Dumbledore meet… Murphy!
"Come on Scabbers," Ron snapped as he tried once more to shove the eyedropper in the rat's mouth only to have the rat shift his head as far away as he could. "This stuff will help you get better, you idiot."
"Maybe you should try giving it to him with food." Hermione suggested.
Ron sighed and told her. "No, he has to be given his medicine before he eats anything. At least that is what the guy at the Magical Menagerie told me when I sent him a letter asking about that a couple of months ago, because I was having problems getting Scabbers to take his medicine."
As he returned his attention to his pet, Ron wished yet again that he had two pairs of hands. One pair to just hold Scabbers in place while one hand of the other pair could be used to keep the rat’s head in place so he could administer the medicine the wizard at the Magical Menagerie said Scabbers needed.
"Merlin! That stuff tastes fouler than any potion Madame Pomfrey ever gave me." Peter Pettigrew aka Wormtail aka Scabbers squeaked even though the one responsible for his care could not understand his squeaks as he once again shifted his head to try and avoid the eye dropper.
This time he wound up with his head tilted in the direction of the portrait hole, which turned out to be a lucky break for him, given who was coming in. It was someone he had been trying to avoid for months because this man would recognize him in an instant... Moony! had just come in and he was with Harry Potter!. The minute the former Marauder caught sight of him, Peter knew the jig was up and he was going to have to get out of here. Fast!
Heaving a mental sigh at the loss of his safe haven for the last twelve years, Peter bit down hard on Ron Weasley's hand causing the boy to cry out in surprise and drop him.
Ignoring the brief flash of pain, Peter quickly got to his feet and scurried toward the hole in the stone wall of the common room that had been there for decades, if not centuries. He knew from past experience in carrying out pranks as a Marauder that it was the quickest way for him to get out of the common room and not be caught.
If a rat could smile, Peter would have been wearing a smug grin as he heard the frustration in his former friend and fellow Marauder's voice as it came loudly down the small tunnel, "Wormtail!"
He had gotten away before Moony could catch him. Today was definitely his lucky day.
Scurrying down the passageway, Peter headed for the section of the castle that would allow him to get out without being seen. Once outside he just needed to find a safe place to hide until he could get away.
Yelping in surprise, Ron grasped his bleeding hand as it throbbed in pain. He had instinctively dropped the source of the pain and applied pressure to the wound, his pet rat had inflicted. His eyes followed his pet as Scabbers ran for the hole in the wall, only to be surprised when he saw Professor Lupin running after him before slamming the palm of his hand against the wall as Scabbers got away.
The silence that had fallen in the Gryffindor common room, allowed everyone, who had witnessed the Professor's strange actions, to hear him angrily growl, "Wormtail!" as Scabbers disappeared into the hole in the wall.
Fred and George looked at their Defence teacher in surprise, then conducted a silent conversation consisting of facial twitches and raised eyebrows, before returning their attention to Professor Lupin.
Before they could approach him though, Ron called out in a pain filled voice as he continued to nurse his wounded hand. "Professor Lupin, what is going on? Why were you after Scabbers?"
Seeing the blood running down Ron's hand, Lupin pulled out his wand and headed over to the injured boy. Taking the red headed boy's hand in his, Lupin cast a spell that stopped the bleeding and healed the wound.
Glancing back at the hole his former friend had escaped through, Lupin asked Ron, "Mr. Weasley, how long have you had that rat as a pet?"
"About three years. He was Percy's before I got him. Why?" Ron wanted to know.
"And how long did your brother have him?" Lupin asked.
"I do not know." Ron shrugged, not understanding why there was so much interest in Scabbers. " I am not sure nine, maybe ten years. Why are you so interested in Scabbers?"
"I take it you know who Scabbers really is, Professor?" Harry commented.
He had not expected the rat to be someone known to Lupin. His main reason for telling the Professor about the rat besides the fact that McGonagall had ignored his warnings, was he had hoped the man could reveal that Scabbers was in fact an adult wizard and get him away from Ron. He did not want the hidden wizard to hurt Ron. Or for Black to hurt Ron because he was trying to get to the rat since he was fairly certain that Black was after the rat animagus. Not Harry as Dumbledore believed. And Daniel had agreed with him.
Professor Lupin sighed. There was no easy way to say this. "Because Scabbers is not a rat, he is an animagus and someone I thought had died over twelve years ago."
"You called him Wormtail." Fred interrupted before Harry or Ron could ask another question. "Did or do you know Prongs, Padfoot, and Moony too?"
"Yes," there was a sad smile on the Professor's face, but he did not elaborate. "Mr. Weasley, would you please ask your brother Percy to meet me in my office some time in the next couple of hours. I need to find out how Wormtail came to live with your family and how long ago. If he tells me what I think he is going to, there has been a terrible miscarriage of justice that will need to be corrected before it is too late."
Minerva McGonagall was going over the results of the testing that, she, Professor Flitwick, and Madame Hooch had done on the Firebolt Harry Potter had received as a Christmas gift. She was relieved to see it had no hexes or jinxes of any kind on it.
Now, the problem was how to get it back into flying condition.
According to the information near the bottom of the page, that Professor Flitwick had provided, while they would be able to make the broom fly again it would not perform the way a Firebolt should. The Nimbus company had protected the charms and spells they used on their brooms so they could not be reproduced or copied without a lot of time and effort, not to mention the possibility of legal action if someone did.
What that meant was that in order to get Mr. Potter's broom working correctly, before the next Gryffindor Quidditch match, she was going to have to contact Nimbus for help. The only problem she could see with that was that she did not know how she was going to explain why the charms needed to be reapplied to the broom or how much the cost would be. She doubted very much the Nimbus company would do it for free, even though the broom was going to be used by a hero of the wizarding world... The-Boy-Who-Lived.
She had just started to work on a rough draft of the letter she was going to send to Nimbus when the door to her office was suddenly shoved open. She was expecting the person who had rudely opened her door to be Professor Snape, but was surprised to find Professor Lupin standing in the doorway looking upset.
"Remus! What is going on?" McGonagall demanded. "What is so important that you have to burst into my office without knocking first?"
The current Defence Professor stepped into her office and closed the door with a hard shove, before growling, "Minerva, how could you deliberately ignore a warning about a possible danger to the students of your house and possibly the whole school? Prior to today if someone had told me you were capable of doing so, I would have said they were insane, but now I have to wonder just how much you have deliberately ignored."
McGonagall rose to her feet and slammed her fist down on her desk. "How dare you…! I have never ignored any warning of danger to the children in my House, or the rest of the school."
"Then perhaps you could explain to me why you never bothered to verify whether or not Mr. Weasley’s pet was an animagus?" Remus countered.
McGonagall suddenly understood. As a werewolf Remus would be very protective of one he viewed as a member of his pack and it was clear Harry had tried to get him to believe that there was a danger in the boy’s dorm. "Ah, you have been speaking with Mr. Potter and listening to his tales. I spoke to Albus regarding what Mr. Potter reported shortly after Halloween and he assured me there is no animagus in Gryffindor tower."
