The Alchemist Apprentice

By Aragon Potter

Chapter 6: The Narrative



"House Elf Speech"

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the Characters the cannon; they strictly belong to JK Rowling. The only Characters I own are the OC's that I create.

Summary: Having had enough of the abuse of his relatives a young Harry Potter decides to leave Privet Drive. Shortly after leaving, Harry meets a strange couple who take him in and introduce him to a whole new world…the world of Magic and Alchemy.

- Daily Prophet (1991) -

Sitting at her desk in the Daily Prophet, one Helen Wells, a young reporter for the Daily Prophet watched as her colleagues were busy preparing their own articles for the next issue of the Daily Prophet. Helen was a light-skinned woman of average height in her early twenties with a slender build, chestnut curled hair, a heart-shaped face, and brown eyes.

For as far back as she could remember Helen had always dreamed of becoming an Investigative Journalist, investigating, discovering the truth and reporting it to the world. Coming from a muggle family, her desire to become a reporter only grew when she received her Hogwarts letter and entered the world of magic. A world where fantasy had come to life, where creatures and beings, that were thought to only exist in myth and legend walked around, hidden from the rest of the world.

After finishing Hogwarts and achieving the necessary N.E.W.T.S. Helen applied for and entered an internship into the Daily Prophet working as an assistant to some of the staff and later as a secretary. Eventually, after three long years of hard work, she achieved her dream of becoming a reporter.

However no sooner had she achieved her lifelong goal, reality reared its ugly head and sucker punched her. Instead of being allowed to investigate, issues that matter, like the disappearance of Harry Potter, the boy who lived or being allowed to interview noted figures such as Newton Scamander, famed Magizoologist and author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She was instead given menial and demeaning assignments that nobody else wanted, or couldn't be bothered to take. Like the rise in sub-standard imported cauldrons or the drunken brawl in the Leaky Cauldron between the Bradform brothers and a group of Leprechauns, after one of the Bradform brothers made a rather crude joke about a Leprechaun and a Hag.

Still, despite the demeaning assignments, Helen had her pride as a reporter and her credit performed her given assignments to the best of her abilities. Hoping that her skills and dedication as a reporter would be noticed, allowing her to be given more meaningful and worthwhile assignments/stories. But despite her efforts, her hard work and dedication to the facts and uncover the truth remained for the most part unnoticed. Even when she went the extra mile, like after doing interviews of the Cuddly Cannon's coach and uncovered that certain referees were taking bribes to look the other way in certain matches, her work remained unnoticed, where her article was pushed to the bottom of page six.

Like her work, Helen was mostly ignored by her colleagues, which was only helped by the fact that her desk was pushed into the corner and out of the view of most people in the room.

As she watched her colleagues work, Helen looked down her own finish article, which was yet again another menial assignment given to her, and like her previous work, would likely go unnoticed for the most part. The article was about Hogwarts latest applicant to the position of Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts, Quirinus Quirrell.

Despite being one of the most prestigious positions in the school, the position of Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts had long been rumoured to be jinxed given how none of its applicants could hold their post for more than one year as each person fell to a strange or bizarre fate or death.

Being the dogged reporter that she was Helen had thoroughly researched the cursed position, and according to her research the suppose jinx position had effected twenty different witches and wizards. Over the years there had been many rumours as to how the curse came to be, some say that position was cursed by the last professor, who held the position for two years before he was forced to resign after he was caught getting a bit too handsy with some of the older female students. Another rumour was that the job had been jinxed when a disgruntled applicant was refused the position, preventing anyone from holding the position long.

Whatever the truth, the cursed position had peeked Helen's interest, especially given the multiple bizarre and tragic deaths and fates that befell each person, who held the position.

- Henry Jacobs: Died in a bizarre spell accident that the authorities said was best left unsolved.

- William Abbott: Died choking on a chicken bone during the school's end of year feast.

- Michelle Fleetwood: Presumed dead after entering the forbidden forest to capture a dark creature for one of her classes, authorities were unable to find her body, despite a large-scale search.

- James Wincott: Died in a tragic apparition accident when he accidentally apparated into his brother's Livingroom wall when visiting him for the summer holiday.

- Jeanine Ridout: Eaten by her pet Runespoor that she had secretly been raising in her home.

- Eric Shrimpton: Arrested and jailed for illegally transporting dark artefacts, which he claimed were for teaching his classes.

- Ellen Bateman: Resigned from the position after developing a rather severe and sudden case of Dragon Pox, after only holding the position for three months.

- Peter Bester: Disappeared from his office without his trace, his whereabouts are still unknown and considered one of Hogwarts greatest mysteries.

- Jennet van der Kvelk: Killed in a death eater attack when visiting her family.

- Andy Sutcliffe: Died while falling off a broomstick over the forbidden forest his body was never recovered.

- Oliver Lorc: Died after being poisoned by his wife, after she discovered that he had been cheating on her with her sisters "and" her brother.

- Philp Zappan: Died after beating himself to death with his own shoes, the reason for doing it is still unknown.

- Cody Pudding: Fired, though the reason for the termination is unknown, rumours say that the staff caught him in the middle of performing a rather "unusual" ritual involving several goats and a pig. He is currently now lives alone in the countryside as a pig farmer, with several goats as well.

- Abraxas Doge: Drop dead during his first class of the year, at age twenty-two cause is still unknown.

- Peter Wax: Killed accidentally during a dual match with a student.

- Rose Sutcliffe: Died after jumping in front of the Hogwarts Express at the train station at the end of the year, her reason for doing so are still unknown.

- Howland Kneen: Disappeared before the end of the year, all that was found was clothes at the lake sure, his body was never recovered; various theories exist as to - his disappearance involving merefolk, the giant squid and other magical marine life in the lake.

- Gregor Cocklip: Allegedly died when he tripped and fell off one of the many moving staircases in Hogwarts.

- Eddard Stacken: Retired due receiving severe burns that covered two-thirds of his body in a freak Flooing accident.

- Robert Cathill: Residing in St. Mungo's long-term residence ward due to drinking incorrectly brewed loved potion by a young female student. Healers are still working on trying to cure him of the potion's effects, which have made him become obsessed with his female student.

After finishing going over the list of former Defence Against the Dark Arts professors, Helen couldn't help but wonder what fate awaited the young professor Quirrell. On paper, the man wasn't although that interesting or impressive. A half-blood with a muggle mother and a wizard father, when he entered Hogwarts at age eleven he was sorted into Ravenclaw. He had been in Hogwarts around the same time as Helen, but she had little to no knowledge on the man, due to her being a Gryffindor. According to some school friends of her, that knew him, Quirinus was gifted, but delicate boy, and was often the target of bullies where he was teased for being timid and had trouble with nerves during his school life. It was because of this that Quirrell tended to excel more in terms of theory than actual practical areas. After finishing his Hogwarts education he had spent a few years as Hogwarts Professor of Muggle Studies before taking a year-long sabbatical in order to "gain first-hand experience." On his return he then applied for the position of Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts, which he attained with little trouble given how he was one of only two people who applied for the position, the other being the current Hogwarts Professor of Potion, Severus Snape.

Helen had also interviewed Quirrell himself at his home in Kent for her article, and in all honesty, the man inspired little confidence. In fact, Helen felt the man would be more suited working in some small unnoticeable office in the Ministry research department, than teaching children. He had stuttered through most of the interview and was constantly looking around his shoulders as if something would jump out of some dark corner to attack him at any moment. At times Helen half expected the man to jump right out of her skin from the way he was acting, and while serving tea, twice he has spilt hot tea on Helen before she finally insisted on doing it herself.

During the interview Quirrell had claimed that during his travels he had saved an African prince for disposing of a zombie, and as compensation received a turban for his trouble. He also claimed to have encountered a group of vampires in the Black Forest, in Albania and had a nasty bit of trouble with a hag. However, when Helen asked for more detail on the stories, like how he dealt with the creatures, the man would deflect and change the subject and talk about other things like the weather and sports. This led Helen to believe that the stories were simply that, stories. The fact that she had yet to find any evidence that backed up Quirrell's claims only strengthen her belief.

Thinking back to that interview, Helen felt an uneasy chill run across her entire body, and remember how relieved she felt when she finally left Quirrell's home when the interview end. For most of the interview, Helen had felt as if something had been watching her from somewhere. At first, she thought it was just Quirrell's nervousness rubbing off on her, but over time the feeling grew stronger, especially when she began pressing about details on his travels last year. It was also at that time that Helen swore she saw something fly by out of the corner of her eye. When she had asked Quirrell about it, the man had claimed he saw nothing, though seemed even more nervous than before.

Even now Helen was convinced that she saw something back there, but couldn't be sure of what it was. All she knew for certain was that Quirrell was hiding something, and she wanted to know what.

However, Helen's musing was soon interrupted by a familiar obnoxious voice, which made the young woman start grinding her teeth.

"Ah, Helen dear, hard a work I see."

"What do you want Skeeter?" Helen growled quietly as she desperately tried to reign in her temper as she looked up at the woman she despised more than anyone else in the world, Rita Skeeter, the so-called Queen of Quills and led reporter for the Daily Prophet.

When she first started her internship with the Daily Prophet, she had been assigned to work as Rita's personal assistant. At first, Helen had thought it would be an amazing opportunity to kick-start her career as a reporter and learn from the best. It, however, didn't take Helen long to learn just how wrong she had been about Skeeters. As soon as she had started working for her, Skeeter had made her into her personally little house-elf, having her carrying her handbag everywhere for her, getting her lunch, making her tea, cleaning her house, doing her grocery shopping and carrying her other shopping. It had been the worse year and a half of her life.

But as bad as it was, what really got to Helen was the way Skeeter did her job. Instead of being the dogged truth seeking reporter that she made people believe she was, Helen instead learned just how much of a self-absorb, arrogant, gossip mongering bitch Rita Skeeter was. Instead of finding out the truth and the facts and presenting them to people, Skeeter spent her time inventing stories, giving out half-truth about people and twisting facts to suit her own narrative and looking for even the smallest bit of dirt that she could use to destroy people's reputation. Rita, in fact, seemed to get a trill at turning people into patriarchs and revelled in the spotlight as the one who "outed" them. She didn't even care what it did to the families of her victims or if her victims were in fact innocent. When Helen confronted her about it, Skeeter simply waved her hand and said it wasn't her problem.

It was because of that, that Helen had such trouble reigning in her temper when she was around Skeeter or when people praised her. While Helen was a journalist to her core, presenting the facts, clearly and objectively and did her research, Skeeter instead took liberties at every turn, twisting her articles to suit her biased narritive. She represented the very worst of journalism and everything Helen hated; she had no morals or integrity whatsoever. All that matter to Rita was creating scandalous or sensational stories for people to read, regardless of whether it was the truth or lies.

