Chapter Thirty: Karkaroff, Elves, and Etc.
"I'll get it," Seamus said as another knock sounded at the door. "C'mon in, Luna, join the party," he greeted the arrival, with a failed attempt at his usual lightheartedness.
Luna smiled weakly and slipped past Seamus into the room. "I just got done with Karkaroff."
"Karkaroff?" Harry frowned.
"Mmm, Dumbledore was going to boot him out. Snape had a fit. . .dunno what that was about exactly. Professor Lupin and I smuggled Karkaroff back into the castle. He's up on the top floor of our tower. The Lady Ygraine helped me with a passage that leads into Hogsmeade. . ."
"Which one?" Harry asked idly.
"Which?" Blaise stared, once again a bit thrown by the Gryffindors' knowledge of some of things they shouldn't have had a clue about. "How many are there?"
"Er, I know of three. But this one has to be different; Remus knows about the same passages I do."
Blaise shook his head in amusement. "You should have been put in Slytherin."
"Hat wanted to, I didn't want to go to Slytherin. I'd met Malfoy and he'd already been sorted to Slytherin, and I knew enough to know that my parents' murderer was in Slytherin and all Slytherins were supposedly evil."
Blaise snorted in disgust. "That's like saying all Gryffindors are good."
"The bastard that betrayed my parents and managed the ritual to resurrect Voldemort was a Gryffindor. One of my father's best friends," Harry returned. "I was eleven and only knew what little I'd been told."
"Dumbledore doesn't know Karkaroff is in the castle," Luna blurted. "The Gray Lady helped me talk to Hogwarts and the castle agreed to hide him. Snape wanted to keep him at Hogwarts and Lupin wanted to keep him because Snape wanted to, so he's in the top of our tower."
"Bloody hell," Seamus muttered.
Harry fought down the urge to laugh. If he started he might not stop and they'd have to cart him off to St. Mungo's. Actively hiding a fugitive, and a foreign one at that, could be added to his list of illegal activities. A not quite sixteen year old girl, a ghost and a castle outsmarting one of the greatest wizards alive? Rated right up there with three third years and a time turner foiling not one, but two (if you counted Buckbeak) Ministry executions in one night. Well, the Dementor's Kiss might as well be called an execution. The mindless, soulless body didn't live all that long after the Kiss it slowly starved to death. The axe used on rampaging hippogriffs would be kinder. Messier, but quicker. An Avada Kedavra even quicker than that. But oh, no no, the good citizens of the wizarding world couldn't get their lily white hands dirty; leave it to a sixteen year old boy to take care of what they bloody well should have twenty, thirty, forty years before.
"And Snape was worried about Professor Lupin's potion," Neville muttered. "Say, hiding a fugitive Death Eater in a school is a bit more illegal than brewing a potion."
"You can say you were under my evil influence. I've already got dragon smuggling, illegal use of a time-turner, helping a fugitive escape, oh and Buckbeak, preventing a dangerous creature from being destroyed. . .and probably more. I'm evil. I'm a horrible evil influence that led you all astray," Harry sighed dryly. "Which reminds me--Seamus, you've got to owl your mother and let her know the latest about your father disowning you. The less it's thought that your parents have anything to do with you and that we're Romeo and bloody Juliet on the outs with everyone they'll be safer. Why bother to make a target of them if we're not going to care?"
"Shouldn't that be Romeo and Mercrutio or Tybalt or something?" Blaise smirked. The expression didn't touch his eyes, which were worried and a touch afraid.
"Shut up, Zabini." Harry gave the dark haired Slytherin a scathing glare. "You can send Hedwig if you want, I won't have anything for her to deliver until late tomorrow."
"Okay," Seamus sighed, then accio'd quill, ink, and parchment, settling down to write.
"What exactly did your Aunt have to say?" Harry wanted to know as he collapsed back onto the sofa.
Crack! Crack! "Harrypotter sir! MasterDumbledore Sir is refusing to let the Hogwarts elves do anything for you. I is not being working for Hogwarts anymore. I is having my sock if Harry Potter sir is taking it. And Winky is having her sock too."
