Scion of Gryffindor
11 - Madam Bones
Harry / Tonks ship
Harry Potter sat at his breakfast table, reading the letter that Pigwidgeon had just delivered.
His audience included, among others, a werewolf, a ghost, a senior auror with fifteen years fighting against the worst the wizarding world had to offer, and a junior auror.
Despite the eclectic and largely fearless group, every single adult was scared of the expression on his face and the power that they could all feel pouring off the young wizard.
"Dobby, bring me another sheet of parchment," Harry ordered in a low voice.
Dobby, just as frightened as the rest, complied in less than a second.
Harry wrote furiously for only a minute. Once done, he looked up and asked, "How do I make this a howler?"
The adults looked amongst themselves for a moment. "Cast 'creo clamor' and the recipient's name," Godric answered uneasily.
Harry pointed his finger and growled, "Creo clamor Hermione Granger." It immediately folded itself into the familiar red form. He looked over at the still immobilized Pigwidgeon and muttered, "Finite. Volo festino."
Remus, the only one to hear him, raised an eyebrow in surprise.
"Pigwidgeon!" Harry snarled, stopping the hyperactive owl in its tracks. "Take this to Hermione. Make sure she's surrounded by as many people as possible. If you can catch her at breakfast still, that would be best. Go."
The tiny owl scooped up the red envelope and was out of the room so quickly that he looked like a blur.
"Harry?" Tonks asked softly.
"Yeah?" he asked shortly, glaring at the tabletop.
"You're scaring Laura. And me," she admitted.
Harry looked up quickly. The wary expressions on the adult faces saddened him, but the expression of fright on Laura's face hurt worse. "I'm sorry," he addressed to the young witch. "I just got something from someone I thought was a friend, and it made me very angry. I'm not mad at you or anyone else here."
"Promise?" Laura asked in a little voice.
Harry forced himself to relax and lean back in his seat. "Promise."
Remus cautiously suggested, "Let's take the morning off, okay? You need to write to Ginny still and then calm your magic. We'll see how the afternoon looks after lunch."
"Try the meditation I taught you," Kingsley suggested. "It'll help you with your emotions."
Harry's eyes flared.
Godric spoke firmly to the young wizard. "Whether you want to admit it or not, you are angry. That's not a good mental condition to be in when you're trying to learn. Any spells you cast will be overcharged and erratic until you calm down."
Harry stared at his ancestor for several seconds before closing his eyes and taking several deep breaths. When everyone felt the static energy in the air dissipate, they all breathed a little easier.
Harry opened his eyes again and addressed Kelly. "My apologies. It’s the first time we meet, and you had to witness that. I'm sorry for my behavior."
Still a little wide-eyed, Kelly shook her head. "Everyone gets upset at some point. This just happened to be yours."
Harry smiled bitterly. "According to the Prophet over the last year, Mad-Dog Potter has violent tendencies at least twice a day."
"For what it's worth, I didn't believe all that twaddle," she offered.
He found that he believed her. "Thank you," he said simply.
Changing the subject, he asked, "Was your room okay last night? Anything else I can do to make your stay more comfortable?"
She shook her head. "You've already done so much for us, Lord Potter. There is nothing more we could ask."
Harry rolled his eyes. "Call me Harry, please. This 'Lord Potter' thing makes me think someone important is standing behind me."
Henry, still perched on Harry's chair back, hooted.
After a startled moment, everyone laughed.
Kingsley stood. "We'll leave you to write your note, Harry. If you need one of us, we'll be eating in the kitchen." He picked up his plate of untouched breakfast and gently guided his family out. Remus, Tonks, and Godric followed his lead after nodding at Harry.
Seeing everyone leave, Harry gave an amused grunt. He looked over his shoulder at Henry. "Everyone's scared of me, I guess. Wonderful."
Hedwig fluttered into the room and perched on Harry's other side.
Harry looked at her curiously. "What's going on, girl?"
Hedwig cooed and rubbed her face against his cheek for a moment before preening his hair.
Harry laughed. "Okay, okay. I'll stop being so grumpy. Happy?"