"Did either of you bother to go to Gryffindor Tower to verify what Mr. Potter reported?" Remus wanted to know.
"No," McGonagall did not understand why he was still on the attack. She had already told him that Dumbledore had assured her that there was no danger to anyone in Gryffindor Tower and that should be enough for him. "The Headmaster controls the wards to the school and assured me there was no danger to anyone in Gryffindor Tower, so that meant that there was no animagus there, for us to deal with."
"Well he was wrong," Remus leaned forward, intruding into her personal space. "And so were you. Unlike the Headmaster or you, I went to check out Mr. Potter’s claims. And even though he got away, there was an animagus there and I recognized him. It was Peter Pettigrew."
"Impossible!" McGonagall stated firmly. "Pettigrew is dead! Sirius Black killed him!"
"I know what Pattigrew’s animagus form looks like, just as I know what yours looks like." Remus countered just as firmly. "It was Peter and I would be willing to swear a magically binding oath on that fact."
"Ministry Law requires that a person register their animagus form and Pettigrew never registered." McGonagall persisted, ignoring the fact that Lupin had said he was willing to swear an oath on it. "I keep a close eye on the registry list, there is no rat animagus form listed there under his name."
Remus looked at Minerva surprised. "James and Lily never registered either and yet they both were animagi." He did not mention that Sirius Black also had an animagus form. "You do remember when we all attended Hogwarts do you not? They learned during the Dark Lord’s reign of terror. Why would anyone be so foolish to reveal a possible weapon or something that would help them get away if they needed to? Registering would have told the Dark Lord who needed to be taken out first."
"What were James and Lily’s forms?" McGonagall could not help being curious.
"James was a stag and Lily was a leopard, a snow leopard to be precise and was she ever vicious when threatened." There was a slight smile on Lupin’s face before his thoughts returned to Peter then his expression became grim again. "We are getting off topic though, Minerva. Peter Pettigrew is alive! He has been hiding as a rat with the Weasley’s ever since the Ministry claimed that Black killed him and the big question is why. If he had nothing to hide why did he run when he saw me in the Gryffindor Common room? I think he is hiding from Black because he betrayed the Potters."
"Black was the Potter’s secret keeper. Everyone knows that." McGonagall disagreed.
"We only know what James told us." Remus reminded her. "It could have been a deliberate misdirection on his part to keep Lily and Harry safe. After all it would be expected that he would choose his best friend as his secret keeper."
"It would have come out at Black’s trial!" McGonagall persisted.
"Well, maybe you should contact Madame Bones so that she can check the transcript of his trial and see if he was even asked about Pettigrew. You might also want to let her know that Peter Pettigrew has been seen alive near Hogwarts. And do not forget to tell her about his animagus form." Remus growled a wolfish growl as he said the last part.
"Harry, can I ask you something?" Ron was wearing an uncertain expression on his face as he closed the door to the third year boy's dorm room behind him to try and insure privacy for a while.
Having a feeling that this was about Scabbers, and knowing that Ron had been one of Harry's first friends, Daniel asked, /Do you want me to handle it?/
Harry, who also had the same feeling, declined the offer, /Ron is my friend. I should to do this, since I am the one who brought Lupin into it./ "Sure Ron, what do you want to know?"
"How long have you known about Scabbers being an animagus?" Ron wanted to know and Harry could hear the unasked part of the question 'and why did you not tell me?'
"I did not figure it out right away." Harry told him. "When I caught him after he got away from you at the Magical Menagerie, he felt odd..."
"What do you mean he felt odd?" Ron clearly did not understand.
Harry shrugged and told him, "For some reason ever since I got to Diagon Alley this past summer, I have been able to feel for lack of a better term the magic flowing around me and when I handle magical objects I can feel it as well."
"That is... cool." Ron told him. "I mean that means you can feel spells being cast at you and get out of the way."
"Yea," Harry agreed then went on. "Anyway, when I handled Scabbers, he felt odd. I put it down to the fact he was old and might be dying given that the wizard at the Magical Menagerie thought he was very old. It was only after I felt the magic around Professor McGonagall change when she switched from human to her cat form and back again and then we had that scare with Black that I realized Scabbers felt the same way and figured out he had to be an animagus."
"Why did you not tell me?" Ron wanted to know.
"At first because I was not sure what it was I was feeling,” Harry told him honestly, "and then once I realised what he was, I was trying to protect you."
"Why?" Ron demanded. "I can take care of myself."
"In this case maybe, maybe not." Harry countered. "While you might have kept the fact you knew he was an animagus from showing in how you reacted around him, he would have been able to smell your fear and known he had been found out. Animals are very good at detecting scents of all kinds. Especially those that can indicate a possible threat to them or those they care about. Remember Scabbers, or Wormtail as Professor Lupin called him, is an adult wizard who has been hiding with your family as a rat for at least twelve years... possibly from Black. If he suspected that you had found out something about him, he might have hurt you. I could not take that chance."
Ron was just about to ask Harry if he had done anything besides tell Professor Lupin about Scabbers when he heard a sudden surprisingly loud shriek, followed by a thud.
He and Harry quickly headed out of the dorm room. As they reached the edge of the stairs they found it was flattened out like a slide all the way down to the common room. They also noticed that Hermione was lying on the floor of the common room near where the stairs to the boy’s dorms began, with a crowd of people beginning to gather around her.
A moment later the stairs returned to their normal appearance so Harry and Ron could go down them. Ron ran down the steps, asking, "What happened ‘Mione?"
"I have no idea," Hermione admitted. "I was headed up to your dorm to talk with you and Harry, when all of a sudden the stairs changed into that slide and sent me back down into the common room."
"That sounds like what happened a few times when Fred and I tried to go up to see Angelina and Katie, when they were in their dorm room." George piped up.
"I wonder when that was changed," Fred added. "The Katie and Angelina did not have any problems coming up to see us before Christmas."
Those comments resulted in both Fred and George getting their heads slapped, by all three of the Gryffindor chasers.
It also caused Daniel to remember his comments to Harry on Christmas Day about Hermione’s unexpected entrance in to the Boy’s dorms and comment, /Looks like Hogwarts decided to act on our suggestion to ward the entryways to both the boy’s and girl’s dorms, so no one could take advantage of the obvious weak spot./
Remembering some of that conversation, Harry could not help wondering, /I wonder if she made the changes to all the Houses or just Gryffindor?/
A moment later Harry felt something he could only describe as the satisfying feeling he had gotten when he made Draco publicly admit owing him a life debt and knew he was going to be able to stop Malfoy’s plans for Buckbeak and Hagrid. For Daniel, he felt like he had when he had realized he had been right that there had been aliens in Ancient Egypt, even though he could never tell anyone outside the SGC.
/I think that was a yes, that she did all of them./ Daniel commented.
Ron and Angelina had gotten Hermione to her feet as Harry stepped off the last step and back into the common room. "I hope you are alright, Granger. What were you coming up to talk to Ron and I about?"
