinking that I was using my position for personal gain."

Shouting was now heard, even if the content was muffled. A quick tap of his wand on a rune at the man's desk, and the sound was cut off suddenly.

The door opening brought the sound back. "Everyone knows that he is being raised in a magical castle, Dumbledore. He'll be on the train September 1. If he is not, we can look into it then. Good day!"

The Minister had his hand pointing the way out, and Dumbledore was clearly starting to say something more. But was caught off-guard seeing the blond wizard standing there, regally holding his cane.

"Lucius, how are you this fine day, my boy?" The man asked with fake sincerity, brushing down his long beard. "And how is young Draconius? Looking forward to school?"

"Draco is doing fine, Albus." Lucius practically hissed. "And you know very well that I wanted him schooled elsewhere. But your law…"

"If everyone who lived in Britain was schooled elsewhere, what would we do with Hogwarts?"

"Perhaps improve it? Bring back Enchanting? Get a decent Potions and History teacher? Add Healing, Ward-crafting and some of the other advanced electives? Here's a brochure from Salem if you would like some ideas, Headmaster." Weatherwight suggested, handing over a multi-page colorful program. "I know that I would be happy to send my Sarah to school here in Britain if it had some of the same curriculum. But her mother is a US citizen, so MACUSA says that Sarah can go there. Just want the best for my little girl. Besides, I can't argue with the wife, you know."

Fudge sent him a mild glare, but in actuality couldn't help but agree with everything his secretary had said.

"Yes, thank you Wetherby for reminding me of that loop-hole to close later." Dumbledore muttered. "Enchanting. Where would we get the money?"

"The man's name is Weatherwight Headmaster, and he does have a point. As school governor, I feel it very heavy handed to suggest ways to improve the law, rather than ways to improve the school."

"I must be getting back to said school. Lucius, Cornelius, Mr. Weatherwight." Albus sniffed, and made his way to the floo.

"I feel I should chastise you for upsetting the Headmaster. Instead, I think that I will put you in for a raise. Now, what is next on the agenda?" Fudge asked.

Raised eyes, and a subtle move asked if the Minister wanted to see Lord Malfoy, or escort him to the tea room. Seeing the nod, he responded appropriately.

"You have the rest of the afternoon clear, sir."

Having need of counsel, he decided to let Lucius in. He did however, forget to set the privacy wards.

Special parchment took careful notes of everything said. Looking at it later, Alex Weatherwight knew that he had to report this to his real boss at MI5.

'Harry Potter missing and possibly murdered by muggles. Inconceivable!' he read.

'Fudge keeps using that word'. Alex thought to himself. 'I do not think it means what the Minister seemed to think it means.'

*****OO*****

While Harry was having fun playing quidditch with his new family and their friends (a girl named Luna came over to cheer), Percy's girlfriend showed up on something called the Knight Bus.

"That, that thing is a menace!" Penelope declared as soon as she was able.

"Yes, dear it is. But you don't like floo travel, even if we could get your house authorized for it. And that would be a bit of work with your parents being muggle and all. Not that I'm prejudiced! We have a cousin who is a squib, and he's doing well as an accountant after all. Noble profession if one can't do magic. I just meant all of the forms to fill out for permission. Since neither of us are 17."

"You're holding up the game, Perce!""Kiss the girl and grab your broom!""She can play too if you wish.""Come on, Penny! Join us!"

"NO WAY! Not after all that, that mess I just went through. I hate magical travel in all forms. I'll just cheer with Luna here."

Harry was playing chaser with Ginny, Bill was seeker, and Percy was keeper. Fred and George worked well together as chasers, Ron was keeper, but their seeker was Cedric Diggory, and he was very good.

A good time was had by all, and it was with friendly groans that Molly called them all down for dinner.

There was a lot of teasing and good natured rivalry. Ginny was giving Harry tips on being a better chaser, while the twins were teasing Luna over which of the handsome hunks at the table she had a crush on.

"Harry Potter, of course. But I will suffice with Harry Black,"

"LUNA! Harry doesn't want to talk about his father!" Ginny turned to her new brother. "Sorry Harry, she just knows things, but really, she didn't mean to hurt your feelings."

"Why would I hurt your feelings by saying that I had a crush on you?" Luna asked in all innocence. "I like you Harry. I think that being near you is almost like having a friend."

"It's complicated. And yes, Luna, I like um, I mean, I want to be friends." Harry said in a rush, his face reddinging quickly. Adding in very rapidly "No harm done, but I have a meeting with Percy and Penny now, so please excuse me. Mrs. Weasley, may I help with the dishes?"

Fred and George were besides themselves with laughter, but received identical light punches from the girls for their teasing.

****OO*****

Finding out that Sirius Black was indeed the boy's father had been a blow. They couldn't legally adopt Harry. But that didn't stop the family from taking him in. The letter that she had received from the man had surprised her.

'Dear Molly Prewitt, now Weasley.

Between you and your husband, we are related a dozen different ways. I promise, if you take care of Harry to the best of your ability, I will reward you. I have asked my account manager to set aside 25,000 galleons for either a new home or improvements to your current one. I have also made sure that you will receive 200 galleons a month maintenance. I know that you are sending the boy to Egypt, and I know why. I approve.

'Please let Percy take his girlfriend. I will pay for appropriate chaperones, but I think that Harry needs an older sister/witch friend in his life.

'Any reasonable request made to Goldrob will be evaluated, and if deemed appropriate will be approved.

'You have my gratitude for rescuing my son from the muggles that were hurting him. Thank you.

Lord Sirius Black.'

"Penny dear, can I talk to first Percy alone, and then you? No, Harry, we all share in the housework, and it's the twins turn to do dishes. Watch how they use the kitchen wand so that you can do it another time."

"Have you decided, love? It's a big step." Molly asked. Her boy was growing up so fast! And while she liked Penny, the girl was raised in the muggle world. She might have muggle morals!

"I know Mother, but if I don't invite her, she'll see it as betrayal. Egypt! There's so much magic and history and everything!"

"Yes, indeed dear. You'll have to leave your pet rat. Maybe Ron…"

"Mum" Percy looked around quietly, no rat in sight. "Scabbers is getting old. All he does is sleep. I've been thinking of putting him down. If he died of natural causes while Ron was rat-sitting, he'd feel bad forever."

The Weasley matriarch sighed, and asked him to bring the rat downstairs. She first cast a sleep spell on the poor thing. Then she cast several spells, and indeed, while the age indicator clearly wasn't working right (31?), he had been a pet in their home for 10 years. Long even for a magical rat.

They took it outside, Molly casting the sleep spell again just to make sure, and they talked about some of the animal's tricks.

Then Molly Weasley cast a spell used to harvest the chickens and pigs. A painless death, and buried the animal in their small home pet cemetery.

No one would ever know all of the pain and suffering that would have been caused by such a creature going free. A traitor put to a quiet death, was waking up to a not-fun judgement.

The Angel of Death told him it was time. His gentle eyes held only sadness, not a joyful greeting. Peter knew more fear in that statement than he had experienced in front of the Dark Lord.

No! NO!

Others were waiting for him. His father shook his head and turned away, tears falling.

'We could have been together for eternity in peace and happiness. All of those innocent muggleborns with your Death Eater friends, James, Lily. The muggles. Why, Peter, why?'

Green eyes, the color of the killing curse were drilling into Peter's.

'Tell me why? Why? You were our friend! We trusted you!' Lily Potter spat out.

'We shared our lives. For nearly a decade. I thought you were my friend. You betrayed us and Sirius.' James added sadly

"And you know what is worse? If you had shown a spec of remorse, we would have forgiven you." James put his arm around his wife and left.

Judgement. Sorrow. Anguish.

The smell of brimstone filled his nostrils, and then the Angel of Death came to escort him to his new home.

