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A New Reward

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“We’ll be married at the end of August.” Ginny was telling Parvati and Padma. “I’ve got a trial with the Holy Heads and Harry’s going into the Auror corps, he’s going to partner with Ron.” She went on to detail out the next five years of life as she saw it.

Neville sat beside Harry out in the hallway. “So… Aurors, huh?” He asked the seemingly catatonic man. Neville could see that Harry was no longer the boy he’d shared a dorm with for six years, but a war-hardened veteran.

Harry’s head rose slowly and Neville flinched away from the expression on his face. Hard, cold and very determined, it was the expression that Neville never expected to see on his gentle friend’s face.

“You know something, Neville?” Harry’s voice was like ice. “No… Not the Aurors. I’ve had this shit. I’ve been abused, been beaten, been attacked by the papers, been attacked by the public, been attacked by Death-Eaters, been attacked by students, been attacked by teachers. I’ve been manipulated by the master manipulator into committing suicide by Voldemort’s wand. I died for the Wizarding world. And what thanks do I get? My life planned out for me, by someone who doesn’t even know me.”

“Ah…?”

“Ginny told me she knew I’d never be happy until I hunted Voldemort down and killed him.” Harry stated bluntly.

“Ouch.” Neville winced. Even he knew better than that.

“Exactly.”

“So, what’re you gonna do?”

“Do you know if Kingsley is still with McGonagall?”

“Yeah, they’re still in Snape’s office.”

“Snape’s? Why would they be in his office, I though they’d be in hers?”

“Oh, shit… you didn’t know? When the Minister arrived there was a pensieve in the middle of the Headmaster’s office. Apparently, he figured that it had been left there, by accident by Snape and he figured it might give the Ministry an idea of why he did it.”

“I could told them that. He loved my Mum.” Harry sighed.

“Yeah, that’s pretty much what they found out, that he’s been on our side the whole time. They interviewed lots of students and discovered that he was protecting us. Yeah, sure, we were put under the Cruciatus, but given what some of the Slytherins said the Carrows wanted to do, Cruciatus is mild. Rape, torture, dismemberment, death. That’s sort of thing they wanted.”

“And Snape stopped them.” It wasn’t a question.

“Every time. He had some really good excuses.” Neville said, almost admiringly.

“What that got to do with the Headmistress’ office?”

“Headmaster’s office. Snape’s still alive, Harry.” Neville said. “After the Minister told what Snape had done, Ron told us where he… died… so Seamus, Dean and me… we decided someone should go and bring him up, he should be buried with Dumbledore. But when we got there, when we laid him on a stretcher, he groaned. Dean ran back for help and we carried him up from the boathouse, we’d got as far as the first landing, when Madam Pomfrey met us. She did something that put him in stasis and the Aurors took him from there, they brought him up to the hospital wing, but healers from St Mungo's agreed with Madam Pomfrey, he couldn’t be transported by any magic means. So, he stayed here. He woke up this morning, the Aurors brought him down to the Great Hall, on a stretcher, and he spoke to us. He said, we’d done Hogwarts proud and then he gave 100 points to whoever turned the Carrows’ hair pink.” Neville grinned.

Harry sat quietly while Neville explained, then asked a single question. “Snape’s still headmaster?”

“Yes.”

“Good. This might work then.” Harry stood and walked away.

“What might work, Harry?” Neville called after him.

Harry just waved a hand and kept walking.

 

Standing in front of the stairs to the Headmaster’s office, Harry briefly wondered how Snape would react to what Harry wanted to do. He heard voices, indistinguishable but there, coming from the office and with a tightening of his shoulders he began the climb. At the top of the stairs, Harry lifted a hand and knocked it loudly against the ancient timber door. The voices stopped and Harry heard footsteps, before the door opened.

“What is it, Potter?” McGonagall asked after seeing who was there.

“Professor, I need to speak to you, Kingsley and Headmaster Snape, immediately.” There was no give in Harry’s voice, no flexibility, it was a hard as stone.

McGonagall’s eyes widened slightly and a look of alarm rose.

“Come in, Potter.” She stepped back from the door and gestured him in.

He nodded as he passed her and walked calmly to stand in front of the sofa that held Snape.

“Sir, thank you. What you gave me… it… it made the difference.” Harry told the injured man.

Snape said nothing, just nodded.

Harry turned to the tall Black man standing off to one side. “Kingsley, Neville tells me you’re Minister, now?”

“I am.”

“Good. I want something and only the Ministry can do it.”

“Of course, Harry. What is it?”

“I want my magic stripped.” Harry answered bluntly.

He was met first by silence, then by McGonagall and Kingsley’s dismayed exclamations. Then by Snape’s laughter. It was that laughter that silenced the others.

“Why?” Snape asked, when he stopped laughing.

“I overheard a conversation this morning and even though it was my future being discussed, I was not given a second’s consideration in deciding it. On top of Dumbledore’s manipulations? No, I’m done.” Harry was calm, but it was clear that he was not happy.

“May we see this… conversation?” Snape’s voice was still the deep silky smooth voice that had dominated Harry’s life for the last seven years. Yes, it was weaker, but it was still Snape’s voice.

Harry didn’t answer, but he raised his wand and pulled a strand of silvery/blue from his head and let it fall into the pensieve.

“Minerva? If you will?” Snape asked and McGonagall reached out and tapped a rune on the side of the pensieve and images rose.

The walls of the castle looked almost ghostly around them. for the next ten minutes, the four watched Harry’s memory of Ginny’s conversation with Padma and Harry’s with Neville. When the image slid back into the pensieve like water into a bowl, the Headmaster nodded.

“I see…” Snape drawled. “And you are done.” It was not a question, but a clear statement of fact.

“I am.” Harry agreed. “I’ve given this world everything that I was and that was to be my thanks. No, Headmaster, I am done. I want my magic removed. Completely.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, Harry.” Kingsley sighed. “Unfortunately… it can’t be done.”

“Why not?”

“Once you turn seventeen, your core is set. The best that we could do is a Binding.” Snape spoke in short sentences, the discomfort of speaking, not showing on his face. “But even then, Bindings are not permanent. They last a maximum of ten years. It can’t be done without killing you.”

Harry’s face went hard.

“There may be an alternative…” Kingsley said. “It’s clear that you won’t be swayed.”

“No, I will not.”

“It’s also clear that this is not a snap decision.” The black man said.

“No, it is not.”

“The alternative… it’s… it’s permanent, Harry. No changing your mind in a week or year. Permanent.” Kingsley lifted a hand and let it rest on Harry’s shoulder.

“Will it remove me from the Wizarding world?”

“Not exactly… it will remove Harry Potter, just not you.”

McGonagall frowned. “I don’t follow, Kingsley.” She said.

“Bloodline conversions.” Snape was the one to reply.

“Yes.” Was all Kingsley said. “And permanent de-aging.”

“Permanent and untraceable?” Harry asked.

“Completely.”

“Why would you suggest that over Binding?”

“To last, Bindings would have to be reapplied every ten years, but… They can’t be consecutive, there must be a minimum of ninety days, including three full moons, between the lifting of one Binding and the laying of the next.” Kingsley answered. “And the de-aging? There’s two different types, one is a simple potion, it depends on how powerful you are, your core determines the length of time it works for, the other involves potions and a ritual. The ritual is what sets any changes within your system.”

