Another long wait, but another chapter has finally made it. Before I begin though, I must reply to a Guest reviewer who went to great lengths in reviewing Chapter 14 to explain why "Portus' would be the incorrect Latin spelling for the spell to create Portkeys….
DO YOU READ THE BOOKS!
(From Book 5)
He pointed his wand at it and muttered, `Portus.'
He raised his wand and murmured, ʹPortus!ʹ
Those two lines are taken directly from the book when Dumbledore created portkeys, so I DIDN'T decide to use 'portus' for the Portkey spell, JK Rowling did. Blame her for the bad Latin.
OK…whew…had to get that out of my system.
Also to the reviewers who have decided to not read my material again because of my political leanings (which I stated when I encouraged EVERYONE, even those who disagreed with me, to vote), you do realize that I do not make money when I write? I mean does it hurt me in the least because a few narrow minded individuals don't read my stories? Sigh…I really am concerned about the intelligence level of some people here in the United States.
Now after this quick disclaimer, we'll be back to my chapter.
I do not own Harry Potter nor any recognizable characters in this story. Though Miranda and a mousetrap laying Death are all mine.
"So, that only leaves that snake and you Harry," Madam Bones said as they placed the destroyed Hufflepuff Cup back in the box. "Have you given any consideration to how you'll confront Voldemort?"
"Definitely not in the middle of a large battle again," Harry replied. "I think we need to figure out a way to get him alone."
"Though I agree that would be best, finding when he'll be somewhere could prove very difficult." Madam Bones said. "During the last war, we thought we had him several times and it was either a trap or he slipped through our hands. I fear what you want to do is going to be difficult unless you have something from the future that might help."
"Unfortunately most of that knowledge is becoming useless," Hermione explained. "It's entirely different now. People are alive who weren't before, like yourself and there are a lot less Death Eaters."
"For both of those things, I thank you and your Goddess," Amelia replied. "As for Voldemort, if you do think of anything, please let me know and I'll try to do the same. If we coordinate this enough, maybe you can face off with him with a lot less risk."
"Thanks," Harry replied. "Any help would definitely be appreciated. "
"For now though, I think the best thing to do is try to find the snake," Hermione added. "We can't finish Voldemort until the snake is dead. But we can't let Voldemort or any of his spies know we're looking for Nagini."
"I agree," Bones agreed. "I do have an idea on how to search for it without raising suspicions."
"The attack on Arthur at Christmas is still unsolved." Amelia replied. "Now that the public knows about Dumbledore's pensieve, I can get Arthur's memories of the encounter and have a picture of the snake on the front page of the Prophet. Maybe even offer a reward."
"Excellent idea!" Harry said excitedly.
Hermione had a more pensive look before she added, "Wouldn't that possibly lead to making it more difficult to find Nagini? I mean if Voldemort knows everyone is looking for him, wouldn't he be less likely to allow him to roam?"
"Maybe," Madam Bones conceded, "But even so, it would prevent more attacks by the snake and prevent Voldemort from having a very effective information gathering avenue. It might require more time to find the snake, but it also might save lives in the meantime. I mean you don't have a good way to kill Voldemort yet, so the more we can limit him until you do, the better."
"That is true," Hermione agreed.
Dumbledore was still at his desk contemplating his discussions with the Potters long after the teens had left his office. Hour after hour he thought about the condemnation they had had for him. Though he tried to mentally defend himself, every argument he developed shattered on the remembered words of the two teens. Finally with a heavy sigh and a glance at the Sorting Hat, he rose and made his way to his fireplace. He threw some Floo powder into the fire and once the flames turned green, he said "Madame Bone's Office, Department of Magical Law Enforcement."
That evening, Harry and Hermione had just sat down to dinner with Hermione's parents when they broached the difficult subject.
"Ma'am, sir," Harry started nervously as he gave a glance at his wife. "We promised we'd tell you about…eh…things that happen in the magical world and something happened yesterday. The question is if you want to hear about it?"
"Since you are asking that question, I presume it was something bad?" Richard asked with a sigh.
"It was actually a couple of things, and yes they were bad in a sense," Harry replied.
Richard looked at his wife who gave a slight shake of her head before he turned back. "Are either of you hurt?"
"No," Hermione replied to her father and then silently to Harry. "At least not from what happened, though I am still sore. I really do need to learn that charm from Fleur."
"Did…did you kill someone else?" This was from Mrs. Granger. She had noticed the slightly guilty look Hermione had given Harry before answering.
Another glance was exchanged between the Potters before Harry said, "Yes but they were Death Eaters trying to kill our friends."