"Oh nothing much, I was just curious at how you were doing and was wondering if you reconsidered my offer of working together again?" Skeeter asked innocently while fingering through some of Helen's files on her desk, which the young woman abruptly shut as she slammed her hand down on the files.

"You mean working as you private house-elf again" scoffed Helen, "thanks, but no thanks. You forget Skeeter, I know how you work, and you don't share the spotlight with anyone. You'd have me do all the leg work and once you had enough, you'd twist the facts to suit your own needs and take all the credit. But I won't do that, because unlike you Skeeter I actually have some integrity, and pride as a journalist and don't go around presenting urban gossip as facts. I would sooner go working for the quibbler than work with you ever again. You may call yourself a journalist, and even think you are in, but the truth is, you're nothing more than a gossip mongering hack who spends her time writing fiction over fact and the sooner people realise that the better."

When Helen finished her rant, Rita's eyes narrowed angrily, and for a brief moment, Helen thought Skeeter might actually attack her. However, a sicking sweet smile soon replaced the angry look on Skeeter's face.

"And tell me my how well has this worked out for your career? What award-winning article are you working on this week? "How to get you cauldrons their cleanest?" or "Magilla's one hundred and eight uses for Dragon dung." Your last article the "History of wand crafting" was such a hit with readers that people were actually asking for more copies so that they could read it to their children and put them to sleep" said woman before laughing. "Face it, sweetie, you don't have want it takes to survive here, you're nothing more than a naive little girl with her heads in the cloud about truth and morality. People don't care about the truth, all they want is scandalous stories about celebrities and other people, and that is what I give my readers. The sooner you realize that the sooner you stop writing articles about dragon dung and start doing some real reporting."

Before Helen could respond, Skeeter pushed her elbow against the stake of files and papers on Helen's desk, causing them to fall onto the floor, while also knocking over Helen's inkwell all over her work. "Oops, clumsy me" as she watched Helen drop to the floor trying to gather all her work as it scattered across the floor.

"I leave you to your work Helen dear, we'll talk later."

Looking up, the Helen glared furiously at Skeeter, knowing that she purposely knocked over her work. "That damn bitch" Helen cursed silently, wanting nothing more than to turn the woman into some kind of bug, just so that she stomp on it…repeatedly.

After taking a few deep calming breaths, Helen finally regained her composure and picked up her remaining files and sheets. After which she then took out her wand and waved it around, causing the files and sheet to reorganise themselves. At the same time she cast another quick spell to banish away the ink that had spilt over her article. "Thank god for magic, otherwise I would probably have to rewrite my entire article, which was probably what that bitch Skeeter was hoping for."

Thinking back to that woman, a surge of anger mixed with frustrated filled Helen. "Arrogant cow, all I need is one break, one story that would get people's attention, and I'd show her want a real reporter is like."

As if answering her silent pleas, a small letter addressed to her suddenly flew through the office and landed gently on her desk.

Curious, Helen opened it and began to read

"Mr and Mrs Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel

Request the pleasure of

"Helen Ida Wells"

To dine with them today at 4 o'clock

At The Charming Cuisine

Waterview Dr.

Reservation will be under the names

"John Dastin and Helen Wells"

Please be punctual

And tell no-one."

After finishing the reading the letter, Helen's first thoughts were to throw the letter in the nearest bin, believing it to be some kind of practical joke by Skeeter or one of her colleagues, meant to humiliate her. However, that seemed unlikely given how Skeeter wouldn't bother with something so childish if she wanted to humiliate her she would make up some story about her and post it on the paper. As for her colleagues, most of the other reporters at the Prophet didn't past much notice on Helen and ignored her most of the time.

Another possibility was this was some kind of fraud or crazy person, hoping to get some attention, and pretending to be Nicolas Flamel and his wife. But that made even less sense if they wanted some attention, why write to her, a low-level reporter, whom most people would ignore. If they wanted attention it would make more sense to write to someone like Rita, whose articles were generally on the front page.

On upon closer explanation of the letter, Helen also noticed the watermark image of the Flamel cross on the paper, the personal symbol of Nicolas Flamel, on the paper. If this was some kind of fraud or crazy person, they had certainly gone to a lot of trouble to make her believe that they were Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel.

The fact that they wanted to meet at The Charming Cuisine, (magical Britain most expensive and exclusive restaurant), certainly proved that.

The restaurant was well-known to carter to only the most elite of magical Britain, primarily; pureblood families like the Malfoys and high ranking Ministry officials, like the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge. Skeeter would often brag at how she would occasionally visit the place herself from time to time. Helen, however, was fairly certain she was lying about that since she couldn't see Rita being allowed even three feet inside the restaurant, especially when considering the clientele they catered to and how nosy Rita could be.

The more Helen read the letter the more curious it made her. If this was really some kind of bad joke or a fraud who wanted a moment in the sun, pretending to be the Flamels, why go under an alias; why not book under their real name, especially when they claimed to be the Flamels in the invitation. Furthermore why even bother the Flamels, sure Nicolas Flamels was a famed and renowned Alchemist, especially in his home country in France, but outside it, most regular wizarding folks wouldn't have heard of the man, given how he kept out of the public eye. If this really was a joke at her expense, there were a lot better and more notable people to pick from, like Albus Dumbledore, or Gilderoy Lockhart.

Still, even if most people hadn't heard of him, Nicolas Flamel was still a notable figure in the magical world and certain circles. Many reporters had tried to get an interview with him and his wife over the years, but none could get one with either and became well-known recluses. In fact, the last recorded picture of Nicolas Flamel was taken over two hundred years ago in a Paris opera. If this was legit, and if she could get an interview, it would be the break she had been looking for and finally give her the jumpstart her career needed.

Deciding to take a chance on the invitation, Helen looked at the o'clock, she saw it was 1:30, "Good that just about gives me the time I need," after which she then headed for the prophet's records.

-15:50 The Charming Cuisine -

After apparating just outside the restaurant, Helen quickly looked around, to make sure no muggles were looking before entering. At first glance from the outside, The Charming Cuisine looked like just an old rundown café. However, this was simply a glamour placed over the restaurant to deter any muggles from entering. When she entered, Helen found herself inside a large well furbished aristocratic style dining hall, with several large golden chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The hall was filled with numerous tables of various different sizes with comfortable looking chairs around them. Each table was perfectly set with not so much as a napkin out of place. There were already a number of well-dressed groups of people seated at different tables around the hall, (some of whom Helen recognised), and were being served by several well-dressed house-elves, who levitated their orders over to them. Having come from a middle-class muggle family, Helen couldn't help but feel out of place and somewhat nervous standing in the restaurant, where the elite of magical society ate. The young reporter was certain that the starting meal alone would cost about half her yearly salary.

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all" Helen thought to herself before she heard someone speak from behind her, "May I help you, Miss?"

Having been so caught up in looking around the dining hall, Helen failed to notice someone coming up behind her, causing the young blonde woman to almost jump out of her skin in surprise.

Turning around to the voice, Helen found a middle-aged man with slick black hair, dressed in fine dress robes, staring at her. Judging by the way he was dressed, Helen correctly assumed that this was banquet manager. However if not for the way he was dressed, she would also have assumed that he was someone sort of military officer, given how perfectly straight his posture and pristine his appearance was, with not a single hair out of place. This thought was only strengthened by the emotionless look he was giving her, which un-nerved Hellen somewhat.

"A-ah, y-yes, I am here to meet someone," replied Helen a little nervously.

Arching one of his eyebrows, the man then asked: "Do they have a reservation?"

"Yes" answered Helen stiffly, regaining her composure, as she felt somewhat insulted by the way the man was looking at her and her state of dress, which told her that he did not believe she belonged here. Although this was somewhat true, Helen still felt a little insulted by it, as she had been the receiving end of similar such looks before from the likes of Skeeter and some of her other work colleagues. She had also received looks like that from other students in her Hogwarts days, mainly from those from pureblood families in house Slytherin, who thought they were better than her, due to her Muggle-born status.

"Name?" asked banquet manager, using his wand to summon the reservation book.

"John Dastin and Helen Wells"

After giving the names, Helen felt a tightest in her stomach as watched the manager slowly scan the book for the names Helen, half expecting the manager to snap the book shut and tell her that there was so such reservation and to get out before he threw her out. But, to her relief and delight, she saw the manager raise his left eyebrow again in surprise, which was the only indication of his surprise when he found the names and what the reservation noted.

Closing the book shut and sending it back to where it belonged; the banquet manager looked back at Helen and bowed slightly. "My apologies Miss Wells, if you would be so kind, please follow me and I will lead you to your room."

"Room?" repeated a surprised Helen, as she had expected one of the tables in the dining hall, or at most, a private booth.

"Yes," said banquet manager, who without any warning began walking past the main dining hall and down a more secluded and equally elegant hallway, while continuing with his explanation as Helen trailed behind, trying to keep up with him. "Mr Dastin was quite insisted on the matter, and reserved one of our private dining rooms, which we hold for only are most exclusive patrons…and special guests, who wish to dine in private. You will be catered by a specifically chosen house-elf by Mr Dastin and will have complete privacy for the duration of the dinner."

Before Helen could respond to any of this, the manager stopped at a door, which had the number seven on it. When he opened it, he signalled for Helen to enter, which she did, though to her surprise found no-one inside.

The room was large, far larger than what would be needed or expected for two people to dine in, in fact, it could easily hold over twenty people with room to spare. The room, like much of the restaurant, was decorated in a Victorian style, with bright purple wallpaper and several lanterns hanging on the wall, lighting the room, along with a large open marble fireplace, which had an opening fire burning in it. There were several paintings on the wall, but surprisingly they were not wizarding ones and were instead muggle ones, as they did not move. Helen though suspected that this was probably because of the privacy issue, as wizarding paints often tended to talk to one another, and the muggle paintings were simply for the décor. There were several comfortable chairs and couches surrounding the room, with matching seat covers and a large crystal chandler that supplied most of the light in the room, thanks to the magical crystals it was made out of. The floor was wooden and well varnished with a dark blue carpet that covered most of the room's floor. In the centre of the room, directly underneath the chandler, was the dining table, which seemed out of place for a room of this size, given how it was only big enough to hold two people.

As if reading her thoughts about the vacant room, the manager stated, "Mr Dastin, mentioned that he would be a bit late, but said you're to make yourself at comfortable. Also, I should mention that Mr Dastin has requested the privacy package for this room, meaning that once the door is closed, it cannot be opened from the outside. The room is also warded to prevent anyone from entering or listening in, only the designated House-elf can enter. Should you need anything else please call Tissy, as he will be the elf assigned to your room. Please enjoy yourself, Miss Wells." After which he closed the door, leaving Helen alone in the room.