Harry stifled a groan. Hermione might decide never to speak to him again after all; granted, it hadn't been much of a conversation, but it had been something and both Hermione and Ginny had caught on to his deflection when Shacklebolt had come over to them. It had been enough to make him hope he hadn't completely lost them as friends, and that even maybe eventually Ron would talk to him again.
"There's nothing in the apprenticeship contract--we can't bring a house elf with, but there's not a thing against acquiring one after the apprenticeship starts," Blaise pointed out.
"A Slytherin loophole if there ever was one." Harry shook his head. "Very well, I'll accept your socks. But you get spending money equal to what you're paid as free elves at Hogwarts now."
"Winky is not wanting spending money!" the house elf wailed. "Winky is a good elf! Winky is wanting to be being a good elf with a proper master and a proper family!"
"Well then you can put it in a chest and let it sit until you decide what you want to do with it. Just---please. Hermione will make my life hell if you don't accept that."
"She is being a bad girl!" Winky declared.
"No she's not. She's just very against slavery of any form. She's Muggleborn. She thinks like a Muggleborn. That's all. She's not bad, just--Hermione," Harry countered.
"You is not going to be giving us socks to make her happy."
"I'll only give you socks if you are wanting them--the exact sock you give me now, because you can wear whatever kind of clothing you want. I insist on that," Harry promised.
Winky shook her head. "That is not being proper!" she declared, scandalized.
"Fine, but you wear clean neat fancy whatever you decide you're going to wear." Harry rolled his eyes, not quite able to believe that he was negotiating this with Winky and Dobby.
Dobby and Winky heartily agreed. Harry accepted their socks and decreed it was only those particular socks that would set them free if he gave them back. Once the socks were safely locked into his trunk Winky and Dobby disappeared with a ~crack~ to get the requested snacks and drinks and their own few things.
Luna assured him that Karkaroff was set for the night at least. Harry sent her off in search of the Gray Lady, wanting her to send the ghost up to talk to them. Luna gave the boys a slightly worried look, but left.
"You know anything about my uncle?" Blaise asked.
"Which one? Isn't there a lot of them?"
"The one you're hiring," Blaise snorted.
"He's your uncle, he's not a death eater, he's an attorney and he's not under Dumbledore's thumb. I know the important things. Even if he's awful, it's better than having someone answering to Dumbledore behind my back."
"What about his name?" Blaise shook his head, amused.
"What is it. . .I need to find time to write him tomorrow. . ."
Blaise laughed. "I've already owled uncle Ty for you."
"Thanks," Harry said quietly.
Dobby and Winky reappeared with enough food to amount to a seven course meal for ten. "Master Harry, Bin is being sending this for you."
"Who is Bin?" Harry frowned.
"Bin is being the Head House Elf of the Slytherin estate."
Harry nodded and took the package. Great, more to go through. He accio'd his mother's diary.
Seamus gave him a curious look.
"See if there's anything in there which matches up with what Blaise's Aunt has to say. Maybe we can figure out what she did, as well."
"The things from Gran arrived. . ."
"Go on then, hurry back," Harry nodded. "Wait a minute, Dobby, the Slytherin estate?"
Dobby's head bobbed. "Yessir, MasterHarry sir, we is not being taking from the Hogwarts kitchens, we is getting things from the Slytherin Manor."
"Oh, okay," Harry managed. Well, at least the Hogwarts House-Elves wouldn't be snitching on Dobby and Winky for raiding Hogwarts Kitchens. He didn't even try to sort out how Winky and Dobby had gone to the Slytherin Estate or where it was, or what it was. He simply left it as something to do with House-Elf magical nature. The less he dwelled on various inheritances at the moment, the better.
"Bin is wanting Dobby and Winky to come back and be bringing Master Harry some things that were Master Salmoneus' for his heir."
"Er. . .only what will fit in one trunk, Dobby," Harry sighed. That would keep Dobby and Winky and the House Elf at the Slytherin Estate, wherever or whatever that was. He really needed to get Blaise's Uncle to come and start sorting through this soon. What Hermione would say, since it seemed she was still willing to talk to him, was far higher in importance in his mind.