And he never was told how he died.

*****OO*****

The evening was busy. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley went to visit the Clearwater home, then stopped at the bank for all of the documentation that Penny would need to go to Egypt.

Harry received a notice from the bank that before he could visit again, he had to have a Certificate of Proficiency in Occlumency, agree to wear magical suppression cuffs (offered at a discount for a premium customer), and promise to meet with his account manager in his own home if he was ever feeling 'out of sorts'.

Harry in return wrote a profound note of apology. He offered to pay for damages done to the bank, and asked for help finding a tutor in the mind arts thing. (Harry had been told that tutors were one of Gringotts services).

He asked how he was supposed to retrieve money from his vault. He put the letter in the small shoe-shine looking box, and pressed the rune for send. He wasn't expecting such a quick response though.

Suddenly, a small green being who was clearly not-a-goblin popped in.

"Oh, the Great Master Harry Potter sir! Dobby is so happy to meet you!"

"SHHHHH! Quiet Dobby! Don't call me by that name! Not here! Not ever! You want me covered in fangirls?" Harry looked around. "Or worse, fanboys?"

Dobby went over to the wall that appeared to be wood panels to knock his head on. The canvas walls were very convincing visually, but for hurting or punishing oneself?

Not so much.

"No offense, Dobby, but I'm kinda busy right now. I'm trying to get ready to flee the country."

Even though Harry tried not to think about it, he had a bad dream about Vernon and Petunia. As far he knew, neither Vernon's car or his body had been found yet.

Arthur said to tell them nothing about Vernon as it would be suspicious for Harry just appearing. That the aurors would take care of it.

Harry still wanted to get away from all of it!

"Mistress is sending Dobby to the Great Master Harry Po...Black so that he can serve the great mage Master Harry Black, sir."

"Wow. Okay, that is a mouthful. So, from the little I have picked up about house-elves, you have to obey me, right?"

"Oh, yes, Dobby much rather serve the Great…"

A small human boy's hand covered the dark green lips. Um, Harry thought. 'What shade of lipstick do elves wear? Girl elves?'

He shook his head. Buying lipstick for Petunia was something he would never have to do again, nor be a Dursley house-elf.

"Dobby, I command you to tell me the truth. Wouldn't you like to be free?" Harry asked kindly.

Tears formed in the beings eyes. "More than anything else, Dobby wants to be free."

Harry went over to the trunk he was sorting. He wasn't keeping any of the Dursley rags, but found a particularly nasty (though clean) mustard yellow sock.

"Before I set you free, I need you to go and get some money from my vault. If you can think of anything else I need for my trip to Egypt, buy that too. Um, don't take more than 1,000 galleons from my vault without permission. You will ignore anyone else in the family's orders but mine. And try to be back before midnight. Please go now to do your chores, unless you have questions."

That was one thing about house-elf magic. If an elf loved his master, he could perform duties perfectly, even if the instructions weren't clear. Hatred?

Well, it was tough, but there had been a house-elf sent to Azkaban for poisoning her mistress. Or so he had his history book on the train home.

Harry continued sorting the various clothes that Arthur had picked up at the Dursley's for him. Harry vaguely wondered what would happen to Dudley now, when Arthur came in.

"Penny and Percy will be here in a minute. Using magic, your uncle was found. I'm sorry, Harry, it looks as though he was mauled by a bear, and couldn't use his gum to protect himself."

Harry tried not to smile, then he tried not to laugh. But he couldn't help it.

He was rolling on the floor, tears streaming.

"Oh, you poor dear! There, there Harry! It's going to be alright! At least you aren't alone!"

It took a bit, but Harry regained control while the older girl was busy trying to comfort him.

"Penny, do you have any bubble gum on you?"

"Sure, Harry, whatever you need." Penny said kindly, reaching into her purse.

"I'm sorry if I appeared to be rude, Uncle Arthur, really. But this, this is chewing gum. You see, you chew and chew, but don't swallow. It's a treat."

Harry picked up a nearby branch, and concentrating like Percy taught, transfigured it to the likeness of a rifle. Well, a small one, but it did the job.

"This is a g-u-n, well, actually, it's a rifle, but I can show you a gun too I think. Vernon used to like Westerns."

His tongue sticking slightly out, he then proceeded to change a different stick to a six-shooter. Still in miniature, but the barrel worked.

He looked up to see if the wizard understood the difference and saw three magicals looking at him. And blinking. And looking at him. And blinking.

"Did I do it wrong?" Harry asked. "I think that it looks okay. Penny, you live in the muggle world. What do you think?"

Penny's mouth opened, but other than odd noises, nothing was coming out.

Percy walked in, and saw the muggle weapons. "Oh, nice work Penny! Glad to see you practicing."

She looked at him and shook her head, and pointed to Harry.

"Harry did this? But this is, this is…" Percy stopped, and pinched the bridge of his nose. Goldrub had tried to warn the family about this.

"Did I do okay, Perce? Please tell me if it's rubbish or not, and I will try again!"

Percy sat in the chair, looked Harry in the eyes, and told him the truth.

"You are a mage, Harry. Only a mage can do that kind of magic so young. It's beyond brilliant. The headmaster, he thought…" Percy stopped and Penny came over, sat next to him and held his hand. "The headmaster told me I was a mage when I was eleven, and I believed him. But what I had done was study my older brother's books. I did advanced magic through hard work. But it was awful. The headmaster was always on me telling me how such power would lead to a dark path if I didn't follow him exactly. It was almost as if…"

Percy stopped talking and looked at his parents. He knew that they really believed in him.

"I felt that he wanted me to be evil. Another Dark Lord to defeat."

"Oh Percy! This is why you don't like him. I'm so sorry, lovie. I didn't know." Molly was in tears. But Percy didn't let her distract him.

"Harry, Dumbledore has control of the school. He makes sure that as many magicals go to school there as possible, and fails to give them a decent education. And why?"

Percy sighed.

"To make it easier to detect who is dangerous. Who is powerful."

"Who is going to replace him." Harry queried. "No, who is going to dethrone him. That's why he's doing, and has been doing, the equivalent of the French Revolution. Only his weapon isn't a guillotine, it's ignorance."

Penny looked aghast, and looked to her beau to get him to deny Harry's conclusion. But he was just nodding sadly.

"This is why we need to learn the oc-clamsy thingy isn't it, Perce?" Harry asked.

"Indeed, my little brother, indeed."

"I should have gotten Dobby to get more money. I just had an idea. An awful idea. I just had a wicked, terrible, awful idea."

"Harry?" Penny asked nervously, Molly looking up.

"Students may have to go to Hogwarts, but no one said anything about what they learned there now, did they? We are going to figure out a way to get the best teachers, the best programs, the best everything...All while keeping His Majesty completely in the dark."

Harry drummed his fingers on his chair. "I'm going to need a bigger tent."

*****OO*****

Putting aside all of the conclusions that they had come to, Harry realized that Dumbledore was going to blame his family's death on him. He shuddered. He looked to his new family, and saw nothing but resolve there.

"He's not taking you from us, lovie. We have your father's permission for you to be here, and that was filed with the Ministry. They would have to hold a full open court and declare us unfit parents. Dumbledore would never do that to us. It would cost him too many allies." Molly opined.

Arthur kissed his wife gently. "I agree, my heart. But I can see both Harry and Percy worried about this. I'll keep a close ear on it at work. And I think I have the mirrors just about figured out that Sirius told me about. We'll send one of the pair to you just as soon as I've cracked it.. Um, got it finished."

From there, they talked over a variety of topics, and Harry just soaked in being a part of a caring family.

****OO****

When the family discussion turned to logistics, only Harry knew about the elf currently running around. He rather had forgotten that Dobby had been put in charge of shopping for the trip.