Hedwig gave Harry a firm hoot before turning her attention to the unfamiliar owl. The two sized each other up for a few moments before Henry made a questioning noise. Hedwig hopped to another chair and settled down comfortably. Henry moved over and nestled in beside her before the two started making quiet noises and small movements that Harry had no hope of interpreting.
"Hey, you two. Are you gonna behave, or do I need to get you a room?"
Both snowy owls looked at his amused smile for a moment before turning back to each other.
Chuckling, Harry requested, "Just warn me before I become a grandfather, okay?"
Hedwig gave him a rude squawk in response.
Shaking his head at his owl's antics, Harry began writing.
Henry has Hedwig's approval, so he must be a good owl. And don't think I don't know the significance of that name, young lady!
On a related note, if these two get any more chummy, I might have to ask for support when the chicks are born. Talk about an instant infatuation.
If you're anywhere near Hermione, I'm sure you've heard firsthand or at least secondhand about my response to her letter. Did she admit what she wrote that set me off? In short, it was a demand that I seek professional help for the depression that she is just SURE I'm suffering. I guess what upset me the most was that she TOLD me to seek help. She didn't ask.
While I'm on a roll with the uncomfortable topics, I'll go ahead and get the other one out of the way. I know you're too polite to ask but are still curious about it, so I'll tell you that the basic facts about last night were correct in the Prophet article. There weren't reports of any other attacks, and Hermione said that's where all of Dumbledore's people were. Can you tell me anything about it?
There. Now that all the unhappy talk is out of the way, we can go on to more cheerful things.
About the gossip you mentioned: It's about time.
My three tutors are great. I'm learning loads from them. Kingsley is doing potions, and I think I've learned more in one week than with six months being terrorized by Tall, Dark, and Greasy. Remus is showing me some nifty transfiguration tricks. I asked about animagus, but that's apparently too much to deal with right now. Tonks is helping me with my dueling.
I hope you can forgive me, but I can't tell you where I'm staying. Please accept that I'm safe.
A "young witch worth wooing"? And then you sign it, "yours"? Was that a hint of some kind, perhaps?
Harry looked up hours later when he heard someone enter the room. "Hi, Remus."
"Harry," the werewolf answered, looking at Harry carefully.
Harry waved him off. "I feel better now that I've had some time to calm down."
Remus relaxed and took a seat. "What's all this?" he asked, waving a hand at the table cluttered with parchment.
"Remember the papers the Black solicitor gave me? The rundown of the Black accounts? Well, I've traced where the money comes from. I think I need to go and visit Madam Bones this afternoon."
"Is something wrong?" Remus asked in concern. Considering the history of the Black family, it wouldn't surprise him to learn that Harry had inherited more than one illegal venture.
Harry thought about it for a second. "Not wrong, really. Just something I need to talk with the head of law enforcement about. Considering she didn't reverse Fudge's termination of Tonks and Shack, I don't think those two will be all that welcome. So, care to go to the ministry with me?"
Amelia Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, stood and waved her hand toward the visitor's chair in front of her desk. "Lord-Baron Potter. Welcome. I must admit that I'm curious as to why you asked to see me."
"Madam Bones," Harry, unsure how to deal with the entire situation, gave her a short bow of respect before seating himself. "First, I want to express my condolences regarding Susan. We did not know each other all that well, but she was invariably kind and good-natured in the D.A. meetings."
She nodded carefully. "Thank you. Please permit an old and busy witch to forgo some of the pleasantries and ask for the reason of your visit, with a known werewolf in tow no less."
Harry glanced over his shoulder at Remus's cool expression as he stood by the door. "Remus is a trusted friend, Madam. At the moment, he is acting as my bodyguard. However, I asked to see you about another matter entirely. Are you aware that I recently inherited the bulk of the Black family fortune?"
"Indeed, including the barony."
"Yes. What is generally not known is that the Black family owns a great deal of commercial property here in London."
"This is fascinating, but what does it have to do with me?"
"Among others, I now seem to own all the land of Knockturn Alley."
To her credit, her eyes merely widened. Harry had privately been hoping for a more extreme response than that. A gasp, perhaps. Maybe even stunned gaping.
"Indeed. So, my question of you is what I should do about that."