Igor Karkaroff sat in his tower chamber, looking around. Furnishings and muggle novels had begun appearing. The rooms were tastefully luxurious, not crossing the line to opulence. A large bath, sitting room, and bedroom; it was his prison.
Sanctuary, yes. He'd be safe enough here for the time being, but it was still a prison--at least, it felt like one. He was simply biding time, awaiting execution, it seemed. Death was certain once he was outside Hogwarts grounds, and certainly he wouldn't be here any longer than it took for Albus Dumbledore to realize he was still on Hogwarts property.
Dumbledore had wanted him to spy. Had at least wanted some sort of intelligence to buy his sanctuary. Unfortunately, Igor had nothing to barter as far as information, and he'd be killed before he had so much as a chance to beg forgiveness. Dumbledore had been honestly sorry, but could not risk his position and the children of the school hiding him. It was honestly what he'd expected. He'd only had a little hope of finding asylum. Times were simply too dangerous.
The strange girl and the ghost had done their best to settle him in. They seemed to believe that he would be safe here, and that Dumbledore would have no clue that they had secreted him away. Silly child. He wasn't going to argue with a night or two of rest in relative comfort, and with luck he'd have a chance to talk to Severus before he was forced to leave.
"Blaise?" Harry said questioningly. The dark haired Slytherin seemed more interested in picking at the hem of his tunic which, honestly, was disturbing. Blaise was the most composed of them all.
"Bad?" Seamus interrupted, looking up from the letter he was attempting to write. "Course it is."
Blaise's eyes narrowed.
"Wot?" Seamus snorted. "It's got to be. Your mums were all younger than us when they cast this allegiance binding. Takes a lot of power and desperation to make it as strong as it seems with you four, add the fact that kids younger than us managed to make it in perpetuity down the first born line. . .c'mon now, mate, of course it's bloody awful."
"Real helpful, Seamus," Harry muttered.
"It's the truth now, isn't it?"
"You are a raving loon, Finnegan," Blaise shook his head.
Seamus gave Blaise a lopsided grin that didn't reach the Irish boy's tired eyes. "Perfectly sane people write home to inform their parents they want to be all but disowned for the sake of politics, like I'm doing right now."
"Remember about the mirror."
Seamus nodded, and quickly scribbled a bit more onto the page. He frowned at it a long moment, then shrugged. "Mostly have to wait to explain until I get the mirror," he sighed, the words directed at no one in particular. Then he called Hedwig over and fastened the letter to her leg. She gave Harry a haughty look.
"Oh c'mon, girl, don't be like that. It's very important that Seamus' mum gets that letter for all our sakes, alright?"
Hedwig gave Seamus a dubious look but hooted her agreement.
Seamus was well used to Neville carrying on conversations with Trevor and Ron, Harry, Hermione and Ginny all 'chatting' with Crookshanks on occasion. He also knew very well that Harry carried on conversations with Hedwig much the same as Neville did with Trevor, albeit not usually in the middle of the common room. Blaise, however, was not. "That bird answered you!"
"Course she did." Harry looked confused. "She's very clever, aren't you, Hedwig?"
That got puffed feathers and a very superior hoot out of the bird.
"Bloody hell, I swear sometimes Trevor answers Neville. . .he at least croaks back at the right places sometimes." Seamus grinned. "And Crookshanks lets you know in no uncertain terms what he thinks whether you ask or not. He's part Kneazle, though."
"With Neville's affinity to plants it's not that shocking he has a bit of a touch with animals, or at least his familiar. And the damned Weasley line is known for their sensitivity--look at the idiot's two oldest brothers--curse breaker and a dragon handler--"
"And Harry's a Parselmouth. That gives him a little more likelihood of having a way with a familiar more than most."
"When you two get it sorted, would one of you explain this to me?" Harry interjected dryly.
"It's not as rare as all that, Blaise. Lots of people develop affinities to their familiars." Seamus rolled his eyes.
"Rare?" Harry groaned.