The ones closest to the trio were surprised to hear Harry refer to his friend by her surname and sound so unconcerned over the fact she had fallen because she had tried to come up to see him. Before tonight he would have been there right beside Ron, checking her over and then helping her up. They could not help but wonder what had happened to divide the Golden Trio as threesome had been known, since their first year at Hogwarts.
Hermione ignored the neutral tone of Harry’s voice and the fact that he was still calling her by her surname. "I wanted to talk to you about Scabber’s and why you felt you had to involve Professor Lupin? I mean you should have told Professor McGonagall first and then she could have involved Professor Lupin if she felt she had to."
"I did tell McGonagall, Granger." Harry told her. "I informed her about my suspicions that Scabbers was an animagus a day or two after Black tried to break into Gryffindor Tower the first time. I told her I thought Black was after Scabbers since Ron had not brought him down to the feast, but she chose to do nothing, other than tell Dumbledore. And neither of them even bothered to check my claim out because if they had, they would have been able to find out who he was and why he had spent twelve years hiding from other wizards."
"I am sure they were just waiting for the right time to check your claim out." Hermione interrupted. "When no one else would have been put at risk."
"Well, surely that should have happened during the Christmas break when most of the students were gone, so no one would have been at risk. I do not recall either of them coming into the Common room or asking to see Scabbers, do you, Ron?" Harry had a thoughtful look on his face.
Ron shook his head.
Harry went on, "I can not help but wonder what would have happened if Black had tried to break in again and someone had been injured in his attempt to get Scabbers? Granger, maybe you should ask Professor McGonagall when she or the Headmaster were going to do their duty and check out a possible threat to the school? I am kind of curious to hear what tale they will tell you to keep you happy. Will she tell you the same thing that she told me, that Dumbledore told her there was nothing dangerous in Gryffindor tower? Or will she admit she failed to do her job as Head of Gryffindor House properly, that being to insure the safety of the students of her house?"
Granger just glared at him. "I am fairly certain that Professor McGonagall and the Headmaster had everything taken care of, Harry. You should have been patient and allowed them to handle things. I am sure they would have taken care of him and no one would have been hurt. Harry, sometimes you have a habit of getting involved without all the facts and you put your life and others at risk."
"Granger, I have only one thing to say… Pot say hello to kettle." Harry turned on his heel and headed back up the stairs.
Amelia Bones stared at the unopened letter her secretary had brought in for several minutes before reaching for it.
It was addressed to the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and marked Urgent. She was used to getting mail marked this way, but what had her surprised was she recognised the handwriting and it was from someone she had not heard from in years… Remus Lupin.
She could not help wondering what he might be contacting her about. She hoped it was not about Black. She was well aware that one of the main reasons Dumbledore had hired him as DADA teacher was because he knew Black best and could protect Potter from him.
Unfolding the letter, she read:
While I would like to think that Deputy Headmistress McGonagall had already contacted you about this matter, given the events that have happened so far, I doubt that she has. The issue I wish to bring to your attention is very urgent as it involves Sirius Black as well as a possible threat to Harry Potter.
The problem, which Mr Potter brought to my attention, involves a wizard who is an unregistered animagus. Mr Potter asked for my confidence so I can not give you much detail about how he found this out. Mr Potter also told me that he had asked Professor McGonagall to investigate the matter several times before coming to me. While I dismissed the idea that Minerva would deliberately place her students in danger, to ease Mr Potter’s mind I did go and check out his claim and I found out that there had indeed been an animagus hiding in Gryffindor tower. When I tried to capture the wizard, he escaped.
The most troubling part of this is that I recognised the animagus as someone I knew from when I was younger, Peter Pettigrew. During the war, James Potter, Lily Evans, and Peter Pettigrew all learned how to become animagi. The reason they did not register at the time was because of the possible leaks in the Ministry. They felt they needed to keep this secret so they had a way to escape if ever attacked. The animagus I saw in the Gryffindor common looked exactly like Peter’s animagus form, a grey rat.
Given Peter had supposedly been killed by Black I looked into the back issues of the Prophet that were in the Hogwarts library to see what they reported that Black said about Peter’s death at his trial but I found nothing printed by the Prophet about his trial. After that I checked with the Ministry records office about a closed trial but they were unable to provide me with any information with regards to his trial either.
So I am writing to you to ask you for your help in checking into this matter. First, with regards to the records of Sirius Black’s trial and whether or not he even received a trial. And the second reason is ask you if there is a way to check and see if Pettigrew has in any way harmed the students or staff of Hogwarts. He managed to remain undetected for almost twelve years, which meant he had unrestricted access to everyone there due to the fact that in his animagus form he was passed from one family member to another in the family he has been hiding with. And lastly to see if he had any help in evading detection during the time he has spent at Hogwarts.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter,
Remus John Lupin
After folding the letter and putting it away, in the drawer she had secured so that only she could open it, Bones called, "Sutton!"
The office door was opened after a few moments by Bone’s secretary/guard dog, Elizabeth Sutton. Sutton had been a muggle born Auror when Bones was a trainee. She had helped Bones become a great Auror in a male dominated field. However when she was injured in the line of duty the Ministry had turned their back on her for first being a female in a man’s job and second being a Muggle born. When Bones has become the Head of the Aurors she hunted down Sutton and hired her. Who better to be the secretary to the Head of the DMLE than an older Auror. Not only could she still defend herself, she knew who to lean on and when. She also knew where all the skeletons where. Speaking in a rough voice, she asked, "You wanted to see me Madame Bones?"
"Yes, get hold of the Head of the Dept of Magical Records, tell them I want all the records pertaining to Sirius Black’s trial on my desk within the next two hours." Bones ordered.
"Yes, Ma’am." She nodded and closed the door before returning to her desk.
McGonagall stared at the broom sitting on her desk pleased that it had finally gotten there. She had run out of excuses for Potter as to why she had not returned his broom yet. She finally had it though and even then though it was not the original broom, she had no doubt he would be pleased to have it. Now Potter would have time to train with his new broom before the Quidditch match with Ravenclaw this weekend.
When she had sent the original broom to the Nimbus Racing Broom company to try and get the charms they had on their brooms put back on it, she had been informed that they could not reapply the charms because of how she and Professor Flitwick had checked the broom over by stripping the charms and spells off. The owner of Nimbus told her that because of the leftover bits and pieces of the original charms embedded in the broom, it would prevent them from being able to reapply the charms correctly which meant the broom could never be remade into a Firebolt. All it would ever be from this point on would be a basic broom. She had been told that the person the broom belonged to would have to purchase a new broom.
Her claim that she had been trying to protect one of her students had made no difference to them. The owner of the Nimbus company had told her that if she had been that worried and wanted to avoid damaging the broom then she should have sent it to them to be checked. They could have checked it out quickly and easily for any signs of tampering. She had also been told that if they had found anything then they could have safely removed the hexes and reapplied the charms that made the broom work the way it was supposed to.
It had taken her telling the owner of Nimbus just who the broom belonged to before the owner changed his mind and even then he had wanted something for sending them a new broom. He had wanted the right to say in their advertising that Potter was using a Firebolt. She had consulted with Dumbledore since he was the boy’s Magical Guardian and had gotten his permission for them to do so.