And while Harry had given him a budget of 1,000 galleons, Dobby knew that Harry was planning on freeing him, so no consequences of doing a little raiding of the Malfoy vault.

Goblins paid no attention to the elves going in and out of the bank. After all, they couldn't go against their master's orders.

No one planned on Dobby.

Dobby popped in twice, checking in on Harry, and what he really wanted.

Lord Malfoy was not going to be happy. Not happy at all.

But Hogwarts was going to be a new and better school within moments of Harry arriving.

*****OO******

Egypt was hot.

Harry was surprised by the heat of the place. It felt pounding until suddenly the oppression stopped. He felt cool, comfortable. What happened?

"Hope that you feel better, Master Harry Po...Black sir." The elf said.

Harry looked around confused. "Hi Dobby, um I am very surprised to see you. Especially since I a) freed you yesterday and b)said thank you and good-bye."

"I know, Master Harry Black, sir. But Dobby is wanting paying. And the Great Master Harry Po...Black sir said that he would be paying."

"And I asked you to wait and see if you got a better offer first. But please remember my last name, huh? And if I'm your paying boss, then call me Boss. Not Great Boss, or Great Master Harry whatever. Just Harry is fine. But otherwise, I'm Boss. Got it?"

"Yes, oh Greatests of the Great…" Harry's scowl made Dobby gulp. "Boss."

"Let's go, everyone, and get set up in the cool of the morning." Bill suggested, giving Harry a moment with his elf.

The magical camels were awaiting, and camp was not far away.

*****OO*****

Harry was dazzled by the Great Pyramids, enchanted by the magical oasis that they had stopped at briefly, but it was here, surrounded by wards and the frisson of magic that he had really smiled.

"What is that, Curse-Breaker Weasley?" Harry asked with a mocking bow, his arm waving around.

"Wards. These are ours. You're keyed in by the goblins. Gringotts holds the license to this site, and they guard their treasures fiercely."

Harry looked around, but Percy was quicker. A heavily veiled figure walked up, scoffed at the humans, and continued on her way.

"Who was that?" Penny asked.

"Never ask that question in public, Penny. Goblin women don't tell outsiders their names. And if you do find out a goblin woman's name, keep it in confidence." Bill said, instructing the entire group.

Harry wasn't sure about this, but Dobby had really done a great job with the tents. Each of the 'teaching' tents supported several of the most sought after teachers for all of the basics of magical instruction. Including many classes that were no longer offered. The rooms were still configured for bedrooms, but Bill figured that the students could transfigure classroom furniture, or borrow it from empty classrooms.

The tents were added to the residential area of the dig, and Bill had a short meeting with the four of them, including Dobby.

"We'll talk more later, but for the most part, you should just keep to yourselves here. Curse-breakers tend to be a prickly bunch, and not very social. The goblins seem to blame Dumbledore and not you for the bank thing which is very lucky.

"Look, you can help in the mess at mealtimes, or just quietly eat there, but please. I want to keep my job. This is a time to study and learn, alright?" Bill ended with meeting everyone's eyes.

"No problem, Bill. I look forward to a quiet month of learning how to use a quill and write. I promise." Harry said.

Bill nodded, making plans to meet them later for dinner, and left to go help his team. Dobby popped away to go do his chores.

Percy was just about to take over, when a short figure came over to them. A goblin female walked up to the three of them, and commanded that they go with her. Her fierce looking guards didn't seem to want to take 'no' for an answer.

And then she leaned down and whispered in Harry's ear. "Come quietly, Heir Potter-Black, I swear I mean you no harm. I'm here to help you learn magic."

Harry wanted a table to bang his head on. Why was it always him?

*****OO*****

The forensics confirmed it, two transfiguration spells. Without them, the muggle weapons would have acted normally. And killed Harry Potter.

Instead, the muggles were dead. The magical signature was Arthur Weasley.

Shacklebolt kept a copy of his report, and filed it with Albus Dumbledore.

Dawlish kept a copy of his report, and filed it with Lucius Malfoy.

Two different aurors, with divergent agendas, pretending to care about truth. But neither one served the truth.

They were following their own moral compasses, and what they thought was right.

The copy that eventually came to Alex Weatherwight was filed without emotion or motive.

Other than documenting crimes against muggles by wizards.

*****OO*****

As promised, Sirius Black hired chaperones for Penny and Percy, and they were never really left alone. Penny muttered under her breath about being 15 and quite old enough to make her own decisions about certain things and took her frustration out on the portraits by keeping them in line.

If she wanted to kiss her boyfriend, that was her business! She wasn't ready to do more than that. Really! This had to be Molly's fault, the woman thought that 12 or 13 years olds were having sex on a regular basis.

Then she thought about the school that her non-magical sisters were attending. Gulp. Alright, well, maybe not that young, but Penny was not just anyone!

Thinking more kindly of the lady, she got her notes together. This was going to be a lot of work, but a lot of fun.

She was such a Ravenclaw.

****OO****

Harry never did learn what the goblin lady's name was who was in charge of the next six months of his education.

She had arranged the extra tents in a small circle, labeling each with runes, and set out the schedules.

Harry tried to tell her that he needed to be back in Hogwarts on September 1, but she just laughed.

Her response to just about everything that Harry said, or did, was her goblin laughter.

One of the portraits, upon first meeting the boy, had accused Harry of being 'just like his father' as an arrogant, self-important, entitled...but the next word had been silenced by Penny.

"Harry was raised by horrible, murderous muggles. He might not know the magic to destroy a portrait like yourself, but I bet he could come up with a muggle way."

Harry blinked, and then gave his evil Dark Lord smile #2 at the animated oil. "Sure, Penny. Blowtorch, firebomb, hand grenade. Even a simple kitchen flame used to make creme brulee would do a number on this guy. Oh, I gotta get me some new tools!"

The potions master straightened his teaching robes, twisting buttons, and bowed. "My lord, I was impetuous in the extreme. You have actually not shown any arrogance at all."

Penny and Harry just shared a smile in camaraderie. Score!

*****OO*****

The first day of orientation, Harry met with all of his instructors, painted mostly, but a couple were real.

Six months of instructions, by repeating one day over and over for a week. Then progressing to the next day.

Harry tried not to think about it too hard. It made his brain hurt.

Potions, charms, transfiguration, enchanting, healing, runes, arithmancy. Defense against the Dark Arts. All with an emphasis on practical magic. He could study theory at Hogwarts.

After all, he was going to be trying to be just a normal wizard there.

The instructor for DADA was a werewolf. Harry knew this from the dossier that had been provided by the goblins, and the fact that this was also going to be his pranking instructor.

Professor Lupin was looking forward to months of no full moons.

Sirius had insisted on Harry learning pranks. Practical application of charms, transfiguration, potions, enchantments; all in order to make people laugh.

Harry insisted that the twins be invited to Egypt to learn with him. If they found out about losing out on six months of training from two marauders, Harry would never be able to sleep soundly again.

Harry didn't know how they had smuggled a life size mirror into Azkaban, or how there were now wards keeping dementors away from him, but Sirius had agreed to participate in the training of his son and heir.

Harry's eyes twinkled, no, sparkled with mirth. This was going to be epic!

*****OO*****

Molly sent the twins off with hugs and warnings.

Ron gulped. Ginny was spending time with her friend, and now for the first time ever, Ron had his mother's undivided attention.

Oh boy! Why had he wanted that again?

*****OO*****

And so, the instructions began. Bill knew what tents were used for what days of Harry, Penny and Percy, and Fred and George's week. He would visit the same tent every morning and night to spend with his family, and learn what they were learning their week. And then see them in the morning. It was a little mind-bending.

Harry and Penny were in heaven. The others looked a little overwhelmed.

Bill ruffled Harry's hair. Looked better! "New girls being assigned to us. They asked permission to use the rune library. Apprentices working on their masteries. Should be friendlier than the normal lot."

