Chapter 14: interlude
"Oh?" Harry responded. "So, I take it you're going to deliver me to some well-meaning family that will be put in danger by my presence" he snarled the irritation growing as he thought about it.
Amelia could immediately sense she was on rocky ground. "Mr. Potter I attended your parents will reading for twofold purpose the first was that I was a ministry personnel of record who could sign off on bequeaths given to me quote Dark Creatures. While I find it distasteful that anyone would refer to Remus lupin in a such a fashion your parents left several bequeaths and it was only fair that he received his." she paused for a moment to gather her thoughts then she took a gamble and reached out putting a hand on his shoulder "Your placement was also discussed and All I will say on this is that I was the last person named to foster you though it would appear you do have some wizarding relatives however so distant at school. Albus was so named however he felt he should recuse himself and try to salvage what little relationship he had with you.
So, until you reach your majority next year you will be living under my roof with my niece Susan. I realize you may not want a guardian or you may not feel you need one but the law requires it and your parents ask it of me by name in their wills. So, you can accept this with a little grace or you can be a snot and I will ground you until you reach your majority. No quidditch, no Hogsmeade, no Diagon Alley, no dates with the lovely Ms. Delacour just your room, your books and your chores."
Harry looked like he was about to snap but got it under control before grinding out 'What would those chores be, Cook, Clean, and tend the grounds of your manor?" he asked with some asperity which made Amelia chuckle.
"No Harry you have to clean your room and once a week you help cook and clean the up after dinner it's all I can get our house elf to let us do other than that you are free to visit friends, Hogsmeade, and Diagon Alley, I would however ask that you let me know where you are going to be and to check in every so often" The older witch said kindly "Do you think you can handle those restrictions?"
Harry had the good grace to look embarrassed "Yes Ma'am!"
"Good" Amelia said with a smirk "Now I need to ask you a serious question. What possessed you to jump out of a window in the hospital wing?"
Hogwarts Hospital Wing Moments Earlier
Poppy Pomfrey looked up at the antics her patient was getting up to at first, he was alone and that concerned her until the headmaster's phoenix flamed onto young Harry Potters broom handle and for the first time in all her years watching the boy he stilled floating about the castle she could see the stress drain from his frame. So, entranced she did not see or hear Gabrielle come into her office. Gabrielle waited a moment behind the healer before speaking "It is good to see him relax!"
Madam Pomfrey's reverie broken by her voice "My word Ms. Delacour you scared five years out of me" The nurse stated with a smile "Yes, it is both good and terrifying to watch him fly. But soon I hope he will find something worthier of his time than flying like a maniac. Unless I misread the boy last week."
Gabrielle listened to the nurse but did not understand what could possibly take the place of flying "I am not sure I understand. Could you please explain?" Gabrielle asked
"She means you little one" Ami Delacour said walking into the office giving her daughter a hug "You are entirely to young to understand completely what is going on here and we will need to discuss this as a family which includes Harry now."
Gabrielle looked surprised at her mother she had thought her mother would lead the charge to bring her directly back to France. She turned into the embrace and wrapped her arms about her mother "Merci, Maman"
Watching the mother and daughter warmed the elderly mediwitch's heart "Madam Delacour how are you going to address the distance between the two Harry will be attending Hogwarts… I know it is none of my business officially but that boy" pointing out over the castle where Harry and Fawkes were playing "that boy I and many others have come to care for if I read their body language correct Your daughter and Harry will be very close ."
Ami Delacour considered the matrons words "we will discuss this tonight after dinner and I Invite you to attend Madam Pomfrey. Your opinion would be appreciated!" All three ladies turned as they saw Harry land with the phoenix on his shoulder.
The mediwitch smiled "Lets go Meet Mr. Potter in entrance hall I would like word with him. Madam Delacour may bring Gabrielle with me I believe her presence will quell any objections Mr Potter may have if the young lady in question present."
"I don't see a reason to keep her here" Ami smiled turning to her daughter "Assuming she wants to go that is... Jean Sebastian how do you feel about this" she asked her husband with a pointed look
Jean knowing that his wife was not asking a question merely letting him have some semblance of input had the grace to nod and say "Of course dear!" he turned to say something to Gabrielle and was greeted with a warm hug as Gabrielle laid her head on her father's chest.
"Thank you, papa I know this, is not easy for you." She murmured quietly as she tried to put all her love for her father into that hug "I will always be your little girl papa but, now we will make a new addition to the family. But that is still several years off. I promise we will not do anything that could alter our lives more than they already have until I am 16." She then turned and followed Madam Pomfrey from the Hospital wing with her mother in tow they descended the stairs to the main foyer Gabrielle looked to see her sister with her fiancé and the rest of Harry's friends descending the opposite staircase they all stopped as they saw and heard Harry's apology and then heard Madam Pomfrey's declarations.