After several long moments that seemed to last hours, Helen made her way to the dining table and sat down on the seat closest to her.

No sooner had she done this, a small house-elf, (wearing a simple purple cloth with the restaurant's initials on it), appeared on her right-hand side, startling the young woman momentarily.

"Tissy was asked to give miss this as soon as she arrived" stated the elf politely, handing the reporter a small envelope and then disappearing before she could even ask the elf anything.

Opening the envelope, Helen unfolded the letter, which read,

"Dear Miss Wells

Please touch the Candleholder

at exactly Four o'clock


Nicolas Flamel"

As soon as she read this, the grandfather-like clock in the corner of the room began chiming, indicating that it was four o'clock.

Under most circumstances, Helen might have hesitated in grabbing onto the stick, given the mysterious nature of this meeting. But due to the short amount of time she had to think on it, her curiosity and investigative drive got the better of her and she grabbed hold of the stick, just as the fourth and final chime was rung. Helen then felt the familiar tug of a Portkey activating. The next thing she knew she felt herself crashing onto a hard blue carpeted floor and began to groan loudly.

While trying to make sense of the now spinning world, Helen slowly picked herself up and heard an unfamiliar voice say "Well it seems you were right, Nicolas, she did accept your invitation."

"I suspected she would" replied another other voice.

Once the world had finally settled Helen turned to the direction of the voices and found an elderly looking couple standing behind her.

"Nicolas's Flamel I presume?" asked Helen. Although this was her first time meeting them, Helen recognised Nicolas from an old photo she had dug up from the Prophet's archives right before he left for the restaurant.

"Indeed, I am my dear, it a pleasure to finally meet you Miss Wells" replied Nicolas, smiling in a kindly manner as he offered his hand, which Helen took and shook.

"Then you must be Mrs Perenelle Flamel?" stated Helen as she turned to Perenelle and offered her hand.

Taking the hand and shaking it, Perenelle nodded and politely replied, "I am, it's very nice to meet you miss Wells." However, despite the politeness of the comment, Helen could tell that the woman was a lot more guarded than her husband, which was made even more apparent by the stern look she was giving her. One that eerily reminded her of the look she would sometimes get from her old Transfiguration teacher, Minerva McGonagall, making Helen feel like she was back at Hogwarts again.

Sensing how his wife was making their guest feel a little uncomfortable, Nicolas decided to intercede. "Thank for accepting our invitation, Miss Wells I know it was rather sudden."

After letting go of Perenelle's hand, Helen turned to the elderly man, grateful for the change of subject. "It was my pleasure, but if you don't mind me asking, where exactly am I?"

Finally taking in her new surroundings, Helen found herself standing in a large sitting room. The room had white walls with flower-like designs, a blue carpet floor with several cushioned chairs surrounding a large coffee table in the centre of the room with a chandler hanging directly above. Directly behind the Flamels, there was a large elegant wooden fireplace, though no fire was burning, to her left was a large window that looked out to a wide open garden, with a forest in the distance. To her right, there was a drinking cabinet with several bottles of expensive drinks sitting on top of the cabinet with some glasses, and directly behind her were two large double doors that let out of the room.

"You're currently in one of our private residences in France" answered Nicolas.

"France?!" repeated Helen in surprise, although it was obvious that she was no longer in the Charming Cuisine, she had not expected that she had been Portkeyed out of the country.

"Yes, and I do apologise for the deception regarding sending you to Charming Cuisine, but it was an unfortunate necessity, as we needed to ensure that no-one knew that you met with us."

"And why is that?" inquired Helen. "You'll both excuse me, but why did you invite me to meet you and why the secrecy?" However before Nicolas could explain, Penerelle cut in by suggesting that they take a seat before answering Helen's questions.

Seeing the wisdom in his wife's suggestion, Nicolas offered one of the seats around the coffee table, which Helen took and was then followed by Nicolas and Penerelle, who each sat in their own seat.

Once everyone was seated, Nicolas began explaining. "To answer your first question, Miss Wells, the reason we have asked you here is that we wish to do an interview with you, though I hazard to guess that you suspected as much already."

Helen did not answer right away at first as she did not trust herself enough to keep her excitement in check, as this was exactly what she had been hoping for. Once she had successfully calmed herself down, Helen calmly asked. "Not that am not flattered that you want to give me an exclusive interview, but why exactly do you want "me" to do your interview and why now? The both of you have spent the last couple hundred years avoiding the public eye, the last recorded picture of you both was in 1762 in a Paris Opera house on the 25th of November during a performance of Hamlet, and why all the secrecy?"

"Actually that night at the Opera that photo was taken, I was by myself, Perenelle does not enjoy the opera as much as I do, and it was actually on the 27th. A common mistake given how the performance was supposed to be on the 25th but was delayed until the 27th as one of the cast had fallen ill. Also, the performance was of Tristan und Isolde, not Hamlet, though I suspect you already knew that?" replied Nicolas with a knowing smile, which Helen returned and nodded.

"Well, I'm sure you can understand, I had to be sure, that you were indeed the real Nicolas Flamel and not some fake. Before I arrived at the Charming Cuisine, I made sure to do my homework on you. However, if I am being honest, given the extent you went to hide this meeting, I was already suspecting that you were indeed who you are since not many people would go to the trouble you did if they were who they say they were."

At hearing this, a small impressed smirked formed on Penerelle lips, as she was starting to like the young reporter, despite her initial thoughts.

"And that is precisely why I choose you to do this interview" Nicolas replied with a smile. "I have been monitoring your work for several months now, both your notable articles and your less well-known. From what I have read and seen, like your article on the Quidditch referee corruption in Britain, you're the best candidate we could ask for. You're hard working, you're morally convicted, you do your research, quite thoroughly I might add, you present the facts and do not try influence readers to suit your own narrative, unlike some of your less reputable colleagues." At this point, Nicolas made a slight frown, which told Helen all she needed to know who he was referring to, (coughcough,Skeeter,coughcough). "And that is exactly what my wife and I want; a person's who reputation and work cannot be questioned, even if your employers do not value it. Perenelle and I want someone who will, as you young people of today like to say, give us a fair shot, to tell our story, without fear of having our words turned against us"

Being unused to such I praise, Helen blushed slightly, before clearing her throat and asking. "Ahem, Thank you, but that still doesn't explain all the secrecy. I understand that you enjoy your privacy, but the extent to which you went just to get me to do an interview with you, seems rather extreme, not to be rude."

"Yes, I can understand how our security measure may seem excessive, but I can assure you it was necessary, which you will see, shortly" answered Nicolas, who was then handed a cup of tea, by his wife, who then offered one to Helen, who politely took and thanked the elderly woman. After which Perenelle left the room through the large double doors, but returned shortly with a young boy.

The boy seemed to be between nine or ten, and was about the typical size for his age, though was a tad more skinny than most, but seemed to be well nourished as he had a healthy glow about him. He wore oval-shaped glasses, his skin was slightly tanned, indicating that he was outside a lot and had unruly jet-black hair that covered much of his forehead and was a tad bit longer than most boys his age would have it and wore it in a loose-fitting ponytail that fell down below his shoulders. But the most striking thing about him was his vivid emerald green eyes, which were highlighted by his black hair.

Before Perenelle could introduce the boy to her, Helen let out a loud gasp and dropped the teacup she had been holding onto the floor, causing its contents to spill all over the floor. Although it had been several years, and he was taller and looked healthy than he did, she could still recognise him from the photo's she had seen of him in the prophet headlines. "Harry Potter!"

Turning to Nicolas, Helen had only one word, "H-H-How?"

Nicolas, however, did not answer and instead calming leaned over and added a spoon full of sugar to his tea before stirring it. He then leaned over again to take a small biscuit and took a large bite out of it, while Harry and Perenelle walked over to the small couch facing directly opposite Helen. When he had finished eating his biscuit he then looked at Helen and replied simply. "That my dear is a long, yet very interesting story."

For the next hour, Helen listened intently as the two Flamels told them of their story of how they met Harry and how they eventually came to the decision of adopting him as their grandson. Although every so often Helen would glace at the young boy who the Flamels claimed was the missing Boy-Who-Lived. Despite her initial reaction when she first saw him, Helen remained sceptical, as this was not the first time someone who had come forward claiming they had found Harry Potter.

A few months after it had been revealed that Harry Potter had gone missing, several different people had come forth stating they had found the hero of magical Britain. However each time one of these Harry Potter's appeared, they were quickly revealed to be frauds, young boys who were made to look like Harry Potter. And each time the fakes were revealed, the people responsible were then either sent to Azkaban for several months for attempted fraud or were ostracized by the Daily Prophet to the point where some had to leave the country. Not that Helen felt any sympathy for them given how they tried to take advantage of the disappearance of a young boy, and used their own children, for their own selfish desires to have a moment in the spotlight and be hailed as heroes.

Still, she had to admit if this was another fake, it was the most convincing one she had seen yet given, he even had the exact same shade of emerald green eyes that he was said to have had inherited from his mother Lily Potter, according to those that knew the Potters personally.

When Harry, saw her glancing at him, he looked away and edge slightly closer to Perenelle.

Seeing this, Helen quickly looked away, as it was obvious that the boy did not like being stared at by strangers.

When Nicolas had finished telling their story, he could see that the young woman was in deep thought.

"You don't believe us do you, Miss Wells?"

Looking back at the elderly man, Helen replied. "Well, you have to admit it's a pretty fantastic story to believe. That out of all the people in Britain, the two of you happen to find the Boy-Who-Lived after he picked your pocket and before anyone even knew he was even missing. Then you decided to take him away to France and adopt him as your grandson."

"I can assure you, every word of it is true" stated Nicolas. "And what reason would we have to lie about Harry's identity."

This was, of course, a point that Helen could not argue with, as, unlike the other people who tried to pass of their own sons as the missing Boy-Who-Lived. The Flamels had very little if nothing to gain, they were already famous in their own right and had even gone to the trouble of staying out of the spotlight for the past few hundred years. And thanks to the philosopher's stone, they had near limitless wealth and could pretty much live forever, what more could anyone want.

"If Harry here, really is Harry Potter, regardless of your good intention, many people would consider what you did as kidnapping" argued Helen, this, however, was the wrong thing to say, for as soon as she said this a furious Harry stood up and shouted. "They didn't kidnap me…they saved me!"

This course caught everyone in the room off-guard since until now Harry had hardly spoken a word and remain quiet for much of the time.

"I am Harry Potter; if you don't believe my grandparents, then look at this!" Harry the lift up his hair to reveal his lightning bolt scar, which any person in the magical world would know instantly. "My grandparents have done nothing wrong! They were the only ones who ever gave a damn about me and did something about. They took me in and gave me a home and loved me like I really was their grandson, which is more than the Dursley ever did for me. The rest of you didn't even know what they were doing to until after I ran away, you didn't care, and it was because of you people that I was put there in the first place!"

