Chapter 24 After the Tournament

This Harry Potter story was written for fun. All rights belong to the wonderful lady (JK Rowling) who gave the world Harry Potter to read and enjoy.

"Regular conversation."

Printed Word in letters and newspapers.

{Parseltongue conversation}

[Iggy talking with Harry and Neville.]

"The Sorting Hat speaking and pontificating."

There were many confused wizards and witches the next day in Magical Britain. The Daily Prophet reported that Victor Krum, the champion for Durmstrang won the tournament and the front page included a photo of the young wizard accepting the trophy and bag of galleons from Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. In the background stood Fleur Delacour, Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory. Below the fold (on the bottom of the front page) the newspaper included a magical picture of Minister Cornelius Fudge grabbing the arm of Harry Potter and disappearing with the boy. The article that ran beside this second picture included the information that the real Cornelius Fudge had been located in a closet in his office in the ministry and the man had no idea who had impersonated him at the third task. In the gossip columns, the reporters made much of the minister being found in a tumbled pile with Undersecretary Dolores Umbridge in the closet; the insinuations of a love affair between the rotund minister and toad shaped Umbridge grew with each repeat of the story among the readers.

Headmaster Dumbledore made much of his eyewitness account of the resurrection of the Dark Lord and continued to insist that he had seen Barty Crouch, Jr., Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort in a potion cauldron. Muck-raker Rita Skeeter did not hesitate to insinuate the headmaster meant the three 'men' had been caught in an embarrassing position–naked and in a bubbling cauldron. The resulting arguments grew loud with Lord Longbottom yelling about the report that his underage son appeared in a compromising position with two 'dead' men.

"I am merely reporting the news as Albus Dumbledore stated it," the witch replied.

This caused Dumbledore to reconsider his statement and try once again.

"I saw three individuals involved in the resurrection of the dark lord. Harry Potter was tied to a gravestone and he was a captive. Barty Crouch, Jr. was the wizard conducting the resurrection and Lord Voldemort was standing in the cauldron where the resurrection occurred."

The DMLE had returned to the graveyard, summoned the Department of Mysteries and all the evidence vanished into the bowels of the ministry building. The Unspeakables refused to confirm or deny Dumbledore's statement about the resurrection. Barty Crouch, Sr. had vanished and when questioned, Gringotts merely issued a list of recent deaths with wills becoming active. This list included Bartholemew Crouch, Sr., his son Bartholemew Crouch, Jr., and Thomas Marvolo Riddle, Jr. In an interesting turn, Hogwarts was the recipient of most of the wealth of the estates of all three individuals with a single stipulation–none of the funds would be released to the school so long as Albus Dumbledore remained headmaster.

++***++ SCENE CHANGE

At Hogwarts, breakfast was a quiet affair with almost every head bent over a copy of the Daily Prophet reading the various articles and voices whispering about the photos. Cedric was the first champion to appear in the Great Hall that morning, and while he got a subdued round of applause, he remembered his father's admonition to be gracious at all times and bowed once before sitting, taking a cup of pumpkin juice and opening his copy of the Daily Prophet. Fleur Delacour appeared with the contingent of students from Beauxbatons, and she was cheerful and friendly for once.

Harry Potter arrived with his posse though no one mentioned it. The Gryffindors immediately opened several copies of the Daily Prophet and began asking each other questions about the blasted end skrewt, the boggart, the spiders and the sphinx and how the champions dealt with them.

[I never got to use the fireworks,] Harry complained. [The elves were ready with forty rockets to spell out 'Dumbledore Is Nuts' and we never got to use them.]

[Hehe…that would have been great,] Iggy agreed. [Maybe at the leaving feast?]

Neville spoke up, [No fireworks inside the castle. Iggy, if you try that, I will tell Mum.]

The invisibility cloak entity shuddered–the Aurors who investigated the graveyard reported the piles of teddy bears, toy soldiers and baby dolls piled around the graveyard after Dumbledore fled the place where the resurrection occurred. Every child under the age of five received a teddy bear, a toy soldier or a baby doll leaving the house elves exhausted but happy to have been so busy with deliveries.

Finally, Victor Krum arrived in the Great Hall and the whole of the student body rose to applaud the champion of the Tri-Wizard Tournament.

[I really wanted to see how the cloak wrapped up someone who tried to grab the real me,] Harry continued. [That boggart looked like me, but it didn't have the real cloak billowing behind it.]

During that last day of the term, Harry and his friends managed to dodge Headmaster Dumbledore by quietly hiding in alcoves or in the library. Lady Hogwarts preened and sent the house elves to confound the headmaster and professors who attempted to corral the Gryffindors. The reporters from the British and international news services arrived after lunch and conducted a long interview with the headmaster about the resurrection – they allowed him to ramble, speculate, and pontificate for over an hour.

The next morning, the Daily Prophet headlines again discussed the resurrection of Dark Lord He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and the part Harry Potter played in the successful return of the evil wizard–according to Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. There was a great deal of confusion in the Great Hall that morning as students grew concerned about the return of the Death Eaters. The visitors from Beauxbatons hurried their departure and the Durmstrang students never came to the Great Hall for breakfast–their great ship vanished underneath Black Lake as soon as the sun was full in the sky.