Mentally flipping a galleon, McGonagall decided the best way to handle this was to have Potter come to her office after dinner this evening and she would give him the broom then.
Harry knocked on the door to Professor McGonagall's office and heard her say, "Come in."
"You wanted to see me Professor?" Harry questioned, his face an expressionless mask. Both he and Daniel were on guard just in case.
"Yes, Mr. Potter," she smiled at him, "I have something I need to return to you."
She picked up the broom off her desk and handed it to him, "I am returning your broom. We have done all the checks and found nothing wrong with it."
Harry took the broom from her and had to strongly resist the urge to comment that he had told her in December that there was nothing wrong it.
McGonagall went on unaware of what he was thinking, "You have a very good friend somewhere, Mr. Potter. I daresay that you will need to get some practice with it before Saturday’s match and please do try your best to win."
Harry examined the broom silently for several minutes before looking up at her and saying, "I am sorry, Professor, but this is not my Firebolt."
"Of course it is your broom!" McGonagall insisted. She was not pleased with his reaction. She had expected him to be so happy to have the Firebolt back that he would just take it and leave.
"No ma’am this is not the broom you took from me at Christmas." Harry disagreed then pointed to the Lightening bolt surrounded by flames. "The broom you took from me did not have this on the handle. So where is my broom, Professor? The one you took from me in December."
Harry put the broom that McGonagall had tried to pass off as his back on her desk, and looked her squarely in the eyes.
McGonagall found his stare a little disconcerting. Potter's face was an expressionless mask, but his eyes seemed to burn with emerald fire.
"Well, Professor, would you care to tell me what happened to my broom? You know the one you promised to return to me after you finished stripping it down." As the silence stretched he continued to stare at the Head of Gryffindor House, as he asked, "Cat got your tongue, Professor? Perhaps I should make an educated guess, then?"
When his Head of House continued to remain silent, Harry took that as permission to continue. "I would bet that after you stripped it down and found out I was right about there being nothing wrong with it, you then realized that you could not put it back into its proper working condition. The reason why might have been because some of the charms on it were unknown to you and whoever you had working on it with you, or maybe because of the way you ripped the spells and charms off of it. I am willing to bet it was the second reason, given you were so sure you were right and could do anything. So you contacted Nimbus and they gave you that broom in exchange for being able to use me to make a profit off."
With the glare that McGonagall was giving him, Harry had a feeling that if she had been in her cat form right now her fur would be standing up and she would be hissing at him.
"While you are correct, Mr. Potter, about the problems we were having restoring your broom; you are incorrect about me giving the Nimbus company permission to use your name. I did not. The owner spoke with your guardian and he was the one gave them permission to use your name. They paid for that right with this broom."
/Now might be a good time to let Jack out to play./ Daniel suggested.
Harry’s expression did not change, but inside he was smirking. During his and Daniel’s training with Merlin over the last couple of months, Harry had developed a habit of saying what he thought in the bluntest manner possible. After one particular comment, Daniel had named this habit of his after Jack O’Neill. Daniel also asked Merlin after one very funny comment if it were possible that Jack had hitched a ride with him when he had been pulled back in time and had also merged with Harry. It had had all three of them laughing for several minutes. Since then every time Harry made one of those blunt but accurate statements, Daniel would just say, Jack is back.
"I wonder how Nimbus knew where to find my cousin and why he did not tell me." Harry seemed to wonder out loud.
"Your cousin is not your magical guardian, Mr. Potter." McGonagall countered without telling him exactly who his magical guardian was. "Nor, is he your muggle guardian."
"Actually he is both," Harry told her, "as of January 1st."
Harry shrugged and turned to leave, without the broom.
"Take yer broom with you, Mr. Potter." McGonagall ordered.
"As I said earlier, Professor, that is not my broom, and I will not take something that is not mine. And right now there is no proof that it is." Harry refused to look at her as he left the room.
After giving the broom to Wood certain that the Gryffindor Team Captain would be able to make Potter see reason, she headed to the Headmaster’s office. She needed to let him know that something may have happened, given that Potter claimed that the Dursleys were no longer his guardians and that someone neither, they, or Potter had ever met now was.
"Come in, Minerva," Dumbledore called in response to her knock.
McGonagall got straight to the point. "Headmaster, I was speaking with Mr. Potter and he mentioned something that I thought you needed to know. It seems that Mr. Potter thinks that the man claiming to be his cousin, Daniel Jackson, is his magical guardian and that the Dursleys are no longer his muggle guardians."
"Hey, Harry," Oliver Wood’s voice pulled his seeker’s attention from the book he was reading, "Professor McGonagall asked me to make sure you had your broom back so you could practice with it before Saturday’s game."
Harry took one look at the broom with the golden lightening bolt in the handle and told Oliver. "That is not my broom." as he shook his head. "My broom did not have a lightening bolt symbol on it, so that is someone else’s. In fact McGonagall admitted that they destroyed my broom as they searched for curses that did not exist on it. And once they figured out they could not fix it, they bribed Nimbus with use of my name, which my guardian never gave them permission to use, to get that broom." Harry pointed to the broom in Wood's hands. "I know for a fact, having spoken with him about it before he became my legal and magical guardian, that my cousin agrees with me that no one should be allowed to make a profit off my parents murders, just because I survived."
"Harry!" Hermione shrieked. "How dare you accuse Professor McGonagall of lying and trying to make a profit off your parent’s deaths?"
"Granger," Harry quickly countered, "I never said she was trying to make a profit off my parents deaths. I said she lied and gave Nimbus permission to do so claiming she had gotten that permission from my magical guardian and Daniel would never have given it, knowing how I feel about it. What she was trying to do is get out of paying for a replacement for the broom she destroyed. And that would not have happened if you had trusted me and not made her think I had been sent a cursed broom. And if you think you and she are going to get out of paying for a replacement broom for the one she destroyed because of your actions think again."
"Harry," Oliver interrupted. "You and your magical guardian can sort that out later, right now you need to start training with your new broom."
"That is not my broom, Oliver," Harry repeated. "You want to use go ahead. I will use yours until I get a replacement."
"While I would love to fly on a Firebolt, it is more of a Seeker’s broom than a Keeper’s broom." Oliver countered. "You are going to need to use it if we are to have a chance against Ravenclaw this Sunday."
"Harry," Ron put in, "we do not have a reserve Seeker. You are it. And there is no way you can get a new broom ordered and sent here quick enough so you can practice with it before the game on Sunday. We cannot afford to lose this game, if we want to have a chance at the Cup. Why not just use that broom for this one game and then if you decide you still do not want to keep it then send it back to Nimbus."
Harry stared silently at Ron as he asked, /Is someone trying to control Ron? I mean that is not something I expected him to say. What do you think, Daniel?/
/While I would like to say that you should stick to your guns, Ron is right about one thing, your House does not have a player who can fill in for you and your housemates will not bother to try and understand why you are refusing. I have a feeling they will make your life hell, like they have before, if you do not use the broom at least for this game./ Daniel told him.