Placing her hands around the fuming young boy, Perenelle gently led Harry back down to the couch telling him that it was all right in an attempt to calm him down. However, Harry continued to stare angrily at Helen, who just stared at his forehead, where she had just seen Harry's scar.

"It certainly looked like the scar where You-Know-Who, struck him, and it doesn't look fresh or anything, but still, I need to be sure. There have been people placing fake scars on kids hoping to trick people into believing they found Harry Potter."

Turning to the Flamels, Helen then asked. "If you wish for me to believe that, Harry here really is who he says he is, then I would like to ask him some questions…alone."

Upon hearing the request, both Flamels glanced at another momentarily before nodding their heads in agreement.

As they stood up, Perenelle, placed her hand on Harry's shoulder and told him that they would be just outside the door, both as reassurance to Harry and a warning to Helen, which was made all the more apparent by the way she looked at her.

When the two had left, Helen took out her magical note from her pocket. Although the book was small in size, it was enchanted where she could hold, hundreds of pages worth of notes and information and would constantly create new pages when she needed them, and when she was finished the notebook would close up to its original size.

After a bit of searching, Helen found the notes she had made when she first began her investigation into Harry Potter's disappearance. During her investigating she made several interviews with the neighbours of Harry's relatives and some of the teachers in the muggle schools he and his cousin attended. The interviews proved little to no use in her investigation on where the Boy-Who-Lived had disappeared to, but they had proven useful on what his life was like, which made for an interesting article and was probably the only article that people really paid attention to. Some of what she had uncovered was even used in the trial against the Dursleys.

Looking back up at the boy, she could easily see that he wasn't entirely comfortable, with being alone with her given the guarded look he had and how rigid he was seated.

"If he really is Harry Potter, I can't say I really blame him for being uncomfortable around strangers, especially given what he went through when he was younger," Helen thought to herself before she began questioning him.

Helen went through the notes, asking various different questions, that only the real Harry Potter would know, such as the identity of his neighbours, what houses they lived, the name of his muggle teacher and the names of his cousins' friends the number of cats his neighbour Mrs Figgs had. She even tried to catch him off-guard with a few trick questions, asking for the name of his Uncle's sister pet cat and the names of his friends in school.

However Harry answered each of them correctly, and after twenty minutes of questioning, and exhausting all her notes, Helen was left with only one conclusion, Harry really was the Boy-Who-Lived.

Closing her notebook, Helen called the Flamels back in, who were no doubt listening from behind the double doors.

"I trust you are satisfied that Harry is who we say he is, Ms Wells?" spoke Nicolas as he and his wife re-entered the room and took their seats, next to Harry back.

"Yes, I am" replied Helen. "But I still haven't gotten a proper answer, to my early questions, like why did you not return Harry to the British Ministry of Magic when you found him and why are you returning him to Britain?"

"To answer your first question, Ms Wells, the first reason why we didn't reveal that we found Harry is because we were concerned for his mental and emotional state" answered Perenelle, who once again placed arms around her adopted grandson. "Harry, as you know, was neglected and was physically and emotionally abused for most of his life, by those who were supposed to care for him. It was because of that he developed a distrust of other people and even believed that he deserved to be punished, and it took a long time for Harry to trust us and convince him that there was nothing wrong with him."

"But what does that have to do with not telling anyone that he found him?" asked Helen, not understanding what Perenelle was getting at.

It was at this point that Nicolas then spoke up. "You are a muggle-born, correct Ms Well?"

"I am what of it?"

"Tell me, how did you feel, where you first entered the magical world, were you overwhelmed by it all, did you feel confused or unnerved by everything you saw, maybe even frighten perhaps?"

"I suppose…somewhat" answered Helen, as she remembered when she and her parents were first brought to Diagon alley by a Ministry official to get her first wand and school equipment. A flurry of emotions had run through her, when the walls to Diagon Alley first opened up to her, she remembered the awe and excitement she felt when saw all the different stores and people she saw. She also remembered how the looks of the goblins at the bank frightened her and how nervous she felt when the wand maker Ollivander went through a dozen different wands before finding the right one for her, more than once she had felt that he would never find a wand for her. She also remembered how nervous and frightened she felt when she was being sorted in Hogwarts, with everyone staring at her, she had almost run away when she had heard her name being called.

"Now imagine that for Harry, who was barely even seven at the time, and like you never knew anything of the magical world and had spent most of his life being abused and mistreated, causing him to be mistrustful of others…. Then add the fact that he is famous in the magical world, with every man woman and child, knowing his name, for something he himself would know nothing about, where he would have people making decisions on his behalf without any say and be put in the care of perfect strangers, who would know hardly anything about him….It would be too much any child, let alone a boy who until recently was being abused on a daily bases."

Seeing Nicolas's point, Helen nodded, "I see your point, however, that still does not explain why you didn't contact the Ministry later, or even Professor Dumbledore, who was Harry's magical guardian at the time and whom I am aware is a close friend of yours."

At this question, Perenelle answered, "The reason is that neither Nicolas nor I trusted your Ministry or Albus with Harry's care and wellbeing."

When Helen turned to her with a puzzled look, Perenelle explained. "When we had found Harry it had already been several months since he had run away and yet nobody had even noticed he was gone. In fact, it was only after we found him that it was discovered that he was missing. Furthermore when we learned of the way in which Albus had left Harry at his so-called relations, knowing their dislike of wizard-kind, and how neither he nor your Ministry even bothered to check up on him. Nicolas and I then decided that we would take Harry into our care."

However, when Perenelle finished, Helen frowned and crossed her arms, indicating her dissatisfaction with the explanation. "Although I may agree somewhat with your reasoning for mistrusting the Ministry that is still not a good enough reason to justify your actions, noble as they may have been. Surely you realised later, given the public scrutiny they went through after it was learned that Harry was being abused by his relatives, that Ministry would have done everything in their power to ensure that Harry was placed in a safe home."

"I am afraid that was exactly the other reason why neither Perenelle nor I trusted your Ministry" replied Nicolas.

Puzzled by this answer, Helen asked the elderly man to explain.

"Both your standards and our standards of a safe home for Harry would be very different from the Ministry. Although I am sure that the Ministry would do everything they could to ensure that Harry was placed in a better home, and remove the blemish that Harry's disappearance left on them, and be hailed as heroes. They would simply put Harry with a family that they believe would best care for Harry."

"So you're saying you don't trust their judgement when picking a new home for Harry?"

"What I am saying Ms Wells, is that there are people in within the Ministry, with influence, that would dearly love to have Harry place under their care or in the care of people they have ties with, and influence him to do things for them."

"People like who?" asked Helen curiously, as she could almost tell that this story was connected to an even bigger story.

"You're an intelligent woman, surely you aware that not all of the Dark Lord's followers were arrested? And that some of them were able to lie or bribe their way out of prison, as it would not be the first time people have used their wealth or influence to escape punishment for their crimes."

"It's suspected, but you're saying that some of them work within the Ministry?"

"Some, but others I suspect simply have influence within it, people who outwardly seem to be upstanding people, but privately hold true to the beliefs of the Dark Lord."

At the mention of such people, Helen a small list of influential people formed in her mind, all of whom were from pureblood families, and who were accused, but later acquitted by the Ministry, for being followers of You-Know-Who. Families like the Yaxleys, Carrows Notts, Crabbes, Goyles, Averys and the Malfoys to name a few. Although they presented themselves as generous and respected families, they supported many laws and policies that strengthen pureblood agendas and blocked or restricted many policies that would have supported and help muggle-born people, like herself.

Running the names through her head, Helen could easily see any one of these families using the influence and money to gain custody of Harry, or at the very least influence who he went to. However, one name stood out above all the rest…. Lucius Malfoy. Not only was he from one of the oldest and wealthiest pureblood families in Great Britain. He was also probably the most influential, thanks to his close a personal "friendship" with the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, and the recent fall in Dumbledore's popularity, had only strength Malfoy's power base.

Despite having never actually met the man in person, his reputation, however, had spread. Lucius Malfoy was the poster child of a pure-blooded elitist, and a bigot to boot. Although he never said anything to suggest it, (he was too smart for that), but if one were to read between the lines on any comments he made regarding muggle-borns, or the policies and bills he supported, one could see it. Helen had also heard rumours from some of her colleagues in the paper, that Malfoy had dirt on almost half the Ministry and other wizarding families, which would explain his immense influence. It was also rumoured that he had hands in less reputable businesses to help maintain his luxurious lifestyle and fund his political manoeuvring.

If anyone could gain custody of Harry, it would be him. Even Dumbledore would be powerless to prevent this, given his fall from grace, especially given his involvement with Harry's care and wellbeing, if he tried to prevent it, it would only strengthen Malfoy's cases to have Harry.

"I see your point," murmured Helen as she imagined how Malfoy or some other pureblood family turning Harry into his own personal little puppet to support their bigotry agendas.

"But if you distrust the Ministry and Professor Dumbledore so much, why are you even revealing that you have Harry, especially when you have kept the fact hidden for so long without anyone discovering it?" asked Helen, however instead of Perenelle or Nicolas, Harry answered her question this time.

"Because I have to go to Hogwarts."

"Have to….?" repeated Helen, not fully understanding the young boy's answer.

In response Nicolas gave a more in-depth explanation, "Being a Muggle-born, Miss Wells, you're probably unaware that in Britain the children of purebloods and old magical families are automatically registered into Hogwarts. It's almost like a magical contract, where the child is required to attend at least one year in the school, after that if they still wish to attend another school, they can, but it rarely happens. It's a way of maintaining a steady stream of students, and at the same time keep notable magical families in Britain."

"I see…" remarked Helen, as she had been unaware of that little fact. "But still that doesn't exactly put you in a good light. As it just proves that if it were not for Harry's name being registered on the Hogwarts attendance list, you would have continued to keep him hidden."

"I am aware of that," Nicolas answered. "That is again why we're asking you to this interview, to tell our side of the story before people start coming up with their own conclusions. In addition, should you agree to do this interview we would also like you to hold off from handing it to your editor until the 1st of September….."

"The day that Hogwarts student would board the Hogwarts Express to attend Hogwarts," finished Helen. "I'm assuming that you want this to reduce the chances of "certain" people twisting the story to suit their own agenda since once people see how healthy a well Harry is, they're more likely to believe your story. But if the story comes out too soon, it would give the Ministry or those people you mentioned earlier, time to twist your story against you and possible dig dirt on you both that would allow them to take Harry away from you."

When Helen finished, Nicolas gave a small smile and nodded, telling her that she was correct.

"Okay, but if this registering list really does exist, won't Professor Dumbledore and the Ministry be aware of it, and be on the lookout for Harry on the Hogwarts Express?"