Harry turned to Snape. “If you were planning this, how would you do it?”

“Me? Hmm…” Snape hummed in thought. “I think… De-age you, the bloodline conversions, any changes you may want, then the ritual.”

“And what about parents? Who would they be?” The two of them were almost ignoring McGonagall and Kingsley.

“I’m sure that Mr Weasley and Miss Granger wou-”

“No. Not them, not anyone I went to school with… or their immediate families. Whoever it is to be, doesn’t know who I am, now.” Harry cut Snape off.

“Might I suggest someone from overseas?” McGonagall put in.

Harry tilted his head.

“No.” Snape said. “No, I made a promise and I will keep that promise.” He shut his eyes for a moment. “I will adopt you.”

McGonagall and Kingsley froze in shock.

“What?” McGonagall gasped.

“I will adopt you.” He paused. “Unless you refuse?” The challenge was clear.

“Ah… and how is that going to work? You’re the Headmaster? Can you have a family?” Harry asked.

“I can.”

“And what will you tell the students, Severus?” McGonagall.

Snape laid his head back against the cushions behind him, a thoughtful look on his face. “It would take… you’ll need to see to the Potter estate… and the Black one, too. We’ll need outside assistance.”

“Snape?” Harry asked. “What are you thinking?”

“If you accept my offer? We need a cover for you. A Mother. Someone to have been your carer, while I’ve been here. But we’ll also need a separate cover for what you want people to think you’re going to do.” He took a tired breath. “We need an outsider to broker an agreement. Between what I want. What you want. What Hogwarts needs. What the Ministry wants. And there’s the public to consider, too.”

“And Gringotts.” Harry added.

“Why Gringotts?” Snape asked.

“Oh, you heard about the dragon thing?” Harry answered and two of the other three nodded. “That was us.”

“Us?” Kingsley asked.

“Yeah… Ron, Hermione and me.”

“What did you do?” Snape demanded.

“We broke into Gringotts and Bellatrix’s vault, took the Horcruxe, freed the dragon and rode it out.” Harry answered, shrugging.

Snape looked at him blankly. “You broke into Gringotts? And stole a dragon?” He asked in a voice as blank as his face.

“Yes.” Harry’s voice was just as blank.

Snape huffed. “Then yes, we will need a broker, an arbitrator.” He lifted his head and looked over at Kingsley. “Would you be so kind as to floo a message to Prince Manor? Ask Laurence to join us?”

“Who is he, Severus?” McGonagall asked.

“Laurence is Lord Prince. Technically, he’s my Uncle.” Snape answered.

“Technically?” Harry asked.

“He married my Mother’s sister. He’s a pureblood orphaned by Grindelwald. From an unimportant family. He took her name when they married. Mother married a muggle and was disowned.” Snape’s short sentences were the only signs of his discomfort. “The Prince family is patriarchal, the Head is always a male. So, Laurence taking the Prince name, allowed him to be Lord Prince. After Mother died, he offered me a place in the family again. I… I didn’t feel it was right. Not if I was to be successful at Dumbledore’s tasks.”

“Does Lord Prince know you were totally Dumbledore’s man.” Harry asked, tilting his head in question.

“Yes, he’s known from the very beginning. He was the Binder for my Oaths to Dumbledore.”

“And you think he’ll broker for us?” Harry asked.

“I believe so. It was he that brokered my Oaths with Dumbledore.”

“That doesn’t inspire confidence, Snape. You didn’t come out of that deal too good.” Harry objected.

“In comparison to what Dumbledore wanted? Yes, I did.” Snape disagreed.

“Huh? Okay…” Harry nodded to Kingsley. “Call him. whether he agrees or not, having an extra set of eyes on the snitch… not bad thing.”

 

It took almost an hour for Lord Laurence Prince to be able to join them, time they spent making notes, while Snape dozed. His injuries, exacerbated by Nagini’s venom, required hourly potions and dressing changes. This let Harry and Minerva see a different side of the dour Headmaster.

He was a dreadful patient and Harry barely held his amusement in check at the sight of Madam Pomfrey attempting to browbeat Snape into following her orders. After the matron left, Snape turned to the newcomer and greeted him as best he could while not rising from the sofa.

“Lord Prince.” He dipped his head regally. “Thank you for joining us.”

“Is it truly over, Headmaster?” Lord Laurence Prince asked.

“It is. He is gone.” Snape glanced at Harry as he answered.

“Good. How can I help? Are you ready to come home, yet?”

“I am. However… we have an issue.” Snape replied.

“An issue? What type of issue?”

“Watch the pensieve, Laurence. That will give you a base for us to work from.” Snape directed.

Laurence studied Snape for a few seconds, before nodding and turning to the pensieve. From the time he lowered his face to it’s surface, to the time he rose again, less than a minute passed.

“Right.” Laurence said. “And the issue?”

“Mr Potter came to us directly from hearing that conversation.” Kingsley answered. “He made a request of the Ministry, unfortunately… it’s one we cannot meet.”

“What was it?” Laurence frowned.

“I want my magic stripped from me.” Harry answered and Laurence gasped quietly. “Snape explained why it can’t be done and Kingsley offered an alternative.”

“And that is?”

“De-aging and bloodline conversion.” Harry replied without excess.

“Huh…” Laurence blinked and frowned. “And you called me… Why?”

“Snape suggested we have a broker. Between he, me, Hogwarts, Gringotts, the Ministry and the public. Someone fairly neutral.”

“I understand most of that, but… why Gringotts?”

“Me and my two friends? We were responsible for the dragon incident.” Harry shrugged.

“Right… So… What are you thinking?”