Now she just looked confused. "I'm not sure what you mean, Lord-Baron."
Harry frowned slightly. "Please call me Harry. As for the land, it occurs to me that I could do any of several things. My first thought was to simply chuck them all out, preferably after the aurors arrest them all. However, the lease contracts could get me into a lot of legal trouble if I tried to do that. So, I can think of three other things to do. First, I could refuse to renew their leases when they come up. Second, I could go to the other extreme and simply let it go on as it is. Third, I could add a clause to the new leases that they forfeit the remainder of their lease if they are convicted of dealing in dark artifacts or engaged in dark activities."
Madam Bones slowly nodded. "I see. Why are you asking my opinion?"
Harry almost smiled. "I wanted to know which of the choices, in your opinion, would be best for the safety and security of wizarding Britain."
One eyebrow came way up over her monocle. "If I didn't give you an opinion, what would you do?"
"Probably the third one: the clauses against dark activity. That would have the benefit of slowly driving the dark magic out of the area yet keep it a viable commercial area for me to lease out. I'm sure there are legitimate businesses down that alley. If there were more good than bad, then it could become another Diagon Alley within a few years."
"Then why don't you simply do that?"
"Because then all the dark shops would be scattered around the country instead of concentrated in one place. I presume having them all in one place makes some parts of your job easier. I was curious to know which was better from your point of view."
Madam Bones straightened up in her chair and actually smiled at him. "Very insightful question, young man. In some ways, you're correct." She sat back and thought about it for a few seconds before speaking again. "Ideally, a clause of the lease would open the shops to search at your discretion and all shop owners to submit to veritaserum."
Harry stared at her. "That would have the same effect as refusing to renew any leases as well as driving off all the legitimate businesses."
She nodded. "Quite so. I understand that you're willing to work with me, but only within reason. A clause as you suggested earlier would be just fine with one modification. The balance of the lease AND ALL SHOP CONTENTS will be forfeited upon conviction. That will eventually drive out all the dark elements, but it will also be taking all their stock off of the streets."
"But they would just start up shop somewhere else, wouldn't they?"
She shrugged. "Probably. Don't worry about us, though. You're right in that one place to watch is easier in some ways. A bunch of scattered places, with less defenses, is also reasonable for us to keep track of. It's a double-edged sword, no matter which way you look at it."
Harry nodded. "Very well. I'll have my solicitor, Mr. Wordsmith, send a copy of the new lease to you once he finishes writing it. Just so you know how it's worded, of course."
A sly smile came to her face. "Of course. May I presume that you wish your part in this to remain confidential, Lord-Baron?"
Harry smiled back in the same way. "We understand each other, then. Within reason, I am at your disposal, Madam."
She nodded but looked pensive for a moment. "You know, I had thought that you were Dumbledore's man."
All expression washed from Harry's face.
She nodded understandingly. "Based on your expression and that of Mr. Lupin, I can see that assumption was false. I am sorry for thinking that of you." She tilted her head slightly. "With that in mind, would it help if I offered to re-instate Shacklebolt or Tonks with the caveat that they distance themselves from Dumbledore?"
Harry frowned. "I don't know. I'll talk to them about it and leave it up to them." His face cleared. "You've heard about my hiring them, then?"
She nodded. "I have the report on the attack on Shacklebolt's home. It included who his employer is and why you, Tonks, and Lupin here were all there. Despite everything, I am glad to hear that everyone came out of it well."
Harry winced. "Except for one of the Death Eaters," he muttered.
"You are not in any trouble for that," she said quickly.
Harry just nodded, face still pained. "Will I be required to give a statement?"
"Not if you don't want to. We have all relevant witness statements already."
Harry stood. "Very well. If there is nothing else?"
"Thank you for coming in. I shall expect an owl from your solicitor, then?"
"Yes. Good day, Madam."
Once they were back in the atrium, Harry turned to Remus. "Let's stop at Wordsmith's office - it's in Gringotts bank, isn't it? - and get that in motion. Then we'll go home and back to our missed transfiguration lesson."
For those who don't know the significance of Henry's name, Saint Hedwig's husband's name was Henry.