"No doubt they will" answered Perenelle. "However we have already made perpetrations for this event, and the Ministry won't announce their belief that Harry will attend Hogwarts, for fear of further public embarrassment on the chance they Harry fails to come."

"What sort of perpetrations?"

"That my dear we cannot say, however, we can say that they will ensure that Harry's identity is not revealed until it's time to do so."

Despite not being happy with the answer, Helen accepted, knowing that it was the best she was ever going to get. "Fine, I'll do the interview, but I have some of my own conditions, and if they aren't met, then you can look for another reporter."

"And these conditions would be…?" Perenelle asked, raising her left eyebrow slightly. "First, when I do the interview, I want you to swear under an unbreakable vow, that you will tell me the truth." At the mention of an unbreakable vow, both Perenelle and Nicolas frowned, knowing how serious such a vow was, Harry, however, seemed a little puzzled, but before he could ask about it, Helen continued on.

"Secondly, when I have written the article, you will not make or even try to make me make any changes to it, so to put you in a better light. I will report the fact to how I see them and then present them in my article fairly, where people can then make up their own minds. Finally, I want the exclusive to any other interviews that the three of you may make in the future."

When Helen finished listing off her condition, the two Flamels glanced at one another for a few moments, as if they were having a silent conversation. Helene knew she risking a lot by placing these conditions, as the Flamels could easily turn around back out on the interview, wipe her memory and go to another reporter, who would be more willing to do what they want. But she had her pride as a reporter; she was risking her reputation, by doing this article and possibly even jail time if she agreed. If she was going to do this, it would be on her terms, she wasn't some spin-doctor that would spin the truth to suit other people's narrative, she would report the truth and present it fair and objectively. She also knew that by asking for exclusive rights to future interviews was being selfish, but once this story broke, people would demand more details, and if she had exclusive rights to any and all future interviews with Harry and the Flamels, it would only further secure her position and career in the prophet.

After staring at one another for several moments, Nicolas and Perenelle then turned to look at Helen, where Nicolas then spoke. "We will agree to your first condition, Miss Wells and will swear under an unbreakable vow to answer any and all your questions truthfully. However, if we believe that any of these questions, may place Harry's safety in jeopardy, or open our family up to attacks, we will, of course, refuse to answer, regardless of how it may look. We'll also agree to not to interfere with, in addition, we would like you also to swear under the same vow that should we entrust you with any personal information, which may be of a sensitive nature, not be reported or tell anyone until you have our permission."

At this point, Perenelle then added her own condition. "We also cannot promise to you sole exclusivity to us or Harry, however, we will promise that should we do any other interviews or other events of the sort, you will be our first choice. Also, we will even agree to give you tips on other stories and events that may interest you in the future."

Upon hearing the Flamels counter offer, Helen mulled it over in her head for several minutes. Although it wasn't exactly what she wanted, at the same time it wasn't unreasonable. The Flamels had agreed to the vow and to answer all her questions truthfully, however, the conditions they made, did place some limitations, especially the part about needing their permission to report some of those questions. Still, they did agree not to interfere or influence her when written the article, meaning she could write it how she saw fit, and although they refused to give her sole exclusive rights to interviews with them. They had agreed to give her first chance when they do any other interviews and tips on other stories in the future, which was a very tempting offer since given their many years, they would have quite a lot to tell. After carefully analysing the pros and cons of the deal, Helen decided to accept the offer.

Once she agreed, both Flamels then preformed oath, with Nicolas casting the spell for Perenelle and Helen as they swore the oath, when it was done, Perenelle then did the same for Nicolas.

After the oaths were done, Nicolas then sat back down on the couch, smiling pleasantly again at Helen, and said: "So then what would you like to ask us first…"

-Several Days Later: Gringotts Wizarding Bank-

"Well Mr Flamel, I hope you had no problems with your business?" asked Goblin Bank Manager Ragbert as sat opposite Nicolas from his desk in his private office.

"No, Thank you, I was able to do everything that I had planned, it was very kind of you to set up a private laboratory for me and supply me with the needed materials. I do hope that the payment was to your satisfaction?"

"Indeed it was" the goblin politely replied and nodded. To any other person, seeing a goblin act so polite and respectful to a wizard would have seemed strange, given how goblins generally acted very short and cold towards most wizard-folk, especially when they were doing business, and wouldn't even try to bother with the niceties.

This, however, was not unusual for Nicolas, as he generally had a good relationship with the goblin banks, though this was not because of his polite personality or views of treating every person and magical being with respect and as equals. The reason was in fact far more materialist; goblins put a great importance on gold, silver and craftsmanship, and the fact that he created a magical object that could create an unlimited amount of gold and silver, was the pinnacle of achievement in goblin society and placed him on a high pedestal in goblins society.

In addition to their respect, the philosopher stone also gave him a potent edge over the goblins, which made them more than a little nervous, and why they would avoid insulting him. Given the ability of the stone Nicolas had the power to completely destabilize the magical economy, (which the Goblins controled to a large extent and their society was focused around), by flooding it with gold and silver, devaluing the Galleon and the Sickle, while also reducing the value of goblin craftsmanship, since they minted magical currency.

"If there is ever anything else that Gringotts bank can do to help, such as perhaps moving the stone to one of our more high-security vaults….we would be more than happy to accommodate you?"

Nicolas smiled politely at this suggestion, having expected the offer. This wasn't the first time that Ragbert had suggested moving the stone to one of their higher level vaults, but it wasn't out of concern for the stone's safety, but for profit. Moving the stone to a higher level vault would mean an increase in the vault fees, which was no doubt what Ragbert was thinking as well.

Although the money didn't bother Nicolas, he shook his head and politely declined the offer; he just didn't see the point in placing the stone in a higher level vault, since the stone was already secure in the vault it was in.

With their business completed, Nicolas lifted himself up from his seat and grabbed his suitcase that had been sitting against his chair. The case had been magically expanded so that it could contain large quantities of vials of the exile of life, along with a sizable amount of gold and silver, which would allow him and his family to live comfortably for several more years.

Under normal circumstances, Nicolas wouldn't have bothered to make so much of it, but given the recent incident involving Blackwood in Ireland and the fact that Harry would be attending Hogwarts this year. Both Flamels felt that it would be best that they have an ample supply should more unforeseen events happen where they would have need of it

Just as he was about to leave the office, Nicolas suddenly stopped and turned to look back at the Goblin head manager. "Oh, before I forget, tell me, how that poor fellow…Brognuk, was it? Terrible thing that happened to him, I couldn't believe it happened right above me."

At the mention of Brognuk, Ragbert body stiffened slightly before he cleared his throat in an uncomfortable manner. "Ahem, eh yes…terrible indeed, but such things happen when dealing with dark magical objects. Sadly while investigating a suspicious mirror in one of our vaults, Mr Brognuk inadvertently caused it to explode."

This was, of course, a lie; the truth of the matter was in fact that Brognuk had been spying on Nicolas while he was making the gold and silver. Nicolas had detected the goblin, through one of many detection spells he randomly cast in the lab, to make sure no-one was spying on him. Although stealing was a high crime in Goblin society, spying and learning others secrets was not, and was in many ways encouraged, as it was a sign of cunning and resourcefulness, something that was valued in their society.

Nicolas suspected that the young Goblin had probably hoped that by watching him use the stone to turn the metals he had brought into gold and silver, he could replicate the processes. Although it would be impossible to do so without the stone itself, Nicolas would not have put it past the young goblin, (or any other goblin for that matter), to "borrow" the stone for a while to try it themselves. Technically it wouldn't be stealing, so long as they return the stone to the vault.

After discovering that the goblin had been watching him through a magical mirror, Nicolas discreetly cast a spell that caused a feedback on the mirror, causing the mirror that Brognuk had been watching from to exploded, showering him tiny pieces of glass and covering him in several nasty burns.

"Well, I hope he makes a full recovery, it is my experience that magically mirrors can be tricky things, one minute you could be talking "or" watching someone, and the next thing… boom!" replied the old Alchemist with a knowing smile. Although he wasn't certain that Ragbert had known advance what Brognuk had been doing, he was certain the Goblin head manager knew now. After dealing with Brognuk and his mirror, Nicolas had considered confronting the Goblins about it but decided that it wasn't worth embarrassing Goblins, or the spoiling his relationship with Gringotts. What happened would no doubt prove to be an ample enough warning to any other Goblins who would consider spying on him. The fact that he let on that he knew what Brognuk was really doing, would only further his warning to the Goblins.

Getting the subtle hint warning, Ragbert shifted uncomfortable, before clearing his throat and nodding and replying, "Indeed."

After bidding good-day to the Goblin head manager, Nicolas left his office, where he was met by another Goblin, who was waiting by the door to escort him out. Wizard folk were not permitted to walk around the Goblin executives' floor without an escort.

Just as they arrived at the main lobby, Nicolas heard a familiar voice call out his name. Turning to the direction of the voice, Nicolas was surprised, (though masked it well), to find his old friend and former Apprentice/Alchemist partner, Albus Dumbledore walking towards him.

Under normal circumstances, Nicolas might have welcomed the sight of seeing his old friend. However given the fact that he was hiding, his now adopted grandson Harry Potter, from said man and the rest of the magical world, he was unable to do so. There was also the fact that an unpleasant feeling suddenly formed in the pit of his stomach from the moment he first heard Albus call out his name.

When he first saw Albus he immediately assumed the worst, that he had at last been caught, that somehow his old friend and learned that he and Perenelle had Harry. He however immediately pushed such thoughts away, if that were true, Albus would not have come alone, or at least not confront in him in the Gringotts lobby, where dozens of people were around them, permitting Nicolas a chance to escape.

Putting on a pleasant smile, Nicolas greeted his friend and offered his hand in friendship to see what the man wanted. "Albus, my good friend, it's been too long."

"That it has been my old friend" replied the Hogwarts Headmaster as he took Nicolas's hand and shook it.

"How long has it been, seven, eight years since we last saw one another?" asked Nicolas as he let go of Dumbledore's hand.

"Almost ten, but who's counting" Albus answered with a chuckle.

"Ah, that long…time does seem to move quickly."

"Alas that it does my old friend, too fast at times…in fact it seems like only yesterday that we were in Colne, trying those experiments with Salamander's blood before we finally decided to try Dragon's blood."

At the mention of their experiments, a small chuckle erupted from the old Alchemist. "A wise decision on your part, the lab there still has the scorch marks on the ceiling. I also remembered the dressing down Perenelle gave us, after the last explosion."

"And how is dear Perenelle, I had hoped that she would be with you?" Dumbledore asked curiously.

