Months flew by after the basilisk incident and the only strange event in school had been Lockhart declaring he had defeated the monster of the chambers, creating a whole spectacle of himself. His declarations and plans for a new book did not last long because Rita published a scathing article about the man and the incongruence of the events in his self-proclaimed adventures. Many people had protested for and against him, but many proofs began to appear against the man from an unknown source. Four months before the school year ended, the man left the castle and Britain with all his money in order to not confront the heavy lawsuits against him. That had been the appropriate way of getting rid of Gilderoy Lockhart. In his absence, Madam Bones appointed an Auror who was on medical leave and in those few months, most of the student learned more than during the school year.
The goblins had contacted him a few weeks ago because they had found another soul piece. The problem was that it had been inside the bank itself, in the vault of Bellatrix Lestrange, Sirius’ cousin. From there on it was not hard to conclude who had created all those Horcruxes but they had no solid proof so there was always the possibility of them being wrong. However, he began making plans in case they were right and Voldemort was alive. He had suggested Sirius to seize Bellatrix’s vault and the Lestrange’s possessions as the head of the house of Black, the man had done so with such a delight Harry wondered if the Black madness was real. They used the cup to aid their device to locate another possible Horcrux faster.
The Guild was on their compartment, leaving the castle for summer. Dear Elizabeth had asked him to go to Switzerland because her best friend in school had brought her chocolate from there. However, that was not the problem, the crew that was going to join was. Between the youngest twins, Daphne, Draco, and Luna it was going to be quite an eventful trip, and that is if his sister had not invited the wayward princess once again.
“I hate you all,” Theo grumbled at Daphne and Draco who were talking animated about the trip.
“It is not our fault that your grandfather will have a heart attack if you ever tell him you are friends with Harry Potter,” Daphne scolded the boy with a slight smile.
“You will have to bring us a lot of sweets to make up for us being once again excluded,” Adrian said signalling Marcus, Terrence, Theo, and himself.
“Don't forget us,” Fred said.
“At least we are going to Egypt,” George said earning many curious looks.
“Our family won a prize from the newspaper and we are going to visit Bill,” Fred explained shrugging.
“If only ickle Ronnikins would stop being so annoying,” George sighed.
“He is still bothering you for your Christmas presents?” Blaise asked, incredulous.
“Yep, he has not stopped reminding us how selfish we are,” both said.
“Even though we got everyone something, even Perfect Percy,” George complained.
“It does not matter, but I think he will have something new to complain about with everything we are going to bring,” Harry told the twins, making them smile and high five.
“I also want a graduation present,” Marcus added.
“Did you get that job in the Ministry?” Harry asked him.
“I forgot to tell you, my father was so happy I had chosen to work in there that he managed to get me the position of Junior Undersecretary of the Minister. I have never been happier to bond with Tubby because she has more idea what to do, though I need a new place because I have had enough of dear father,” He stated blowing a breath of relief. “The thing is I am starting on Monday so no vacations for me.”
“Do you have a specific place to move in mind? Because if you don’t the castle has more than enough space available and a responsible adult will only do wonders for Sirius,” the boy told him and he widened his eyes in surprise.
"What is the man doing now?” Blaise asked.
“Being an Auror half time, and being annoying most of the time. He has not stopped talking with Remus Lupin so I tell the bare minimum to the man. So your supervision will be appreciated, Marcus.”
“I... Are you sure? I don't want to impose.”
“There are more rooms than I can count and more elves than I will ever need, ah, now that I remember, I have to find them another thing for them to do because they are getting bored,” he mused closing his eyes.
“Thanks, Harry, that saves me the job of tolerating my parents,” Marcus added the last part with a scowl.
“Still telling you that pure-bloods are superior, everyone else is trash, dishonour is on us for accepting such a low beings!” Draco enunciated dramatically.
“I see your father is still difficult,” Terrence told him.
“I have not written to him and neither did he, mother is the one who gave me permission to go,” he shrugged; nobody asked him more because it was common knowledge his relationship with his father was strained at best.
“I wish I could go but grandma doesn’t want me far away, uncle Algie asked me to help him in the greenhouses so I will be doing that. Though she is expecting you to pay us a visit when you return” he told Harry who nodded over his book.
“I will join for a few days, we are going to look for wracklesprouts with daddy after,” Luna announced reading something upside-down.
“Can you believe this rag?” Hestia exclaimed looking at the newspaper.
“They are reporting about the great Harry Potter leaving Hogwarts for summer,” Flora sneered with disgust.
“They are more of a gossip magazine than a serious newspaper,” Theo agreed.