"He's just being a twit; you've just connected to Hedwig more than most people do their owls. Same with Neville and Trevor. Not that shocking really, that you sort of tied them a bit closer with your magic. Supposedly it's a rare talent for someone to be sensitive to magical creatures, but it's not. Sensitive to all magical creatures, yeah, that's rare, but developing a connection with your pet a bit, no. Unless yer a Slytherin and too dignified to talk to your owl or cat, or in Ravenclaw and it doesn't seem logical." Seamus rolled his eyes. "Think a minute--half of Gryffindor tower have a link to their pets. Most of Hufflepuff do too. Anyone can do it to a degree if they bother. Now, magical sensitivity to the extent to be a curse breaker or dragon master, that's a different kettle of fish altogether. Have to have the affinity specifically for it and have it in spades."
"Like Neville with plants or even Snape with potions," Harry nodded.
Blaise considered that a moment and nodded slowly. When it was put that way, it did make sense. Most Slytherins didn't 'coddle' their owls. They simply saw to it that it was taken care of and ordered it to deliver post. Ravenclaws were much the same, if only that it didn't make sense in their normally logical brains to chat with an owl or cat or toad, except perhaps for Luna, and Merlin only knew what she considered logical; no one else seemed to be able to make heads or tails of her way of thought.
Neville returned, dragging a large trunk.
Blaise gaped and wondered why Neville hadn't just levitated the trunk or shrunk it, but Gryffs always seemed to be doing things the hard way, and perhaps it was best that Neville didn't tempt fate by using a charm on the trunk. He might accidentally blow it up, which could possibly cost them a few more pieces to sort out the mess their mothers left them with.
Harry looked at Blaise expectantly.
"Lot of it doesn't make much sense. . ." Blaise began, awkwardly.
"That would be too simple," Harry snorted.
Blaise gave him a dirty look.
"Sorry, but it's the truth."
"Well, it wasn't just one vision, and it wasn't just Aunt Aisling's. They found some written by great-Aunt Brigid, and some really old ones. One was supposedly from around the time of Merlin about a Serpent and a Lion and a bunch of nonsense about a Lady and a crystal. She couldn't remember all of it, or wouldn't tell me all of it."
"Heir of Slytherin, Heir of Gryffindor," Neville muttered.
Harry nodded grimly. "What else?"
"There was something about a basilisk in the oldest prophecy but Aunt Ais said they never figured that one out. . ."
"The basilisk in the chamber of secrets?" Harry snorted. "What about what your aunt saw herself."
"The first vision--was your mother as the Dark Lord's queen torturing Snape, Neville's mum and Draco's mum to death."
Harry winced. "That was when they were eleven?"
Blaise nodded. "There's something to the Slytherin line, that the true heir couldn't be killed by another member of the family. . ."
Harry nodded slowly. "Mum chose me. I was still a baby, he could only kill one of us then. . ."
"She knew it, but he probably didn't."
"He should soon if he doesn't already since I've been publicly named the Heir of Slytherin in the Prophet thanks to Malfoy's wedding."
Blaise nodded. "There was another thing about a crystal and something about shadows. . ."
"Wait, crystal? Voldemort is looking for a crystal. The other night. . .that's why the LeStranges were put under the Cruciatus," Harry interrupted thoughtfully, not really shocked that it all came back to Voldemort. It always did. Voldemort and Dumbledore, one or the other, and the damned scar on his forehead.
"Aunt Ais said the visions always changed it was almost always something different what she saw. Still. Disjointed pieces and really awful things. She thought Lily and Alice might have kept some records, but it had been so long she couldn't say exactly what she all saw. . .not exactly. Just lots of death and horrible things and it always changed. The only thing that didn't change was that from the time they made the pact there was a mark in Lily's aura that signified a young violent death. And. . ." Blaise looked reluctantly in Neville's direction. "Madness for Alice. Narcissa had the mark of violent unnatural death in hers."
"Well, she was right on those counts."
Blaise gaped at Seamus at that tactless comment.
"Bloody good thing Malfoy isn't here," Harry muttered, rolling his eyes at Seamus. "He'd go off the deep end hearing that, Seamus."
"Well, if nothing she saw ever happened then it could be nothing but a lot of bunk. Seers don't always see the right of things y' know," Seamus pointed out, reasonably. "Visions don't usually come all nice and orderly. Lots of symbols and bunk and can be misinterpreted badly."
Harry sighed. "But what else was there? That more or less explains why they did it themselves, but why the firstborn line bound?"