"That's exactly what I want to know" The familiar voice of Madame Pomphrey broke the silence left by Amelia's question as she breezed into the room. "You" She said with a tight voice pointing at Harry "Up on the desk now!" Harry at once obeyed he could see a crowd of his friends and family out in the hall as the matron did his checkup "Mr. Potter I have spent the better part of five years trying to keep you alive and in one piece. Don't you ever and I do mean ever jump out of any window in this castle, you scared a decade of life out of me" She cried as she poked his chest emphasizing her points
Harry looked down "I apologize Madam Pomphrey. You have taken very good care of me and I have repaid your kindness very poorly. I promise to do better in the future." he said as he gently embraced the elderly matron. "To answer your question though it just felt like the walls were closing in I needed to get outside and just be free"
All at once the conversations died as Harry's friends who had gathered in the entrance hall watched as one of the few times he actively reached out to another person Madam Pomphrey wrapped her arms around the boy and she nodded at his explanation "Now let's be off to breakfast then it's back to the wing with you for a final checkup and I will release you into the care of guardian and hope to not see you again until quidditch season begins."
Harry's good mood vanished "but I am banned from quidditch for life!"
"Ahem" Amelia spoke her voice very cold "I am sure we will see that ban set aside immediately as it did not come from the department of games and sports."
"Yes, Amelia I dare say it will" Albus said "However I would like to take this time to examine Mr. Potters Broom and if necessary send it in to Bolt Brooms for servicing if needed. We don't know if Madam Umbridge cursed the broom or not."
"it can't be any worse than what she did to me this year" Harry mumbled casting his gaze downward.
"We know Harry, we know" Madam Pomfrey stated her eyes narrowed. "Madam Bones I need to speak to you in your capacity as the head of the department of law enforcement."
Amelia was curious "Master Healer Pomfrey, how can the Auror Office assist you?"
Madam Pomfrey Drew herself up speaking clearly and "I have evidence that Delores Umbridge tortured 35 students with class five artifact."
All conversation stopped as Harry dropped his head embarrassed Gabrielle stepped into the room walked up to Harry and touched a finger to his chin wordlessly telling him to look at her. Harry looked up and Gabrielle opened her arms. Harry Paused for a moment contemplating what she wanted and then putting his bravery to the test he stepped into her embrace. As Gabrielle closed her arms around him Harry broke
Madam Bones startled by Harry's tears "Give me the evidence that you have, and I will make the arrest today!"
Poppy called out "Seraphina"
With pop an elf dressed as a nurse popped in "Yes Poppy?" the articulate elf addressed the nurse to everyone's confusion "I see we have visitors."
"Yes, could you please bring me the photos we took of the children over the last year?" the Healer asked politely
The elf nodded and popped away returning a few moments with a pile of folders all, but one had one or two pictures the last had none and as Amelia leafed through her expression darkened as she saw the name on thickest folder. She turned to Poppy "How long did this go on?" she queried
Harry raised his head from Gabrielle's shoulder "All year. She made me write lines with my own blood" he said holding up his hand "I must not tell lies! For hours on end and all I was told was that no one could overrule her detentions and that I should keep my head down."
The assembled adults looked on the young man with dismay having seen the evidence cut into the hand of The-Boy-Who-Lived Amelia could only really think of one thing 'Madam Umbridge will be spending the rest of her life in Azkaban and Cornelius fudge was going to be out of the office of the minister by the end of the tomorrow.' "Headmaster could I ask a favor of you and companion?" She asked quietly as she penned three notes in quick succession "Fawkes could you please deliver these to Rufus Scrimgeour, Gawain Robards, and the Office of the Clerk of the Wizengamot. Mr. Potter would you be willing to testify at trial to Madam Umbridge's crimes against you and others?"
Harry looked around at his friends who all nodded at him and finally coming back to Gabrielle. He leaned in and whispered "Will you come with me? I…I need and want you with me I don't want to do this alone!"
A gentle smile graced Gabrielle's face "Of course love I will be with you every step of the way." She said softly so only he could hear thinking to herself 'Damn his aunt and uncle for hurting this man to the point where he felt he had to ask for support.
Harry raised his head and looked his new guardian in the eye "Yes Madam Bones I would love to testify!"
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and broke into smaller groups of people drifting toward the great hall stopping occasionally for harry to have a quiet word with people eventually the adults left the children behind and waited at the doors of the great hall. As they were about to enter the hall Harry motioned everyone but Gabrielle and Madame Bones into the hall.
"Madam Bones?" Harry asked quietly "How am I supposed to address you. you are essentially my parent now?" the naked want for even the barest hint of family evident in his voice and the look of apprehension on his face. Amelia know that she would have to be Amelia Bones for this conversation and not the Madam Bones the head of law enforcement. She smiled as she watched Gabrielle rub his back as he asked his question.