"She is off visiting Sh'lainn, the two haven't seen or spoken in months, and I felt that they could do with some time alone together, while I handle matters here" explained Nicolas simply. This was of course only half true, although they were together, Harry was also with them. The three had gone off for a weekend trip to Marseille, given the recent events with Blackwood and since Harry would be leaving for Hogwarts in a few months and Sh'lainn often being busy with work, Perenelle wanted to spend as much time as she could with both her grandchildren. They had also considered, inviting Marquis and his family, but given his rising political fame in magical France, they felt that the risk of drawing people's attention was too great, especially with Fleur. Who was nearing thirteen and was entering puberty, which was a difficult time for Veela's, even for quater Veela's, where their allure would become much stronger and would also start their transformation and have to spend time learning to control it.

"Understandably" nodded Albus. "Given young Sh'lainn's work as a Hit-wizard, I can see how it would be hard for you to keep in contact with one another. Especially considering how often you and Perenelle would travel, in fact, I was rather surprised when I learned that you left Britain without sending any word that you were leaving. I only discovered that you were gone a few months ago when I tried contacting you, though I had no idea where you had gone to."

"I do apologise for that Albus, however, some unexpected things came up that required Perenelle's attention and we had to leave quickly."

"One of your artefact hunts?"

"Something very special to both Perenelle and I" the old Alchemist replied cryptically, before asking. "However, that leaves the question as to how you found me? As you stated, you did not know where Perenelle or I had gone to, though I suspect that answer is rather simple."

"Then please enlighten me."

"After you learned that Perenelle and I had left, with no clue as to where we had gone, I suspect you had someone in the bank, check if we had taken the stone with us. When you learned that we had not, you had the same person or people monitor the vault and notify you when it was being opened, knowing that we would eventually come back for it."

"That is certainly a possibility" Albus answered calmly, giving nothing away. Not that he needed to since it was the only possible way for Dumbledore to know that he was here today.

When he had finished, Nicolas then made a silent note to himself to have another quick word with Ragnet before he left about this little leak. He had no doubt the Goblin head manager would take this breach of security very seriously, especially given recent events, as not only did such a breach of trust endanger their relationship with Nicolas, but it also threatened business from their other clients should this get out. No-one would deal with a bank that allowed the private information of their clients to be leaked to other people, and whoever notified Dumbledore would soon be regretting they ever did.

"So tell me, Albus, to what do I owe this unexpected meeting? As something tells me that this is not so that we can "catch up" with one another" asked Nicolas, hoping that this was not about Harry.

Seeing no point in disguising his intentions, Dumbledore nodded. "As usual Nicolas, you're correct; however, I believe the reason for our meeting would be better suited to a more private place." He then glanced around the hall and could that they were drawing some attention from some of the bank staff and customers, who no doubt recognised Dumbledore.

Seeing the wisdom of the suggest, Nicolas turned to goblin escort and asked if they could use one of their private meeting rooms, which was offered to the bank's more "esteem" clients to conduct private business.

Nodding, the young Goblin led the two wizards down a nearby hall and into a small room. The room was simple enough, with grey carpet and white walls, along with two black leather armchairs facing each other in the centre of the room and a small round table between them.

After entering the room, the Goblin, closed the door, leaving the two alone in the room.

No sooner had the door closed shut, Dumbledore drew his wand from his robes and cast several private wards around the room. Although the Goblins assured their clients that these rooms were warded to prevent anyone from listening and promised complete privacy. Nicolas could not blame Albus for taking extra precautions, especially given his own recent incident with the Goblins over privacy.

Once he had finished, Dumbledore stored away his wand and then took the nearest seat. Nicolas followed soon after as he took the seat facing the Hogwarts Headmaster.

Maintaining his calm exterior the old Alchemist then asked, "Now then Albus perhaps you can tell me the reason for this meeting and why all the secrecy?"

"The reason my friend is because I have learned that the philosopher's stone is in danger."

Upon hearing this, Nicolas was both relieved and concerned, relieved that Dumbledore had not discovered that he and Perenelle had taken Harry in, and concerned that philosopher's stone was in danger of being stolen. "How do you know?"

"Unfortunately I cannot go into details on the matter, but I can assure, that my source is reliable and that the threat is very real."

"But surely the stone is safe here, you yourself stated that Gringotts was one of the safest places in the magical world when you first suggested that we place it here."

"Yes, and I stand by what I said, however, I fear that not even Gringotts will be able to protect the stone from the person after it this time" answered Albus in a concerned tone.

"And who might that be?" asked Nicolas, as there weren't many people that would worry Dumbledore.

For a moment, the old headmaster remained silent, as if pondering on whether he should reveal the name or not. However, he soon came to a decision, when he answered, "Voldemort"

At the mention of the former Dark Lord, Nicolas closed his eyes and bowed his head, as Albus had confirmed what he had feared, as there weren't many people in the world capable of breaking into Gringotts banks. Given the security and magic behind it, it would take an extremely powerful and skilled person to break in, especially into one of their high-level vaults.

Raising his head to look at Albus, Nicolas then asked, "So does this mean that Voldemort has regained his power?"

"No" stated Dumbledore, shaking his head slowly. "From what I have gathered, Voldemort remains in a weakened state. After his fall, he was left as nothing more than dark Spector, with no body or power."

"Then he intends to use the stone to create a new body for himself" voiced Nicolas, now realizing Voldemort's plan, as it was certainly possible given the stone's power. If one were to use the elixir of life correctly, they could theoretically create a body form themselves, one that would not age, making them immortal. Something that Voldermort had long sought after.

"I see now, thank you for informing me of this Albus, I will immediately make arrangements for the stone to be moved to another location."

However just as Nicolas was about to lift himself out from his seat, Albus raised his hand, causing the old Alchemist to stop. "Actually Nicolas, if I may I have another suggestion if you will."

"Such as…?" asked Nicolas, raising one eyebrow.

"I agree that the stone should be moved, but I was hoping that you would be willing to place the stone into my care. As you know Hogwarts have some of the strongest wards in Magical Britain. Stronger, even than Gringotts, also many of our staff are among the finest spellcasters in magical Europe, I can assure you the stone will be safe there."

"Although I appreciate your offer, Albus, Perenelle and I are more than capable of keeping the Philosopher's stone safe. We have done so for many centuries, and will continue to do so."

At hearing Nicolas's rebuttal, Dumbledore frowned, as the conversation was not going the way he had hoped it would go, as he had expected Nicolas to accept the offer, but to his surprise, he did not. Still, he was not about to give up.

"But Voldemort…" began Dumbledore, only to be stopped, when Nicolas this time raised his hand and spoke.

"Is a weakened Spector, who relies on the aid of his weak-minded followers, unable to do anything for himself."

Frowning at Nicolas's response, Dumbledore then replied. "You underestimate Voldemort too much Nicolas."

Nicolas, however, did not seem affected by the remark and calmly replied. "I do not, but you Albus seem to underestimate Perenelle and I. Voldemort is not the first Dark Lord or wizard to come after the stone for his own means and not one of them have come even close to attaining it. Grindelwald and his followers came after it during the last war several times, but we always stayed a step ahead of them. We even fought off Grindelwald himself when he made his last attempt to steal the stone, so I believe I can say that we are more than capable of protecting the stone."

"I am fully aware of what you and Perenelle are capable of Nicolas. However, Voldemort is cunning and resourceful. He is also desperate to regain his former power and desperate men are dangerous as they are unpredictable," Dumbledore replied politely, as he did his best to keep from sounding too desperate. But despite his best effort, Nicolas saw through it and stared at Dumbledore with a stern look that reminded the old headmaster of the way his father would use to look at him when he caught him in a lie.

"I am a well aware of how dangerous desperate men can be, especially since I looking at one at this very moment."

Stiffing slightly at being caught, Dumbledore tried to disguise it by sitting further back into his chair and calmly reply. "I am afraid I don't know what you are referring to Nicolas."

The old Alchemist however just shook his head and then spoke in a more stern tone that was normally heard for his wife. "Do not treat like one of your students Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. You forget who taught you, I have been playing this game of half-truths and stories long before even your grandfather was born. I was, in fact, the one who taught "you" it and know how it is played, better than you ever will. So perhaps you can start this conversation again, and tell me the full story as to why you want the Philosopher's stone? Otherwise, I am afraid I will have to take my leave from here, along with the stone.

Wincing at the tone that Nicolas was now taking with him and realizing that the game was now officially up, Dumbledore let out a tired sigh of resignation and nodded his head in agreement. "Huuu, I should have known that Nicolas would have caught on."

"Very well Nicolas, the reason why I want the stone to go to Hogwarts is that I wish to set a trap for Voldemort or at the very least the person who is helping him."

"How do you intend to do that?"

"I have sealed off one of the floors in the school, and I am currently gathering some of the school staff to help set up a series of obstacles that Voldemort and the person helping him will have to pass through to get to the stone."

"And should they pass the obstacles?"

"I will be ready to intervene; I have a spell casted over the floor, which will alert me if anyone should anyone enter it. Even if they successfully defeat each obstacle, it should at least slow them down enough for me to catch up and stop them from taking the stone."

"And should you arrive, how exactly do you intend to capture Voldemort? He's no more than a spirit, barriers and walls do little against him."

"I intent to seal him."

"Seal him?" repeated Nicolas in surprise.

"Yes" replied Dumbledore. "Surely in all your travels, you've seen or at least heard of wizards who have sealed vengeful spirits."

"I have, when Perenelle and I travelled in the far east, we heard stories and met one or two people who had the skill and saw them do it, however that was centuries ago. The art of sealing spirits is very obscure, few people have the skill to perform it and it can be very exhausting and that is if there is anyone left who knows the art."

"There is at least one who does" answered Dumbledore.

"You?" asked Nicolas, to which the old headmaster nodded, "How?"

"A few years ago, my brother Aberforth sent me some journals that he came across, which belonged to our mother. He stated that I should have them since he wanted nothing to do with anything that belonged to her. Sadly my mother and brother never had a good relationship, not since our father was imprisoned, and time has only made him more bitter towards her" Albus explained sadly. Nicolas, made no comment to this, he and Perenelle were among the few people who knew the tragedy of the Dumbledore family, and he knew how much pain it caused his old friend, especially given the strained relationship he had with his brother, who was his only living family left.

Taking a moment to gather himself, Albus then continued with his story. "While reading the journals, my mother mentioned her tribe, the Atakapa, and how she came from a long line shaman and the different spells they would cast to protect or help their tribe. Among the spells that they used was one that would seal up vengeful spirits that would sometimes attack their tribe."

"And you believe you can use this spells?"

"Yes, it took a rather lengthy amount of research and practice, but I am confident that I can, I have an item prepared, so that in the event that I do encounter Voldemort when he tries to take the stone, I can seal him within."

"Your plan has some merit Albus, I'll admit. However I still have my reservations, the plan is very risky and there is always a chance that Voldemort will get away with the stone. Also by placing the stone in Hogwarts, you're also placing the children there in grave danger."

