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Harry Potter and the Winters After the War by Mrs_Granger
Chapter 57 : A Lesson in Elf Magic
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 17


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Hermione and Ginny burst through the front door of Number 12 Grimmauld Place, their arms full of packages and giggling as they looked conspiratorially at one another. They had planned to be home hours ago, but it had been such fun looking in all the muggle stores that they’d lost track of the time, arriving later at the bridal shop than they’d intended. And then there had been so much to look at there, so much to consider, that by the time the duo left the bridal shop they were several hours past their planned return time. Now it was close to supper time and both girls were feeling just a little bit guilty.



“Are they here?” Hermione asked as they stepped inside and looked around.



Hermys and Kreacher came running to greet them, divesting Hermione and Ginny of some of their packages which the house-elves carried down to the kitchen. The rest the girls took with them into the drawing room.



“I don’t know,” Ginny answered as she followed Hermione in, setting her own packages down on the sofa. “Harry’s dove said they were on their way home hours ago, so they should be.”



Hermione nodded. Her mum had been so surprised when the pretty clay colored dove appeared from a cloud of pigeons overhead and come to rest on Ginny’s shoulder, bearing Harry’s tiny note. Ginny had untied it without hesitation, read it then placed the tiny bird into her purse as though this were something that happened every day.



“Well they’re not in here,” Hermione offered.



“Nor in the kitchen Kreacher said. It’s awfully quiet in here. Give me a minute I’ll go check up stairs,” Ginny answered opening her purse and allowing Rudy to fly up the stairs to go roost. Ginny followed him up as far as the third floor landing.



“Harry’s sleeping,” she told her friend quietly when she came back down.



Hermione nodded. “I’d probably better go home then.”



“Why?” Ginny asked curiously. “They got back so late, Ron’s probably sleeping too.”



“Oh I suppose,” Hermione agreed. “He’s going to want dinner when he wakes up though.”



“Which probably won’t be for a while. Which means…we probably have time to do this!” Ginny announced gleefully as she dove into one of the plastic shopping bags that sat atop the pile. She pulled from it several items bought at muggle shops: a small purse, a coin wallet, and two compact wallets complete with mirrors and tiny make up brushes. All were tapestry covered and promised to be the height of fashion. Not that either of the two witches were overly concerned by muggle fashion. Rather their interest in these particular items was for another reason: Hermione had been fairly certain that the tapestry patterns in each of the items could be transfigured to mimic the pattern of Harry’s tapestry.



“The thing is,” Hermione was saying as they laid the items out on a low table, “we don’t really want to duplicate the entire tapestry, only certain sections of it.”



“Just my family,” Ginny agreed. “And of course Harry.”



Hermione sighed. “That’s still a lot to put on a purse Ginny.”



“I wasn’t thinking of putting it on the purse Hermione. I was thinking of this.”



Ginny picked up one of the flat rectangular compacts and unsnapped the cover to lay the wallet that contained it flat. “I could replace this mirror here with one of the enchanted two way mirrors I bought from George at Christmas time. Then this little loop for the make-up brush? It would be just right to hold my broom when I shrink it. You know to sort of protect it more in my purse. Now if we reconfigure the tapestry…” Ginny withdrew her wand and studied the fabric of the compact. She tapped it once and the random flower pattern of the tapestry fabric covering the wallet began to change, re-weaving itself into more of a tree like pattern.



“What do you think?” Ginny asked.



“Good,” Hermione commented “I think that’s probably the right way to start. Let’s change the patterns on these to be something similar to the tree on the wall first. Then we can add the names we want it to show.”



She tapped her wand against the three remaining items and the patterns on those also changed.



“Good,” Ginny said appreciatively. “Now, if I do this…” She walked over to the tapestry at the place with Harry’s name, placed the tip of her wand on it and murmured an incantation. Then she went back to the flattened compact, touched her wand to that and said the incantation in reverse. Instantly Harry’s name appeared as though it had been copied from the tapestry on the wall.