"Harry" she began gently "you can call me aunt, auntie, Amelia, or Amy, Which would you prefer?"
Harry chewed on his lip for a moment and in a voice Gabrielle and Amelia strained to hear "I don't want or need an aunt, but I would love to have a Mum!"
Amelia was at a loss for words of all the things she thought he would say this was not one of them she looked at Gabrielle the approval of the request evident in her smile.
He had said it one of his greatest desires and the question hung in the air like a tree leaf on the wind and as the seconds passed he thought to himself 'it is stupid of me to make this request she has Susan to care for' then he scuffed his foot and spoke again "You don't have to , I am sorry. My request is out of line."
Amelia turned it over in her mind for a second longer before stepping toward him and engulfing him a hug "I would love to be called mum!" She exclaimed and then a voice dropping in to the barest whisper "I am sorry if I made you think you were not wanted. We can fill out the paperwork and perform the adoption rituals if you would like. But son this means there is another rule that goes into effect?"
Harry cringed "What rule is that… Mum?"
"No closing your bedroom door if Gabrielle is in your room with you." She said with a smile as a petulant look passed over his face.
Gabrielle laughed "It is alright Harry I am not ready to pursue those kinds of activities"
"I suppose my first act as Mum should be to talk to your parents Ms. Delacour! Shall we?" She said with grin on her face.
Breakfast was a lively affair as Harry's friends and Susan bones sat at the Gryffindor table. The weasely twins having begged off to get ready for their grand opening, Bill and Fleur stopping by momentarily to give their siblings and Harry a hug. Finally, Arthur and Molly and retrieved Her two youngest and Luna. Hermione and Neville left to meet her Parents and his grand mother at the Leaky Cauldron. Leaving the Harry, Gabrielle and Susan alone to talk quietly.
From the head table the adults watched the three interact and Amelia broke the silence. "Harry asked if I would be his mum." The conversation at the table stopped as the remaining adults turned to her
Remus was the first to find his voice "Amelia, consider carefully how you respond to his request you can not close that door once it is open."
Amelia scowled "Remus Lupin you know me better than that. I said yes and offered to do the rituals in addition to signing the paperwork. I will offer the same to Susan." Silence reigned for a moment when the headmaster added his two knuts
"I believe it is a marvelous idea however we will need to strengthen the wards of your home Amelia as in addition to becoming a mum you are likely going to be nominated to replace Fudge."
With solid clink her monocle hit the table.
Elsewhere in Britain.
The last few weeks had not been to Bellatrix Lestrange's liking her lord was incapacitated and several death eaters had deserted or tried to at least. She would not miss her misogynistic prick of a husband nor his brother having killed both for having ideas far above their station. During the intervening weeks she had developed a grudging respect and trust for Severus Snape as they both handled caring for their lord while he recovered from whatever occurred between he and the potter brat. She now sat in her chair waiting for the potion master.
Severus Snape was a man of two minds now having witnessed everything that had happened and while he would never truly like Harry Potter he respected him for the power he held and controlled. The downside for him was working closely with Bellatrix Lestrange trying to revive their lord. He had been tempted to slip the bastard a draught of living death, but Bellatrix watched him far too closely. Now he walked through the halls of Malfoy manor Having been summoned by the mistress of the house he paused outside the doors to her sitting room gathering his wits he was about to knock on the door. "Come in Severus." A clear light voice commanded and then he exhaled and opened the door surprised to see his godson talking with his mother Her blond hair pale like wheat before harvest marred only by a lock of black hair She looked to Severus then to her son "Draco you are dismissed go to Greengrass manor and make nice with Astoria"
"But Mother" Draco sputtered uselessly "The Dark Lord may."
"May What" Narcissa snapped at her son her gorgeous face hardening "May Summon you to do his bidding? No more likely he will summon you to pay further for your father's failure. I have arranged your fosterage with Cyrus Greengrass I want you out of the house in the next hour Nicholas has already sent your things on " Her face softened as she ran a hand down his cheek "I want for you to live Draco if you stay here that will not happen if you do not believe me ask your godfather."
"Sir" Draco queried the confusion written all over his face.
"Draco if you stay only death awaits. Be it from your aunts' hand, the dark lords or Light's forces when we eventually will clash" Severus admitted sadly "Best to go and live. It would behoove you to make nice with Potter trust me the game has changed"
Narcissa held out a necklace to her son. Smiling she kissed him on the forehead and pressed it into his hand as he thought his way through what his godfather had said he nodded decisively and was whisked away from Malfoy manor.