Harry nodded. "I have runes on Tuesday, so hopefully I'll meet them then.

*****OO*****

Harry was struggling with his current runes assignment, when the door to his tent opened.

"There's only a kid, the library's here. Bill said we could. Come on!" The woman curse-breaker said.

A different lady, with light green hair, came in. She tapped the table and called for chilled water. Harry was surprised to see a trio of glasses pop into place. She scooted one of them towards him, and took the other two for herself and her friend.

"Bill said that this was the best runic library that he had ever seen. I hope it has something on these, as I have never seen their like before."

"Marissa, I know that Iam new to this, and not here for long, but you have to understand. These things happen. New discoveries are made all of the time. But the goblins are good at helping if we need…"

"No! You know the rules of discovery. If we find something new, and figure it out without their help, we get to keep the rights. And just pay them a fraction. But if they help, it's we who gets the fraction. You know this Arista!"

"This isn't about gold for me. It's about discovery! Adventure! Well, and getting my mastery. You want that too." Arista said.

Harry interrupted the two girls. "Hi, um, well. I'm Harry, and welcome to my library. I just wanted to let you know that if you need any books, well, I'm happy to get you books. I'm happy to help you. Really."

Arista was beautiful. Unusual hair, certainly, but had a musical voice, and something about her.

"Control your power, my friend." Marissa added. "Or you're going to have Harry here drooling."

"He's wearing an heir ring, and Bill told me that everyone on site had passed their Occlumency training. Am I alluring to you, Harry?"

"Yes, but not in the way that you mean I think. I mean, you are, are, are very pretty. But I don't see any magic affecting me. See, no colors around me."

"You can see magic? You're a mage! You can see magical connections!" Marissa surmised.

"Yeah, well, it's no big deal. But I did want to offer to help." Harry said.

The two young women shared a smile. They were not unkind people, and thought Harry's crush was adorable.

"Sure, sport, here's what we found on a passage. Some kind of protection rune, and we didn't want to set it off. Both a picture and a sketch." Marissa pushed over a paper, while Arista gave him a photo. And patted his hand!

The sketch had wavy lines in an unusual pattern. But the picture showed an English phrase, if unusual diction.

Harry looked at the women. "Very funny. But why would someone carve English into a tomb? I mean, in school, we learned that modern English evolved from…"

Marissa took the picture and compared it to the sketch.

"Harry, we aren't having you on. Sure, the sketch isn't perfect, but it's very close. What does the sign read."

When Harry started hissing at them, Marissa fainted, and Arista closed her eyes trying to hear better.

"I think I better get some help here." Arista said, making sure her friend was breathing, and kissing Harry on the cheek. "Not your fault, my friend, but I think that you startled her. She'll be okay."

While she stepped out, Harry levitated the girl to the couch, and called for Dobby.

He scratched a note.

"I'm going to be in so much trouble."

*****OO*****

The rented room was in a building that was barely in Knockturn Alley. What Narcissa didn't know, what the bank kept firmly hidden, was that the proprietor of this building was a half-goblin, and was indeed Filius Flitwick's brother. It was helpful to have a place that backed up to the bank that could be used for such clandestine meetings.

Without bringing any contraband into the bank.

The first trunk held many, many evil treasures. Some items were indeed goblin made. And then ruined with human wizardry. Some things could be cleansed and reused.

Other priceless treasures would have to be destroyed.

A deck of cards lay on the table.

"I can sense no magic from this at all." Goldrub said, the tainted diary already in a sealed lead box. That was going to be burnt just as soon as he left here. Dragon fire was good for many, many things.

"That's the beauty of it. They are completely muggle. And marked. This is how the young Lord Weasley lost his manor, riches and all to my husband's great grandfather."

"He cheated!"

"Indeed. And everyone knew it, but there was no potion in his drink, no spells cast."

"This could ruin Malfoy's reputation for good!" Goldrub said. "What about the goblin made items?"

"The Black family has a tiara that has been passed from bride to bride. In exchange for the family keeping that heirloom, we are willing to give you these 6 trunks of vile objects, and all other goblin made items currently stored in the House of Black. I have Sirius' letter here."

"How will you get these things?" Goldrub asked.

"Kreature! Please attend me."

A wizened house-elf appeared. "How may Kreature serve?"

"We are destroying many evil things today Kreature."

Goldrub took a chance and raised the lid of the lead box. "Have you seen anything like this?"

Kreature's answering cackles made him want to reach for a weapon.

"I will check with the director. However, if he agrees, I want your promise that all goblin made items will be returned, and at least allow me to photograph the tiara. So many priceless things have been lost or stolen." Goldrub demanded.

"Agreed."

Kreature popped back in with a large locket. Narcissa nearly fainted. "That once belonged to, to…"

Goldrub put it in a separate lead box. "It will be cleansed today."

Kreature groveled at Narcissa's feet, swearing fealty and devotion to the only living witch in the Black family.

*****OO*****

Bill was furious. "How could you forget that you could talk to snakes!"

Harry scratched his nose. "Um, I first did it at the zoo, but then…"

"You were punished for it, by the muggles." Bill surmised.

"No food for a week. And then Percy was saying I was a dark lord for speaking snake, so I thought it best if I hid it. I wasn't planning on telling anyone. Ever! I don't want Dumbledore dueling me. I just turned 11. Wait. Is my birthday going to be at Christmas now? I mean, the potions are working, I'm getting taller…"

"Focus little brother! Okay, only a few of us are from Britain. Marissa is going to be alright. And she's not as prejudiced as some. Arista thought she remembered a sea serpent sounding like you, so she thinks that your ability is 'cool'.

"Really?"

"Really, but don't go falling for her. She's pretty important in her kingdom, and she's only visiting to gain knowledge. She has to go home in a few months." Bill smirked, unwilling to say too much more.

"Fine! But what do you want me to do?"

"Work with the girls. They know to find you on Tuesday on your schedule, so it won't confuse them or you by having them show up at random times."

"I don't know how to say it in English though!"

"Penny has an idea."

*****OO*****

Penny held up a picture of a snake and asked Harry to look at the photograph. She then asked him to memorize the first phrase.

He closed his eyes in concentration. Nodded.

Penny showed him a picture of Arista. "Tell me what you read."

The translations went well after that. But both Arista and Marissa requested more books. Many more books for the library.

Harry had casually mentioned to Arista that he was heir to two magical houses, and could make sure that any future wife was well provided for. Marissa wanted to test his resolve, requesting more and more rare runic tomes until the library indeed was the finest.

Goldrub had ended her fun with a strongly worded note. And he was now restricted to only 5,000 galleons a month in allowance! That wasn't enough when he had friends who needed books!

Arista apologized profusely for getting him in trouble, and offered him a bejeweled comb in payment. It had little barnacles on it, like it had once been underwater for a time, but Harry declined the gift saying that it was just a misunderstanding with his account manager.

And sent Dobby to remove the 10,000 galleons from the Potter heir vault that had been deposited there on his birthday. It was supposed to be for the year, but he had to please Arista! He just had to!

Goldrub and a very angry Spurnik, the Potter account manager, travelled to Azkaban together.

The bleeding of gold just had to stop, and it was the Lord's job to get his heir under control!

Just as soon as said Lord Black stopped laughing over his son buying out the world's books for a girl.

*****OO*****

"This is not a good idea, Fred." George stated.

"Where else are we going to test this? Hogwarts?" Fred said.

"These are adults. Tense adults. With wands. And who knows what other muggle weapons. You saw the guy in the hat. That was a real whip! Not a fire one, a real one. That would hurt!"

"It will be fun!"

Chaos reigned in the mess hall for a time, and was nearly fatal as Arista changed form into a mermaid. Harry's quick thinking had her in his pool before she could drown.

