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Chapter 13: Ministry Meddling
Lily Evans slowly moved through the Hogwarts infirmary towards a bed where Madam Pomfrey was waiting for her. Professor James was walking beside her with his arm around her shoulders. It wasn’t that she couldn’t walk on her own. He was doing this to comfort her, and because she had asked him. The thought of walking to the infirmary alone scared her, or it might have been her ordeal with the Fiendfyre. She never could quite figure out why she wasn’t placed in Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor. She admired brave people, but she never considered herself to be one.
“Here you go, Miss Evans,” said the Professor, as they reached Madam Pomfrey and the bed.
“You must leave, Professor,” ordered the nurse rather icily. “The Headmaster wishes to see you in his office.”
“I’ll be seeing you in class Miss Evans,” said Professor James as he stepped away. “If your hands are not well enough to write on your own; I’ll recruit someone to take notes for you.”
Lily watched him turn and take two steps before Madam Pomfrey pulled a screen in front of her blocking him from her sight.
“Let me look at you, dear,” stated a tired Madam Pomfrey. “Well, look at those hands.”
She reached out and gently grabbed Lily’s hands. The contact made Lily realize how badly she had been burnt. A flash of pain shot through her arms into her brain. She let out a gasp, which the nurse noticed. She walked to her cabinets and pulled out a couple of things and sat them down on a tray. She returned and starting wrapping Lily’s hands. She put one layer of gauze on and then soaked them with as smelly solution.
She started wrapping another layer of gauze, but stopped to ask Lily something. “Do you use your left or right to wield your wand?”
“Get you wand and I will adjust the bandage for your wand.”
Lily stared at the nurse. She could barely handle the pain she was feeling, but to search through her robes, would be excruciating. She stood up and searched anyway. Contact with even a piece of thread shot pain up her arms. When her fingers rubbed against the seams it felt like her skin was being peeled away. She finally reached it and realized that she couldn’t grip it properly. Gritting her teeth and squeezing as hard as she could, Lily retrieved the wand from one of her pockets, handing it to Madam Pomfrey. The exertion brought tears to her eyes.
“Thank you, my dear, I am sorry to have caused you so much pain.”
Lily nodded to the matron before she started to wrap the wand into her hand. It looked like it was going to be permanently stuck there.
“All right, there you go,” stated the nurse. She stepped back to look at the bandaging. “I want you to stay overnight. I will reassess those hands tomorrow morning. The burns were not that bad. They may even be healed by morning,” ordered the nurse. “Very well, let me look you over. Do you hurt anywhere else?”
“No,” replied Lily. The Madam Pomfrey didn’t respond. She was already waving her wand over Lily checking for any other damage.
“You appear good other than your hands. I still want you to stay the night. I don’t want any hidden trauma or hexes showing up tonight.”
Lily sighed she didn’t want to spend the night in this spooky old room on a lumpy mattress. She wanted to go back to her dorm and sleep in her own bed.
“Do I have to use a bedpan or can I walk to the loo?”
“You may use the loo over there,” stated the nurse.
Lily stood up. “I’ll be right back.”
She looked down at her two hands that were bandaged to the point of looking like mittens. She realized why Madam Pomfrey had wrapped her wand in her hand. It was going to be the only way she would be able to undress herself and take care of other necessities. As she walked towards the loo, the nurse was busy cleaning up the area around her bed.
Lily stepped into a stall in the loo and Levitated her robe off her. It was tricky undressing oneself with magic, but she was able to do it, without hexing body parts off her. It was going to be a difficult time, if she can’t get these bandages off tomorrow. It will make her life miserable.
She shivered as she realized how close she came to having no tomorrow.
She was coughing from the smoke as she ran from door to door checking to see if anyone was trapped in their homes. The fire was getting so close now. She didn’t want anyone to die like that. She had always had nightmares of being trapped in a burning building. The thought of it made her want to run away and not help anyone else, but she knew that would be wrong.
There were only two more homes that she hadn’t checked. The one had just started to burn, while the other was completely untouched by fire. The houses on both sides of it were burning, but it wasn’t.
She ran to the one that had just caught fire. She ran onto the porch and blasted the front door off its hinges. Now was not the time to be polite. She needed to get people out.
“Hello, anyone here,” she screamed as loud as possible. No person answered, but she heard a dog whimpering. Walking into the kitchen, she called again; the whimpering could be heard from one of the cabinets. Opening it up, a dog stepped out of it and ran as fast as it could go out the front door and away from the fire.
“Who said dogs are dumb,” she said to no one. The sound of wood falling above her made her realize that she had to get moving.