“Let's make our ownª” Luna announced with a smile, surprising the Guild. “Mother got two licenses when she thought on the Quibbler, just in case another was ever needed. I think it will be useful for us to teach the magical people... Though we will need many things,” she mused and Harry looked at her astounded.
“A license is an invaluable thing Luna, if you use it for a newspaper now you will not be able to change it later,” Harry warned the dreamy girl.
“I know we will need it and maybe mom also knew; it will be our first step,” she announced with a smile, going back to her reading.
Luna had given the Guild an invaluable device and Harry understood that, deciding he would make sure their newspaper would be the best. Though he had no idea how to make one or how they even functioned nor what they would need so his project for this summer would be to obtain all the necessary information and materials. The reason only one newspaper existed in magical Britain was because the tight control the Ministry tried to keep on information, thus a publishing license was almost impossible to obtain and not even giving a fortune away would accelerate the process. That was the reason people like Dumbledore, or Voldemort and his death eaters were unable to have their own newspaper. Thinking about the school’s headmaster brought a frown to his features, for some reason the man was always observing him as if he expected him to do something wrong or go berserk. Snape had been doing the same, though only glaring at him when he thought Draco would not notice. He did not understand the men’s fixation with him but he confessed he was perturbed by it.
Sighing, he cleared his head because concentrating on those men would only make him paranoid. So he concentrated on the trip, he admitted he was curious about the country and it’s magical villages, if the sweets were as good as Elizabeth swore they were he was thinking on opening a new candy store, maybe it was time for Honeydukes to have competition... He would once again meet his little sister’s best friend, the older guy that insisted on befriending her or maybe it was the other way around but he did not care. It was good that Ciel had promised to never stop looking over his sister because if he trusts someone it was a house-elf.
“We already arrived,” Hestia interrupted him with a gentle voice and he nodded.
They walked out of the wagon towards where families were waiting. The older twins located their family fast and waved goodbye, the same happened with most of the members of the Guild and only a few remained.
“Don’t forget you have to be at my house in three days at eight-thirty in the morning” he reminded Draco, Daphne, and Luna who nodded and left walking to their families.
The usual ball of energy embraced him and he sighed, smiling at his aunt and he was surprised to see Sirius, who had apparently been on his best behaviour to be allowed to come. His aunt smiled at the younger girls behind him and hugged them.
“It is good to see you dears, tell me how your exams went?” she asked
“We were among the firsts,” Hestia told the woman.
“That is great, I will not even ask you,” she said pointing at Harry and for some reason, Sirius perked up.
“So pup, you did not get it all from Lily,” the man announced with a big smile. “That is great; none of the marauders were among the firsts of the year. I am so glad that at least you got something from Prongs,” his godfather said putting an arm around his shoulders; Eleadora sighed at the brainless moron.
“I do not even need to ask because he is always the first in his class,” she announced popping his happy bubble.
“Argh, Lily’s genes were too strong! I tell you!” the man exclaimed and grumbled.
“Whatever you say, let’s get going,” he said ignoring Sirius’ complaints of how much of Lily he had inherited, Eleadora took out a portkey and they left the station.
The trip to Switzerland had better than he expected for many different reasons and although the princess had been part of the group and he had seen Elizabeth’s best friend more times than he ever wished to, he had enjoyed it. He had been pleased to discover the new place and culture. The different foods were noted to be served in a future in his restaurants; the females had dragged them to the muggle part to see more variety and he admitted he had not been disappointed at all. He had plans for opening a sweets shop in the Diagon and getting the chocolate from here. The variety of cheeses gave him many ideas for the restaurants, while he was thinking about business, Elizabeth was in charge of buying all the souvenirs, an activity that she enjoyed a tad too much.
He also had plans of opening branch offices in Hogsmeade and Godric’s Hollow, he was sure the inhabitants would appreciate it and Ragnok would be even happier than usual, which was not much unless gold was involved. Seeing the number of shops in the muggle side of Zürich gave him the idea to open a shop where only wallets, purses, and briefcases would be sold, though he needed to get more ideas on the different designs. Maybe some kind of perfume shops where he sold muggle and magical samples? This place gave him so many options to try...
Before he went back to England he needed to pay a visit to the Asian Empire, thus he sent the entire group back sans two of his elves, Ella and Mars. That is how in some twisted and bizarre way he had an unexpected conversation with Hwasa about his sister.
“I know you worry about her,” she began when they were strolling in the grounds of the imperial castle. “Elizabeth I mean, but her best friend will not harm her in any way, he even asks her permission for a hug,” she informed him with a small smile.
“I would not allow her to be harmed, but I admit I am worried,” he said looking at the setting sun.
“You have matured since the first time I met you,” she said raising her chin to look at his face.