Disappointed with Dumbledore's attempts to stir up controversy, Lady Hogwarts confined him to his office until after the Hogwarts Express left the station with the students. She did have the house elves provide each of the students who were in need with a purse of fifty galleons (five hundred pounds for muggleborns) with a note that the money was to pay for summer fun, casual reading, and ice cream.

In the early hours of the second day following Neville and Harry's return from their fourth year at Hogwarts, the wards around Longbottom Hall woke the adults when wizards began attempting to break the wards with sappers and drains. Augusta listened for a moment and informed her son, "The spiked ball in the floo is striking out again and again. Someone opened the floo from the ministry."

Frank went to the door and the attackers called out, "Give us Potter so we can find the Dark Lord! We want the Dark Lord to return and Potter has the dark lord!"

Iggy woke Harry and Neville who joined their parents in the lounge while Augusta guarded the arrival room. Her spiked ball had stopped striking out and she had quenched the remotely started fire but she didn't want to risk another attack.

"We can't use portkeys to escape and apparition won't work with the spells they've thrown around our wards," Frank groused.

"Can they break through the wards?" asked Alice.

Frank replied, "Only after a week of continual attack. The elves have beefed up the power in our wards with their visits to the roses."

Neville asked, "Are the elves still getting in and out?"

"Not with this attack."

There'll be unhappy elves that want to help us," Neville stated.

Harry and Neville spoke silently for a moment and then Harry said, "Dad, with Iggy making us invisible, silent and without any scent, we want to go outside and attack these bozos."

Consulting the wards once again, Frank explained, "There're about forty wizards and witches out there. What do you have that can drive them off?"

Neville replied, "We're not going to drive them off.

"We're going to give them all a taste of invisible fire," continued Harry.

"They're not going to survive attacking us and our home," Neville finished.

The three adults were distressed for a few minutes when their sons assured them that they were prepared to 'kill' to protect their family. To distract the attackers, Frank went back out the front door but left it open so that the boys could slip out under the power of Iggy's invisibility magic. Lord Longbottom watched as the attackers bunched together, powering the draining spells on the wards near the front door. Suddenly, there were screams from every one of the attackers. Frank watched them drop and roll on the ground or try to run away. Some of the wizards and witches apparated away though most of these individuals splinched themselves. About twenty of the attackers flopped around the ground as the invisible fire quickly burned through them and left them dead on the lawn.

"We should banish the bodies," Augusta said when the family gathered at the door.

Frank thought for a moment before he said, "I think the elves will just pile them up in a barn for today. We might have more visitors looking for them and the bodies are proof of the attack."

"And collect the arms and legs they left behind too," Alice instructed the elves. "Put them under your strongest spells to preserve and hide them from now."

Seated at the table for breakfast, no one felt like eating though everyone did drink tea and talk softly. Alice rose twice to hug her sons and praise their magic and fighting spirit while also crying about them having to be 'warriors' at fourteen.

No one left Longbottom Hall that day and the Potter elves reported that everything was quiet at the manor house in Wales.

++***++ Next Day

An owl arrived in the middle of the afternoon and the letter attached to the owl's leg stated that the Director of the DMLE would arrive at Longbottom Hall at three in the afternoon to question Frank, Alice and Augusta Longbottom about an attack on multiple wizards and witches that occurred the previous morning.

"Can she invite herself inside our home?" asked Neville.

"That is very strange," Alice admitted. "How do they know we were attacked? And standard procedure is to ask someone to come into the office for questioning."

"It is a ploy to get inside the house and get the perfumes. That may have been what the Death Eaters wanted the other morning and they just used the 'dark lord' as an excuse. Everyone wants the Breathe of Magic," Augusta argued.

Frank went to the barn where the bodies were stored and found that while several of the bodies did have the tattoo on their left arm, half of them did not.

'Mother may be correct,' he decided. Returning to the house, he shared the discovery with his family.

The clock showed ten minutes past three in the afternoon before the floo flared and Amelia Bones, Director of the DMLE stepped from the flames into the receiving room at Longbottom Hall. She was covered with soot and moved away from the floo as four Aurors followed her from the flames.

"Director Bones, your letter said there had been an attack…" Frank said to open the discussions. "Why have you arrived in my home with enough Aurors to take down a dragon?"

Motioning for an Auror to remove the soot from her robes, Bones said, "Longbottom, I have received terrible reports–multiple reports–that a large number of upstanding wizards died as a result of an attempt to visit you earlier today."

Ignoring the use of the word 'visit', Frank asked, "How did these wizards die?"

"Saint Mungo's reports that several of them died of strange magic that seemed to burn their magic away and others bled to death from stab wounds that would not stop bleeding."

"As you know, my sons returned from Hogwarts just the other day. Our family has been here at home enjoying the beginning of summer vacation for our sons. We have been nowhere–the boys are focused on getting their summer homework done quickly and working in the greenhouse."

Director Bones grinned hearing the word 'greenhouse' while Auror Shacklebolt and Auror-emeritus Moody shifted uncomfortably as they were reminded of the debt they owed to Longbottom-Potter for freeing them from the alchemy potion that had made them 'slaves' to Albus Dumbledore.