In response to this comment, Dumbledore nodded in acknowledgement. "I am well aware of the risk, but I believe they are worth taking. Voldemort will not harm the students or risk doing anything to him, such a thing would only draw people's attention, and that is the last thing he wants. Most people in the wizarding world believe that he is dead, and until he regains his former strength that is what Voldemort wants people to continue to believe. He knows that to get the stone, he will have to do things covertly, and draw as little attention as possible."

Seeing the point, Nicolas simply nodded, but the countered by stating. "Even if you succeed in sealing Voldemort's spirit, it will not be the end. No seal last forever; eventually it will fail or break, whether through the strength of Voldemort's spirit or if someone breaks the seal. This is only a temporary measure at best."

"I know, but even so, think of the number of lives that would be saved if we succeed, even if it is only a temporary measure. It could still delay Voldemort return for another ten years, maybe even a hundred years."

Having lived for over six hundred years, Nicolas had become a somewhat expert in what the muggles called micro-expressions. It was a skill he had developed over the years by watching people, how they would move or acted, or even reacted to different situations. He could tell when people were worried, angry, and upset or even hiding something from him. It became a very useful skill when he was still involved in the political world. Although Albus hid his true emotions well, Nicolas could tell that he was desperate for him to agree and that he was still withholding some things. What those things were, he had no clue, but he intended to find out, however, to do that he needed to play a long game.

After sighing loudly, Nicolas crossed his right leg over left, (to make himself more comfortable), before joining his hand together and placing them on his knees. He then looked at Albus directly into his eyes and spoke "I will speak to Perenelle upon my return and tell her of your plan, since this does concern her as well, and "if" she agrees. We will then arrange for you to take the stone from our vault at a given time and bring it to Hogwarts."

Upon hearing this, Dumbledore let out a relieved sigh before smiling. "Thank you, my friend, I promise you the stone will be in safe hands and that…" But before he could finish thanking him, Nicolas raised his hand and signalled him to stop.

"You can save your thanks Albus, as I have not agreed to anything yet. As I said only if Perenelle agrees will I consent in giving you the stone, and if she does, there will be some conditions that will have to be made before we hand over the stone."

"Such as?" asked the curious Dumbledore, as he smoothed down his long white beard, which indicated that was in deep thought, which told Nicolas that he was trying to guess what he (Nicolas) wanted.

"First, should we give you the stone, we will want to see the all security measures that you and the other teachers are placing to protect the stone, in addition, we will add in some of our own security measures."

"I believe that is more than reasonable" nodded Albus.

"Secondly there will be some issues in the future that I will need your assistance in….and before you ask what they are, I cannot say what they are," stated Nicolas, cutting Dumbledore off before he could ask. "All I want is your word that you will assist me when I ask."

Although not pleased by this arrange, Dumbledore reluctantly nodded, knowing it was pointless to try and get Nicolas to reveal what he wanted him to do."

"Finally, I would like you to arrange for a young girl from Ireland to attend Hogwarts, a girl by the name of Blair O'Neill."

At the mention of the name O'Neill, Dumbledore's arched his right eyebrow. "Ms O'Neill wouldn't by chance be related to the young Irish Auror Liam O'Neill, who killed one of your former protégés, Demitri Blackwood?"

"Yes, she is his younger sister."

"And why may I ask would like her to attend Hogwarts?" the headmaster asked curiously. Although Hogwarts did take some students from Ireland, however most magical families, especially those of the older lineage, like the O'Neill's, preferred to attend Ireland's own magical school, Tara's Magical School, which was a source of pride for them.

"As you are aware Mr O'Neill's recent achievement with Demitri has brought a significant amount of attention upon both him and his family, including the fact that he and his sister are half Bean Sidhe. I'm sure that you're also aware that Bean Sidhe are not presented in a positive light in the Irish magical community due to misunderstandings regarding their abilities. Being a male, young Liam did not inherit any of his mother's abilities, save for a few physical traits, and has thus protected him from some discrimination. His sister, however, did inherit them and has recently awakened them, which I am sad to say has resulted in the girl being the target of many of her magical neighbours' fears and misconceptions. This has forced her family to move on more than one occasion and causing her to become a shut-in, fearing and mistrusting anyone but her brother and uncle. Who had hoped that while attending Tara she would come out of her shell so-to-speak, and make some friends. This has become impossible, now that people know that she half Bean Sidhe and will no doubt target or avoid her for what she is…"

"And so you hope that by attending Hogwarts instead, she made avoid most of the discrimination that would affect her in Tara, as the events regarding her brother and their family are less widely known here in Britain" finished Dumbledore, now understanding what Nicolas was thinking.

"Precisely," said Nicola, nodding his head.

"I see" replied Dumbledore, as he joined his hands together and rested them on his knees. "But there is still one thing that confuses me, why may I ask are you going to such efforts for Miss O'Neill, I was not aware that you or Perenelle were acquainted with her family."

"We're not, or not directly, young Blair's parents were former friends of Sh'lainn back when she first started working for the Irish Ministry. I believe you may be familiar with their father Cathal O'Neill?"

"Only by reputation" answered Dumbledore. "He was an outspoken advocate in trying to get the Irish Ministry to help us with Voldemort. I had also heard that his marriage had caused a bit of a scandal, but was unaware that his wife was a Banshee."

"Yes, well as you also may know, both their parents were killed in a rally, supposedly by Voldemort's Death Eater or those who were sympathetic with his cause. Sh'lainn was devastated by their death and took it upon herself to look out for the family. She even trained Liam herself before he joined the Auror's."

"That would certainly explain how Mr O'Neill was able to defeat someone like Demitri Blackwood, which is no small accomplishment" replied Dumbledore, who knew how skilled and powerful Sh'lainn was, having seen her fight during the first magical war against Grindelwald and his supporters.

"So you're doing this as a favour for Sh'lainn, given her relationship to the family."

"Yes" nodded Nicolas, though that was not entirely the reason why he was doing this but did not wish to tell Dumbledore, for fear that he might investigate the matter further and thereby inadvertently discover Harry and Sh'lainn's involvement.

After thinking on the conditions for a few moments, both the pros and the cons, Dumbledore nodded in agreement, seeing it as the best deal he could get. "Very well, though it is short notice, I believe I can easily arrange for Ms O'Neill's to be accepted into Hogwarts."

Pleased by this, Nicolas nodded. "Good, then I will talk to Perenelle and if she agrees I will arrange for you to take the stone from our vault."

"Thank you" replied Albus as he nodded his gratitude, after which he then stood up from his chair. "I believe I have taken enough of your time, my friend, and I am sure you're eager to return to your family. Please send both Perenelle and Sh'lainn my kindest regards when you see them."

"I shall indeed" answered Nicolas as he too stood up one shake hands with Dumbledore again. But just before the old headmaster could leave, Nicolas called out to him. "Before you leave Albus, perhaps you can tell me about another unrelated matter."

"Such as?" asked Albus, turning around.

"Has there been any luck on the search of Harry Potter?"

At the mention of Harry, Albus almost face seemed to age ten years and a pained mournful expression appeared, while his shoulders began to sag, as if a heavy weight was placed on his shoulders.

"Alas no, my friend, there has been no sign of him, not since he left his relatives home, almost four years ago. Though I remain certain that he is still alive, despite what the Daily Prophet and the Ministry claim, as do many others, who continue to search for him. I am in fact hopeful that he will return for his first term at Hogwarts. Why do you ask?"

Seeing the curious look on Albus's face, Nicolas remained calm and schooled his face. "Just, general curiosity, as Perenelle often talks about him, his disappearance did, after all, cause quite the uproar around magical Europe, and you know how she is when it comes to children. Sh'lainn was, in fact, part of the volunteer group sent from Ireland to help in the search after his disappearance was announced."

"Yes of course," replied Albus feeling somewhat foolish for asking. He had first-hand knowledge on how much the older Flamel (Perenelle) cared about children and remembering seeing Sh'lainn's name on the list of volunteers from abroad.

"Well I'm certain everything will work out in end" assured Nicolas, after which the two men took their leave from the room and shortly after bid their farewells to one another, where Nicolas promised again that he would contact Albus with their decision as soon as possible.

After parting from Albus, Nicolas then asked his goblin escort to return him to Ragnet's office to speak with him on a few matters before finally leaving to finally meet his family at Marseille.

-The Next day at Marseille France-

After using his secret international Portkey, Nicolas arrived a small private villa that Perenelle had rented out for them. The villa was an old-fashioned stone villa located on the outskirts of Marseille, offering an amazing view of the countryside along with peaceful surroundings The villa was extremely spacious, with over 400m² of living space, with large terraces leading directly from the bedrooms and the living areas. The property has been built with beautiful local stone and had recently undertaken a renovation, maintaining the original provençale style of the villa. The living room maintained its original beams and fireplace. Beautifully furnished and along with antique accessories. It had a semi-professional kitchen and a customized family/friends dine-in area & fireplace leading onto outdoor terrace dining and a stunning master suite with a breath-taking view of the back garden, which was largely spacious. The villa had five bedrooms, each with their own small bathroom and one main bathroom, but could easily house up to a dozen people easily if needed.

The villa had been rented out from local muggle dealer by Perenelle under the name Rosalind Portia, Perenelle's two favourite female characters from Shakespeare's plays "The Merchant of Venice" and "As You Like It."

Nicolas, of course, knew that his wife picked this name to annoy him, given his feelings towards Shakespeare, he couldn't stand the man, who irked the Alchemist to know ends. He had met the man multiple times and was annoyed by his constant need to be in the forefront and the limelight at any gathering he was at or the plays he was in. Although most people said otherwise, Nicolas found the man to be arrogant, who loved to prove he was the cleverest man in the room. The man was also a notorious adulterer with not just women, but also some men, though was clever enough to keep it well hidden. The man even had the nerve to flirt with his wife, (who was an ardent fan of his and went to see all his plays), right in front of him, on more than one occasion. Nicolas was also dead certain that Shakespeare named the character Nick Bottom in "A Midsummer's Night Dream" after him after he cursed him with the pox for a short while after he caught him flirting with Perenelle again.

Thinking about the man, Nicolas could not help but be grateful that he wasn't around to see how famous he and his plays had become, knowing how much the man would lord over it.

After entering the villa, Nicolas began to search for his family, calling out the names as he entered the villa. He was soon answered by his wife who was sitting at a small table on the upstairs balcony overlooking the countryside, reading a book while eating some fruit.

Walking towards, Nicolas greeted his wife before kissing her on the cheek and sitting down on the seat opposite her. "So my love, how have you been, and where are Harry and Sh'lainn."