“It is not my fault that you ended with the height of a dwarf,” he teased the girl and earned a swat in the arm and a scowl.
“I have an average height!” she exclaimed indignant, a fact that made him smirk. “Whatever, that is not what I meant, when you were still a squirt you believed everything had to be done your way. Now though, you are allowing Elizabeth to take her own decisions and your friends to get closer to you,” she whispered looking at the beautiful colours of the sky before dusk.
“I wish I could say the same,” he murmured taking a few steps to avoid the coming hit. “But I guess you have somehow matured... Thank you for guiding Elizabeth, I would have no idea how to do that,” he told her making her smile a little.
“Of course you wouldn’t, you are a social inept... She may be naive but she is far from stupid, she knows all you shielded her from in the orphanage. There is no way she would be able to adore you more,” she commented.
“I did what was necessary, but thank you... Are you ready to receive the mark in winter?” he asked, enjoying catching the girl by surprise for a change. “Your grandfather asked me whether I thought you were ready and my mother wrote about it, did you know your grandfather offered her one?”
“I had no idea,” she sighed “As far as I knew only the royal family received it.”
“That is true, but he wanted to ensure my mother joined the family. She rejected it because she did not like tattoos,” he chuckled in amusement at the strange logic his mother tended to use.
“I think I would have gotten along with her,” she whispered and gave him a small smile. “I am ready to receive it, my grandfather wishes me to assume the throne when I turn eighteen.”
“I know, don’t forget your most trusted allies,” he reminded her while pointing at the Yosei that were flying around fixing the garden.
“I will follow your example and delegate everything I am unable to do,” she promised and he huffed in amusement.
“Whatever, let’s go back,” he told the girl when the last lights of the sun shone on the grounds.
They had walked in silence and he appreciated the company, he really was thankful with the girl for guiding Elizabeth where he had no idea how to proceed. It was good to see the lively girl had more insight than he imagined... Yet he pitied the old man because with all the chocolate she had bought the tranquillity in the palace would not last long, it was good he was returning to Britain that night after dinner.
When he returned the castle was immersed in chaos he did not understand the reason of, especially considering the late hour. Sirius was pacing around looking furious, Marcus was sitting on a couch with a stony expression, his aunt was hugging a distressed Elizabeth, and the twins were holding each other’s hands. He was about to yell at them in annoyance for them to answer the reason for their worry until he saw the newspaper in the coffee table.
By Rita Skeeter
My dear readers your eyes are not playing you a trick! I am under the duty of reporting this horrible event that the Ministry wanted to hide from the population, exposing us to grave danger. Three days ago was a mass breakout of the prison where loyal death eaters were freed, among them are: Bellatrix Lestrange neé Black, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, Corban Yaxley, Theodred Knott, Will Jugson, and Augustus Rookwood among many others (see page 7 for the complete list of escaped prisoners). Those people were dangerous death eaters who took the life of dozens, including my dear brother.
The Lestrange family and Bartemious Crouch Junior, who was discovered to be alive last year and has avoided capture until this moment, are notable for their cruelty. They were the ones who tortured Frank and Alice Longbottom to insanity after the war was over, they were part of the inner circle of the Dark Lord during those dark times. Antonin Dolohov and Corban Yaxley were one of the most feared death eaters for his cruel yet effective tactics that has cost us many innocent lives. Theodred Knott was feared for his horrible torture methods that only a few Aurors survived. The atrocities these people have committed make me shudder in fear now that they have managed to escape their imprisonment.
The head of the DMLE is doing what she can and even more with the depleted resources of the department. However, the Minister has not deemed her efforts enough and has tasked the fearsome Azkaban guards to look over our safety, forgive my sceptical view on his decision my fellow witches and wizards, but I do not believe Dementors make the best protection. In an interview with Madame Bones, who was the only person in the Ministry willing to inform us, I received preoccupying information about how many limitations the ones charged with our protection had been subjected to.
RS: Thank you for agreeing to this interview Madam Bones.
AB: Nothing to thank me for, I also agree the population should be aware of the dangers so they are prepared.
RS: It is good to know you care about our security. Is there any suspect behind the breakout?
AB: There is, we believe Crouch Junior is responsible. When we examined Azkaban we found Bartemious Crouch Senior body, he was tortured to death.
RS: (At this moment my blood chilled, only a monster would kill their own parent, yet only a monster would submit his children to the imperius for years.) I see, is there any recommendation you can give the people for them to be safe?
AB: It is quite painful for me to admit this, but we don’t have enough Aurors in the department and our resources had been cut to almost naught. However, we will give our lives to protect our people, but witches and wizards can help us in return. Always have your wand with you and if you go out, walk in groups of three or more.