 

~~~~~

 

Harry caught a glimpse of red hair peeking around a corner, but after a speaking look at McGonagall, who indicated that she’d seen it too, Harry gave no reaction. He did however begin to speak, it was time to start the first stage of their master plan.

“So, Professor Snape will be staying on as headmaster?”

“That will be up to the Board of Governors, Potter.” McGonagall answered. “It would be a shame to loose him over such a small thing.”

“I doubt he feels that it’s small, Professor. He’s had to keep his son hidden from Voldemort, for the kid’s entire life. If the Board deny letting the kid live with his Father? Yeah, I could see Snape walking away. He’s had to give up so much, for us to win.”

“And you, Potter?”

“And me. I’m done, Professor. I asked Kingsley to have the Unspeakables strip my magic.” Harry huffed and glanced at the reflection in a window as they passed, the red hair had moved, they were being followed. “But they said it wasn’t possible, not without killing me.”

“No, it’s not.”

“No…” Harry sighed. “Pity.”

“Potter.” McGonagall chided slightly.

“Kingsley called in a broker, someone to arbitrate between what I wanted and what can be done.”

“And the result?” They passed another window and this time they saw the face of their shadow. Percy Weasley.

“De-aging and a bloodline conversion.”

“Why?”

“Professor, there’s very little about my time in the Wizarding world that’s been positive. My parents are dead, my godfather’s dead, my honorary godfather is dead, along with a lot of good people. I’ve been attacked by the newspapers, by teachers, by students and by Death-Eaters. I’ve been held up as a saviour one minutes and vilified the next. All because Dumbledore liked to manipulate people. Hell, he’s still manipulating people and he’s been dead for almost a year. The information that he left Snape to give me? He basically said that Snape was saving my life, just for me to be sacrificed to kill Voldemort. That’s why I never got any training, no matter how often I asked for it. I was to die at Voldemort’s hands.”

“But you lived?” McGonagall allowed her alarm to show in her voice.

“Yeah, I did. But only cause old snake-face screwed up. When he tried to kill me, his curse backfired thanks to my Mother’s protections, it tied us together, creating a link, remember all my headaches, that was the link. Then he took my blood for his resurrection ritual. That’s two links. So, when he killed me in the forest? That only cut one link and let me use the other link to come back. I had a choice, I could have gone on, joined  Mum, Dad, Sirius and Remus, but there was still that one link… it’s possible he could have forced me back and in doing that, he’d have had full control over me…” Harry trailed off. “But he’s dead now and both links are gone. There’s no coming back, not this time.” He sighed. “I’m tired, Professor. It’s barely been two days and already people are trying to make decisions for me, trying to give me orders, making plans from me future and all of that without consulting me, not even once. I’m done. I’m taking Kingsley’s suggestion.”

“Where will you go?”

“There’s some options. America was suggested, so was Canada, Australia, Spain and a few other countries. The broker suggested I stick with an English speaking family. I’m tentatively thinking about one family, but… I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I still need to sort out Gringotts.”

“De-aging, you said?”

“Yes, ma'am.”

“How… how far?” McGonagall saw Percy jerk in surprise, as though he hadn’t realised what that meant.

“Initial suggestions were only a few years, but then Snape suggested going younger, that I’d be able to do my schooling over again and hopefully actually enjoy it.”

“You didn’t enjoy school here?” McGonagall gasped.

“No, ma'am, not at all. First year, Voldemort was possessing our DADA teacher, who died when I touched him. Second year was Lockhart the Incompetent and a being bitten by a basilisk. Third year was dementors. Four year was the tri-wizard tournament. Fifth year was Umbridge. Sixth year, Dumbledore dragged me through Voldemort’s youth. This last year, I spent in a tent, hunting for a way to destroy snake-face. No, Professor. My time in the Wizarding world has had very few bright points.”

“What of your friends? Mr Weasley and Miss Granger? And Miss Weasley?”

“Ron’s… he’s… Stubborn. Jealous. If I don’t agree with him or tell him everything, I’m going dark, I’m acting like a Slytherin. Hermione? She’s stood by me through almost everything, but when it came down to it, her life had only been at risk, what… four times, since she started Hogwarts.”
“Four?!” McGonagall squawked. “When?”

“First year and the troll. Second year and the basilisk. This year, we got caught by snatchers and taken to Malfoy manor, Draco was good, he bought us time to get out. Then here at Hogwarts with everyone else.”

“You said ‘only at risk’, am I to assume that it’s been more than that for you?”

“Oh, sure. First year… um… like three times. Voldemort’s wraith in the forest, the troll and going after the stone. Second year… Lockhart and his inability to cast a proper charm and the basilisk. Third year, there were dementors on the express before I even got to school, then more dementors at the quidditch match and then we went after Sirius on a full moon. Remus turned and then there were more dementors. Fourth year, the three tasks and the cemetery. Fifth year, Umbridge sent dementors to Surrey before school and there’s her Cruciatus and then the Ministry. Sixth year, there was only one event in sixth year. So… all up that’s…” Harry paused while he counted. “Huh… sixteen. Sixteen times, I’ve been in a life threatening situation at since I started Hogwarts and that’s not including this last week.”

McGonagall went a little pale, she hadn’t realised it was that bad.

“Oh, my.” She raised a hand to her chest. “I…”

“Not your fault, Professor. Dumbledore was headmaster for all but one event and hell, he might not have been headmaster, but he was still present at the Ministry, anyway.”

In a window as they passed, Harry saw Ron join Percy and Percy put his hand over Ron’s mouth, whispering in his ear as he dragged Ron along with him.

“Miss Granger and Miss Weasley?”

“Like I said, Hermione’s only been in risky situations a few times, but she’s seen how many times it’s happened to me. You’d think she’d have a little confidence in me, wouldn’t you? Well, she doesn’t. She doesn’t see that I can think or make decisions for myself, not without her input. You can’t read a book or get a letter, without her snatching them off you. Don’t get me wrong… They’ve both been great, they’ve stood by me when so many others didn’t. But… they both think that gives them the right to plan out my future for me. It doesn’t.”

“And Miss Weasley? You were very close, last year.”

“We were, right up until Dumbledore’ funeral. That’s when I knew that Ginny and I were through.”

“How?”

“She told me that she knew that I’d never be happy until I’d hunted Voldemort down and killed him.”

“She what?” McGonagall stopped and turned to him, a frown on her face.

“She said I wouldn’t be happy until I’d become a murderer.”

“Oh, Potter.” She sighed, sadly.

“I didn’t. I didn’t murder him. I just turned his own spell back on him.”

“But for her to say such a thing…?”

“Yeah, it just made it so much easier to walk away.” Harry huffed. “You know…? Ron’s going to call me a coward, for leaving. And Hermione, she’s going to try and research a way of either stopping me or reversing it.”