Avada kedavra green eyes flashed at the twins. Harry pulled the staff he had purchased in Cairo recently on their shopping excursion.

"Turn her back!" The air crackled, and a mild whirlwind started.

Bill stepped up and whispered something to the twins. He was a Gryffindor through and through though.

"Harry, stand down, and let me explain. Drink this, now!"

The young mage did as he was told automatically, and then stared daggers back at the twins.

"They did that because they know that I like her and am trying to help her!"

"Arista likes you Harry, and wants to be your friend. Truly. She cares about you. She was going to tell you, but was afraid of your reaction."

"Going to tell me what. Oh. She has a boyfriend. Well, of course she does. She's smart, and beautiful, and clever. And funny! But I'm just a kid."

"Harry, she is one of the most magical people I have ever met. You're attracted to her because of this. It's natural. And no, she doesn't have a boyfriend."

"Oh, OH! Marissa. Okay, that's cool too. I mean, wow. I never thought that they were more than friends…"

"NO! Not that! They are friends, but not girlfriends. Ugg. Harry, she's a mermaid. A mermaid princess. She's here to learn more about our world. That's why she doesn't understand about money and things. Their currency, their world is so different from ours. But she really does want to be your friend. She thought that you might be too young to understand. She didn't want you to hate her for not staying in this world."

The wind stopped, and the air went still. Harry put away his staff on his back in the invisible holder, tears dripping down his face.

"So, she would never have any interest in being Lady Potter-Black?" Harry asked in a small voice.

"I'm so sorry lad." Bill said, hugging him close. "The first love is one that you will remember always. And hey, beautiful princess. This will be a good memory later. Just not right now. I'm really sorry, my brother."

"Fred and George would never hurt anyone on purpose. I should have known. I should have seen…" Harry said.

"They are really, really scared right now."

"Are you going to be able to get Arista out of the pool? Or will she have to go home. Oh no! The pool is freshwater! She could be hurt!"

"Relax! Dobby took care of it right away, and she's fine."

"How do you know that? We should go check on her…"

Harry felt a small tap on his shoulder, and spun around.,

Human arms grabbed him in a warm embrace. Soft lips kissed his gently. "I'm fine Harry. Thank you for saving me."

Harry held her close, tears falling. In relief, in pain, in sorrow, in regret. Then he smiled a small smile. His first kiss was with a mermaid princess. Now that was better than what any of the stupid books had said!

*****OO*****

Six weeks later to Harry, and less than a week later to the girls, they burst into his runic studies class.

"Really! Ladies! Sit down, and start taking notes. You're late! Class is nearly over! You'll have to get the reading from your classmate.

The portraits weren't perfect. Only a few remembered his name, even if they did remember what to teach next.

The girls giggled, and sat, and squirmed so much that the teacher finally ended class early with a grumpy dismissal. And extra homework.

"You did it, Harry! We got through!"

The girls had had to do several tests, and used his recorded hissing to dispel the trap.

"Was it a cobra?" Harry asked.

"It was. A big stone one that would have been very hard to fight. The room is a treasure trove! And there's more parselscript on the walls. Pictures will be ready tonight. Well, tonight for us." Marissa informed him.

Harry smiled at the girls' enthusiasm.

"We are giving you a full ⅓ share of our part. Partly for your translation." Arista said. "And partly as an apology for all of the books. I hope that this makes your goblins happy. They seem to like gold."

Harry smiled at that. "I'm not as worried about keeping my account managers happy as much as helping my friends."

Arista smiled at that, when suddenly a firebird flamed into the room. He tried to grab Harry, but Harry pulled his staff, and shot off several spells. The bird flew up and disappeared.

Harry fixed the tent with a negligent wave.

"What was that?" Arista asked, startled.

"A phoenix!" Marissa said. "They are really rare!"

"Trouble!" Harry stated. "With a capital T. Marissa, where was that book on unusual animal wards. Please get it quick!"

*****OO*****

The full Wizengamot was needed in order to sort this out. Representatives from Her Majesty's government were rarely involved in magical criminal proceedings.

Captain Burns, in full military uniform, was clearly unhappy. He may have graduated Hogwarts, but hadn't been welcomed in the Wizardry World after graduation.

It had been decided to leave Harry out of the loop on this, something that Goldrob thought would come back to scorch them later. But as a goblin, his advice was ignored.

Sirius Black had hired the best lawyer possible. If it came out that he was paying for it, then how could Black be convicted, humm?

The sorting hat hadn't wanted to put him in Slytherin for his good looks, after all.

Molly was with the two youngest children at her Auntie Muriel's house. They would listen to the trial from there. The goblins had provided a portkey to Egypt if suspicion turned to the matriarch of the home.

Ragnok would not allow her to be hurt. They would have everything packed and ready to go if things went badly.

Arthur Weasley hadn't been questioned yet. That was not normal procedure in the least. Coming into the courtroom, he could see Lucius Malfoy whispering into Fudge's ear. A disappointed headmaster was standing on his other side.

Arthur sighed. No wonder he hadn't been questioned. He was guilty before the trial started. He just wondered on what charge he would be sent to Azkaban.

And for how long.

*****OO*****

Ignoring his homework, and knowing he didn't have much time, Harry used magic to find what he was looking for. The book flopped open.

"What in the world is a Nundu?" Harry asked. And then put his finger on where phoenixes started on the bottom of the facing page.

"Something you never want to see. They are native to Africa. They have been seen in remote areas of Egypt. Crypt's are sometimes guarded by ones in status. They are very, very dangerous." Marissa informed him.

"Good thing that there's a ward for that. Okay, here's the ward for phoenixes. Can you please help me get this right? I need to make one for all of the tents." Harry showed the picture of the diagram.

Arista nodded and got to work. Marissa wanted to know what other wards were in there. No wonder that book was just shy of 30,000 galleons. Harry could make that back in protective schemas easily in a year, and then be in profit. And she said so.

Arista stopped and shook her head. "You sound like a goblin. Profit, profit, profit."

"Well, I want to retire young, and spend the rest of my life traveling and enjoying myself!"

"I want to use my knowledge to help people who are being hurt. By muggles, dark lords, or dangerous animals." Harry stated. "I never want anyone to have to be treated like I was. Ever."

And with that statement, the girls grimly went to work, gently correctly Harry's carving where necessary.

*****OO*****

"What do you mean you couldn't get him! I told you where he was!" Dumbledore frowned at his familiar. An image flashed in his mind.

"Oh very well, try one more time, but drop this first."

Not all of the tents were protected as well as Harry needed, and on Thursday, Harry was hit with a stunner orb of Dumbledore's invention, and the phoenix kidnapped him on his master's orders.

*****OO*****

"Did you cast any spells at these weapons?" Madame Bones asked. Likely the only person in the room other than the muggles interested in the truth.

"Yes I did. It wouldn't last for long, just a few days. I should have just removed them, but then he would have just bought more gums, I mean ruffles. Oh dear."

"What was your intent?" She asked in a calm voice.

"Well, the man, Vernon Dursley had tried to shoot Hagrid. Did indeed get a shot off you know. But Hagrid took it away and tied it in a knot. I didn't want him to shoot at Harry. I was trying to protect the lad."

That statement was greeted with applause.

"Was Hagrid badly hurt?" Doge wanted to know.

"I don't believe so, he took Harry to Diagon Alley the next day."

"If you were worried that the muggles would hurt him, why didn't you escort him home? Or send an auror with him."

Arthur looked up angrily at Dumbledore to see if he would own up to this. Thought not.

"Hagrid was under orders to return Harry home, and was told not to allow anyone to see where he lived."

"But anyone could have followed him, and the brute wouldn't have noticed!" Someone shouted from the gallery.

Dumbledore hit the rock on the table for order.