"I've been well" replied Perenelle, glancing up from her book to look at him. "As for Harry and Sh'lainn, they are at the beach; Sh'lainn's been helping to teach Harry to swim. They should be back soon enough for lunch."

"I'm surprised you aren't with them?"

"I'm only just back, I was with them for most of the day, but as you know there is only so much of the sand and water that I can take" answered Perenelle

Nicolas nodded in understanding at this since he knew his wife wasn't a huge fan of the beach, she much preferred the countryside, which wasn't surprising as she had lived it the countryside when she was growing up.

"Besides…," continued Perenelle as she went back to reading her book. "Those two don't need their old grandmother hovering over them all the time, and Sh'lainn is more than capable of watching over Harry."

"Well, I am glad I caught you here alone, as something came up when I was at Gringotts."

At the mentioned of Gringotts, Perenelle immediately placed her book down on the table and looked at her husband. "Did something happen to the stone?"

Shaking his head, Nicolas replied. "No the stone is fine, at least for now, but just as I was leaving the bank, I was cornered by Albus."

At the mentioned of Dumbledore, Perenelle eyes widen in surprise, as a surge of panic seemed to explode from within her, fearing the absolute worst. However, she restrained her panic and stopped herself from questioning her husband, and allowed him to explain what happened, which he was grateful for.

"So Albus wants us to give him the stone, knowing that Voldemort is after it, and place it in Hogwarts, which is filled with hundreds of innocent children. All in the hope he can capture Voldermort with a spell he has never used before," repeated Perenelle after Nicolas finished explaining the events in Gringotts.

"To put it bluntly yes" answered Nicolas.

"Has Albus, lost all sense?!" declared Perenelle as she slammed her hand done on the table, causing it to shake. "I know some people have said that Albus was somewhat mad, but I have never believed them until now!"

"I know the plan is risky, but it does have some merits, and if it works we could at the very least delay Voldemort's return by several years, if not more" argued Nicolas.

"And, what of the children? Specifically "our" grandson. Who will be going to Hogwarts this year," countered Perenelle. "Do you really think Voldemort will not try to harm him? Especially since Harry is the reason for his fall from power."

"Albus and I already discussed this, neither of us believe that Voldemort will make a move on the children, especially not on Harry, doing so would garner too much attention, and that is the last thing Voldemort will want, at least until he's regained his body with the stone."

"But you don't know that or certain" retorted Perenelle. "For all, you know he may try to cause some sort of accident."

"Voldemort is not a fool, and gaining the stone and returning to power is more important than revenge against Harry" responded Nicolas.

"Nicolas do you even hear yourself?" asked Perenelle. "First your form that contract marriage with Fleur and Harry, which I am still not fully convinced in, and now you want to place the stone in Hogwarts, knowing Voldermort is after it."

"You know why I made the contract between Harry and Fleur, it protects them both. If Albus and the British Ministry of Mage succeed in getting the International Confederation of Wizards involved after we reveal that we have Harry and convince them to overturn Harry's French citizenship and our adoption of him, the contract prevents them from completely taking him away from us. With their betrothal, Marquis and can apply to have him become a ward of his house since Harry would be marrying into his family and arrange marriages are still recognized by the Confederation. The contract also protects Fleur from Marquis Rivals, who may try to use her as leverage against him, by either sending relatives in Beauxbatons to seduce or trick Fleur to be with them or try and force Marquis into an arranged marriage, since a contract cannot be overturned unless both parties agree."

"But it doesn't protect Gabrielle, who could be targeted as well" countered Perenelle.

Nicolas, however, shook his head, remembering this argument before when he was forced to tell Perenelle of his plan. "Gabrielle will not be targeted, with Fleur being the oldest and at school, she would be their main target. Gabrielle is not at school yet, therefore is not vulnerable to such tactics, like Fleur is, she is at home with her parents most of the time. If anyone tries to persuade Marquis into making a betrothal contract with Gabrielle, Marquis can simply state that he is waiting until she is older and is school. By that time, should everything go well, Marquis's influence in the French Ministry should have grown enough to resist such advances by his rivals, along with other plans that I am currently making to keep her safe when she attends school."

"I still don't like it Nicolas" stated Perenelle, shaking her head before staring hard at her husband. "Even if this betrothal is nothing but a sham and can be broken when the children are of age, it still complicates their lives unnecessarily, especially if they want to be in a relationship with someone else."

"I am aware of that" replied Nicolas calmly, "However it still better than not having these failsafe's in place, should the events that I fear happen and it gives us an advantage."

"And how exactly does giving the stone to Albus to lure Voldemort into a trap, give us an advantage in keep Harry safe? It seems to do the opposite to me."

"You know as well as I do that our influence in Britain in severely limited, therefore we need every advantage we can get" answered Nicolas, tiredly, knowing that this would be a long argument. "This trap Albus's has come up is clearly one he is doing without the permission or support of the board of governors or the British Ministry, as they would never sanction it, even if they believed Voldemort still existed."

"And for good reason!" stated Perenelle bluntly.

"Yes, but even so, it gives us leverage over Albus, should he try and take Harry from us. He is already on dangerous ground with both the Board of Governors and the British Ministry over putting Harry with his Aunt and Uncle and has lost a great deal of public support. He can ill afford another major incident, as that would most certainly end his reign as headmaster of Hogwarts, along with any chance of regaining the magical community's trust again."

"So you're suggesting we use this whole thing as blackmail over him?" asked Perenelle appalled by the suggestion. Although she had her issue with Dumbledore, he had still been a friend to her and Nicolas for many years and did not like the idea of blackmailing him.

"I do not like this any more than you Perenelle, Albus is my friend too, but we need something to keep Albus in check. When he sees Harry he will no doubt try and take Harry away and place him elsewhere in a misguided attempt to protect him and make up for his failings in the past. You said it yourself after we took Harry in, we cannot trust Albus's judgement when it comes to Harry."

After hearing his Nicolas's argument, Perenelle frowned, and as much as she hated to admit it, her husband had made a good point. Right now they couldn't trust Albus's judgement especially with his grandson's life, and if he was to go to Hogwarts, they would need to do something that would keep Albus from interfering.

Seeing that his wife resolve was beginning to crumble, Nicolas decided to push his argument. "In return for giving the stone, I also made Albus agree to some conditions. The first being that he must do a favour for us at our own convenience, the second we are to be allowed to inspect the security measures that he is placing and be allowed to place our own."

"Is that all?" asked Perenelle in surprise as she had expected her husband to ask for more, considering what they were risking.

Nicolas, however, shook his head. "No, in addition to those conditions, I had Albus allow young Ms O'Neill to attend Hogwarts with Harry, something I believe you would approve of, considering what the two of them went through with Blackwood and the fact that Harry is probably the only friend she has outsider her brother and their house-elf. I think it would be a good idea for them to each have at least one friend to have at the school, as well as given Ms O'Neill a chance to escape her harassment she has been put through as of late."

At this Perenelle nodded in agreement, after learning of the events with Blackwood, Perenelle had wanted to go to the family and offer their support and their apologies. However, because of the amount of attention the family had gained because of the incident, the Flamels had been unable to meet with them; for fear that they might be sighted and be discovered. Perenelle had even argued that they should help Blair after learning the abuse she had suffered from people because of lineage, which had infuriated the woman to no ends.

However, despite the argument Nicolas had made, Perenelle was still unconvinced. "I am sorry Nicolas but I still don't agree with this plan, regardless of what long-term benefits we may gain from it when protecting Harry, it's still an awful risk, what if Albus's plan fails and Voldemort's gets the stone, we would have helped in his return, the very thing we are trying to prevent.

"That is why I insisted that we inspect the obstacles designed to protect the stone ourselves along with putting our own measures" answered Nicolas before explaining what he had planned.

When he finished, Perenelle let out a tried sign and nodded. "Very well Nicolas, I will go along with this plan despite my reservation, however, I have my own conditions."

"And they are?"

"First we will be telling Harry about the stone and it being in Hogwarts, that way at least he might not stumble in on it and reduce the chance of him becoming involved in it."

"A logical condition, considering Harry's knack for finding trouble" replied Nicolas with some small amount of mirth.

"Second…" spoke Perenelle, "if I find that things are getting too dangerous in the school, I will be taking both the stone and our grandson out of the school and you will not argue with me on it."

"Agreed" nodded the old alchemist.

"Third, you will swear here and now, on our marriage and on the lives of both our grandchildren, that you will make no other backdoor schemes or plans behind my back again, regardless of your good intentions. I am tired of having you do these things and only finding out about them after you already started them, from this moment onward you must consult me before you do anything, and that is the deal breaker on it. Otherwise, I will refuse to go along with it and expose the entire thing to everyone."

Seeing the determined steadfast look on her face, Nicolas knew that his wife would not budge on the matter. Not that he blamed her for feeling this way; he was taking a big risk, not just with Harry's life but others as well. "Very well I swear here and now on our marriage and our grandchildren, that I will not take such action again without informing you of them."

"Good," nodded Perenelle before she then pushed herself up from her seat. "Now go clean yourself up, Harry and Sh'lainn should be back soon for lunch. I would like to enjoy what remaining time we have left on this holiday with our family, as we will not be able to enjoy them again for some time."

Nodded at this, Nicolas picked himself up and headed for the nearby bathroom, Perenelle was of course right, dark times were not far off, and he was certain his family would be at the centre of it for much of it.


Well that's it for another instalment of The Alchemist Apprentice; I sincerely hope that you all enjoyed it. Sorry that it had so little of Harry and was more for Nicolas and Perenelle, and wasn't as long as my last chapter. But it was required so to set up events in the next chapter. As I mentioned in my previous chapter, the next chapter will have Harry finally going to Hogwarts and revealing where's he's been, so expect a lot to happen.

Again as always, read and review, I enjoy reading people's opinion of the chapter and on the story in general. I will do my best to reply to all your reviews, as I believe an author should respond to his readers. But please note that I cannot respond to anonymous reviews and if you wish for me to respond to your questions you must become a member of Fanfiction.

Suggestions are welcomed and will be given serious thought.

In regards to my grammar and spelling mistakes, I am well aware that both are far from perfect and that it may be a problem with some reader. But they cannot be avoided I have no official Beta to help me, and I am doing my best to make as few mistakes as possible.

Now in regards to any flames, they are as always not welcomed on this story or on any of my other stories. If you don't like the story that's your opinion, and it is fine, I do not force anyone to read my stories. But I do not like reading people trash talking my stories, and acting like they are experts on writing, especially from people who have never written a story themselves. If I receive any flames, the review will be either deleted or the flamers will be flamed back by me, I am not afraid to stand up for my stories and defend my actions.

Again hope everyone enjoyed the Chapter, and please look out for my other stories, The Raikage, Rise of The Raikage, Rogue Shinigami, White Fire Prince, Brother's Bond and Hope of the Senju Clan.