She ran through the house looking for others, but it looked to be abandoned. She was hoping the reason is because the owners are away at work. She couldn’t linger on the possibility that they placed a dog in that cabinet to get burnt to death.
She ran across the street to the only house not engulfed in flames. She was nearly to it when a man stepped out onto the front porch.
“Well, well, if it isn’t Lily Evans…,” he said staring at her. His gaze made her feel uneasy. “…being the hero. How appropriate for you to risk your life to save others. It is sort of a family thing isn’t it? But not for long,” he sneered as he said the last sentence.
“Do I know you?” she asked the man.
“No, and you never will.”
Lily could feel the fire getting closer. It was strange the fire seemed to have a life of its own.
“Funny thing about Fiendfyre,” he said like a Professor. “You can control it for only so long. It has only one purpose and that is too incinerate everything it can touch. It is hungry for more, Miss Evans. I bid you adieu.”
The man jumped off the porch and ran to an opening in the wall of flames that separated her from Hogsmeade. The house that he had been standing on exploded in flames. It was when Lily saw the faces and heads in the fire consuming the house that she realized it was Fiendfyre. She turned to run away, but the gap in the flames had closed behind the man.
She was now trapped. There was a wall of fire cutting off any possibility of escape on all sides of her. The fire seemed to be getting closer. She looked for possible avenues of escape, but all possibilities of escape were gone. Panic started to set in. Her fears were making her want to curl up in fetal position and die, but the rest of her told her to fight for survival.
A roar sounded from behind her. It was a mix of a roar of flames and the roar of a dragon. She turned to see the faces and mouths were trained on her. If it was possible, the flames seemed to have a hungry look in their eyes.
“Aguamenti,” she shouted while pointing her wand at the fire. A torrent of water shot from her wand, but it evaporated before reaching the fiery face. The steam formed a cloud between her and the Fiendfyre. She took this opportunity to look for another route of escape.
She saw it in a flat garden stone. She cast an enlarging spell on it making it nearly a foot thick and six feet square. With another swipe of her wand, she gouged out a three foot deep hole in the ground. Jumping in the hole she folded herself up and Levitated the stone up covering the hole.
Even pressed against the cool ground the very air seemed intolerably hot. She heard a roar of the Fiendfyre. It must have expected her to be there when the steam dissipated.
She could feel the ground shake as it moved. Worms started to squirm out of the ground around her. She realized why, when the soil started to steam. The stone covering her was pushed down into the ground several inches. It quickly became unbearably hot in her little hiding spot. When the stone started to glow red, she knew she couldn’t stay in there or else she would be baked alive.
She had to cool the stone down. Casting the Aguamenti Charm again, she sprayed the bottom of the stone in an attempt to cool it. Hot steam scorched her hands as she held them over her face. The steam eventually mixed with warm water to start filling the hole. The ground shook and the stone was flung to the side revealing faces of the Fiendfyre. She saw it was a Hydra. There was no hope for her. She screamed as she pointed her wand at the fiery faces. She also started to run. One of the faces struck at the hole where she had just been. It appeared that the only thing keeping her alive was the steam blocking her from their sight.
She kept running around the street avoiding their gaping mouths as they struck at her one by one. Each time a scream erupted from her. She was in pure terror. She has never been this frightened before in her life. Every time she escaped the Fiendfyre, the area to run to became smaller. She would eventually run out of room. Dark thoughts of giving up and letting the Fiendfyre consume her flashed through her mind, but she couldn’t do it. No matter how futile her efforts seemed to be, she couldn’t give up.
The monster let out a mighty roar as if it had been hurt. It thrashed around and shook what remained of the houses down to the ground. The shockwave from the buildings collapsing made her stumble. The several of the Hydra’s heads attacked the fresh wood exposed by the collapsing buildings. One didn’t though it started to lash out at her again and again. It was striking through the steam at her. Her courage failed her. All she could do was curl up and accept that her life was over. She would die a horrible death of being burnt to death. All she could do was cover her face and try to keep the monster away by shooting water at it.
Then her world had gone black. When she woke up, she was safe with Professor James staring down at her. That was twice that he had saved her in one day. With her fear of being burnt to death overwhelming her fragile emotions she clutched at him and started crying like a little girl. She hadn’t acted like that since she was six years old. He treated her just her father had. He held her and comforted her.
Lily broke out of her thoughts of the disastrous day. She didn’t know how long she was sitting there thinking about what had happened. She only hoped that everyone involved would be sent to Azkaban.