"Thank you, Severus, if it had not been for your presence I fear he may have followed his fathers' path" she said with a sigh taking a sip of her tea she motioned for the man to take a seat in the chair that used to be her husbands. "Now, can you tell me why I have received a summons to the late Sirius Blacks will reading."
"The only thing I can tell you is that if Sirius Black did what I think he has done you will want to be there and agree to anything the new Lord Black wants" his voice dropped a little at the end looking down he took a deep breath "you should take your own advice and seek shelter either with Andromeda or at Hogwarts. Merlin knows the new Lord Black will need education." He then turned "I will make your excuses ."
Narcissa looked thoughtful for a moment before nodding "Nicholas" as Severus left the room
Bellatrix paced her lords chamber wondering where that oaf Snape was. He was supposed to have been there ten minutes ago. She had just turned toward the door when groan split the air of the room.
He felt like he was swimming up from the depths of the sea of tar his arms and head felt heavy opening his eyes felt as if they were being held down by Morpheus himself as his senses sharpened he became aware He tried to push himself up but his arms lacked the strength as muscles he had forgotten he had ached he let out a low groan. That was when he discovered he was not alone
"Master" Bellatrix exclaimed the dark lord heard her voice and cringed at the tone of her voice but said nothing as she put a cup of broth to his lips "Snape and I have been keeping you fed and healing you for almost two weeks. There has been some dissention in the ranks My husband "She said in a low growl "and his brother decided since you were laid low again they would finish the job. Many others tried to flee I successfully educated those on their folly. Of your inner circle only, I and Severus remain to many others were… disloyal."
He knew that most of his inner circle were jackals but to hear it from his most trusted servant was somewhat disheartening "What of Potter how has the Boy-Who -Lived fared?"
Severus who had just finished with Narcissa walked in just as the Dark Lord asked his question
"The boy wake a short while ago and immediately did something foolish and jumped out the window of the hospital wing."
That gave the dark lord pause 'can't feel him through the connection anymore. So, either he succeeded in killing himself'
"Unfortunately, the boy showed his skill with broom yet again" as he gave Madam Pomphrey and her patients a scare when the suicide alarm ward went off."
'so much for wishful thinking' the dark lord thought a frown crossing his snake like face "Pettigrew's final mission failed! to bad I could not punish him more."
"Not entirely my lord" Severus stated, "Harry Potter died by his uncles hand the ward based on his mothers' blood is gone." Severus felt fine offering this last bit of information hopefully the dark lord would not probe any deeper than that. "Unfortunately, Dumbledore with ministry support is taking a much more active role in the boy's life."
'That boy leads a very charmed life 'The dark lord thought to himself remember images of the garden and the angel like creature that banished him." Severus, I have a new mission for you."
"I live to serve My lord." Severus said automatically
"Potter has a new protector find out who or what it is and eliminate it. Find a way to get a small strike force into Hogwarts it is time for all the world to see that Hogwarts is not the safest place in the world and finally I want you to kill Albus Dumbledore."
'well that certainly escalated quickly 'Severus thought to himself "Those things may take some time My lord."
"Yes, I know Severus. As Bella was telling me before you entered our forces seem to have dwindled. We will be abroad until yule recruiting. If you feel you need assistance you know the children to recruit." Severus nodded "go now"
Severus bowed his head, turned and walked out of the mansion.
'Albus is going to love this' Severus.
Bellatrix who until this point had been silent spoke "Where will we go first my lord"
"To the Weasley's I think we must make a statement" the dark lord stated with a small laugh before apparating away.
Moments later the Dark Lord and his most favored servant appeared outside the wards of the Weasley's ramshackle abode efore raising his wand first sealing and then unleashing Fiendfyre shaped like an orange and red snake that was eating every thing in its path watching it wrap around the house and quickly overwhelmed the fire protection ward and engulf the house
"Morsmordre" Bellatrix incanted casting her lords mark and with a pop they were gone.
Authors Note: Life has been filled with ups and down over the last year and a half that have affected my writing Transferring to the broadcast side of our company, coming out as transgender and all that entails, and for the longest time we thought our son was doing well and for the most part he was but on the 24th of august we got some very bad news the curvature of his spine is 86 degrees and while we had hoped he would make it into his teen age years we have to have a spinal fusion surgery sooner rather than later. I am sure how most of you can see how this would derail my muse…. Now on to other things this chapter has been mostly done for a month but I was having problems setting stage for things to come I had a plan for an event ten chapters down the line where Draco was going to do something vile and suddenly while I was writing the scene saving Draco popped into my brain and through my pen it went. I have a few paragraphs written for the next chapter of far and a away, A page or two of He who will be torg, and a couple of other crossovers Sisterhood of the travelling pants, Scooby Doo, and Robotech. I will also be helping my wife edit the work she has been working on hopefully will post