"Multiple patients at Saint Mungo's stated that they were involved in an assault on Longbottom Hall when they were injured. Others attempted to enter via the floo and were repelled by a magical spike that stabbed them repeatedly."

"And did these 'upstanding' citizens mention the time of day that they came to call?" asked Augusta.

"That does not signify…"

"But Director," Augusta interrupted the discussion and said, "They stated that they 'assaulted' our home. I admit I felt the wards ping about four in the morning and that is certainly not the time for social calls."

Alice asked, "And if they attempted to break into our home, how is it the business of the DMLE that we defended ourselves?"

Bones hissed, "You didn't report an assault!"

"This is a family matter. None of our family was injured or harmed–well, we are sad that someone would attempt to attack us," Frank replied.

"Did you check the arms of these wizards and witches for the mark of the Dark Lord?" asked Alice Longbottom from the sofa where she sat between her two sons.

"We had no reason to check their arms," the woman replied.

Frank grimaced and said, "The Daily Prophet is full of Dumbledore's proclamations that the Dark Lord has returned and he continually links the return to my son Harry's name. Tell me why you're not checking arms for Voldie-shorts tattoo?"

"Cornelius Fudge believes that the upstanding citizens of Magical Britain have been attacked without provocation," said the director though Harry and Neville both snorted and Augusta growled.

"These upstanding citizens apparated just outside the wards of my home and attacked the wards protecting my wife, my mother and our sons," Frank replied. "How is the response by our wards anything other than appropriate?"

Blinking owlishly, Director Bones asked, "Your wards can respond to an attack?"

Frank looked at Amelia with a sour expression on his face and asked, "Director Bones, how can you ask such a question?"

Looking at the Aurors he continued, "Are you certain this is Amelia Bones and not someone unfamiliar with the law under Polyjuice?"

Before the woman could protest, Moody cast a spell while Bones protested but the results were that the much shorter Undersecretary Dolores Umbridge was impersonating Director Amelia Bones using the Polyjuice potion.

++***++ Consequences

There was much yelling at the ministry and Dolores Umbridge was fired but not incarcerated for impersonating the Director of the DMLE. Apparently, she had too much blackmail material against the minister. Fudge bribed several members of the Wizengamot to support him–and Dumbledore did support Fudge against Lord Longbottom's call of a vote of 'no confidence'. That same day, the Longbottom family vanished from magical Britain for the rest of the summer.

In a long conversation with Neville and Harry, Iggy asked the boys to remember that this toady undersecretary would remain an enemy for them.

[She's been with Fudge every time he appears at Hogwarts wanting the 'magic potion' that he can't get his hands on,] the entity said. [But we don't want to burn her up. Someone may link the spell to us eventually. All the wizards and witches who attacked Longbottom Hall were legitimate targets. I doubt the toad will ever attack anyone openly.]

Harry and Neville argued with Iggy and refused to make a pre-emptive strike.

[Dad is certain that the rule of law is coming back to Magical Britain with all the dead purebloods. The men and women in the Wizengamot now want the peace and security of the rule of law,] Neville said.

[This is 1994,] Harry reminded Iggy. [I know things were different in the Middle Ages.]

The entity snorted and replied, [I don't care what the law 'says'. The men with the most power make the laws bend and do what they want. Your family kills wizards with impunity when they attack your house.]

[But we don't go 'hunting' them. They attacked us,] Neville replied.

Harry was quiet for a moment before he asked, [Tell us about this new spell you've got.]

Smugly, Iggy replied, [Lady Hogwarts found this spell in some dusty corner of the castle. She thinks it was used to inflict a quick death on wizards in the fourteenth century but the incantation was lost when the Black Death ripped through the muggle and magical population in Britain.]

++***++ Change Scene

A spotter placed outside the wards of Longbottom Hall reported that it appeared the family occasionally visited the house but otherwise were absent the whole of the summer.

Another attempt to break the Longbottom wards was made in late July but again, the attackers had no success and lost over half of their number with body parts flung around the area. This time the real Director Bones lead a team of Aurors to the site as they catalogued identities and body parts.

"There are four healers from Saint Mungo's in this bunch," Shacklebolt reported. "The hospital must be pushing for the Breath of Magic potions."

"But there's no one ill or injured beyond normal care and potions," Bones replied.

"No one that we know of," replied Moody.

Harry, Neville and their parents spent the summer at Potter Manor in Wales. The Potter elves were able to provide any missing items from Longbottom Hall and the elves there were able to complete a deep clean where they manually scrubbed every ceiling, floor and wall. New paint was applied to the walls and even the chimneys were cleaned.

The birthday celebrations for Harry and Neville were held on 30 July at a muggle hotel that the family rented – a squib family ran the operations there and they were able to keep the muggles away as many witches and wizards gathered for the party where Neville and Harry turned fifteen years old. The swimming pool was big hit with all the kids of all ages as were the games. Harry was able to shoot off the fireworks he'd collected for the third task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament and everyone laughed as the rockets spelled out "Dumbledore Is Nuts!"

End Chapter ++***++