RS: I have no words to thank you for this interview Madam Bones; the information will be useful for the people.
AB: I have one more thing to say Rita; though revealing this will probably cost me my job I believe it is necessary. This is not meant to create panic, but to remind the people that the best fighters during those dark times were not Aurors but brave people who defeated large groups of death eaters by being prepared such as Lily Potter, Filius Flitwick, Gideon and Fabian Prewett among others... The Dark Mark was on the sky when we arrived, we do not want to believe He-Who-Must-not-be-Named (note that she used his name) is back, but we should prepare for the worst and hope it is not what we believe.
RS: (I was frozen in shock and fear, so it took a couple of minutes to compose myself.) I have no idea what to say.
AB: I do not want to believe that is true, I lost all my family except for my niece last war, but I will not blind myself and risk the people who have entrusted me their protection.
RS: I thank you for your honesty Madam Bones and I promise I will take all your recommendations to heart.
The same way you must be paralyzed in fear I was too, no one wants to remember those dark times, but we have a duty to ourselves, to our families, and our children. Let’s not blind ourselves the way we did last time and let's be ready to act. I promise you, my fellow citizens, I will do my best to inform you and I will follow the recommendations Madam Bones gave us. I believe she will put our security before anything else and I trust her to be in charge of the DMLE because I have no doubts she will go beyond her duty for our safety.
Harry finished reading the article with some surprise, he would have to congratulate Rita for it but there were more pressing matters. The first was security; he would send his elves to talk with all the werewolves and vampires that worked with him to see if they knew more people he could hire to be constant guards in the Alley, using his businesses as a disguise. He would also offer them a safe place, last time, an innumerable amount of casualties had been werewolves and vampires, not this time he decided. The next priority was to order Rita to investigate why the DMLE was so limited and publish a scathing article to begin dealing with it... It would also be good to donate to that department under the condition that only Madam Bones would be able to decide what to do with the money, it was good his business was thriving because he did not have the money to finance a war and he would not touch his family money. Next would be hiring more first generations, as much as there were available and give them appropriate training in the areas they specialized to have his own people in case of an emergency, he would offer the werewolves and vampires the same option, it would be good to have a healer on each team...
He was no fool; a massive breakout was not made on a whim. It required careful planning and a capable leader, and Madam Bones implied Voldemort was back and there were also the Horcruxes. He had no idea how the man had managed to survive or even if he was alive, but he rather take all the precautions necessary than being caught unprepared... He also needed to speak with Ragnok to offer his outer guards some kind of protection because he found unacceptable the way many goblins had lost their lives while guarding the bank last time. He would need to speak with Ares and Mars about the hide from the basilisk to see if there was enough to get the goblins enough under armours and if possible get others for his friends and family. Besides they were in charge of the security, though the castle was under the fidelius it was not enough, he had wanted to wait a few years until he increased the power of the wards in the castle for the amount of magic it took but now it was necessary. He would also ask his elves to increase the power of their wards and considering the number of elves that lived in the castle the place was going to be the safest place in Europe.
Lucius Malfoy was in the border of a panic attack. Dangerous death eaters had escaped Azkaban a few days after Draco returned from his trip and the dark mark on his arm had turned pitch black two weeks ago. The problem is what he was going to do. He could see the resolution in his son’s eyes, he had already chosen a side and it was not the one he wished. Narcissa had been cold and they had only one conversation since that day, one he would never be able to forget.
“The mark has turned black once more,” he whispered to his wife, who blanched.
“I will not allow you to bring that man here,” she said after a moment of silence. “Last time you took all the decisions but no longer Lucius, if you go back to him I am leaving and I will take my son with me. I have no doubts that Draco will not join your Lord, and I swear if you go to him, Lucius... That will be the last day we are a family,” she promised and walked out of their room.
He was no fool although he sometimes acted like it, the days his child came back from school before his trip he had been cordial and he could pretend their relationship had not deteriorated at all. However, the day the article came out Draco had not even spared him a glance, he was spending most of his time out of the manor and it was rare for him to come to sleep. A few days ago Draco had Taken Narcissa out and they had not returned until late hours... He noticed her favourite brush was no longer in their bathroom and many of her clothes were missing.
His family was ready to leave him and that fact made his heart ache... When he was young he had believed in what the Dark Lord preached and promised; he had enjoyed his time as a death eater and lived under those ideals until now. But what could he do? A firm knock on the door of his studio interrupted his musings and a serious Draco walked in. His son was only thirteen but he looked so grown up...
“I need to speak with you, father,” he announced and took a seat on the couch opposing his.
“Very well, speak then,” he said and cursed his biting tone, blaming the alcohol he had been consuming.