Blaise looked awkwardly at Harry. "One of us, one of their sons--Aunt Aisling didn't say which, or she didn't see which, became even worse than the Dark Lord in her visions."
"Right well, we'll just have to keep watch on all of you," Seamus nodded. "Could be any of you. I've seen you blow up, Neville; you can be bloody scary when you finally crack. Blaise, you technically are a dark creature. Harry, if you ever went dark you could end the bloody world no doubt, eventually. And Malfoy was raised to be a Death Eater. So it doesn't matter really which of you it was she saw, if she saw anyone in specific."
"How did you become something that resembles a voice of reason, Finnegan?" Blaise snorted.
"He's right though, if any of us went dark--" Neville nodded slowly, not denying the possibility that any of them could. Malfoy was simply Malfoy. He was raised with the Dark Arts. Neville himself understood the draw; he wanted nothing more than to do to Bellatrix LeStrange what she had done to his parents.
"Aunt Ais was really shaken. She wouldn't look at me, she kept her eyes closed almost the whole time I talked with her," Blaise continued quietly.
Figured out twenty odd years too late that they royally fucked up, Harry thought bitterly. They'd just been girls though, as Seamus had pointed out, younger than they were now.
"Aunt Ais gave me her school diary, and letters, copies of the research that she did on the runes I have." Blaise swallowed. He looked up and locked eyes with Harry. "She was scared. Scared of me, scared of all of us."
"Or scared for us," Harry countered, though he didn't think Blaise's assessment was too far off. He was scared of himself more and more often. Why shouldn't others be?
"They couldn't manage it." Neville swallowed. "So it's left to us to stop You-" He swallowed again and winced as he forced himself to say the name, "Voldemort."
"Did she happen to tell you anything actually useful or that we couldn't figure out for ourselves, like what the devil the binding spells were exactly?" Seamus wanted to know. "That makes a difference, you know."
Harry thought about asking for a second, but dismissed the thought nearly as quickly as it came. He really didn't care what kinds of binding spells there were and what they did in general. He simply wanted to know what was on them. Anything more was just added to the whirl of useless information and odd details already pushing at his mind and threatening to make his head explode.
Blaise looked at Neville. "She thought they had stopped Voldemort. We weren't supposed to have to do it."
Neville nodded slowly.
"Which explains why no one bothered to tell us anything until it was way too late?" Harry sighed.
"I think she's going mad, half of what she said didn't make a bit of sense. Talking about Serpents and Rowan trees and crystals and just. . .they anchored her."
"And the only one left is my mum," Neville said quietly. "She doesn't even know her own name, so she can't be much of an anchor."
"So. . ." Seamus prompted.
"So we go through their diaries and whatever letters and note tablets of theirs we can get our hands on and try to sort out exactly what spells they did. Research prophecies involving Serpents, Rowan Trees, Lions, the Slytherin, Gryffindor and Gentry families, try and sort out what the bloody hell the crystal is and kill You--Voldemort" Neville surmised.
"Glad it isn't anything impossible," Seamus snorted.
Neville and Harry both threw the nearest cushion they could get their hands on at Seamus' head.
"Malfoy?" Blaise asked, looking at Harry once the trio of Gryffindors had settled back down. A pillow fight--granted not much of one, just a couple cushions launched at Seamus, who deserved it--now?
He supposed the Gryffindors were more used to this sort of thing. Harry would certainly be well used to the fact he was in the middle of the war with Voldemort. Seamus and Neville had already seemed to have accepted their place following right along behind him. The three of them weren't shaken by the idea it was going to be left to them to ultimately defeat Voldemort. Harry had had since he was eleven to come to grips with that, or at least as much as he could. The other two certainly had had long enough to decide they'd be right there with Harry, though now there wasn't a choice for Neville at least. Blaise, however, was a lot more shaken. Despite the proximity of those on both sides of the fence in the coming war and the past one, Voldemort and his Death Eaters had never been something that actually had any connection with his life, or with his family. In the simplistic way of childish thinking, it hadn't been his problem. Now he was smacked full in the face that it was his problem, very much so, thanks to his Aunt and the Allegiance Bond with Harry and Neville and the resulting bond to the castle.