“And Miss Weasley?”

“Ginny’s going to rant about it. How I saved her life and now we belong together. How’s she’s my biggest fan and that’s the biggest problem I have with her… I don’t think she’s ever got over her crush and I know that she sees me as Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, but she’s never seen me.”

“I see.” McGonagall commented quietly.

“Funnily enough… you all were the same, at first. I think… looking back… Snape was the only one that saw passed the titles, not that he liked what he saw, but he still looked passed them.” Harry saw Ron and Percy frowning, neither happy but both clearing thinking.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, Potter.” McGonagall said quietly.

“So am I, Professor, so am I.” Harry sighed.

“When…?” She didn’t finish the question.

“I don’t know. The broker’s gone to speak to the goblins, it kinda depends on what they want. I mean, we did make a deal with Griphook and he went back on his word, but we still pretty much destroyed their bank. I can’t see them being too happy about it.”

“And what of Mr Weasley and Miss Granger? Should they not be involved in dealing with the repercussions?”

“I was going to, right up until the broker cut me off. He explained that according to goblin law, we are all still under age, until we’re twenty-five, so that means that our parents, or guardians, are responsible for us, for us and any actions we might take. Like destroying their bank. If I bring in Ron and Hermione, their parents are going to be the ones to have to take responsibility. I won’t do that to the Weasley’s, they’ve already lost so much, their home, their son and some good friends. And Hermione? What she did to her parents? That won’t go down well with the goblins, so it’s-”

“What she did? What did she do?”

“She obliviated them, removed all traces of herself from their lives. Everything.”

“Oh, gods.” McGonagall gasped.

“Yeah. The goblins won’t like that, family and honour are the most important things in goblin society, according to the broker.”

“Yes, they most definitely won’t approve.”

“Plus, it’s going to be expensive. Then there’s the public scandal of a goblin not keeping his word and their bank not being as secure as they said it was.”

“Ah…”

“Yeah…” Harry sighed and kept walking, all the while keeping an eye on their two shadows. The two Weasley’s were now under weak notice-me-nots, maybe is was the shock of what they were hearing, that caused them to under-power the charms, maybe it was deliberate, to not draw Harry and McGonagall’s attention. Either way, Harry could see the shimmers where they were, almost like they were indistinct ghosts, which after consideration Harry assumed that was the intention. “I figure it’s going to cost a lot, almost everything I have… And that’s another thing that Dumbledore made a mistake about. He sealed my parents’ Wills, I had no idea they even had Wills, them or Sirius.”

What?! But… he witnessed them!”

“He did. I don’t know, Professor, why would he do that? Just to keep control over where I lived? That can’t be it. I really hope there’s more to it than that.”

“I don’t know what to say, Potter. I just… I don’t know what to say.”

Neither of them said anything more, they just continued to walk. Until a silvery/ blue patronus in the shape of a doe appeared and spoke with Snape’s voice.

“The broker has returned.” The doe then faded away..

“Let’s go back, Professor, I need to know how bad it is. How long this is going to take.” Harry closed his eyes and straightened his shoulders.

 

Back in the headmaster’s office, they joined Snape, Kingsley and Laurence. The five sat on hastily conjured seats around a small table placed in front of Snape’s sofa.

“Well, I good and bad news. Which do you want first?” Laurence asked, sipping at a cup of tea.

“Bad.” Snape answered for them all.

“It’s going cost a lot. Not as much as I’d first feared, but that’s due to their goblin breaking his word. Still… half a million ʛalleons is a lot of money. They took some convincing about Mr Weasley and Miss Granger, but eventually I managed them to get the to accept that you were the one to make the decision to break into the bank. The fact that you only stole one item and that item didn’t belong to the vault holder and was registered as a stolen item? That’s to your benefit. The fact that you freed a dragon and rode it out? Never even occurred to them.” Laurence just shook his head.

“The verdict?” Snape asked.

“Half a million ʛalleons to repair the damage and they get to claim the entire incident as a security training exercise and assessment gone wrong on account of the dragon and will publically announce they won’t be acquiring another dragon. Plus, you write a living Will and they’ll enforce it.” Laurence picked up a sandwich and took a large bite.

“I don’t suppose you were able to get account details?” Harry grimaced. That hadn’t occurred to him, earlier.

“Thanks to your letter of authority? Yes, I was.” Laurence retrieved a folder from his briefcase. “That actually took longer than the negotiations.”

“How bad is it?” Harry asked. “Please… tell me there’s enough to cover the repairs?”

“Oh and then some.” Laurence grinned at Harry’s sigh of relief. “Starting with your parents’ Wills. Most of the people named in their Wills are deceased, some with living families, some without. As per James and Lily’s instructions, you get to decide what happens to the bequests were recipients have died, I suggest passing the bequest along to the families of those that have them.”

“Agreed.” Harry nodded.

“Good, that brings your funds from the Potter estate, which I’ve had transferred all to one vault, to ʛ827,000 approximately. I say approximately as that is rounded down to the nearest thousand and does not include raw gold, gems, jewellery or artefacts.”

“That will cover the repairs by itself.” Harry sighed.

“It will. Then there’s the Will of Sirius Black, you godfather. That’s a little more complicated. While Black made a Will and had it verified by the goblins, we have to get the Ministry to allow it to be read. I have the details and can discuss them with you and you can make decisions to implement, but they can’t be implemented until the Ministry allows.”

“I’ll get that done this afternoon, or first thing in the morning.” Kingsley made a note for himself.

“Thank you, Minister. We’ll give you a copy of James and Lily’s Wills, they state clearly that Black was not their secret keeper, that Dumbledore had suggested a decoy and that Black be that decoy.”

“That’s going to hit the Dumbledore supporters hard.” Harry warned.

“It is, but so are his actions in regards to you, Harry. I can’t see away around it.” Kingsley agreed.

“Black was the last male that could claim the name of Black. Currently there are twelve males that can claim Black blood, within three degrees.”

“Twelve?” McGonagall asked.

“Degrees?” Harry asked.

“One degree, are your parents. Two, your grandparents. Three, your great-grandparents. And yes, twelve.” Laurence nodded. “Starting with the youngest and working our way up, we have…? Edward Remus Lupin, whose maternal grandmother is Andromeda Cassiopeia Tonks, nee Black.”

“Remus and Tonks’ son.” Harry nodded.

“Correct. Next is Harrington James Potter. Dorea Violetta Black married Charlus Ralston Potter, their son Fleamont is Harrington’s paternal grandfather.”

“Me?” Harry asked, eyes wide.

“You. Next is Neville Harfang Longbottom. Callidora Ursula Black married Harfang Longbottom and their son Benedict Wallace is Neville’s paternal grandfather.”