“I don’t know whether or not Voldemort is back,” he began, making him wince when he said that name without fear. “But I know death eaters are planning something, the question is whether you will join them or not,” the boy stated with cold eyes
“I do not see the importance of my allegiances,” he answered trying to avoid the bloody discussion.
“But I do, because I will be in the side Harry is in and that means the opposing side to the death eaters. I am not planning on living under the same roof with an enemy,” Draco declared and his heart broke, at last, he understood the seriousness of the situation and took a decision he should have long ago.
“I will not join them,” he proclaimed feeling drained.
“While I am relieved to hear that I must ask what stance are you planning to take because not joining them is not enough if you are planning on aiding them in another way,” his son said, it was clear he was no longer a boy, somehow he had matured and he had not noticed until now.
“They will try to murder me if I do not comply,” he tried to explain.
“Is that your answer?” he asked and he felt a pang of raw pain tearing his chest.
“I don’t know Draco, it is hard to risk my life in such a way,” he said in a placating voice but the disappointment in his son’s eyes was impossible to miss.
“Mother and I will be leaving the manor until you decide, if you decide not to aid them in any way we will come back,” he said and left his studio, he did not even said what would happen if he joined or had any kind of dealings with them because there was no need, now he had to decide between his family and his lord, his time was running out.
Theodore Knott was sulking for missing the trip and because Harry had not arrived at the country yet when he read the newspaper his grandfather had left and blanched, this could not happening. His father had somehow escaped prison; his grandfather had left early when the man did not leave his rooms until midday... With shaky steps, he walked to his room and locked the door.
“Mink,” he whispered, calling his friend.
When the elf appeared his worst fears were confirmed. He was sporting a bandaged arm and pale face.
“Master’s father is back,” the little one whispered looking scared.
“I think it is time to leave, do you wish to come with me?” he asked Mink and he nodded so fast he had no doubt his friend was scared. “Pack everything you need and I will do the same,” he told the little elf with a serious voice, a loud knock interrupted their planning and he nodded, the little elf popped out.
“Theo! I have excellent news!” his grandfather announced and he fought with himself to control his expressions. “Your father is back!”
“I did not know he had been freed. Is he at St. Mungus?” he asked.
“Of course not, he escaped that prison; he and his friends were brought here late last night.”
“It is good to know that grandfather, but we need to get them medical attention. After being in that place for so long it is dangerous to leave them without appropriate care,” he said sounding concerned with great effort, in his excited state he did not notice his grandson’s tense posture.
“You are right; I have raised you well... I will contact the Travers and Carrows; they can get a healer or imperius one,” the man muttered and he left his room.
As soon as the man left, he filled his backpack with what was necessary, when he was ready Mink popped in with a sack in his hands and a familiar golden key along with what looked a heavy stack of parchments.
“I cannot leave with Master without a plan; he needs money so here is the family vault key. He can take out money with that and here are the parchments his grandfather keeps hidden,” the elf said, looking up with shining eyes.
“You are so intelligent Mink, it didn’t even occur to me. Now let’s go, first to Gringotts and then we will go to the Potter castle,” he announced and took the hand the little elf was offering.
That day Theo left his family, deciding the only people who had ever cared about him were his friends. That was the day he decided he would stand beside Harry on whatever side of the conflict he took.
Ever since the day the massive breakout news took place, Marcus Travers had been worried out of his mind, avoiding his family for as long as possible. Now, however, he had a letter from his father requesting his presence to discuss important family matters. He had spoken with the Guild, they took all the necessary preparations for the inevitable encounter, and plan for any possible scenario, there was no way he would ever be more prepared. He apparated to the gates of his house and opened the door walking inside, his heart stopped when he saw two persons he had never seen, but their hollow cheeks and crazed eyes betrayed them. He saw a woman with an empty gaze casting different healing spells, it was obvious she was under the imperius and that one of his parents had been the one who cast the unforgivable.
“Ah, Marcus, it is good you found the time to visit,” his father said with a cold voice that did nothing to ease his nerves.
“I apologize, father, the Ministry is in chaos and our dear Minister is hiding while I am in charge of doing all the paperwork. Being honest, I have not even had a decent meal in days,” he said and his father’s stance relaxed at seeing the exhaustion in his son.
“It is good to see you, Marcus,” his mother greeted.
“Likewise mother, if I may ask, who are our guests?”
“Of course, they are our friends, Petro Gibbon and Alexis Rosier,” his father introduced and the young man did not miss the way his father's wand was ready to take action.
“Pleased to meet you, it is good that you are receiving appropriate care,” he told the males.
“So this is Marcus... Your father was worried you will not join our noble cause,” he one in the right hissed with a distorted version of a smile on his face.