"Right," Harry snorted. "Let's tell him that our mums did this knowing that it would kill my mother young, leave Neville's insane, and bring a violent death for his mother in order to defeat Voldemort, except it didn't work and there was a vision of one of us being the next dark lord even worse than Voldemort? He's paranoid and distrusting enough already."
"He'd have a big drama that we are all thinking he's the next Dark Lord," Seamus snorted. "Actually, I think he's the least likely of the four of you. He's a little weasel, but he's such a self-serving little weasel that actually making a stand and taking a side when he didn't have to--yeah, right."
Neville nodded. "We leave out that for now. Just the long list of things Aisling saw, minus that, and the crystal and prophecies."
"Crystal of what would be nice to know," Harry grumbled.
"Aunt Ais thought you had it."
"Me?" Harry blinked.
"In a vault or one of the properties or somewhere."
"Blaise, I have no bloody idea what I have. What's in my school trunk, my supplies for the apprenticeship program, Hedwig, my Firebolt and my mum's school trunk. There's an account at a Muggle bank and a vault at Gringott's that was my parents personal account."
"You've known for five years at least you were the heir of the Potters--" Blaise stared, incredulous.
"Well, I thought the vault in Gringott's was it," Harry shot back irritated.
"You weren't even curious to find out if it was or not?"
Harry just shook his head, not having the words. After a decade in the coat cupboard under the bloody stairs, inheriting a vault of gold had seemed like he'd gained the world. He couldn't have imagined there was more. Truthfully he still couldn't, though he knew there was. Knowing something existed because of a stack of parchments and account ledgers that he'd only glanced at, not even skimmed over, and actually knowing it was real and yours was another thing entirely. Especially for a boy who couldn't remember having new clothes that fit, bought just for him, until his Hogwarts uniform during his first trip to Diagon Alley with Hagrid.
Luna returned not only with the Gray Lady but Millicent, Draco, Pansy and her sisters as well. Harry groaned inwardly, but he supposed it was for the best. It had already been made clear that they were expected to be in the staff room for breakfast by the note delivered by Fawkes at supper time.
The two little ones were quickly settled into Seamus' bed and back to sleep, having been carried by Millie and Draco. They hadn't even completely woken up when they were brought to Harry and Seamus' rooms. Pen, however, stubbornly parked herself on the floor in front of her big sister and refused to leave.
"Penelope." Draco glared down at the girl partially leaning against his shin.
"I buried my mother today. And I know whatever this is, it's part of why. Part of something to do with him!" Penelope glared fiercely.
Harry sighed and looked at Neville, who nodded slowly. It was unclear if Pen Parkinson meant her father, or Voldemort, or both with 'him'. It really didn't matter. Neville and Harry both understood the little girl's stubbornness and her determination that she be allowed to do something. That was how they had felt at her age, and how they felt now. Voldemort had destroyed their families, too.
"You can stay for now," Harry said sternly. "But if we say you need to go out for a bit you will, without argument."
"POTTER!" Draco snarled, outraged.
Pansy frowned at Harry a long moment, then looked at her little sister. "You'll leave when we tell you."
"I'm not a baby," Pen glared at Draco.
The Gray Lady watched silently.
"How did you hide Karkaroff?" Harry asked her, once Pansy and Penelope's combined glares caused Draco to snort and lean back petulantly with his arms crossed on his chest.
"I didn't. Hogwarts did."
"I asked, the castle did it," Luna said.
"Only you would carry on a conversation with a pile of rocks," Draco grumbled.
"It worked," Luna returned smugly.
"Well since you're the one who has figured out how to connect with Hogwarts, you want to be the one in charge of dealing with her for now?" Harry cut off the argument before it started.
"Sure," Luna agreed.
"We're to devise our own arrangements for the girls," Pansy spoke up. "Pen will enter as a first year, but it basically sounds like he expects me to ship off the little two to that Weasley cow."
This 'he' was definitely Dumbledore. Harry didn't bother to try to defend Molly Weasley. Her attack on Pansy had been completely uncalled for at the funeral, and with her attitude about the apprenticeships and the Parkinsons in general, she really wasn't the best choice for the girls at the moment. Even if a couple chicks to mother would make life easier on the rest of them for a while, Harry didn't think it was at all in the girls best interest to send them to her. They needed Pansy more.