/Ron is also a Quidditch fanatic, who do anything to play a game or watch one, especially if it were the Chudley Cannons he was playing with./ Harry reminded his mental roommate as he studied his red-headed friend. "Okay, who are you and what have you done with Ron? The Ron I know is a Quidditch fanatic and would never have suggested that I use a Firebolt for only one game and then give it up."
Ron looked down at the floor for a moment, before saying, "I just wanted to suggest something that would satisfy everyone."
What Ron did not say was he wanted to avoid being told he was no longer a friend of Harry’s. He had seen how completely Harry had cut Hermione out of his life. Harry was civil to her when he had to be but most of the time as far as he was concerned it was as if she did not exist. And even though Ron thought Harry was being a fool for not wanting to keep the Firebolt, just because of how McGonagall had gotten it, he desperately wanted to avoid being on the receiving end of that treatment from his friend.
The twins came over and studied their brother and one of them commented. "He looks like our brother Ronnie."
"Sounds like him too," the other observed.
"But..." they both shook their heads, "he has never been this reasonable."
"Could someone have hit him with a charm?" one twin wondered.
"I do not think there is one to make someone polite and reasonable…"
"Come on Ron," Ginny came over and pulled her brother out of his chair.
"Where are we going?" Ron protested as she tried to drag him out of the common room.
"To have Madame Pomfrey check you out, cause you are suddenly acting reasonable and that is not the Ron we all know and love." Ginny told him as the twins helped her get him out the door.
The match had been underway for about an hour now, with Jordan every now and then seeming to become an advertising agent for Nimbus with regard to the Firebolt broom and talking about things like how his Firebolt’s performance was better than Chang’s Comet and the fact that it was the broom of choice for the national teams and every time he did they would hear McGonagall yell at him to get back to reporting on the game.
Harry was playing a game of follow the leader with him as the leader for the Ravenclaw Seeker Cho Chang. He had just come out of his third dive when he spotted the snitch for the third time at the Ravenclaw end of the field.
Increasing his speed with Chang who was below him doing the same, Harry set off in pursuit of the Snitch, determined to get it this time.
He was gaining on the Snitch, when he heard Chang scream, "Oh no!"
Looking around to see what was wrong he saw her pointing down and spotted three tall, black-hooded Dementors near the end of the stands on the Ravenclaw edge of the field. They were looking up at him.
Not stopping to think and not realizing he wasn’t feeling the normal effect from them, Harry reached into the neck of his robes and pulled out his wand. Pointing it in the direction of the Dementors he roared, "Expecto patronum!"
There was a large burst of silver white light from of the tip of his wand and it headed in the direction of the Dementors. Then since his thoughts were still very clear Harry returned his attention to his pursuit of the Snitch and a few moments later that hand that was holding his wand was grasping the struggling Snitch.
A few moments later Madame Hooch’s whistle was heard and Harry was nearly pulled off the Firebolt by the enthusiastic hugs of his team-mates.
Once they were on the ground they engulfed by their housemates who were cheering and shouting about their victory.
As Harry managed to escape from a group of 5th years who were thumping him on the back, he heard a voice ay, "That was quite some Patronus, Harry."
Turning around Harry saw Professor Lupin standing off to one side, looking both pleased and surprised.
"Professor, the Dementors, did not affect me this time." Harry told him. "I did not even know they were there till Chang pointed them out."
"Well, that was because they were not really Dementors." Lupin told him a sombre expression on his face. "Come and have a look."
Harry followed him to the edge of the field and saw several Slytherins lying on the ground struggling to remove the long black robes they were wearing. McGonagall was standing over them an expression of fury on her face as the pretend Dementors revealed themselves to be Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, and Marcus Flint the Slytherin team captain.
"I will say that you gave Malfoy and his companions quite a fright." There was a smug expression on Lupin’s face as they listened to McGonagall call the Slytherins cowards, give them detention and take fifty points from Slytherin.
As Ron and the others joined them and heard what McGonagall said it sealed their victory and George announced "Party in the Gryffindor common room."
There was a loud cheer as they headed back to Gryffindor tower.
On the weekend following the Gryffindor win over Ravenclaw and Draco’s foolish actions in trying to pretend to be a Dementor, Snape was in Hogsmeade searching for Potter's cousin: Daniel Jackson. He knew what the man looked like because he had taken a peek into Granger’s mind during one of the assigned detentions she had gotten for attacking Draco, before the Christmas break, so he knew who to look for.
He knew Jackson would be in Hogsmeade this weekend, because Potter had let it slip when the Headmaster tried to convince him to stay at school where he would be safe from Black. Potter had refused by reminding the Headmaster that he had a valid permission slip signed by his Aunt that said he could go to Hogsmeade and he wanted to meet his cousin.
Snape had learned one other interesting thing at that meeting and that was Dumbledore definitely did not want Potter meeting his cousin. He had figured this out when Lupin, who had also been there, along with McGonagall, had offered to act as escort, to insure the Potter got to and from Hogsmeade safely, only to have Dumbledore turn down the offer, saying that Potter had to stay at Hogwarts where he would be safe.
Then Potter had arrogantly claimed that the Headmaster just wanted to control who had contact with him but he would not be able to do it forever. Potter had had the gall to remind the Headmaster that once the school year was over he would not be able to do anything to stop him from meeting Jackson.
The Headmaster had then assigned him a detention to be served that Hogsmeade weekend, claiming Potter was being disrespectful to him. Dumbledore had intended for Potter's detention to be served with Snape, but the Potions Master had gotten out of it by pointing out that he had to pick up some potions supplies he had ordered that were supposed to be delivered to the Potions shop in Hogsmeade on Saturday, so it had been assigned to Lupin instead.
The fact, that the Headmaster refused to allow the Defence teacher to voluntarily act as both escort and protection detail to a student so they could meet with a relative in Hogsmeade, had been a surprise to both men. Snape just hoped that Lupin would not disobey Dumbledore's instructions and bring the boy to Hogsmeade anyway during his detention. The last thing he needed was Potter seeing him meeting with his cousin, given that he was going to try and get help from Jackson to try and get Potter to allow him access to the basilisk carcass.
Snape wandered through the ground floor of The Bell, Book, and Candle shop and found no one resembling the man he had seen in Granger's mind. Heading up to second floor, Snape hoped he would have better luck here, since this was where the rarer books were kept. The Bell, Book, and Candle was considered the first place to look for some of the hard to find books, even among the teachers at Hogwarts, because unlike Flourish and Blotts they took books to sell on consignment, if a family no longer wanted them. Snape knew this because he had found a few rare potion journals up on the second floor.
Knowing Potter's cousin, Jackson, was a Rune Master, Snape decided to start looking for the man in the Ancient Runes section. He got lucky on the third aisle when he looked down it and found the man he was looking for. The blonde haired man was not dressed in desert robes this time. He was wearing what Snape recognized as muggle clothing and current muggle clothing at that, not the twenty or thirty years out of date clothing that British wizards and witches usually wore. Obviously Jackson wanted to make sure he stood out so his cousin would be able find him easily.