And so it went.

Then Dumbledore called a recess.

Several people shouted down encouragement to the Weasley head of house. Some of the older members remembered when House Weasley voted there.

More than one had been in the manor when it didn't have albino peacocks in the yard.

Narcissa's timing had been perfect. She owed Sirius for all he was doing to help her after all.

A house-elf had just handed Malfoy a letter, and was waiting for a reply. A backhand sent the poor thing across the floor.

Gasps from people around the floor and gallery let the man know his actions had been seen. And noted. Such things were not the sort of thing done in public.

Nor should it be tolerated in private, but that was for a bushy-haired crusader to deal with later.

The blond stalked towards the door, leaving the Weasley trial to others to oversee. A costly mistake when certain truths would later come to light, after all.

*****OO*****

Harry Potter woke with a headache. The stupid bird had got him. He was over on a perch, crooning sadly.

"It's okay, I get it. I can see the bind on you. Nasty black and purple. I would think a familiar like you would have a gold...oh. I didn't know. No, I am not going to sing. Well, I can try."

The crooning that Harry did was never going to win any prizes, but the bird did calm down.

"I don't even have my wand or staff on me. Madame Zabini goes nuts if I bring a focal to potions class. At least Blaise is nice. I wish she would let him take runes, but she doesn't want him looking special around Dumbledore. Doesn't she know he wants to be in Slytherin like her? And his first father?"

Madame Zabini had had a curse on her. Her husbands really had died of natural things, but it made her look like a black widow. And made her cranky.

She seemed to enjoy that one scary scarred guy who had been chatting her up. Maybe he could break the curse.

Now, Harry had been bird-napped in the middle of a lesson. She wasn't going to be happy with that at all!

Harry wasn't too thrilled himself.

Still, he was only 11, and hadn't done anything wrong. Maybe this was a chance to get his father free.

He claimed he wasn't a death eater. Claimed he hadn't killed any muggles.

And his pranks were hysterical.

"Wish I had my wand." Harry muttered.

"What do you mean Dumbledore has my wand and cloak. But the ring is missing. Man, I knew he was stealing stuff!"

The air was starting to stir when Dumbledore entered the room.

"Harry, my boy, I am so disa…"

The wand, THE wand, flew from his wrist holder to Harry's hand. The cloak flew from his pocket to Harry's other hand.

"Where's the ring? I want my ring!"

Whirlwinds started picking up, the air crackling.

"I wish I knew where it was. How, how…"

"Release the phoenix." Harry was going to call her by the male name that the headmaster used. He couldn't even see she was a girl!

"I can't do that! Now, give me my wand back, and let's get this trial over. I know that Arthur killed your aunt and uncle. Not on purpose, of course, he's a good man, but they did die, and that needs to be punished. Actions have consequences."

Harry being left in the dark was a very bad thing.

"What do you mean he killed them? They were my only family! They didn't like me, but they were my blood family!"

Then Harry calmed down. Dumbledore was known to lie to get his way.

"Why am I here?"

'The boy would clearly need help with wizard manners. What were the muggles teaching these days? Honestly.'

"You should address me with respect, young man. I am Headmaster Dumbledore, and I will be your mentor for the next several years. Why, I'm likely to take you as my apprentice."

Harry paled. He had overhead Marissa telling Arista about her recent experience and why she had left her apprenticeship with the Spanish charms master. He had wanted to 'take her' and left the meaning very clear.

This was not the time to panic.

"As for why you are here, we need your testimony." Dumbledore said.

Harry smiled. This was going to be the best prank ever.

Dumbledore shuddered. He recognized that smile. He saw it whenever James or Sirius planned something, well, awful.

"What are we waiting for? Sire."

*****OO*****

It was August 15, 1991. Beware the Ides of August?

Harry marched into the courtroom. Several people gasped, and started to wave.

He put on his Goofy smile #3, and waved back.

The prank had begun, and he hadn't spoken a word.

He was finally grateful for Madam Zabini's dress code. Harry wasn't allowed his muggle clothes in her domain. She was a blood purist of the highest sort.

At least she didn't believe in killing muggles, or muggle-born, or anybody else she considered riff-raff.

The wizarding robes he wore had all sorts of protective runes as well. Arista had gone cross-eyed trying to thread a needle, but it was Harry who knew how to sew on buttons.

He was never, ever admitting that he liked a girl thing. And magical embroidery was a girl thing. Several local artisans hired to 'improve' his wardrobe were all women.

Harry walked in with the robes billowing. Seeing Arthur in chains dissipated any anger Harry had.

"Why is my guardian in chains?" Harry demanded.

Amelia Bones looked at the boy. "I'm glad that you're here. My owl couldn't find you. We need you to testify."

Harry looked around. "Alright. As long as I get to add a few things that I think that you should know."

"Granted, as long as it's the truth."

Harry smirked.

Dumbledore shuddered.

The phoenix crooned.

*****OO*****

"Now, young man, I would like you to state your name for the record." Amelia said, after swearing Harry to tell the truth.

"Harry Potter-Black"

There was a gasp, and Harry chose that moment to make the heir ring of House Black appear on his hand.

Narcissa Black nodded at Harry from the gallery. She had been reinstated and was regent for the voting seat.

"I think that we need to hear your version of events." Amelia asked.

"Starting from when Dumbledore forced me on my magic hating relatives? Okay. Hagrid told me that he took me from my parents' home to the Durleys. They didn't want me of course…"

The gasps, moans and groans were getting too loud.

Dumbledore wasn't hitting the table with the rock, so Amelia used her wand to make a short firework burst.

"Cool spell, ma'am."

Fudge interrupted. "Stop lying boy! Everyone knows that you were raised in a magical castle!"

Master Auror Moody stood, scowled at Dumbledore, and lit his wand as a sign he wanted to talk. Amelia nodded to him.

"His magic is everywhere in that house. Spell residue of 3 binding spells, multiple healing spells all Dumbledore by the way, and several obliviates. He didn't want the boy knowing about magic."

That set the kneazle among the pigeons.

Dumbledore sent his friend a disappointed look. Alastor sent him a rude muggle hand sign back.

Albus was being backed into a corner here. Time to let a few truths loose.

"I had to. The boy caught some of the backdraft when his mother's protection destroyed Voldemort. He has a bit of the Dark Lord in his scar." Dumbledore claimed.

Harry stopped himself from nodding. So that's what it was! Well had been. It all made sense!

"Master Auror Moody. Could you please scan Mr. Potter, and tell me what you find?" Madame Bones was after the truth. And knew that Dumbledore was far too economical with that commodity. She rather suspected that this was dragon dung, and she was no fair rose needing fertilizer.

Moody was smart. He recognized the signs of an incipient mage, and asked the lad's permission before casting. Harry liked that about him, and nodded.

"The boy shows clear signs of a magical bind being released. I suspect that happened at the bank. As for his scar, there is nothing dark there. It's well healed, and we know that dark magic never does. Probably a bit of roof hit him when Mr. Potter defeated Who-know-who."

"What! No! The boy has to die before Voldemort can be finally defeated!"

The phoenix burst in front of Dumbledore, screeching, tugging at the purple/black cord that only he could see.

"My friend, I need a magical sword, like the one that Godric Gryffindor used. Do you know…"

But the bird was gone.

He came back in a moment with the sorting hat, tossing on Harry's head.

That hilt hurt!

Harry pulled out the hilt and admired the ruby for a moment before pulling it all the rest of the of the hat.

"Godric Gryffindor. Good job, my lady." Harry said, saluting the flaming bird that had appeared with the sword as he had been taught how to do.

Good thing for building up strength, swinging a sword.

The bond betwixt man and beast was severed in a downstroke. The phoenix soared high above them all, singing a song of jubilation.