"House Elves. I acquired two tonight. They came and offered me their socks. And there's that little house-elf that was sent to you two. We got them after the Apprenticeship started--Blaise is the one that came up with that loop hole," Harry said. He added the last in Draco's direction as the blonde boy opened his mouth to say something, no doubt a sneer about his amazement at a Gryffindor realizing such a thing.
Pansy had another objection. "We're not allowed to bring a tutor in and if I enter the teaching accreditation program--Persephone needs to start learning to read and--"
"And we have the former headmaster of one of the other two premiere schools of Europe on the top floor of our tower. We can send Winky and the girls up to him in the mornings. Winky will be thrilled at being in charge of the girls; she can keep an eye on all of them at once and Karkaroff can teach the girls their letters," Seamus said.
Pansy agreed, relieved.
"What did your Aunt have to say, Zabini?" Draco demanded once the details of the girls and the house-elves were settled.
"They did what they did to try to stop Voldemort the only way they knew how. He was quite obviously after the Slytherin and the Gryffindor of the group. Blaise's aunt would have been on the list as well if her talent was known. . . Obviously it didn't work. They thought it did, and by the time they knew it didn't. Well, here we are. Blaise's Aunt saw something about a crystal, and the other night--that was over a crystal," Harry offered.
"Draco, the exact details are not necessary," Neville spoke up. "Pen is present and you have seen enough to have enough of an imagination about what would have happened to our mothers--all four of them were something a bit more than average--if Voldemort had gotten hold of them, and by extension, us."
Draco glared at Neville, but nodded slowly. His own imagination could drum up enough horrors, and he really didn't want any of what he could imagine confirmed or worse just now. Pen was present as well, there was that.
"Dumbledore's play this afternoon?" Draco demanded.
"That, I'm willing to chalk up as his being helpful, this time." Harry said cautiously. "He does little without his own motives and reasons but he needs me to kill Voldemort, so that was 'helpful'."
"Bonding you with the bloody castle was supposed to be helpful too," Draco sneered. "You're too bloody trusting Potter; you're going to get us all killed."
"I've got four Slytherins to second guess everything and I didn't accept his chosen lawyer," Harry shrugged. "I'm almost betting that it goes back to the crystal again. Dumbledore wants to make sure he knows where it is and what it is, so he wants his hand-picked solicitor to go through my holdings and answer to him as well. After all, poor dimwitted overburdened little ole me couldn't possibly handle anymore." He snorted. "We need to get you to your Black grandparents home or Malfoy Manor soon. Or the little elf can do it, and get your mother's old school trunk and any old letters or things she might have kept. We have to sort out exactly what they did. . ."
"Didn't your Aunt?"
Blaise shook his head. "I got the whys, and some of the whats on the specific spells just on me, but her anchors are gone. The Allegiance Bond helped anchor her so the Seeing didn't drive her mad--"
"And the only one left alive is my mother, who is on the fourth floor of St. Mungo's thanks to your Aunt Bellatrix," Neville cut Blaise off.
"I am changing solicitors as well. Pen, you are too. Blaise, your uncle has two more clients."
Penelope looked at Draco. "You're not the boss of me!"
"Yes I am. I have ministry Documents that say I am, and Potter is to keep an eye on me keeping an eye on you."
"Blaise's Uncle can be my solicitor because Harry says so not because you do," Penelope stuck her tongue out at Draco.
"Bloody hell, it's going to take all of us to chase after you and keep you out of trouble in a few years," Seamus snorted.
Igor Karkaroff was awoken an hour before dawn. At first, he thought his sanctuary had been revoked. Then he stared in disbelief at the group of teens who informed him he was to teach. Teach a toddler and a five year old their letters and basic things. Under the supervision of a House Elf, no less.
When he began to protest, he was cut off by the Boy Who Lived. "It's us and our rules or out you go and take your chances with Voldemort. There is only one reason you have a chance with us, but that reason is fairly thin, considering. So decide now."
Karkaroff agreed to teach the girls.
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