Levitating her robes back on her, she left the loo to walk back to her bed. The hospital wing was empty. Madam Pomfrey was sitting in her office drinking tea. She had her back to Lily. Lily walked up to the office door.
“Oh my dear, don’t scare me like that,” shouted a surprised nurse. “What do you want?”
Lily was Gobsmacked. Madam Pomfrey was acting like she didn’t know Lily was in the ward. “Do you want me to take the same bed?”
“What bed, dear?”
“The one where you examined me earlier,” Lily replied. She held up her hands to show the nurse.
“My goodness, what did you do to yourself?” exclaimed the nurse as she stood up from her chair.
“I burnt them in the big fire at Hogsmeade,” replied a confused Lily.
“A fire in Hogsmeade?” questioned the confuse nurse. “Was anyone else hurt?”
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Harry ascended the spiral staircase to the Headmaster’s office. When he reached the door he knocked. After hearing the Headmaster tell him to enter, opened the door to the office.
The office was nearly full of people. The Headmaster was behind his desk with an annoyed air about him. Alastor Moody was sitting beside the far side of the desk facing the Headmaster. Ray was in a seat on the other side of the desk. There were two empty seats then two distinguished looking men sat between the empty chairs and Mad-eye. They were obviously Ministry officials. There were also five official looking wizards standing behind the chairs. Harry recognized a young Cornelius Fudge as one of them, that would mean this was possibly the memory reversal squad.
Without asking, Harry sat beside Ray, leaving an empty seat between himself and the nearest Ministry official. He looked at the two officials and recognized the one as a young Barty Crouch Sr. He looked the same as he did in the future except his hair was darker. He was the same severely proper wizard now as in the future.
“There is a third member of your group,” stated Barty Crouch Sr. “Where is he?”
“I do not know,” replied Harry. “He Apparated away during the battle.”
“Why did he do that?” snapped Mr. Crouch.
Harry looked at the Headmaster then back to Mr. Crouch. “Teddy has been having a difficult time recovering from all the fighting we have endured back in Australia. I think he broke and ran away.”
Moody and Albus Dumbledore looked at Harry with questioning stares. Crouch lifted his one eyebrow at him. The simple movement made Harry feels that he didn’t believe the story. He pulled out a pocket watch and stared at it. While he did, a corner of his mouth twitched.
“I wanted him to be present. His absence is most disturbing,” complained Crouch.
“Are you planning on arresting us?” asked Harry.
“I should! I have every right to have your wands broken and you tossed into Azkaban. You nearly destroyed all of our beloved town of Hogsmeade,” he state harshly.
“Now, that isn’t exactly true, Barty,” growled Alastor. “Professor James was defending the town. He didn’t start that Fiendfyre.”
“He was there battling British citizens…”
“Death Eaters and you-know-who,” countered Alastor.
“He cast the killing curse numerous times,” snapped Crouch at Moody. “I could send him to Azkaban for life for just doing that.”
“I thought I had to cast the curse on a human being for it to be illegal. I was using it to stop a Fiendfyre.”
“Was that the only time you used it. You say that you have been fighting dark wizards, but you could be one yourself,” Crouch shouted at Harry. He seemed to lose some of his pristine composure when he did that. He stopped talking and looked at his watch again.
Harry reached out and laid a hand on Ray’s arm. He could feel her moving and was afriad she might curse Barty Crouch for calling him a dark wizard. He looked at Professor Dumbledore. He had a blank expression on his face. He was going to ask him something, but decided not to because the Headmaster was acting strange. Normally he would not allow this type of thing to happen in his office, but he looked too laid back. He was leaning back in his chair with his one arm below the desk and the other casually laid on the arm rest of his leather chair.
“Is there someplace you needed to go, Barty?”asked Moody.
“Yes, and don’t forget that I am the Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Department and that makes me your superior.”
“How could I forget that,” replied the Auror with a little cheek. “This man and his two associates repelled possibly the largest attack by You-know-who and his followers ever. Three of them did that. The Death Eaters had already attacked residents of Hogsmeade. We should be thanking him and asking to help train our Aurors instead of threatening to send him to Azkaban.”
“Did you see him do this….” Crouch stopped talking when someone knocked on the door.
“Enter,” shouted the Headmaster from his chair.
The door opened and another Obliviator entered the room. Harry started to worry. He didn’t recognize them at first, but they were the ones that were questioning the students as they returned from Hogsmeade. He had walked past them as he escorted Lily to the hospital wing. At the time he thought they were just taking statements. He now wondered what their purpose was.
Crouch turned in his chair and looked at the man who just entered. “Well, are you finished?”
“We have interviewed everyone,” the man said as he went and stood behind Ray.