“Well, I didn’t see that coming.” Harry huffed in surprise.

“Oh, there’s more to come. Next is Draconis Lucius Malfoy. Draconis is the son of Narcissa Lycoris Malfoy, nee Black.”

“Malfoy.” Harry shook his head. “Should have guessed.”

“Next is Ronald Bilius Weasely.” Laurence paused when all four of his listeners gasped in shock. “Cedrella Belvina Black married Septimus Gawain Weasley, their youngest son Arthur Percival is Ronald’s Father. The next four are Ronald’s older brothers, George Fredrick, Percival Gareth, Charles Gawain and William Arthur.”

Harry shook with laughter. “Ron will hate that, he’s related to Malfoy.” He continued to chuckle quietly as Laurence went on.

“The last three are of course, the afore mentioned Arthur and his two brothers, Tristan Marius and Gawain Hector.” Laurence paused. “This is where it gets a little complicated. Sirius Orion Black was the last to claim the name of Black and he named Harrington Potter as his heir, which means as Harrington also can claim Black blood he can claim the title of Lord Black. But Harrington Potter is also the last to claim the name of Potter and as such, upon his majority, he can claim the title Lord Potter. Unfortunately… he can’t do both. The laws handed down by Merlin and Morganna state that no one person may claim more than one title. He can be Lord of one house and that’s it. And in Harrington’s case? Potter comes first, as he was designated Lord-Presumptive on his Father’s death in 1981.”

“So… what does that mean for the title?” Kingsley asked.

“With Harrington disqualified by right of title, the mandates of the House of Black come into effect. Which means that the youngest eligible male will become Lord-Presumptive and the next youngest will be his Heir and the youngest of-age male will be his seneschal.”

Harry thought about that for a few seconds, trying to work his way through it. “Oh, god, oh god.” He held his ribs and laughed, almost hysterically, after a few seconds, he was joined by Snape.

“What?” McGonagall demanded. “What am I missing?”

“Remus’ son will be Lord Black.” Harry laughed.

“The son of a werewolf.” Snape added.

“Yeah, but Ron…” Harry kept laughing.

“What about Mr Weasley?” McGonagall asked, still trying to figure out what she’d missed.

“If I may?” Laurence asked and Harry just waved at him.

“According to the mandates of House Black, Edward Remus Lupin is lord-Presumptive, his Heir and seneschal is Mr Ronald Bilius Weasley, both the next eldest eligible male andyoungest of-age male.”

“Ah…” McGonagall just blinked. “Why is that amusing?”

“Neville’s Heir Longbottom, as his Father’s still alive. Draco is Heir Malfoy, as his Father is still alive. Both of them are ineligible as the mandates of House Black declare that both already hold titles. Ron is the next in line. Malfoy got tossed aside for a Weasley!” Harry panted as he answered.

“Oh, my.” McGonagall had to purse her lips firmly to not join Harry and Snape’s outburst.

“Yep.” Harry sat up a bit. “So… what next?”

“Sirius Black left a few bequests, I suggest treating them the same as for the Potter Wills.” Harry nodded to Laurence’s suggestion. “Good, that leaves the bulk of the estate. He left that to you along with the title. Now, as we’ve just discussed it doesn’t work, that way with titles, but the finances do.”

“And the approximate value of the estate?” Snape asked.

“The Black’s are much wealthier than the Potter’s mainly due to Arcturus’ canny business mind, he died in November 1995, just months before Sirius. With the Potters’ deaths in 1981, their investments were slowly withdrawn, to avoid dramatic losses, as I would have expected Gringotts to have done. So, yes, the Black estate is significantly larger. ʛ2,749,000.”

Harry froze in shock.

“Did you… How much?” McGonagall gasped.

“ʛ2,749,000. Approximately. Again, not including raw materials and other sundries.” Laurence replied calmly.

Harry just stared, at nothing, his mind almost shutting down in shock.

“How would you suggest dispersing it?” Snape asked.

“Me?” Laurence asked and Snape nodded. “Uh… I’d… Given what you plan to do… I’d pay the goblins out of the Potter estate and use the remainder for any bequests outside of the Black estate. As for the Black estate? I’d keep aside an even million for after all this. The other million, I’d attach to the title, the rest, use for bequests relating to that house.”

“No. Uneven numbers. Otherwise, it may look too conspicuous.” Harry objected. “ʛ968,945 for me. ʛ749,000 for the bequests and anything else id divided half for the title, half to repair Hogwarts. Potter estate is… pay the goblins, the bequest and anything left over, is divided in half. One half for me, one half to Hogwarts. When this all comes out, release the details of the Potter estate, but on the Black estate withhold the information on my bit.”

“Very well. In addition to that, there are a large number of bequests to you. Most are in the aftermath of your parents’ deaths, but some are quite new. How would you like to deal with those?”

“Hmm…” Harry hummed. “Half to the rebuilding of Hogwarts. The other half is to be used to help those hurt, homeless, jobless or orphaned by the war. A trust to be administered jointly by… um… Neville, Luna, McGonagall, Snape, Andromeda Tonks, Lady Longbottom and Narcissa Malfoy.”

“Malfoy?” Kingsley asked.

“She lied to Voldemort, she told him I was dead. She asked me if Draco was alive and when I nodded, she lied for me.” Harry explained. “And when we were all in the courtyard? She called Draco to her and they left the castle, Lucius followed, they weren’t going to fight.”

“They could have fought for the castle.” McGonagall growled.

“No. Voldemort would have killed them.” Snape disagreed. “Lucius and Draco bore the DarkMark, it was his way of controlling his followers, if they didn’t do what he wanted or if they tried to leave, he killed them using it. It’s a horrific way to die. Them walking away, he wouldn’t have noticed, but fighting against him? That, he would have noticed.”

“Ah, we weren’t aware of that.” Kingsley responded.

“No. It was under Oath, none were able to talk of it, not even amongst ourselves, not while he lived. It’s how we knew he was not, technically, dead. It infuriated Dumbledore that there were things I just couldn’t pass along, not even via Legilimency.”

McGonagall snorted. “I can imagine.”

“Very well. And what of the bequests?” Laurence asked.

“I’ve been thinking about that, but I’ll need to see what Mum, Dad and Sirius wanted.” Harry warned.

“I do have a listing here…” Laurence pulled out a few sheets of parchment.

“Give me the copies of James, Lily and Sirius’ Wills and I’ll head to the Ministry and get them sorted, I only need seven Wizengamot members to sign off on the approval and it’ll be done. I’ll come back as soon as I can.” Kingsley held out a hand to Laurence, who retrieved a pair of files from his briefcase and handed them to Kingsley. “Thank you, I shall return.” He cross from the upper office were they’d been sitting to the lower office and the floo-fireplace.

“Some of these are obsolete.” Laurence turned his attention to Harry and slid a sheet in front of them. “Here, as you can see, both Lily and James left bequests to Dorcas Meadowes and Marlene McKinnon. Both they and their families were eliminated by You- by Voldemort….”

 

Harry laid his quill down. “Finished?” He asked, it had taken another hour to work out what was going where and to write it all up and now Harry had just finished adding his signature to the completed documents.