Daniel looked up in surprise from the manuscript that appeared to be written almost entirely in Alterran, when he heard Snape's voice call his name, "Mr. Jackson?"
As Harry silently wondered Do you think Dumbledore sent him? Daniel answered the man's questioning of his identity with, "Yes, Mr..."
"Snape... Severus Snape."
"And why were you looking for me, Mr. Snape?" Daniel asked in a neutral tone of voice. "And more importantly how did you know what I looked like?"
"I did not know what you looked like." Snape lied blandly. "But from a meeting the Headmaster had with your cousin, Harry Potter, that I was present at a few days ago, I learned that you would be in Hogsmeade today. Also given you are the only one here in muggle clothing, and according to Mr. Potter you told him you would be easy to find, I figured you had to be Mr. Daniel Jackson."
When Snape did not continue, Daniel repeated his first question. "And why were you looking for me, Mr. Snape?"
"Professional reasons," Snape admitted.
"Professional reasons?" Daniel echoed back. "Professional as a professor of Hogwarts or as a Potion Master?"
"A bit of both." Snape was not surprised that the man knew he was a Potions Master. It was an easy enough fact to find out if you wanted to.
Daniel was silent for a moment as he watched Snape pick up a book on Norse Runes and examine it. . "Did your Headmaster ask you to meet with me today? Perhaps keep me busy so I could not meet with Harry or to try to convince me to stay out of Harry's life."
"No," Snape answered as he closed the book he was holding and put it back on the shelf. "The Headmaster does not know that I am meeting with you."
"So why are you here?" Daniel asked. "And please do not just say professional reasons."
Snape looked directly at Daniel. "Potter has access to some very rare potion ingredients that I would like access to."
"You mean the Basilisk?" Daniel inquired. "I thought that had been sorted out when I helped him come up with a deal for you that would allow you access while making things easier for him an his fellow students, with regards to your classes. He told me he was going to meet with you before Christmas. Are you telling me that meeting did not happen?"
"He did come to see me, but I did not believe at the time that Potter had the access he claimed to have to such a creature." Snape admitted, somewhat surprised that Potter had evidently not told his cousin about how he had reacted to Potter's coming to speak with him during the Christmas break.
"So you automatically assumed he was lying," Daniel concluded. "And never let him make the offer we had come up with that would have benefited both you and the students you teach." There was a pause, "but once you saw the samples, I suggested he share with you to prove his claim, you realized that he did indeed have access to a Basilisk and a fairly old one."
"While you have yet to meet your cousin, you need to understand that every time I see him, I see his father." Snape countered as he accepted the criticism. Truthfully the man's current criticism was a lot milder than he thought it would be given that he was willing to bet that Potter had had told his cousin all about how Snape treated him. "His father was one of those who I trusted about as far as I would trust a hungry dragon not to eat me."
"And did you regard his mother the same way?" Daniel wanted to know.
Before Snape could answer him they both heard several books hit the floor with a loud thud followed by the sound of someone cursing.
Looking at the other man and seeing him go slightly pale, Daniel suggested, "We might want to take this conversation somewhere a little more private, given I am fairly certain quite a few personal topics are going to come up."
Snape nodded in agreement. "I would suggest the Hogs Head Inn which is near the edge of town away from the school. The owner will give us a private room with no questions asked… for a price."
Daniel nodded in agreement. "I will meet you there in about twenty minutes. I have a few books that I need to get."
Snape nodded and left without a backward glance to make arrangements with Aberforth for a private meeting room.
So he came to see you to try and get you to make me give him access to the basilisk. Harry commented as they headed toward the sales counter.
It seems likely. Daniel agreed. I had thought back in December he would be willing to work with you because of those rare ingredients, but the fact that he was unwilling to even let you make the offer shows a deep and abiding hatred of you or possibly your family as a whole.
So how are we going to handle this? Harry wanted to know.
Deliver a few home truths about him to him and see how he handles them. Daniel told him. If he can handle them without going postal as we Americans say, then we will see if we can learn why he hates you so much before we tell him about the deal we had worked up for him.
Snape met Daniel as he walked into the Hogs Head Inn and escorted him to a room on the far side of the bar area.
The room Snape led him into had two comfortable chairs on either side of a low round table.
There was also a slightly overweight older man standing just inside the doorway who asked, "Can I get you gentlemen anything before I leave you to your business?"
When both men shook their heads Abe left, closing the door behind him and making sure to put up the privacy wards Snape had requested and paid for.
After several minutes of awkward silence, Snape spoke first. "I was surprised to learn that Lily's family had magical relatives. I mean from what I remember, she thought she was the first one in her family."
"Technically," Daniel told him, "she was. She was the first in her part of the family in over four hundred years. According to the family tree I have, she is descended from what you British Magicals call a Squib line. It happened around the time my branch of the family decided to go to America. However based on the family tree again, over time, the magic in her part of the family line began to grow stronger with each generation, until Lily was able to access and use it."
"I am surprised that her sister, Petunia, did not develop the gift of magic as well." Snape commented.
"It is probably a good thing she did not, considering how much she hates anything that does not fit her definition of normal, which includes her nephew." Daniel changed the subject. "We did not come here to discuss Lily's past. We came here to discuss your attitude toward my cousin that led you to being an unreasonable jerk as we Americans would say, when all he wanted to do was negotiate a deal that would make it easier for the students who are not in Slytherin to actually learn potions, by getting you to actually teach, instead of acting like a bully. And you also would have gained something from the deal, in the form of parts from a 1,000 year old basilisk, to try and make really rare potions with."
"I do teach Potions!" Snape shot back through clenched teeth. "I am the youngest Potions Master in Britain. I can brew any potion you can name."
"Yes, I am sure you can brew potions with great ease," Daniel agreed, "but you can not teach others how to do so."
Daniel held up a hand silencing Snape before he had a chance to reply. "For you making Potions is instinctive and that makes you a prodigy. You know instantly when a potion is going right or wrong. I am a teacher of languages and runes among other things. I have the same instinctive skills. I too try to pass on my knowledge to others. However teaching is not always as easy as most people seem to think, which I am sure you have realised. I have had students who get what I am trying to teach them right off the bat. Others need some extra help to understand the material and then there are those who even if you beat it into their heads they will never understand it, because they do not want to know it."
"Yes," Snape growled in agreement
"The problem is the way you teach," Daniel went on, "at least from what Harry’s letters to me have told me about your classes. You teach as if every class is made up of the exceptional students who need no help in understanding what you are trying to teach them. This leads to you getting frustrated because in just about every class because the majority of the students are those who need extra help to get it done correctly. However instead of helping them, you criticize them for their lack of knowledge. This discourages them to the point where all they want is out of your class and away from you."
"I am a good teacher." Snape growled.
"No you are not." Daniel disagreed. "My cousin told me all about the first class he had with you. He also told me that prior to that first class he had been looking forward very eagerly to taking Potions. You destroyed that dream in your first class with him."