“Getting rid of the trash marring our world is my cause,” he announced and his parents smiled.
“Good, let’s begin with this one. Your parents freed the idiotic elf so we were bored these days, give me your wand,” the other ordered and he raised an eyebrow.
“I think your stay in Azkaban has affected your senses,” he said and before his father could interrupt, he continued. “Madam Bones is keeping all the healers under scrutiny, as a matter of fact, I am sure if this one does not report soon Aurors are going to raid every house using her as an excuse,” he said and his father nodded in understanding.
“Now I understand why it was so hard to find a healer, I will erase her memory when she is done. Good thinking Marcus,” his father congratulated and he nodded.
“I believe it would be better if I took her with me to the Ministry and performed the charm there, making her believe she was being followed and sought refuge,” he said and his father nodded in approval. “Is this what you wished to discuss?”
“Among other things... Our Lord is back son, he is back! He has not summoned us but or mark has never been clearer,” he said showing his son the dark mark in his left arm. “It is good you believe in our cause, when he summons us I will request a mark for you Marcus, soon you will have the honour to join us,” he announced.
“I have no words to thank you father,” he said forcing a smile. Suddenly, he noticed the woman’s wand hand trembling, she had broken the curse. “It is time to return to the Ministry and unlike you father, I am in no position to delegate,” he announced, looking at the woman and shaking his head in the slightest for her to notice.
“It is a relief that you will join us, in your position you have access to the information we will need. However, do rest a little, you look tired and it will not be good if my only son were to fall ill,” his father said with a proud smile, wand no longer in his hand.
“Also take care father; I will try to come sooner next time.”
“Don’t worry Marcus, you were working and we need you in that position,” his mother announced.
“I will be leaving, take care,” he said and grabbed the woman by the arm guiding her outside. “I will not harm you,” he promised in a whisper and she nodded, he apparated them to the Potter castle.
Marcus understood he and his family were on different sides in this war, he would ask Harry what he should do. However, one thing was clear, his parents were a threat to his real family and threats needed to be disposed of.
It had not been a long time since he had joined the Guild and yet he felt closer to them than to his own blood. With that mindset, Adrian Pucey smiled when his father talked about the new era that would arrive soon while the man drank his morning Tea, which he ordered Tiki to lace with the draught of the living death. Slurring a few words his father fell asleep on the table.
After the mass breakout, the Guild had joined and made plans, pinning the most dangerous backers of Voldemort where a few of their parents were named. Draco had his father under an ultimatum and if he joined the man was going to fall terribly ill, thus passing his responsibilities to his wife, who was on Harry’s side. Theo had already left his house and was living in the castle, his grandfather believed he had sent him to live with some relatives for a few years or until he was old enough to be useful. Marcus had been avoiding his father but he was going to see the man today, in the worst of cases he would need to be put under the imperius and have a terrible accident. Terrence, being the youngest son was under no immediate danger, until three ex-prisoners were taken to his house. His parents were under the idea they had sent their youngest son to Beauxbatons for the rest of his education and summers under the strict school program could only be beneficial to him. The next threat was his father, while they were not the richest, he had a great amount of influence in the Ministry, and it was unfortunate he had accidentally overdosed on the draught of the living death. His elf would impersonate the man and be quite vocal about his newfound ideologies, he was sure Tiki would make a wonderful job.
Not for one moment, he doubted this was necessary. Harry had given him a real family; he had given him somewhere to belong and a reason to strive to be better. No one doubted that what Harry had their best interests in mind nor that everything he did was for their protection; they would have probably done it themselves seeing how much of a threat they represented... No threat to the Guild was allowed to exist.
Harry Potter was reading his mother’s notes about the basics of blood magic in the library, putting a marker on it he closed the journal and looked around. The whole Guild was in the castle, he had given each of them complicated tasks but they had done it to perfection. He had talked with the people that worked with him and he had been pleased with the results, most of the werewolves in the country were now under his protection, as well as three vampire covens that were reluctant to join death eaters. First generations were hired to teach werewolves that were denied education, considering Greyback’s sick obsession with turning children there were much more than expected. Ollivanders was content with all the new wands he had sold and even offered to teach a particularly fascinated teenager the basics about wandlore stating that he had no children of his own and needed to pass his knowledge to the next generation. Sirius had been horrified when he realized how many people were denied education and the last vestiges of adoration he felt for Dumbledore were gone, he hoped he could manage to open Remus’ eyes too.