“Yes.” Laurence nodded.

“So… what now?”

“Now, we have a couple of options, Potter.” McGonagall said. “Unspeakable Underwood has suggested that we de-age you far beyond what is necessary, he feels that if we were to take you back to infancy, we may be able to eliminate any scaring. A bonus to that is, if we were to give you small doses of aging potion, we would be able to document your growth, much as would have happened if you had grown up in a proper family.”

“And…?” Kingsley gave an evil grin. “I though we might take inspiration from the past.” He paused dramatically. “If we were to use polyjuice potion, we might even be able to have two of you together. Or at least have some photos of Harry Potter and the new you, together.”

“That would mean… we’d have to bring someone else in on this. Wouldn’t it?” Harry asked.

“Is there no one you would trust, to do this?” McGonagall asked.

“I…” Harry bit his lip. “I know this is going to sound bad, but there’s only one person, that I think wouldn’t try to talk me out of this.”

“And that is?”

Harry huffed and shook his head. “I can’t believe I’m saying this… The only person that I’d even think of asking would be… Draco.”

“M-Malfoy?” Kingsley stuttered.

“Yeah, he’s the only one that I think could pull it off. Being me, I mean.”

“Why? Why him?”

“Ron, Neville, Seamus, Dean, George, Bill, Arthur? I can’t see any of them letting me do this without an argument. Then there’s… they’re the ones we’re trying to keep it from. And really? Draco and I’ve spent hours just watching the other, studying how we move, trying to get the better of each other. He’s the only one that could possibly pull it off and he’s the only one with the motivation to do it.”

“Motivation?”

“Sure. The end of Harry Potter? He’ll jump at it.” Harry laughed bitterly.

 

“Professor Snape.” Draco Malfoy greeted his former head of house and Headmaster calmly, but the sight of the new Minister for Magic and The-Boy-Who-Lived, made him pause and his body tense..

“Mr Malfoy. Thank you for joining us. Before going any further, there are two memories in that pensieve that I would request you watch.” Snape gestured at the pensieve and when Malfoy still hesitated, he went on. “The matter for which you have been summoned has no connection to the Mark on your arm.”

“Actually… it does, just not specifically Draco.” Harry  corrected.

“Please be quiet, Potter, I’m trying to gain his assistance and you’re not helping.” The last three words were spaced apart and said in a harder voice.

“I don’t need to help, once he’s watched those memories…? Like I said earlier, he’ll jump at the chance.” Harry shrugged. “But hey, sure, I’ll shut up.” He flopped back in his seat and gave Draco an overly dramatic wave towards the pensieve.

“You think? I doubt it, Potter.” Draco responded tartly.

“I do think, because I know what’s in there… and I know you, just like you know me. We don’t like each other, but we know each other, inside and out… Right?” Harry raised a challenging brow.

“How bad?” Draco dropped all pretence of animosity and let his curiosity show.

“What’s in there? Your Father would laugh his head off. What I’m going to ask you to do? He’ll equal parts horrified and amused.” Harry tilted his head. “And I think… he’d put money down to watch it… if he knew.”

“I see…” Draco nodded politely to McGonagall and Kingsley and crossed to the pensieve. He dipped his head and let the memories take him.

In the minute that Draco was inside the pensieve, Harry quietly sipped his tea. “Time’s getting away from us. It’s almost half-three, I was really hoping to get this sorted before dinner this evening, but I can’t see how.”

“Minty!” Snape called out and after the space of a heartbeat or two, an elderly house-elf appeared.

“Headmaster, how’s can Minty be helping?” The elf squeaked.

“My personal quarters, under the bed, there’s a sky blue box, bring it to me. You won’t be able to touch it, directly. Just float it out.” Snape ordered.

“Yes, Headmaster.” The elf popped away, but in seconds, walked back into the room, from a door that neither Harry nor Draco had taken much notice of, before then. “Here is the Headmaster’s box.” The light blue box floated in front of Snape, who with slightly trembling hands reached for it and placed on his lap.

“Thank you, Minty, you may go.”

“Yes, Headmaster.” The elf bobbed a bow and popped away.

Draco raised his head from the pensieve as Snape lifted his hands from the box. “Alright, Potter. What do you want me to do?” He sighed, he knew he was going to regret asking.

“I need you to be me.”

“What? How? Why?”

“For six hours, in public, I need you to pretend to be me. And no, we’re not talking polyjuice, Kingsley suggested it, but that only lasts an hour. Lord Prince, however… he has access to a resettable glamour ring. Add to that a timed, or semi-permanent, transfiguration of your vocal chords and no one’s going to know you’re not me.” Harry answered.

“And where will you be?” Draco had been right, he already regretted this.

“He’ll have taken a de-aging potion, done a bloodline conversion and set it with a Binding ritual. You are about to be one of only six people to know who Harry Potter will become. To the rest of magical Britain, he’ll be de-aged and adopted by a family from another country.” Kingsley answered.

“But where will you be?” Draco asked again.

“The six of us will leave here, we’ll go to Prince Manor, upon arriving we will all use a time turner to step backwards, I left there this morning at 10.45am, so if we aim for 11am, we should be fine. Then we’ll do the de-aging and-”

“I’m going to change that order.” Snape cut in.”

“Why? How?” Laurence asked.

“Bloodline conversions first. Then any alterations he may want. Then the de-aging and finally the intermittent re-aging.”

“But… won’t the de-aging remove the conversion potion from his system?” Kingsley asked.

“Normally, yes. But not with the potion, I have created.”

“You created?” McGonagall asked.

“Yes, I hade actually intended to use it myself once the war was done, have Laurence and Isadora become my parents and remove ten, perhaps fifteen years from my age. But having been publically acclaimed as… what did you call it, Potter?”

“Dumbledore’s man.”

“Yes… Dumbledore’s man.” Snape managed to say it with the barest of sneers. “Being acclaimed as such, means that I do not have to vanish and can continue to do as Dumbledore asked of me. To protect the children of magical Britain.” He tapped his fingers on the box on his lap. “My potion, my conversion potion, it’s not just one potion, it’s a collection of four separate potions. Together they allow many things to happen. First, an alteration acceptance potion. It opens the core and genetic blueprint for alteration, so that anything else done to the recipient is absorbed into the afore mentioned core and blueprint. Second are the actual bloodline conversions. One for maternal and one paternal. Third is the identity rewrite potion. Unfortunately that’s done with a blood-quill, but this quill is different again. The hand must be cut and the recipient’s blood must be in contact with both the recipient and the quill. This is to connect what is being written with the recipient’s core, it’s the only way that the recipient’s name can be changed, magically. The last potion is the setting potion. Anything done between the first and last potions, once the last potion is taken and activated, become permanent.”

He was met with silence.

 