Albus Dumbledore collapsed in a heap, foaming at the mouth.

While tumult and chaos reigned for a time, the head of the DMLE just turned to the boy.

Madam Bones asked softly "What did you do just now?" She was curious. After all, she saw the whole thing. The boy swung a sword in the air, seemingly catapulting the phoenix in the air. He was never near the headmaster with the weapon.

"There was a really ugly purple black rope connecting them. She asked me to be free, and so I freed her. Didn't you hear her ask?"

The phoenix landed on Harry's shoulder, and he crooned a bit to her.

"Oh, she says that you don't speak Phoenix. That's not a bad thing. They want you to sing to them. Don't you, you silly bird."

More than one healer was attending the headmaster. They seemed to be arguing over his treatment.

"Madam Bones, I have my father's permission to be in school. Dumbledore illegally kidnapped me from there. It's very expensive, and I would like to return. Please."

"Your father? But he's dead, Mr. Potter."

"Sirius Black is my father."

Fudge couldn't leave that one alone. "Sirius Black is a dangerous Death Eater! In Azkaban! I should know, I helped capture him!"

Harry looked at him in disgust. "So it was Malfoy gold that got him set to prison without a trial. I should have known."

Madam Bones was starting to direct her people, when Fudge shouted for Harry to be captured by aurors, but others were slow to respond. The phoenix wasn't slow though, and she acted.

Harry Potter, on a wind of flame, had definitely left the building.

*****OO*****

Harry was not expecting the stop in Azkaban, but no one had put phoenix wards on it.

"If we're going back to Egypt, we're going to need to…" but the birdbrain didn't listen.

Why were girls so difficult?

*****OO*****

Harry got his hearing back after time. Sophrenia let him know all of his faults; his bad hygiene, his lousy taste in clothes, and most importantly his horrible singing voice.

"I'm very sorry that I didn't say thank you for rescuing my father. Okay!"

Sirius Black had given Harry a hug. Didn't try to kill him. Or hit him.

Gave him a hug.

He was somewhere secret. Harry had no clue where, but it had goblin healers. Harry was promised that by Christmas, they should be together.

The minute that he arrived at the outskirts of the camp (the phoenix wards prevented her from flaming in) he was mobbed by Blaise, Percy, Penny, the twins, Madam Zabini and Bill.

Madam Zabini sniffed and then looked at the bird. "Ohhh, so many rare potion ingredients…"

Harry reddened at his bird's colorful metaphors. He wasn't repeating them for anyone, ever.

"I missed lunch, so if we could talk while I'm eating, I would really appreciate it…"

Harry had a feeling that Percy was going to be very angry about Harry 'breaking cover' this soon.

*****OO*****

Amelia Bones took over, and took a vote of the Wizengamot. Not guilty. No surprise there. Neither side would convict a pureblood of killing a muggle accidentally. Using her powers, she declared Arthur Weasley innocent, and released him with a warning to be more careful in the future.

And then promised to recommend him for an Order of Merlin, 3rd Class, for saving the Boy-Who-Lived's life.

Alastair Moody was scowling. "I was watching that boy the entire time. He swung a sword. I scanned it before he took off. No poisons on it, not that he got near Albus."

And wouldn't he be watching that memory for the rest of his life!

Rolf Scamander pushed his way through. "Take Dumbledore to St Mungo's. As much as I would prefer to send him to Gringotts, I don't dare."

Dirk Cresswell shrunk back, clearly having just whispered something to his old classmate.

"Send for a curse-breaker if you can find one to treat him."

The man shook his head. Seeing the healers looking at him, along with the aurors, he gave his report.

"Dumbledore is over 115 years old. He's likely been using his bond with the creature for strength, but that is just an educated guess. Forcing a phoenix to kidnap a child? One that Dumbledore clearly had ill-intent about? No, he's not going to be feeling well for some time. Someone better inform the school."

"I'm on the Board of Governors, regent for the House of Black. I have a suggestion for a temporary headmaster." Narcissa Black smiled as Madam Marchbanks and Persephone Rosier stepped over to her.

"But he's a mudblood Cissy!" Lady Rosier complained before being called on for her crude language.

"Which is why he's perfect. No one will suspect him of being competent at all."

*****OO*****

Alex Weatherwight finished his report for MI5. It was clear that while Weasley had made a mistake, he had no intent to harm muggles. Only protect a magical being, a child at that. Alex sighed. As much as he would love to imprison a pureblood for killing a muggle, well 2 muggles, he just didn't see the charges sticking.

Had they not tried to kill Harry Potter, the transformations would have disappeared in a few they had waited, and then used said rifles, they would have murdered the boy. End of story.

Fudge was still fuming, and calling for Harry to be arrested. Quietly. In private. But he and Lucius Malfoy were the only ones who felt that way.

Alex sighed.

"Wetherby, get in here, and bring some tea!" Fudge demanded.

Taping a well-worn rune on his desk, the former Hufflepuff contemplated his life goals.

This is what he got for watching James Bond films growing up. The exciting life of an undercover spy.

"NOW!"

As he was coming back from the domestic task, he gulped as he saw three powerful witches, two from dark houses in front of his desk.

"Mr. Weatherwight. We have a job offer for you."

Alex gulped. The old one winked at him.

He shuddered. Whatever it was they wanted, this couldn't be good.

*****OO*****

Harry Potter was having a marvelous day. He was writing a letter to Uncle Arthur and Auntie Mollie that to him was weekly, and to them was daily. The box delivered them straight to a corresponding box in the Burrow.

Today he was worried about telling Ginny about his true identity. He had been writing to Luna, who seemed to think that coming clean now before he came home was a much better idea than waiting.

Harry knew that the addition to the Burrow was going well. Instead of building up, they were adding a few bedrooms with ensuites sideways. The rest of the money that Sirius Black had given them was going into an expanded barn and greenhouse. And the plants and animals to stock them.

Molly was an excellent potion maker, and planned on getting her mastery after Ginny was in school. She was quite good with animals, and planned on raising some of her own. Not that she wouldn't be able to use Dobby's help in caring for them while Harry was in school.

Harry was told by the girls there that apologies should always be covered in chocolate.

His first attempt at a letter didn't go well. Egypt was hot, and the chocolate melted too fast to stay on the parchment. The carved chocolate did a little better.

After getting up off of the floor, Marissa suggested, after wiping tears from her laughing face, a selection from Honeydukes, and gave him a catalog. While smirking, the traitor!

So a letter, not of chocolate, showed up along with a shrunken basket of Honeydukes best selection.

Ginny came through the floo, clearly bewildered. "Luna! I was having a good time, why did you…"

"Hi Mum, Dad. Did you need me?"

"Honey, we have a present for you. But I think that you need to…"

Ginny ran to the basket in glee. "Wow! This is their biggest one! It cost 250 galleons! And there's a note. 'To Ginny, from Harry Potter with Love.'"

She looked downcast. "All right. Very funny. The twins usually pull a prank on me for my birthday, but this is a new low."

"You need to read this note, lovie. I'm here when you need comfort. I promise that this will make you sad, maybe angry, but I also promise that this isn't a prank."

'Dear Ginny,

'This has got to be the hardest letter I have ever written. If I had just come out and told you right away who I was, you would never have believed me. You would have said that I lied, that the real me was someone else. But I wanted to let you and your brothers get to know the real me before I told you my name.

'I grew up unloved, unwanted. I had rags to wear, scraps to eat. You saw how skinny I was when Ron was letting me try on some of his old clothes. And you didn't blink about seeing a boy in just pants. After all, I was a brother.

'But you are my sister. A sister that I am proud to know. I am proud of your courage and conviction. I am proud of how you stand up to 6 no 7 older brothers and can put any of us in our place with a look.

