I need your help. Mistakes have been made.
I need your help. Mistakes have been made.
I need your help. Mistakes have been made.
"Excuse me, you did what?!" Professor McGonagall took her glasses off and rubbed at the bridge of her nose as the latest batch of Harry Potter's charging in without thinking started to sink in.
Around the sitting room of the Burrow, were Professor McGonagall, Augusta Longbottom with her grandson Neville, Andromeda Tonks with a (currently black-haired) Teddy asleep on her lap, Molly Weasley, and the stars of the show, Harry and Hermione.
It had been a day since the incident at Gringotts, and Harry was finally starting to relax a little. His panic attack had left him on edge for the rest of the day, but by now, he was mostly just embarrassed about it. He'd fought a war, and with help, he'd won it. So why should one little thing like that shake him so much?
It was stupid of him, he knew. Not that Hermione seemed to agree with that. But his uncle had never needed magic to make his life hell, just his hands, his voice. Goyle was bigger than him, and so close, and he'd just frozen.
"Of all the..." McGonagall shook her head. "I do hope you realise just how foolish you've been, young man. Are you trying to outdo everything you managed while within Hogwarts' walls?"
Harry shrunk back in his seat a bit. "Sorry, Professor McGonagall. I know I've made a mess of this, and I need to make it work. That's... why you're all here, really. I need advice."
Raising her hand meekly, Hermione added, "I think it's my fault as well, Professor. We got so swept up in everything being within the rules that I never stopped to check if it was still a good idea."
A small smile. "Well, getting help is a good start. Perhaps if you'd done so sooner..." She shook her head. "And please, if you keep calling me Professor McGonagall, then I might have to start calling you Lord Potter-Black."
Harry blinked. He honestly wasn't sure which would be worse: her calling him Lord Potter-Black for the whole time, or him calling her Minerva. He decided to stay quiet for the moment.
"Wizarding society is built on traditions. Miss Granger's research skills are, I'm sure we're all well aware, rather plentiful, but having been raised among Muggles, she's clearly rather lacking when it comes to those traditions." McGonagall gave a wry smile. "I believe we should put this on the list, after chess, in places where you should ask the youngest Mister Weasley, in future."
"Look, I think it's clear that we screwed this up." Harry was getting on edge with the pressure. "Can we move on from discussing how badly, and maybe work out how I can fix it?"
Augusta spoke up next. "I think, the first thing to consider is the fact that you've put more than yourself in danger with this, Mister Potter."
Harry paused, then nodded. "That's... a good point." He looked around. "I need to move out of the Burrow, as soon as possible." He smiled at Mrs Weasley. "I'm sorry. I didn't think what living here might mean once this all started."
Smiling back at him, Molly shook her head. "You don't need to, Harry dear, it's nice having the company around."
"No." He shook his head. "The company is nice, but I can't put you in danger. If people want to get back at me for what's going on, they'll come here. So I need to draw that somewhere else."
"The question, of course," commented Augusta, "is where to go. The Burrow is somewhat loaded with protective enchantments, as are all of the old wizarding residences, which would take quite some time to establish at a new place."
After considering this for a moment, Harry replied, "I do have an old wizarding residence, that we used for a base in the war. I'd been hoping to avoid going back there, but... I think I'll need to move into Grimmauld Place." He looked over at Professor McGonagall. "Will the enchantments the Order put in during the war still be there?"
She nodded. "Most of them, though I'd recommend we give them some attention anyway."
"I think you'd know the best people for that. I..." He paused, and shook his head slightly. "I was going to say, I can afford to pay for their help. But for now, I'll do that out of the Black vault. I need to not get carried away with the spending."
"Yes." McGonagall pursed her lips. "Upsetting seven different pureblood families at a stroke was efficient, even if unwise. I believe you will be able to smooth things over somewhat, but tread carefully."
Neville spoke up, "Not enough excitement during the war, eh Harry?" He grinned.
"I mean, I like helping people, so when I suddenly get told that I now own half the Wizengamot, I just sort of... went for it." Harry shrugged.
"Hmm." Augusta tilted her head to the side. "The Longbottom family holds two seats. I believe we should put them to good use. If you're going to make a difference in the Wizengamot, you MUST NOT simply walk in alone, no matter what you may be entitled to." She turned to her grandson. "My dear, I believe it's time for you to take your place as Lord Longbottom, and enter the world of politics."
Neville looked mortified at the concept.
"A little time in the Wizengamot will do you good. And a friendly face and supportive vote will make the work to be done easier."
He nodded meekly.
Turning to Harry, Augusta continued, "I do hope you're not planning on occupying all of the seats yourself, young man. While legal, your voice will carry more weight with people behind it."
He considered this. "Good point..." He looked around the room for a moment. "The trick will be who to get, and how many. I suppose," he sighed, "that if I pick wrong, I'll upset more people?"