Crouch turned back to the Headmaster. “I need to leave, but there ae a few things that need to be covered before I leave. Mr. Goshawk you had something you needed to say?”
Harry heard the wizards behind them move, but a silver flash filled the room at the same time. Everyone fell unconscious, except the Headmaster, Moody, Ray and him.
“Alastor and Harry do you think you can modify their memories?” asked the Headmaster quickly. “We only have a minute.”
“I am not brilliant at it, but I can do it,” replied Harry. “Ray, what about you?”
“Yeah, I passed the exams for it. What should we imprint?”
The Headmaster was already up and modifying Barty Crouch’s and Mr. Goshawk’s memories. “Just let them believe that they completed the mission. They will believe we have been Obliviated.”
Harry, Ray and Alastor jumped up and started modifying everyone’s memories. They all worked at a feverish pace to complete the job in less than a minute. They were able to make it back to their places before the others awakened.
Barty Crouch and Mr. Goshawk smiled at each other, before Mr. Goshawk started talking.
“I am Horatio Goshawk a member of the govenors of this fine school. I have been hearing some disturbing reports about you Professor James.” The Headmaster went to protest, but Mr. Goshawk held up his hand to stay him. “It appears that you have been attracting the attention of the girls. You do know that any relationships between Professors and students are strictly forbidden.”
“The only realtionships I have with the students are strictly Professor and student. I am a happily married man…,”
“Whose wife is half way around the world,” interjected Mr. Goshawk.
“I have never and will never cheat on my wife,” spat Harry. He was ready to curse the wanker’s bits off.
“I do not want him to be near any of the female students,” snapped the Govenor to the Headmaster.
“Mr. Goshawk, Professor James has been an outstanding instructor, and I have also heard of such attractions of the Professor and the females in the school,” stated the Headmaster. “In every account it has been the females approaching the Professor. I have never heard of a single incident where the Professor has approached a student and did anything inappropriate.”
“He walked back from Hogsmeade with his arms around a Miss Evans,” shouted Mr. Goshawk.
Harry was taken back by the statement. He was going to say something, but it would have shown that he hadn’t been Obliviated. When he saw Barty Crouch glare at Mr. Goshawk, he realized that the Govenor had made a mistake.
“I have no memory of returning to the school with my arms around anyone,” stated Harry.
“I must go,” demanded Barty Crouch.
Horatio Goshawk stared at Barty Crouch then swallowed hard, before speaking again. “I don’t want Professor James to be spending time alone with any female students.”
The Headmaster leaned back in his chair and stared at the govenor. “I will ensure that this won’t happen. Professor James will this cause you to change your lesson plans?”
“No, not at all, Headmaster,” replied Harry with a smile.
Barty Crouch pulled his watch and stared at it. His eyes got wide. “We are leaving, now,” he ordered the other members of the Ministry.
They all quickly filed out after him. The meeting had ended that quickly. Harry looked at Ray, The Headmaster, and then Moody. They all seemed as confused buy what just happened as he did. The Headmaster lifted a single finger over his lips to indicate that they should be quite. They sat in silence for about a minute. The entire time Alastor Moody looked to be getting angrier by the second. Finally, the Headmaster cast a Charm on the door.
“We may speak now,” stated the Headmaster.
Alastor Moody stood up and pushed his chair back making it fall with a loud clatter. “Bloody hell Albus, I can’t believe you sat back and allowed the Ministry to Obliviate your students.”
“I couldn’t stop it, because they were doing it before I knew it,” responded the Headmaster angrily. “Do you think I would have allowed them to do that to the students? You realize that all the Death Eaters will be released because no one will remember that there was an attack here.”
“Bloody Hell,” muttered Alastor Moody as he scrubbed his hand over his face. “I can’t believe that Crouch would do such a thing. He has been acting strangly, but to do this is just unbelievable.”
“Headmaster,” said Harry interrupting their rants. “Did you contact Mr. Crouch when you contacted the Aurors?”
“No he contacted me directly,” stated Moody. He went to say something more, but his facial expression changed as though he realized what Harry had asked about. “I can’t believe Crouch would be supporting him. I just can’t believe it.”
“He may not be,” stated Harry. “Does Crouch always check his watch like that? He seemed to be very nervous about getting out of here on time.”
“What are you hinting at Harry,” asked the Headmaster.
“I don’t think that was Barty Crouch. I think it was someone using Polyjuice Potion to take Crouch’s place. It was someone who knew about the attacks, and had the Obliviators ready to ascend on Hogwarts to erase all memory of the attack.”