"Are you in legal trouble?" Richard asked with a look of concern. "Do you need a solicitor?"
"We've already spoken with Madam Bones," Hermione replied. "She knows of our involvement and doesn't consider us to blame. In fact we're considered heroes in the magical world for what we did."
"How man…" Jean started and then stopped and shook her head. "No…you've already shown us that our imaginations can't even start to rival what seems to happen in the magical world. Tell us about it when it's over."
Richard sighed once more and nodded his agreement. "Harry…" he started and stopped as he searched for words. "Just…just…" he tried again before he paused again, finally after another sigh he continued. "I told Jean the other evening that if you can get my daughter through this, I'd be glad to walk her down the aisle of any church at any time for her to marry you."
"Eh…," Harry started as his eloquent reply. "Thank you…eh…I know all this…" Harry was also having difficulties in answering Hermione's father. With a glance and smile at Hermione he turned back to Richard and continued. "Sir, though as far as incentive goes that is…eh…unexpected and I couldn't ask for a better one, but it's entirely unneeded. As I've said before, Hermione is the most important person in my life. No incentive or reward would be more than the love I have for her and that is all I need to want her safe."
An awkward silence descended on the table before Jean quietly said, "Just be careful you two."
"You two need to be careful as well," Hermione replied. "We've hurt Voldemort and his supporters badly. It is possible they might try to get to us through you."
"You think we're in danger," Her father asked as he looked at his wife in concern.
"That's why the wards were put around the house," Hermione replied. "You're safe enough here and if someone does try to take down the wards, you'll have time enough for Dobby and Winky to get you to safety," Hermione glanced at the two elves who were listening in on the conversation. They both started nodding. "But I'm concerned they might find a way to locate you at your practice."
"Is there anything we can do?" Jean asked.
"For starters, maybe have your receptionist warn you if anyone comes in acting strangely," Hermione suggested.
"Well that's 2 or 3 patients on any given day," Jean replied. "People in pain or fear do strange things. And both of those are common in dentist offices."
"Can…Dobby help?" The House Elf asked hesitantly.
"In what way?" Hermione asked as everyone turned to look at the little elf.
"Dobby or any house elf can sense if someone is magical," Dobby explained. "That's how wees know if we can be seen by them or not. Wees can be invisible to people."
"So you think you can keep an eye on our patients," Jean asked, "and let us know if any are magical?"
"Dobby can do that," Dobby said as he nodded his head.
"Winky can too," the other elf said.
"But how to we know if they're dangerous?" Richard asked. "You just said a few days ago we probably have werewolves as patients already. Wouldn't they be magical?"
"They would," Hermione agreed. "I just think Dobby and Winky keeping an eye out for anyone pulling out a wand would do the trick." She turned to the elves. "If you see a witch or wizard pull out a wand in Mum and Dad's office, you either subdue them or get mum and dad out of there as quickly as possible."
"We can't just run away and leave our staff and patients," Jean huffed. "Is there anything we can do to protect ourselves?"
"Not really," Hermione replied. "Locks are useless against magic. Even barricades would not stop a blast hex or two. You really don't have anything that can take out a Death Eater or two. Though if you are confronted by one, the best advice I could give you is to attack them physically with the goal of breaking their wands. Though some can do wandless magic, most probably are useless without them."
"What about a shotgun or something?" Richard asked with a grimace. The idea of having a weapon at his practice was not something he really wanted to contemplate.
"I would not recommend it. If a wizard can imperius you before you can get a shot off, they can force you to shoot someone else or even yourself." Hermione argued. "A Death Eater would think it's funny. Besides, the walls of your office aren't exactly able to stop the shot from penetrating to the next room. You could actually end up killing the same people you want to protect. There is also the fact that a Witch or wizard can heal themselves or have accidental or unintentional magic protect them."
"What do you mean?" Jean asked.
"You remember how unexplained things happened around me?" Hermione asked. "How Professor McGonagall explained that it was accidental magic caused by fear or extreme emotions?"
"Of course," Jean replied.
"Well the same can happen to adult wizard when faced with a life or death situation," Hermione continued explaining. "Their magic can act to protect them if they recognize the threat."
"That's why Hagrid basically said it would have been impossible for mum and dad to have died in a car crash," Harry added. "Their magic would have done its best to protect them."
"So if they recognize the threat you pose, almost anything could happen," Hermione finalized.
"So we can basically do nothing but run away?" Richard sighed.
Jean though wasn't giving up just yet. "What about narcotics? If we can get close enough, maybe we can inject them with something?"