"That all depends," replied Augusta, "on just how unexpected your choice is. I don't believe there's been a Muggle-born on the Wizengamot for as long as most will remember," here she glanced at Hermione, "but that could perhaps be changed. I'd recommend against any goblins, of course."
An idea occurred to Harry. He grinned. "Well, I suppose that I shouldn't rock the boat too much. I happen to know of an old pureblood family that seems to like me." He turned to Molly. "Mrs Weasley, how would your entire family like to join me on the Wizengamot?"
She blinked, blushing slightly. "I... well... we haven't had any seats in so long, you know. There used to be a Weasley seat, but it got sold years ago." She smiled at him. "But I think we'll make a good showing. I think Arthur would find it all very exciting, and of course Percy will be over the moon to get a seat on the Wizengamot."
"So that's nine seats for the Weasley family, if we can get Bill and Charlie to stay in one place long enough. Two seats for George, of course, he can cause enough trouble to fill two." Harry grinned, failing to suppress a laugh at himself. "I mean, look at how much trouble I've managed with twenty-nine of them."
Andromeda smiled at Harry, as she gently rocked Teddy to keep him asleep in the occasional noise of the discussion. His hair was slowly turning bright red. "I can help, if you'd like one of the Black seats taken. Assuming, of course, we can find someone to take care of Teddy while I'm at it."
Next to speak up was Hermione. "If you think it's a good first step to get a Muggle-born on the council, then I'll help with that. I look forward to seeing their reactions to that."
Augusta watched Harry curiously during this whole exchange, then commented, "Well, I'm afraid I won't be joining this volunteering frenzy, and Neville has his own seat to take up. However, you must be careful with this. The seats you'll be taking are already filled with people who are, quite outside their seats, rather powerful, politically speaking. How you dismiss them from the council, and who replaces them, will be rather critical."
Harry grimaced. "I hadn't thought of that."
"I think there are quite a few things you hadn't thought of, Mister Potter," interjected McGonagall.
He nodded meekly. "So, I'll need to plan that out..."
"No, WE will need to plan that out. Together." Augusta gave him a stern look. "This is, as you noticed, rather an opportunity, and one which we can't afford to squander."
"Agreed..." A pause to think. "I have to ask." He looked around at the room, at the faces each with decades more experience in the wizarding world than he had. "Is what I did, and what I'm planning... right? I know it wasn't a good idea, but is it the right thing to do?"
There was silence as each thought about the question. McGonagall spoke up first. "Our world is built on traditions. That the way our grandparents did things should be how we do things. That can be good. People know... where they fit. But there are things that need to change about that."
"A LOT needs to change." Neville was surprisingly loud in his reply. "Sure, we know where we fit, but if you don't like where people say you fit, then it's just tough luck. People like the Malfoys want us to know where we belong, and that's underneath them."
Augusta looked rather proud at Neville for standing up for his beliefs. "Well said!"
"So yeah, I think it's not just right, it's overdue. And if some of the old families don't like it, well, we handled their boss and they just scattered like rats." Neville seemed to almost have fire in his eyes as he started to see the possibilities ahead of them.
McGonagall put a hand on his arm gently. "Yes, but since we won't be relying on elaborate quests and people showing themselves true Gryffindors by pulling swords from hats, but instead on legal procedures, then perhaps a calmer approach is necessary."
"I think, in that case, we need one issue to focus on first." Andromeda glanced around the room. "Is there any particular preference? Werewolf rights perhaps? I think we all know someone who would have appreciated that."
There was a quiet moment, as memories of Remus drifted past. Teddy squirmed a bit in his sleep, making a rather cute mnerp noise.
Finally, Hermione spoke up. "I think we need to start with something smaller. There are laws about how House Elves need to be treated, maybe if we start with actually getting those enforced? Then we're not actually trying to make new laws, just get people to pay attention to the old ones. And that'll let them know we mean business."
Harry grinned at her. "You know, when we get you some Wizengamot robes, we might have to get S.P.E.W. badges sewn on somewhere out of the way..."
She rolled her eyes at him. "So much for being done with the shopping. That's a lot of Wizengamot robes we'll be needing to get. We can probably round up a few more people, if we're careful." She glanced at McGonagall for confirmation. "Should I start bringing in some of our old classmates?"
"I believe you would know which ones can be trusted with such an assignment. After all, we want people who will take it seriously, while also sticking to the plan. They must all be of age, of course." Hermione looked like she was about to object, to raise some interesting point of Wizengamot procedures that meant that, technically, they didn't need to. "Hermione, we are going for effect and tradition with this, not technicalities. If we only wanted the technicalities, then we'd just send Harry in alone."
McGonagall coughed. "Excuse me?"
"M-Minerva." It felt very unnatural to be calling her that. Hermione wasn't sure she'd ever actually get used to it.