Snape shook his head in disagreement then countered Jackson's claim with, "If Potter had wanted to take potions, that badly, then why was he not better prepared for the first class. He was clearly unprepared and it showed."
Daniel smiled, "Why not tell me about that first class from your perspective? I already know it from Harry's side, so how about you give me yours."
Snape glared at him for several moments before complying with his request.
Once he was done, Daniel nodded, "And that further proves my point, you do not have the patience required to teach."
"I am a good teacher." Snape growled again.
"Oh really." Daniel drawled. "Ok then answer this for me, of the students that were in my cousin's first class with you how many had prior potions lessons with a tutor before coming to Hogwarts? Five? Ten?"
"About that many." Snape agreed. "Most purebloods receive training at home in how to make safe potions from their families or a tutor."
"Which means that the rest of the class was made up of students, who would have had no advance training in potions." Daniel went on. "My cousin was muggle raised so he also had no advanced knowledge regarding magical potions. And yet from what I have been able to find out, you asked him questions about a potion that is not taught at Hogwarts until at least a student's fourth or fifth year at Hogwarts, so why would you expect him to know about it?"
Snape did not bother to answer that question. Saying he wanted to humiliate the son of his most hated rival was not something he wanted to admit given he needed Jackson’s help. Besides he had a feeling the man seated across from him already knew why.
"Also, why would you ask a new student who was raised in the non-magical community where to find a bezoar?" Daniel continued. "The only ones in the non-magical community that might and I do stress might have known what it was and where to find it would be historians or archivists who had a reason to look it up, or someone who raises goats. Harry does not fit into any of those categories and neither do a majority of those who live in the non-magical community."
"Lily did." Snape growled. "She was a brilliant witch. A pity her son is not."
"Yes, she was, but I am willing to wager that you helped her gain the information she needed to do well in the magical community, since she was not raised there. The other thing I am sure helped her was the fact that she was encouraged by her parents to do her best. I am fairly certain that when she was in Diagon Alley, she was allowed to purchase other books to give her a head start." Daniel told him. "And I would not go wagering any money on Harry’s intelligence if I were you, after all it takes a great deal of intelligence and cunning to survive in the prison known as his relative’s home as long as he did. You know the one Albus Dumbledore placed him in… supposedly to protect him. Prior to contacting Harry, I checked into his life and discovered some interesting facts about his time in primary school, among other things. In his first year, Harry was near the top of his class, but that changed after his first report card was sent home. It is my belief that Vernon and Petunia were not happy that Harry did better than their son whom they consider so brilliant and they made their displeasure known to insure Harry did not do that again. According to the school records, after that first report card went out, Harry’s grades went from excellent to barely passing and they were always lower than Dudley's who was making just barely acceptable scores."
Snape snorted. "Just because he did well in the beginning of his first year in primary school does not prove anything. Many children start off well and then slowly fail as they get into harder material. Besides if Potter was so intelligent he would have thrown aside his disguise as an idiot by now, given that I doubt that Petunia or her husband would care about how good he does at Hogwarts."
Jackson nodded his head slightly. "One might think so. Also, I may have forgotten to mention that Harry scored extremely high on National Curriculum test that were given to the students in their final year of Primary school and those results were not given to the parents. I think Harry did well on the tests to help himself out in the future, knowing that Petunia and Vernon would never see those scores. As for his time at Hogwarts, given the way Harry was raised by the Dursleys, the habits he learned to himself safe from them would be hard to break, without a good reason. From his descriptions of his classes though, neither you, Potions Master Snape, the majority of his other teachers, or classmates have given him a reason to want to do better in his classes or to change what he has learned to do just to survive."
Daniel went on without giving Snape a chance to agree or disagree with his assessment. "And I will not even go into the last question you asked my cousin about the difference between Monkshood and Wolfsbane. Instead I will get on to what I was told about the rest of the class and the potential for disaster you have been and still are creating, by not insuring that the students learn the proper skills for making potions. In your first few classes, you should have taught your students the basics of the potion making. By that I mean how to properly prepare their ingredients, basic safety procedures, etc. Instead, you simply told them that the directions were on the board, and they had one hour."
Daniel leaned forward his expression serious. "That is not teaching. That is a recipe for a potential disaster. You have admitted that most of your first years have no knowledge of potions or how to make them. With students who have never dealt with chemical reactions a great deal of patience and care is required to pass on the knowledge and skills you want them to have. That means you have to start from the beginning and take the time to explain the procedures and show them how to safely do things. Doing that avoids accidents like that cauldron melting that you chose to blame my cousin for not preventing, because he did not have eyes in the back of his head. By taking the time to actually teach them the steps needed, you insure that you have students who want to learn what you have to teach, instead of students who reach the point where all they want is out of your class and away from you. Another thing you might want to do, is the books you suggested to Lily you might want to recommend to your first years as reference materials and maybe include them in the book lists."
"I have made the suggestion of adding those books a number of times," Snape commented dryly, "but my suggestions have been ignored by the Headmaster every year. It seems he is under the impression that the muggleborn students and half-bloods should know how to prepare ingredients and put them together safely because they all help their families prepare meals."
Snape then went on the offensive tired of the man telling him he did not know how to teach. "Tell me Rune Master Jackson do you expect your students to be prepared for your class before they arrive?"
"Of course," Daniel replied, "but if it is their first class with me, I take the time explaining the course objectives and what I expect them to be able to do by the end of the semester or school year, depending on the class they are taking with me. I also make sure to give them a list of any out of print books that I think will help them that they can find in the library. You might want to try giving your students a list of the books that will help them do well in Potions in your first class with them."
"And do you have office hours for those students who have questions about what you taught in class?"
"Yes," Daniel replied, but said nothing further.
"So do I," Snape stated, "but none of the students except the Slytherins and a few of the Ravenclaws take advantage of them."
"And you have just proven my point," Daniel told him. "The majority of the students want to have as little contact with you as possible because of how they are treated in your classes."
Snape was silent
After several minutes with no response, Daniel asked, "Now are you willing to actually modify your teaching methods so that you actually take the time to teach potions, instead of just saying the instructions are on the board and then stalking around the Potions lab like a vampire looking for prey? Also are you willing to treat all your students fairly when they are in class with you, including marking the assignments and potions fairly? And last but not least are you willing to do whatever is necessary to protect the potions your students are making to prevent tampering by anyone?"
"I can not." Snape told him reluctantly.
"Why?" Daniel wanted to know
Snape was silent for several minutes before again reluctantly admitting, "I am bound by a magical oath to the headmaster to act in a very specific manner toward Mr. Potter, for at least the next four years and that means all other students have to be treated the same way."
"So Headmaster Albus Dumbledore ordered you to treat my cousin like Dragon dung?" Daniel’s voice was flat as he asked the question. Only Harry could tell he was angry at the headmaster and the fact that he was interfering with the students ability to learn a very complex subject, because he had to treat all classes like they were idiots.
"Yes," but Snape did not give him any details as to why he was ordered to do so.