"Most muggle medications are fairly useless against wizards," Hermione countered. "Even if they would work you'd have to have it ready….." Her voice trailed off as she got a faraway look for a few seconds then as her face brightened, she continued. "Do you have those self-injecting things for severe allergic reactions?"
"An Epipen?" Jean asked. "Of course. Fortunately we've never had a reason to use one yet, but it is always better to be safe. But what good would that do against one of these Death Eaters?"
Hermione turned to Harry, "If we swap out the medication in one of those with Draught of Living Death, then it's just a matter of hitting them with it. We might even train Dobby and Winky how to use one." She looked at the elves would were trying to follow what was being said and failing. At the sound of their names they looked up with expectation.
"But those injectors take 10 seconds to work," Jean protested. "These Death Eater people aren't going to sit quietly waiting for it to finish administering this stuff."
"The draught of the living Death only takes a few drops if it's sufficient quality," Hermione explained. "That much should enter the body almost instantly on injection."
"But will it work if it isn't swallowed?" Harry asked.
"It should actually work faster if administered directly into the body," Hermione explained. She turned to the elves. "Or at least you would have a way to keep them down if Dobby or Winky can subdue them." She turned to the elves. "Can you do that? Harry told me how Dobby stopped Malfoy from cursing him at the end of our second year. Can you do something similar if someone threatens my parents? If you can immobilize an attacker, then Mum or Dad or maybe even you can inject them with the potion."
"Dobby can try," Dobby replied as both elves nodded.
"Then let's at least plan on having that if necessary," Hermione said. "Can you bring me one or two of those injectors?"
"Of course," Richard replied. "We even have a practice one at the office so when we need to train new staff on the proper use of it. We can use it to see if the elves can manage it."
"Perfect." Hermione said. "And I'll get the potion brewed. It doesn't take very long and we have the perfect book to instruct us in making it." She glanced at Harry with a knowing smile.
"Glad we didn't have to mention Ginny to them," Harry said later that evening after dinner. With the conversation turned to protecting the Grangers at their practice, what happened the previous day was forgotten. "Not sure how they would have taken to the fact that a close friend tried to kill you."
"I'm glad of that as well," Hermione replied.
%%%%% July 13th %%%%%
"Arry, 'Ermione," Fleur's voice could be heard after she knocked midmorning. "You 'ave owl post for each of you. Bill thinks it is your OWL results."
"Thanks you Fleur, we'll be down shortly," Hermione said calmly.
"Remember the last time?" Harry asked. "You were beside yourself; even thought you had failed every subject."
"I also remember something FORGETTING to tell me the results were due that morning," Hermione gave her husband a fake glare.
"I did have other things on my mind," Harry reminded her. "Prophecies and things…"
"And you think that was more important than my OWL results?" Hermione asked in a haughty voice before she smiled. "Let's go down and see how we did."
"When they made it to the kitchen Ron was studying his results with a frown. "How did you do?" Harry asked.
"Four," Ron mumbled. "But my Charms results aren't on here, so hopefully five."
"Better than the twins," Bill said encouragingly. "They only got three each."
"So you got to make the Charms test up?" Hermione asked as she started opening her own envelope.
Ron nodded and didn't bother to explain because he didn't want to relive what happened in the Charms OWL.
"How did you do? All Outstandings right?" Harry asked. "Not like I don't already know."
Hermione nodded as she handed her results to Harry
Ancient Runes O
Care of Magical Creatures O
Defense Against the Dark Arts O
History of Magic O
"Ten Oustandings*; Impressive," Harry replied.
"What about you?" Hermione asked and Harry handed over his results.
Care of Magical Creatures O
Defense Against the Dark Arts O
History of Magic E
"8 OWLS with 6 outstandings?" Hermione exclaimed. "You got 7 last time, but only 1 Outstanding."
"I had a little help in a couple of these tests this time around. You remembering the questions and answers made memorizing what I needed to know for the testing. And that potion testing in the Room of Requirement really really helped," Harry said but then continued out loud. "Didn't want to let you down now did I?" As much as he knew he shouldn't considering what Ron had been through in the last few days, Harry couldn't help but take a verbal swat at the redhead and the insult he had given about Neville at Hogwarts, "Working with Neville really paid off for that Outstanding in Herbology. He really knows his stuff. How'd you do in Herbology Ron?"
Ron didn't answer but his face turned red as he got up and left the kitchen.
"Maybe we should go over today and thank Neville and see how he did," Hermione suggested.
"That would be great," Harry replied.