The Headmaster steepled his fingers and leaned forward in his chair. Harry could amost see the thoughts running through his mind. Alastor Moody looked as if his head would explode. He became redfaced and the muscles in his face all twitched and flexed as he ground his teeth. He glared at Harry then at Dumbldore. He then turn his back on both of them before turning again and staring redfaced at them.
“All right, I would like to know the truth,” he growled. “The same day I hear that Albus has hired a new Defense Professor, he tells me to help watch a Muggle born girl. That girl just happened to be Lily Evans the same one that you saved from the Fiendfyre, the one that everyone is talking about you getting so close to, and I discover you even have someone undercover in the Gryffindor House.”
He stopped and looked at Harry then Dumbledore. “I need to know what is going on here,” he demanded.
Harry took a deep breath. The Headmaster was staring at him, obviously deferring the answer to him.
“We, Teddy, Ray, and I, have been chasing three pureblood fanatics from Australia. They believe in a prophecy that was told in Australia. It told of a girl with hair of fire and viens of mud will destroy the pure of blood.
“Pureblood fanaticism is non-existant in Australia. They came here to England where they knew of Voldemort and his pureblood fanaticism. We believed that they were after Lily Evans, because she did so well on her OWLs. What had just happened confirmed our suspicions.”
Moody stood and stared at Harry for a minute before speaking again. “I suppose you are going to stick to that story. Because I think it is total bollocks. Albus are you going to tell me the truth?”
“Harry told you the truth Alastor,” stated the Headmaster calmly.
“I should have figured,” growled Moody. “At least you are opposed to He-who-must-not-be-named. Do you have a pictue of the three you are chasing?”
Harry pulled out of his robes three pictures. He duplicated them and handed a set of them to Moody.
“The one on top is dead. He was the one that started the Fiendfyre. I think one of the other two is impersonating Barty Crouch,” said Harry.
Moody looked at the two pictures. He would glance at one than the other. He rubbed his chin and looked at each one again. “I think I have seen these two before. They look familiar.” He folded the pictures up and placed them in his robes. “I’ll keep an eye on Barty. Do you want me to arrest him and prove he is under the influence of Polyjuice?”
“Do you have enough proof to detain Barty Crouch?” asked Harry.
Moody laughed at the question. “No. I will wait until I have proof.”
“We would appreciate it if the Ministry didn’t know about this, even after the arrest,” requested Albus.
Moody laughed a derisive laugh again. “Always with the secrets, Albus. Always with the secrets.” The Auror walked out of the office.
Harry sighed as he stood up from his chair. He needed to find Teddy. This day has had more twists and turns to it then could have ever imagined. He started out having an enjoyable talk with his mum. He then had to fight Death Eaters and Voldemort. After that was over, he had to rescue his mum from Fiendfyre. He also had found one of the three NDE’s only to see him die. Now the Ministry has swept down and Obliviated everyone, which explained why there was no record of a battle or why the houses disappeared from histroy. To top it all of it off, Teddy wanted to changed history and the future, only to Apparate away. He and Ray needed to find him before he jeopardizes the future again.
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James Potter was moving through the hall of Hogwarts under his Invisibiltiy Cloak. He had been under it ever since Professor James led Lily away to the infirmary. He followed them. He had never felt this way about someone before. When Severus Snape was standing between him and Lily, he was never concerned. Now, he feels that this Professor could take Lily away from him. He was brave, heroic, handsome, and talked about the power of love. He seemed to be a bird’s perfect man. How could he ever compete against a man like that?
He took off the Cloak as he approached the fat lady. After giving the password, he entered the common room looking for his friends. There was so much that he wanted to talk about. He spied them sitting in a corner of the room. He walked over and sat down.
“All right there mates,” James said.
“Hey, mate, where have you been?” asked Sirius.
“Yeah, you disappeared on us at The Three Broomsticks,” stated Peter.
“I didn’t disappear. I followed Professor James back to the infirmary. You wouldn’t believe what I saw in the infirmary. An Obliviator wiped Madam Pomfrey’s memory, while Lily was in the loo,” whispered James.
“Why was Lily in the infirmary, and why would anyone wipe Madam Pomfrey’s memory?” questioned Remus.
“I don’t know why they did that, but Lily was burnt in that big fire,” answered James.
“What fire and when did that happen?” asked Sirius.
“The fire that burnt ten houses to the ground; it was actually Fiendfyre.” His friends were looking at him like he was barmy. “The fire was started while we were battling the Death Eaters.”
James sat there confused as his friends started to laugh at him. They had no memory of the events at Hogsmeade. Were they Obliviated too?