"Then, I can not in good conscience ask my cousin to speak with you," Daniel told him. "Partly because it will have to wait until you can apologize to him and actually mean it. And the other reason is the deal Harry was going to offer you would require you to sign a magically binding contract and you can not do so."
Before Snape could work up a response, Jackson had gotten to his feet and walked out the door.
As Dumbledore stalked back up to Hogwarts from the apparition point, the grim expression on his face warned everyone coming back from Hogsmeade to stay far away from him.
Dumbledore was furious at the unravelling of his plans and he knew exactly who was to blame… Daniel Jackson.
The only thing he could not figure out was how this American wizard had managed to disrupt years of planning so thoroughly in less than a year. This person claimed to be a previously unknown relative of Potter’s and he had not only managed to get the boy to distrust him to the point where he was openly refusing to obey him, but he also managed to gain custody of Potter. And if the rumours he was hearing were accurate from his contacts, this Jackson had also somehow managed to get the members of the ICW who trusted him to start questioning his integrity as well as how Magical Britain was handling the situation with Black.
What annoyed Dumbledore the most was the fact that he was now going to have to waste his very valuable time trying to fix all the problems that Jackson had managed to create for him and that was going to require information he was having trouble finding.
He needed to find out just who Jackson really was and who the man worked for in the American magical community. He had checked the few sources he had in the American magical government and none of them had ever heard of a wizard named Daniel Jackson as either the Rune Master or a negotiator as he had claimed to be in the letters he had sent to Potter. And when he had asked them to check and see if they could get any records on the non-magical masteries, Jackson had listed in the first letter he had sent to Harry, they had flatly refused. That meant he either had to be very high up in one of their security groups and operated on both sides: magical and non-magical. Or else the man was lying to gain control of the weapon he needed to destroy Voldemort once and for all. He needed to know who and what the man was if he was to have any hope of stopping Jackson, before he destroyed everything Dumbledore had worked so hard to achieve. And Dumbledore had to admit the man was very close to doing that.
His biggest problem right now was getting Potter to trust him again, so that he could regain the control he needed over the boy.
The Dursleys and their hatred of magic had been his primary means of controlling the boy and insuring he did what Dumbledore needed him to do, because Potter saw him as his saviour. However now that the Dursleys were gone from their home, he would not be able to force Potter to return to their care, if he were able to get the boy's custody away from Jackson. He knew that no one knew in their old neighbourhood knew of their whereabouts because he had just wasted the better part of his morning trying to locate them, after learning that Arabella Figg had been in a muggle hospital for the past month or so after taking a bad fall.
The other major problem for Dumbledore was even if he managed to locate the Dursleys how would he be able to undo the change of custody so he could return the boy to their care. The citizens of Magical Britain much preferred that a magical child be in the custody of a magical relative if one was available. He had been fortunate that Black had been sent to Azkaban because even if he had not been Potter's godfather, he was Potter's closest living magical relative on the Potter side of the family tree. The only thing that Dumbledore could have used to prevent Black from gaining custody back then was the protection his mother's sacrifice had left on the boy that required he stay with blood kin to keep it active. Dumbledore knew he would not be able to use that excuse to prevent Jackson from keeping custody given he was also magical especially if he really was related to the boy's mother.
And an even bigger problem would be trying to re-establish the wards that helped him keep track of the boy when he was away from Hogwarts. He knew that if the Dursleys had voluntarily surrendered their custody of Harry then he would not be able to re-establish the blood wards because to magic it would be as if they had disowned him and he would not be able to restore the family blood bond.
He made a mental note to check with the Magical Bureau of Records and see if a change of custody had been recorded there with regard to Harry Potter and if there had indeed been a change, find out who was now listed as his magical guardian. He also needed to see if he was still Potter’s magical guardian as far as Gringotts was concerned because sometimes changes to Ministry records did not reach them right away.
As he entered his office, Dumbledore continued making and discarding plans on how to deal with the current situation. He had almost immediately discarded the idea of having Jackson arrested, given that he did not know who the man really worked for. The last thing he needed was the American Ministry poking their noses into his business.
A few moments after settling into his chair, his scheming was interrupted by the arrival of a barn owl with a scroll tied to its leg.
Dumbledore glared at the owl for daring to interrupt his planning. What he was doing was important and he did not need any distractions.
The owl returned his glare before extending its leg. With a put upon sigh Dumbledore removed the scroll from the owl's leg. Once free of it's duty the owl immediately left, knowing that letters from this particular Ministry employee were not always well received.
Dumbledore debated placing the scroll in his inbox, knowing full well that it would buried by other mail shortly afterwards and continue working on how he was going to regain control of Potter, however his eyes kept returning to the scroll. Finally he growled and ripped it open to find it was from the Head of the DMLE, Amelia Bones.
Chief Warlock Dumbledore,
Some interesting information has reached my ears and I am hoping that you if not other members of the Wizengamot will have some information that can help clear this matter up.
The matter at hand concerns the lack of records regarding the trial of one Sirius Black, heir to the Black family. I had the Records office searched for the transcript of Black’s trial and no records could be found. I, then, had former Minister Bagnold’s appointment books checked on the off chance that there was an indication of her taking part in a secret trial. It was interesting to learn that at no time was former Minister Bagnold out of the public eye long enough for a trial like Black's that should have taken some time to be held. And given that Black was the right hand of the Dark Lord, you would have expected the Minister to be deeply involved, even if only a few people knew about it.
In addition there is a question concerning the Kiss on Sight order that Minister Fudge has authorized with regards Black. Given there are no records of Black’s trial, ICW law requires that the majority of the court must agree the Order is necessary when using a Class 1 Dark creature for the execution of a prisoner or fugitive and that all members of the court be willing to accept the same fate if it turns out the person killed was in fact innocent. I find it interesting that you as Chief Warlock have not called upon the Wizengamot to meet to either rescind or approve Minister Fudge’s edict regarding the Kiss on Sight order for Black, given these facts. There is also the fact Black needs to be questioned before that happens if only to find out how he managed to escape from Azkaban. It is very important that we discover the means of his escape so that other prisoners do not follow him.
If these questions are not answered to my satisfaction by anyone who worked for or is currently working for the Ministry in any capacity, by the 1st of April then I will be calling for a hearing under my authority as the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and as the Regent for the Seat for the House of Bones within in the Wizengamot. You may be wondering why I am taking this unusual step, given everyone knows that Black is guilty but my reasons for doing so are just.
I am also sending a copy of this letter to all members of the Wizengamot, so that if they do by any chance have copies of the records from Black’s trial they can arrange to have them sent to me by April 1st. Or so they can bring them to the Hearing, if one needs to be called, so they can be examined. The person supplying the records will also be required to swear a magically binding oath that the records are indeed from Black’s trial 12 years ago.
I will send you notice for the date and time for the Wizengamot session, if it needs to be set up.
Dumbledore tore the scroll into tiny pieces in his fury and it was good thing that he had had the forethought to place a silencing charm on his office or the students passing near the gargoyle guarding his office would have been terrified at hearing a loud, growling voice echoing down the stairwell, "Jackson, I will stop your interference if it is the last thing I do!"