"What about Beauxbatons Fleur? What kind of testing do you do?" Hermione asked the beautiful part Veela. Soon the two of them were engrossed in a conversation comparing the classes and testing between the two schools.
While his wife and Fleur were deep in their discussion, Harry's eyes fell on the OWL results Ron had left on the table. He pulled them over and read.
Care of Magical Creatures A
Defense Against the Dark Arts A
History of Magic T
Later that evening, Dumbledore glanced around the table at Grimmauld place at the greatly diminished number of Order of the Phoenix Members; three members dead, three still in St. Mungos and a blessing that the rest of the faces looking back at him were even alive. "It saddens me to see so many of our numbers missing," He started. "Fortunately our wounded will be back with us shortly. As for our departed friends, we must strive to remember their sacrifice and continue to fight the darkness that took them from us."
"What about Snape?" Bill Weasley asked. "Is it true he knew we were going to be attacked and told He-Who-Must-Not-Ne-Named you weren't going to be with us?"
Dumbledore sighed as he gathered his thoughts. "Severus had some idea that there might be an attack with Dementors," He started in try to weave an honest explanation around what really happened. "He wasn't too concerned because we've dealt with Dementors on a regular basis. By the time he knew how serious the attack was he was forbidden to leave Voldemort's side."
"And did he tell He-Who-Must-Not-Ne-Named you weren't going to be there?" Bill persisted.
"As you might realize, Severus has a difficult task of maintaining Voldemort's trust while he spies for us," Albus explained. "He does have to give what appears to be important information on occasion to Voldemort, but he didn't realize it would lead to an attempt to eliminate the ENTIRE Order when he did so. I've traveled many times in the past and nothing like this has happened."
"So you think we should continue to trust him?" This from Vance. "After this? How can we trust what he tells us?"
"I am currently re-evaluating how we utilize Severus from now on," Dumbledore admitted. "Though we suffered grave losses, Voldemort suffered far worse. He has suspicions of Severus which means any and all information could be further traps."
"So what are we going to do now?" Mad-eye Moody asked.
"I…I have been amiss in my leadership of this organization," Dumbledore confessed. "As you all know, I believe all life is important and everyone deserves second chances, but I have been reminded recently that second chances should not come at the expense of the lives of the innocent." The leader of the Order stopped and looked at those who he led before he continued. "I spoke with Madam Amelia Bones earlier today. In recognition of your efforts and sacrifice, she was willing to provide these." Dumbledore took several sheets of parchment and started passing them around.
"What are these?" Vance asked.
"These are your authorizations to defend yourselves against Death Eater with lethal force," Dumbledore replied. "If Death Eaters appear, you have the full authority of the Ministry to take offensive measures to protect yourself and any innocents, up to and including lethal spells. This, of course, does not allow you to use unforgivables. You do not have to wait to be attacked; just someone appearing in the garbs of a Death Eater is sufficient grounds for any measure you find necessary. If Aurors appear and wish to arrest you afterwards, show them this parchment and ask to speak directly to Madam Bones or me." Dumbledore sighed as he looked once again at his followers. "I hope you will still show some compassion but not at the expense of another empty chair at this table."
A/N I know there are a lot of stories about guns against magicals and I even thought about having the Grangers hire an armed security guard which might be a logical solution here in the US. BUT after researching the subjects, I discovered that in the UK, security guards can't have guns, batons or even pepper spray. So against a magical, they are pretty useless (I don't live in the UK, so if I'm mistaken in what I researched, please let me know).
*For Hermione's owl results. The first edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince said Hermione had 11 OWLs, 10 Outstandings and 1 Exceeds Expectations. That was corrected in later editions when the errors was pointed out that Hermione was only in 10 classes. Though many people argued that she still might have taken the OWL for Muggle studies, it was clearly an error as stated by a representative of Bloomsbury reported.
- Bloomsbury information-
The hardback edition of the sixth installment of the schoolboy wizard's adventures, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, said that swotty Hermione Granger had scooped 11 top results in her Ordinary Wizarding Levels (OWLs). But hawk-eyed readers spotted that in the previous book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, she had only taken 10 subjects.
Publishers quickly fixed the discrepancy in the next edition, downgrading her results from one "Exceeds Expectations" and ten "Outstanding" grades to nine "Outstandings" and one "Exceeds Expectations".
The change in the Harry Potter books was reported on fan site .com.
A spokeswoman for publishers Bloomsbury said that the error had been spotted last year and quickly fixed.
"In book six it said 11 and book five it said 10," she explained.
"It was corrected immediately."