'I can't marry you, Ginny. I had my first crush, and that is a story for another time, but I know that I will never be able to marry a red-head that looks too much like my mum. Your eyes, your hair. You could be a young Lily Evans, and you're smart too.

Yes, I said my mum. I'm still not sure who my dad really is, but my adopted father is Sirius Black. So, I just want you to know that while I know that this is going to hurt you for not telling you sooner, it's the truth.

'I'm Harry Potter. I love my sister Ginny Weasley. If there is anything, and I mean anything that you want, I want to know. Because having a few clothes that aren't rags isn't being spoiled. Having food on the table isn't being spoiled.

'Feeling love from a family member isn't being spoiled.

'I want to help my new family in any way I can.

'I hope that you can forgive me one day for not being the

'Boy-who-lived

'Boy who was raised in a castle

'Boy who defeated a manticore when he was five

'Or any of the other silly things written about me.

'Your brother, and I hope your friend,

'Harry Potter-Black.'

Ginny looked at first her mum, then her dad. She clearly wanted them to deny it. She waited for the pain to start. And then she realized. She knew. She had known for while now. Luna had been telling her the truth all along. Luna did have a crush on Harry. But it was the boy Harry, not some imagined hero like Ginny's crush was on.

She went over to the basket of chocolate. She thought that it was already expanded, but it had been shrunk to fit in the Gringotts box. With a tap of her father's wand, it expanded again.

It was HUGE.

Ginny took a box of dried chocolate covered cherries with white chocolate drizzle.

"You know Mum, Harry really knows how to apologize. I need to write him a letter right away so he knows I forgive him.

"How are you feeling, lovie?"

I'm a little sad, but it's okay. Besides, he's a part of our family. Once I get my head wrapped around that concept, I mean, wow! Little Ginny Weasley family with Harry Potter."

She looked up at her parents. "That's almost as wonderful as being a Weasley in the first place."

The group family hug was a little chocolate covered, but the sweetness was of an all natural kind.

*****OO*****

The job was just too important, and MI5 had given the go ahead. He stopped by to drop off a letter with Fudge before heading out.

"What is the meaning of this Wetherby! You're late!" Fudge screeched.

"Actually, Minister, my report to work time is not 8:00 AM. That's just when I normally get here. It's 9:00. And I have an emergency this morning. Oh, and here is my notice of intent to resign my job."

"You can't quit! I just got you making my tea right!" Fudge shouted.

"You will find, sir, that I am not a slave and yes I can quit. I wish you a pleasant morning, and I will be back at 1:00 PM."

"If you step one foot out of this office right now it's over! You don't have a job to come back to!" Fudge's face was a lovely purple by now.

"That's all the better. Have a nice day, Minister."

Putting up with Fudge for nearly three years? Awful!

Putting up with Fudge's toadie Undersecretary that actually did very little work? Double awful!

Having a free house elf capable of still recording all of the Minister's secret dealings? Priceless!

Whistling a show tune from a Muggle stage production, Alex Weatherwight made his way to the floo.

"Deputy Headmistress' Office, Hogwarts. Password: Bonnie Lad."

It was going to be a great day!

*****OO*****

Harry had nearly finished five months of training when his Potter account manager made an appointment to see him.

"You, you! You!" the goblin sputtered.

"You're in trouble Harry, Spurnik called you a 'You, You'." George teased.

Harry had always been able to tell them apart. It was just a matter of time for them to decide who was who. That had been eye opening for all three of them.

"Sirius Black is no longer in Azkaban!" Spurnik spouted.

"Really? Then why isn't Fudge sending aurors out everywhere? Why isn't there panic in the streets?" Harry asked all too sweetly.

"Because there is a life size mirror in his cell. Whenever guards check on him, he pounds on the glass and demands to be released!"

"Really? How awful." Harry walked towards the bowl of chilled fruit that Dobby kept supplied for him and his friends. "Grapes? Apple?"

"I know that you had something to do with this! And your investments! Something is happening at Hogwarts! And you aren't keeping me in the loop!" Spurnik grumbled.

"Let me ask you a hypothetical question, Account Manager. Let's say that I had a small amount of money to invest. And I decided to spend it to help hundreds of schoolchildren. Give them a better education. Provide them for better opportunities for better careers?"

"Give? Provide? But that sounds like, like…I can't say it!"

"Charity? Yes indeed. Charity, the pure love of, well, let's just say that it's no one in the Goblin Patheon of Greed." Harry said. "Not that I mock your values. I am just pointing out that you are a goblin. I am a human. You are applying your values to my actions. You wouldn't want to damage my moral compass, would you?"

"Moral Compass?! What moral compass! This has Marauders all over it! Moral compass my...Speaking of marauders, there was a death registered this month, and you are a beneficiary. We're waiting for you to return to the UK to read the will."

"I will be there on the 26th to go shopping for new robes. And some muggle notebooks, now that the rules have changed at school." Harry informed him.

"I knew it! I knew it! All of those lovely galleons! Gone! Gone! And never will be replaced!"

"You are taking this far too seriously. Please. Do you know how much money I have been making here? And the potential? I'm going into warding when I graduate. Girls will pay a fortune for runes keeping out bugs and pests. Rats and mice. Umm, I wonder what kind of pests the bank gets in the UK?"

"WIZARDS!" the manager yelled. "And just where are these profits?"

"Oh, yeah. I've been saving them somewhere. Dobby? Can you please give the purple pouch to Spurnik here?"

"You little monster! You knew that August is the end of our first quarter! And how important it is to show a profit!"

"I did? I'm only 11, and have been raised in the muggle world you know." Harry tried for, but didn't get a tear.

"If I was your father, I would paddle your behind until it was chartreuse!"

"You see, now that is just racist! Or speciesist or something. You hate me because I am a wizard!" Harry accused, holding back laughter.

"YES! Now you finally get it!" Spurnik said.

Dobby popped in with a bag of profits from several weeks worth of work, even if it didn't appear so to the calendar.

The goblin grabbed the purple bag, looked in it, smiled maniacally before squelching that look.

"May your enemies always fear you." Harry bowed.

"Have a nice, actually lad, may your gold flow like the ideas that come forth from your brilliant mind." The goblin said, before leaving.

He was going to have to work on his insults. The lad was practically hugging him. Moral compass indeed!

*****OO*****

September 1st came all too quickly to some, and far too slowly to others.

For Harry, leaving Egypt was like walking back out of an adventure book. He had learned so much! He was ready to defend himself, and others, with magic if needs be.

Saying goodbye to Marissa was hard, but she would still be there next June. Arista was going back to her clan, and had given Harry a small, soggy, barnacle-ridden chest.

Inside were gold doubloons from several hundred years before, all very well preserved.

"I played a nasty trick on you about the books. Father insisted that I give you this to repay you. I'll never forget you Harry Potter!"

"You shared your treasure already! But thank you! I will treasure your friendship. Um, can I write to you still? I mean, once you are home, underwater?

She nodded, and promised that she would write his too. The advantages of working with Gringotts.

Harry gave her a sweet hug goodbye, gave the chest to Dobby, and promised himself that he would not cry like a girl in front of everyone.

The last few days spent at the Burrow had been fun, a blur, but fun.

Finding out that Dumbledore was still in the hospital had just been the icing on his already fantastic cake. It was time to go to Hogwarts.

And let the pranks begin!

*****OO*****

AN I had originally planned to stop the story here, but decided to go on.

The story is now completely written, with four chapters, and a short epilogue. Just doing some final polish.

Some of the themes in the next chapter are very mature. If anyone thinks I should raise the rating to M I will, even without explicit scenes or language.

Be aware of your emotional triggers if you have been abused. You have my sympathies, and I do not want anyone feeling hurt.

If you enjoy this story, please leave a brief review. If not, well, thanks for reading. There's lots of great fanfic out there.

Stay well,

VashonBeader.