~~~~~

 

On the other side of the castle Ron and Percy were also met with silence. Neville, Luna, Dean, Seamus and George sat stunned.

“And he’s going to do it? You really think he will?” George asked

“Yeah…” Ron sighed. “He will. Ginny’s… Ginny’s pushed too hard. We all have. You can only push Harry so far, then he becomes a brick wall and if you keep going… that wall crushes you.”

“And Ginny’s pushed too hard?” Neville asked, still reeling.

“Not just Ginny, all of us. We’ve all asked so much and we’ve give so little back. Ginny was just one nargle too many.” Luna sighed.

“What do we do?” Dean asked. 

“We make a choice.” Ron answered.

“Do we support Harry?” Percy asked.

“Or do we support the public?” Ron finished.

“Oh, that’s easy…” Seamus snorted. “The hard part is… what do we tell people?”

 

~~~~~

 

The bell for dinner chimed and the few dozen people staying in the castle made their different ways to the partially repaired Great Hall. Some paused and nodded when they saw Harry Potter walking alongside the Headmaster, who rode in what appeared to be a wheeled bridge-chair, that was being pushed by the Minister for Magic.

The trio were deeply in conversation and with little more than nods of acknowledgement they made their way to the staff table. There Kingsley and Harry helped the Headmaster stand and climb the few steps leading up to the raised platform and the table. The Headmaster tapped a hand on the table beside him and spoke quietly to Harry, the younger man shook his head for a moment, but as the Headmaster kept talking, he sighed, nodded and sat down.

McGonagall stood and called for attention.

“Good evening.” She said. “The Headmaster has asked me to make a few announcements. Firstly, tomorrow the curse-breakers of Gringotts will arrive. As a result, no one will be able to stay within the castle, so many dark curses have been cast within her walls that many areas are no longer safe. To that end… tents have been provided for those who wish to remain here and are erected on the quidditch pitch. No one is being asked to leave, merely relocate from the castle itself, to the pitch. Many of the tents provided have their own bathrooms, but for those that don’t, the quidditch teams’ changing rooms will be opened. Meals will still be served here in the Hall, at the usual times.”

There was a pause as a number of people nodded and shuffled in their seats.

“Secondly. Clean up and rebuilding is starting tomorrow. On the heels of the curse-breakers, we will have five teams. Team M, for materials, will follow the curse-breakers and collect all possible building materials. Team R, for recovery, will be next, they will recover any… bodies for identification and burial. Team I, will collect any intact items, wands, portkeys, paintings, statues, clothing, furniture. That sort of thing. We will need these items when we start reconstruction. Team C, will be the clean up, collecting the smaller rubble, broken items. It will be their vital task to get the spaces ready for the final team. Team B, the rebuilders. They will have the joyous task of repairing the damage left behind.”

A number of people began to whisper to themselves, but were cut off by a childish squeal at Hall’s broken doors.

“Papa!” A small black haired boy, all of four or five wriggled and squirmed in the arms of older man, who had obviously just entered the Hall. He lowered the boy to the floor and watched on, shacking his head, as the child ran passed those sitting at the two tables.

“Evan.” Snape’s voice was quiet, but full of emotion.

“Who?” Hermione gasped.

“Snape’s son.” Neville answered, the pieces all falling into place in his mind.

“What?!” There were a number of people that asked the same question.

“Snape’s son.” Neville repeated.

“You knew?” Hermione demanded.

“Not knew… Suspected.” Neville corrected.

By this time the boy had reached the steps and scrambled up them, he didn’t go around the staff table but under it, causing Harry to snort and cover his mouth at Snape’s quick glare. The boy popped up between Snape and Harry, he looked from one to the other before ignoring Harry in favour of his Father.

“Papa, Unca Laurie brought me, see, I’m here.” He reached for his Father.

“Gently, Evan, gently. Papa’s been hurt.” Snape’s voice was soft and almost warm, a shock to some listening.

“Ooh, ouchies?” Evan’s lip pouted.

“Yes, ouchies.” Harry leant over. “But he’s getting better. You just have to be gentle.” He lifted the boy up onto Snape lap.

“Okay.” Evan leant back against his Father and tucked his head against a black-clad shoulder.

McGonagall had stood quietly through this and now spoke up again.

“The Headmaster has issued an ultimatum to the Board of Governors. He has stated that he will no longer be separated from his son, Evan. If the Board will not allow him to raise Evan here, then Professor Snape will be leaving us.” There were gasps and objections and exclamations and not a few expletives. “Let us hope it does not come to that.” She continued once her listeners quietened. “Some of our fallen have been returned to their families, however some… have no one to claim them, so the Headmaster has requested that Hogwarts be given the privilege of standing for them, just as they stood for her. This morning the Minister for Magic came to personally inform the Headmaster that this request has been granted. After much discussion, it has been decided that our fallen will be placed in stasis and when we are certain that all those lost within the castle and her grounds are accounted for, we will hold a memorial for them. A small contingent of workers, under Professor Flitwick’s guidance, will set about creating a small chapel with mausoleum between the quidditch pitch and the lake, where our fallen can watch over our school in death as they did in life.” Her breath hitched. “In saying that… please… please do not be alarmed if you should come across one of our fallen that has joined the sentinels of Hogwarts. Our ghosts are a part of our history, be it good or bad.”

“I saw Lavender.” A male voice called out. “She was sitting on the Viaduct Bridge. She said she was waiting for Colin.” The voice cracked.

“Ooh, I saw Colin, he was down near the Portcullis, should we tell her?” An older woman asked.

“Thank you, Pomona, that would be much appreciated.” McGonagall nodded. “For now, that is all. Let us eat and find our way to our beds. We have much to do tomorrow.” As she spoke platters of food began to appear on the tables.

 

An hour later, Snape caught Kingsley’s attention and after a quiet word to Harry, Neville watched as the three began to move. Harry picked up little Evan from his perch on his Father’s lap and Kingsley provided the support for Snape to stand. Once back in his wheeled chair, Harry gently placed the child back on his lap and brushed the boy’s raven-black hair from his face.

A glance at Ron, saw Neville stand as the small group reached them.

“Harry? Can we have a word?” Neville asked quietly.

Harry glanced at the other two men and both nodded.

“We’ll wait for you at the base of the stairs, Potter.” Snape said. “We’ve still much to discuss before the curse-breakers arrive.”

“Yes, sir.” Harry sighed. “Over there.” He gestured to a corner of the Reception Chamber and was followed by Neville, Ron and Percy, with George, Dean and Seamus holding the other Weasley’s and Hermione back.

“Let ‘em talk, Percy needs this.” George said and after a few moments, the others reluctantly nodded and settled back into their seats.

In the corner, Percy hummed, before speaking. “Ah, Harry? I… um… I don’t… I owe you an-”

“Stop.” It was Neville that spoke, his back to the Hall. “I don’t know who you are, but you’re not Harry Potter.” Neville frowned.

“Why do you say that?” The person, that all but Neville thought of as Harry, said.

“Your eyes, they’re the right colour and all, but they’re different, they move differently. Harry looks at things in broad sweeping glances and you’re skipping from one thing to another. Who are you and where is Harry?”

“Uh…”

“We know what he plans to do and we want him to know that he has supporters.” Ron stepped in.

“Huh…” The fake Harry huffed. “Who?”

“Ron, George, Percy, Bill, Dean, Seamus and me.” Neville answered.

“Alright.” The fake Harry thought about it and decided to take a risk. “I’ll pass that along to the Headmaster. But… just so you know. It’s not a plan, anymore. It’s done. After tonight…”

“He’ll never be seen again.” Ron sighed. “Do you know…? Is it… Is it a good family? Will they love him? Will he be happy?”

“Yes.” Fake Harry turned to Percy. “Tomorrow after it’s announced in the Prophet, Professor McGonagall has letters for some people. But I can say this… You don’t have to ask his forgiveness, for your actions in the Ministry or for telling your brothers, he never saw it that way. Your actions brought you to where you are right now, in this Hall with your family over there, eagerly waiting for you to return. He wants you lot happy. Neville, he says Luna is a wonderful girl and suits you. Steer George towards Angelina, not Katie. Dean and Seamus, he said he approves of their choice, whatever that means. Ron, get away from Granger, he warns that she was a little too interested in your Mother’s stories of feeding your Father love potions.”

The three stared at fake Harry and huffed in amusement. “Trust Harry.” Ron moaned and shook his head.

“It will all come to a head in the morning, be ready. You may have some hard choices to make.” Fake Harry warned them.

“We’ve already made them.” Ron answered, firmly.

“All of us have failed him, at one point or another.” Neville said.

“Not anymore.” Percy swore. “He has our support, always.”

“I’ll pass that along. I’d best go, Snape’s not well yet and Evan needs his Father.” Fake Harry stepped back. “Goodnight, gentlemen.” Once out of the sight of those in the Hall, but still where the three could see, he pulled something from his finger and his appearance flickered. When that flicker settled, Draco Malfoy nodded to them and walked away.

Ron’s eyes were huge. “Did you see…? Was that really…?” He gasped.

“Ron? Where’s Harry gone? Ginny needs to speak to him.” Hermione demanded as she approached them.

“He had a errand to run for the Minister, Hermione. Leave him be, tonight.”

“Ginny needs to speak to him.” Hermione said again.

“Well, that’s just too bad. Right now, I think Harry would consider that Sirius being cleared of his parents’ murders more important than my little sister.” Ron answered just as firmly.

“Sirius? Oh, well, when he gets back, tell him to come and see her immediately.”

“No.”

“Ronald.”

“Oh, shut up, would ya?” Ron groused. “I’m not gonna tell him, he has to do anything, he’s done enough.”

“Ronald!”

“Enough! I said no. Enough.” Ron’s voice was hard and cold, making Hermione pause.

“What did he say?”

“Nothing for you to know.”

“Ronald Weasley, tell me-”

“No.” Ron cut her off. “I won’t. One, it’s none of your business. Two, if he wanted you to know he would have told you. Three, you are not my Mother, you are not my girlfriend and if you keep pushing, you’ll find you’re not my friend either.” Ron leant forward just a little, letting all the anger and frustration he had ever felt about Hermione and her manipulation show in his eyes. Hermione saw it and took a step back.

“If you don’t tell me, we’re through, Ronald Weasley.” She whispered.

“Oh, we’re through, alright. Be warned, Hermione Granger, be warned. I’m going to Madam Pomfrey, right now and requesting a potions check.” Hermione gasped. “And if she finds anytype of controlling potion… lust, love, infatuation, loyalty or any other type… keyed to you, Ginny or my Mother… rest assured I shall be getting the Ministry involved.”

Ron’s voice gave Hermione chills… and not the nice sort… his was a man that was ready to wage war… and it was pointed firmly at her. She knew it and so did he.

“But your Mother…”

“Our Mother only escaped Azkaban for potioning Dad, because there was already a betrothal contract in place. If not, she’d have been locked up, but… if she’s brewed any version of a controlling potion, she’s broken her parole and she knows what that means.” Percy was the one that answered. “She was warned what would happen. Dad was warned would happen. Neither of them seem to care. Well, my brothers and I do. We will not allow her, our sister or you destroy our family.” Like Ron, his voice was cold.

“You just go on back to them and warn them, Granger. If Pomfrey finds controlling potions in my system, their dreams are about to become nightmares.” Ron placed his hands on her shoulders, turned her around and gave her a shove in the direction of the Hall. “Let go find Madam Pomfrey, Percy.”

 