His aunt and godfather were teachers for the ones who wished to specialize, it was good his aunt had lived a long life and learned many arts while Sirius discovered his talent to pass knowledge. He had even contacted professor Flitwick to see if he could work as a duelling teacher. The man came to the castle to meet his possible students before accepting, noticing the amount of teenagers he had never seen at Hogwarts he had accepted with no further thought under one condition, that he could contact a few trusted friends of his to teach as well. That is how they got a curse breaker, an unspeakable, a runes expert, and a potions master that had lengthy conversations with his aunt about things he did not understand but swore to study in a future. The Guild also benefited from the number of available teachers and study partners.
Harry did not know he had earned the loyalty of a whole race for treating them as people, he did not know he was labelled as a valuable ally by the vampire covens for the selfless protection he had offered, he did not know he was labelled as a friend of the Goblin Nation for his uninterested gifts to ensure their protection. He never knew the depth of impact these changes caused in the future.
The twins had returned early from their trip, when their parents caught the news about the breakout they returned that same moment. They said a lot of people were coming to the burrow; they identified themselves as members of some Order. Taking advantage of that situation they came every single day and left before dinner. The twins did not mention it but he noticed how hurt they were because of their parent’s lack of attention. He had given them as much support as he could, making sure they felt as the invaluable family they had become.
Neville like the twins was left most of the day alone; his grandmother was too busy in the Ministry during mornings and with her friends during the evenings. He also returned to his house before dinner and came the moment his grandmother left. It was good to have him at the castle; the boy that once had been chubby and shy was now assertive and looked healthier than ever.
Draco had been disappointed about his father and had been ready to send Dobby to dose him with the draught of the living death after a week of no contact after they left. The man, however, had surprised them when he swore an unbreakable vow to never again join or aid in the slightest any death eater. Lucius Malfoy had power in the Ministry and they were going to use that to their advantage.
Dear Luna was occupied with the planning of their newspaper, taking care of every detail. Her father had been an invaluable source of information and help, aiding his daughter with her new project. The youngest twins, Elizabeth and Theo helped when necessary. Thinking about the boy brought a proud smile to his face. He would never forget his pale face when his elf popped them in the castle, nor he would forget the loyalty he had been given. Theo had left his family without looking back and the documents he brought would be useful in the extreme in the near future.
Daphne had decided to stay with her family and take an active role, her father was no immediate threat but they were ready to take him out. She used her position as heiress to probe around his father’s acquaintances to see if she could find out more about their loyalties. People with alcohol in their systems were easy to talk with. She also used her mother’s acquaintances to see what stance they would take in the upcoming conflict, Daphne had somehow turned into their informant.
Terrence had also left his family when they received three fugitives, considering his family had little to offer they had only changed their memories. Adrian, on the other hand, had volunteered to dose his father, stating he was a threat if left alone. Now, his loyal house-elf impersonated the man in the Ministry and they used this to their advantage. Blaise had also returned earlier than expected, but that was because his mother had found a new husband. His mother cared about nothing that was not related to her fortune, so he had no troubles with her. However, Blaise was almost living at the castle, thing that he considered positive as Harry felt the more members were in the safety of his home the better.
Marcus was the member that had surprised him the most. He no longer had doubts about his loyalty. The day he had gone to meet his father he had returned with a frightened female who had given them all the information about the people she had been forced to heal. Thanks to this now Madam Bones had an excuse to have curse breakers checking the healers, who had been either murdered, tortured to submission, or been put under the imperius during the last war; effectively making sure they had fewer chances of surviving, and thus, fighting back. The worrying news that he brought with him was that Voldemort was back and they needed to be ready. Last time he had been capable of so much because he had been prepared and the people had not, as simple as that. This time they would make sure he was unable to gain the power he did last time... With this in mind, Marcus had put his father under the imperius to act as a spy for them when Voldemort called him.
What also intrigued him about the information Marcus had given him was the dark mark that connected death eaters and Voldemort. It reminded him to the one the royal family used to mark their members and ensure the Emperor was not betrayed. It was important because it could not only summon the ones with the mark, but it could also relay short messages. A fascinating topic he would have to research about, maybe a mark for the Guild would be useful.
Aside from that, knowing the man was back Harry was taking a more active role, he would never forgive the man for murdering his mother and he was going to make sure he paid for her death. He had ordered Rita to write a controversial article about why was the DMLE regulated and about the laws that had been passed in the last decade, aiming to harm Voldemort’s followers who were working inside the Ministry.
Sirius and he were planning to donate enough money to get the DMLE running once again, Madam Bones had been impressed with many of the people under his protection and she promised to accept them in the trainee program. With all the potions they had access to; their lycanthropy was no more troublesome than a nightmare one time per month. The others would be divided into different places, with the daycare been the most guarded. He had made his personal mission to hunt down Greyback and ensure he was disposed of when he noticed the number of children he had turned. His aunt had agreed with his decision wholehearted and contacted many hags to watch the movements of the man. Apparently, children were precious for hags, for most were unable to conceive their own, thus were more than happy to help to get rid of the trash.