~~~~~

 

The early risers settled in the Great Hall, the small group consisting of Arthur, Molly, Ginny and Hermione whispered among themselves.

“Ron didn’t come back from the hospital last night.” Molly told them.

“You don’t think they found anything, do you?” Hermione asked.

“I doubt it, or we’d have heard by now.” Arthur answered.

“But where’s Harry?” Ginny wanted to know.

“Would Ron have told Harry?” Molly asked.

“I don’t know, I tried to push the distance between them, but…?” Hermione whined.

“They’re both so stubborn.” Ginny felt like whining, too.

“Oh, look. The Prophet, it might have some information about what’s to come.” Molly said. “Kingsley really should have spoken to you about the Ministry, Arthur.” She was so disappointed in the ex-Auror.

Hermione grabbed the newspaper from Arthur’s hands and quickly unrolled it. Her gasp of shock was echoed around the Hall as others saw the headlines.

 

HARRY POTTER… NO MORE!

The-Boy-Who-Lived, no longer Harry Potter, no longer British citizen.

Late last night, this reporter was summoned to the office of the Acting Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt. After being offered tea, I was told the reason for my summoning and offered an exclusive, on the condition that the Minister personally oversaw the writing and printing of this article and that I made a Magical Vow that the information this article contains, is to the best of my knowledge the complete and utter truth.

The first image is, as you can see, myself making that vow in the presence of the goblins of Gringotts. For those unaware a Magical Vow, such as what I made, is Binding. If I were to break this vow, Lady Magic would strip me of my magic and leave me somewhere between a muggle and a squib, meaning I would be muggle with enough of a core left to be able to see magical places, but not enough to access them. I would be less than a squib.

Now… on to why I was summoned.

HARRY POTTER APPROACHED THE MINISTER AND DEMANDED HIS MAGIC BE STRIPPED FROM HIM!

That’s right, that’s what I said. Stripped. I had not realised how badly we had failed him. Fortunately for us, what he wanted, is simply not possible. Once mature a core cannot be stripped, only Bound. And while, Mr Potter considered Binding, Bindings only last ten years, before needing to be replaced and also require a minimum of time between the Lifting and the Replacing of the Binds, as such he decided against this.

What he did decide on is shocking.

Bloodline conversions and de-aging.

As of nine o’clock last night… Harry Potter is no more.

Under the watchful eyes of representatives from the Ministry, Mr Potter underwent a complicated process that permanently altered him, his core, his name, his life and his future. Included in this process were a number of things. A de-aging. A maternal bloodline conversion. A paternal bloodline conversion. Physical alterations. Alterations to his core. Magically changing his name. The end result is that Harry Potter is no longer Harry Potter. He now has a different name, a different family, is a different age and looks different, too.

When I asked after his new identity, I was told that the former Mr Potter was offered adoptions by a number of families, whom he rejected instantly, stating that he would not select anyone that he currently knew. Options put forward at that time, included families from Australia, America, Canada, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Transylvania, New Zealand and South Africa.

My next questions were in regards to his new age and physical appearance. I was given a list of (the former) Mr Potter’s medical records. At this point the Minister was forced to summon a healer to tend me, as in my shock I had become violently ill. After the healers left, the Minister stated that (the former) Mr Potter would be de-aged to approximately one year of age, well below what he had been on that fateful Halloween. The intention behind this was to repair all the damage that had been done to his body and remove any evidence it may have left. Much of his current (prior to the conversions) appearance was the result of the damage done to him. His height, weight and body structure a direct result of the abuse by muggles and injuries received since his return to the Wizarding World. Only his hair and eyes were what nature intended. But no longer. I’m told that both his hair and eye colour have changed, as well as the fact that he no longer needs glasses.

I asked after his mental condition and was told that he had been asked multiple times, in multiple locations, if he was absolutely certain that he wanted this. His response was a clear and resounding ‘yes’. When asked how much he would retain after having such a dramatic alteration to his physical and magical self, the Minister was forced to sigh and acknowledge that they didn’t know, (the former) Mr Potter refused to tell them. But he did say that the conversion and de-aging process were not designed to remove his memories. We can only hope that the horrors he has seen can been countered by a loving family.

All that that can be said with certainty is that he chose a Neutral Family, not English-based, but that do, predominately, speak English. His family contains at least three other people, he will have both male and female role models, but he will be the youngest by some years. He is young enough to redo his schooling and is in as close to perfect health as it is physically possible to be. At the time of printing, (the former) Mr Potter is already in the care of that family and has been added to their Family Tree.

In regards to the Potter estate, the Minister informed me that (the former) Mr Potter had spent quite a bit of time wading through the mess that Albus Dumbledore made of the Potter and Black estates. From sealing James and Lily Potter’s Wills, to embezzling funds from both estates, theft of items and attempting to portion out funds without authority, attempting to sell properties, the list is… in truth, it’s quite frightening what was achieved, but what was attempted is horrifying. The fact that the goblins denied Dumbledore access to anything other than (the former) Mr Potter’s trust vault, without documented authority they refused his claims, stating that he’d sealed the Wills and therefore he could not prove that he actually had the right to act on (the former) Mr Potter’s behalf.

‘It took many hours to establish a clear picture.’ The Minister said. ‘Once we had that picture, it was then a case of what was Mr Potter going to do with it? Again many hours, but finally it was done, to his satisfaction. Gringotts are treating Mr Potter’s estate as a Living Will and dispersing where he requested. Those effected will be contacted in the next few days and will need to attend Gringotts to process their claims. In addition to these… bequests Mr Potter had created two trusts, one to oversee the reconstruction and refurbishment of Hogwarts and one to see to the resettlement of those adversely effected by the war.’

(The former) Mr Potter has given us so much and I, like many others, gave nothing in return but animosity and disbelief.

I would now say this to him…

“Mr Potter, wherever you are whoever you are, I give to you my humblest apologies and I swear upon my magic and life that I shall never treat another as badly as I have, you. I am sorry.”

Rita S Skeeter.

 

Up at the staff table, Snape sat with his in his arms, he expected to hear screams and denials, but there was nothing, people were in shock. Snape bent his had and listened to the young boy babble away to Professor McGonagall. The boy reached up and patted Snape’s face and Snape brushed Evan’s hair from an unscarred forehead.

He would keep his promise.