“Harry,” Sirius said interrupting his musing and he looked at the man. “I just came back from the burrow, Dumbledore requested if he could use Grimmauld place as the order’s new headquarters.”
“What was your answer?”
“I said I would have to speak with you... I told Remus the house was habitable again and they are under the impression we are living there,” he sighed at his friend’s obvious lose mouth.
“Let’s continue making them believe that though we will have to ward the family library. With so many people I don’t trust coming and going, I don’t doubt there may be one with sticky fingers... Is there anything valuable?”
“No, I even gave the elf to Narcissa who somehow managed to bring him back to his senses. The house has plenty of rooms and I have no doubts many members of the order will stay every once in a while. We have to be in the place for a couple of days to pretend we are living there,” his godfather said with a defeated sigh.
“Not necessarily, there are three rooms in the main floor; I will ask Nile to make them look as if they belong to us and add a bathroom to each so if they don’t see us they will believe we are in our rooms. We can tell them we get our meals from the restaurant so no need to buy food and they will get no excuses to stay for longer,” he explained and the man brightened. “If Dumbledore wishes to put the house under the fidelius do not forget it is your house and you will be the secret keeper or they will have to search for another place,” he said and he nodded.
“I talked with Moony today and he wants to see you, I know that he is acting like a fool but give him a chance,” Sirius almost begged.
“He was the one who told Dumbledore we were living there the moment that you mentioned it. I can meet with him but as long as he has no intentions of changing he will be treated the same way, he expects me to tell him everything and yet refuses to tell me anything about himself or my parents,” he reminded the man.
“I know... I just keep hoping,” he said with a weak smile and left the library.
“Harry,” Luna said and approached him. “Our newspaper is almost ready to be published,” she announced with a smile that he reciprocated.
“That is good, any ideas on how to make it known?”
“Mmm, I have been thinking that in the article Rita publishes in a few days she should announce she is leaving The Prophet and joining ours.”
“Excellent idea Luna, do you have any ideas for the names?”
“Yes, the weekly edition will be called Magic Times Herald, the one delivered on weekends will be the Sunday Herald,” she announced with pride.
“Excellent Luna, thank you for your hard work, feel free to contact Rita,” he told the girl and she rewarded him with a beaming smile.
“I will; I also divided us into four groups to write different sections of the newspaper. I will also contact the editors we hired to be ready,” she informed him and left with small jumps
Albus Dumbledore arrived at his house in Hogsmeade and poured himself a glass of firewhisky. These last weeks had been stressful, to say the least, death eaters had escaped Azkaban but until the moment there were no signs of their whereabouts. The idiot of Fudge wanted to place Dementors in Hogwarts in an effort of earning some kind of approval from the magical population that was about to kick him out of his job and until now, he had not managed to gain enough support to avoid the situation. Another thing that worried him was Voldemort; Severus had shown him the dark mark that once again was clear. He knew he had somehow managed to come back and he had no idea how to deal with him, the last war had been bloody enough and he was not proud of all the sacrifices he had been forced to make.
When he had asked Sirius to use his house he was hoping to somehow gain access to Harry Potter and try to guide him. He was no longer sure the young boy had been the one to open the Chambers of Secrets, feeling guilty for accusing the boy based on his own experiences and comparing him with an evil man. He had been slightly put out when he had suggested Sirius to put the house under the fidelius, but he been denied the moment he had offered himself as the secret keeper. It seemed Sirius had also matured and no longer held him in a pedestal, he only agreed to the fidelius and the man was his own secret keeper; he even denied giving him a parchment with the directions stating that he needed to meet any person who would be allowed in his house. Starting from that nuance nothing had gone right, during the meetings of the order he never saw young Harry. The time Molly had offered to move and take care of the males by his suggestion. She had been rebuked with quite harsh words by an irate Sirius, who had Minerva’s support. Remus had made no progress and the man seemed more depressed each time he saw him, in a desperate attempt of making sure he and Harry bonded he hired the man as teacher hoping the repercussions were not too grave.
Another thing that worried him was information he had received from some of his contacts about creatures disappearing from the radar. He was not sure how they had managed that but they did, vampires and werewolves alike were nowhere to be found. The dangerous beasts had taken too many lives last war and he was sure that they would do so again... He had not wanted to push for the reform that made almost impossible for creatures, especially werewolves to get a job or even access to the basics but it seemed it would be necessary. The few innocent amongst them would be sacrificed for the greater good.