“It worked!” Ginny said excitedly. “I’ve got Harry’s name on here! It’s only the name though, not the symbols.”



“It’s just the pattern you copied, not the magic Ginny,” Hermione reasoned. “Though that’s a good start too. I wonder…” She looked thoughtfully down at the second compact they had purchased. “Can I try this one?”



“Sure.”



Ginny watched curiously as Hermione worked with the tree pattern she’d created on the cover, adding little arrows at the bottom, which when tapped with her wand would scroll the image on the wallet from side to side or up and down.



“Ooh, that’s good!” Ginny told her. “Show me how you did that.”



Hermione showed her the wand movement and she adjusted incantation; soon her wallet had the arrows too.



“Now I can add even more names!” Ginny said happily and she set about copying the names of everyone in her family, and inserting them onto the wallet in just the right place.



All of this took an enormous amount of concentration, so she wasn’t surprised when she looked up to find that Hermione was doing the exact same thing. What did surprise her though was to find both house-elves watching from the corner of the room, and Harry standing in the doorway to the drawing room. He too was watching them intently with a bemused expression on his face.



“What are you two doing?” he asked when he realized Ginny had seen him.



“What? Oh, nothing,” Hermione said, trying to hide the compact she’d been working on behind her back. She glanced at Ginny who was also making an attempt to hide what she’d been doing.



“What are those?” Harry asked coming towards them and playfully trying to snatch the wallet out from behind Ginny’s back, but she pulled it away.



“So you’re not going to show me?” he asked with a fake pout.



“Not yet,” Ginny told him shoving the wallet up under her blouse.



“I can still get it there,” Harry said playfully as he stepped towards her, his hands poised to slide up under her shirt after the wallet.



“Oh no you don’t,” Ginny declared as she threatened to pull her wand.



“Okay then. What have you got in here?” Harry asked turning to open one of the many packages that still lay on the sofa.



“Just never you mind,” Ginny said trying to snatch the bag from his hand too.



Harry maintained his grasp on it, holding it in a teasing fashion out of her reach, but he didn’t open it.



“Myrtle’s Bridal Boutique,” Harry read on the side of the bag. “You went to a muggle bridal shop?”



“I went with Hermione and her mum,” Ginny explained. “She asked me to go look at bridesmaids dresses with her, so I did.”



“Well okay, but if it’s for Hermione’s wedding, why can’t I see it?” Harry begged, still threatening to open the bag.



“Just ‘cause you can’t. No questions Harry!” Ginny scolded as she reached for the bag again. “Hermione’s not the only one getting married you know!”



            “So am I to infer you are planning to wear a muggle dress for our wedding too?” Harry teased.



“Not necessarily,” Ginny told him.



“They sell fabric there too,” Hermione added. “Some of it would look lovely made into robes. I think she’s just trying to get ideas Harry.”



Harry grinned and let go of the package as Ginny grabbed it and hugged it to her chest.



“You really are starting to plan for our wedding, aren’t you?” he asked.



“Practice starts again next week. My schedule is going to be crazy again and since Hermione was there to help, I thought it was a good opportunity to get started with this. I wanted to get Madame Malkin working on a design for my robes…I thought I should at least start the planning before I go back,” Ginny explained.



“Gin, it’s okay. I’m delighted you’re thinking about it and getting started with some of it to be honest,” Harry assured her. “But what is all this about?”



He gestured curiously at the tapestry covered hand bag and money purse lying on the table, noticing that their tree covered pattern looked similar to that of the family tree covering his drawing room wall. He picked up the purse and stared at it.



“You’re trying to duplicate the tapestry? On a purse?” he asked.



“I’m not sure if we’ll do the purse, we haven’t decided yet,” Hermione told him seriously.



“But you are trying to duplicate it?” Harry asked in awe. 



Hermione glanced at Ginny. “Can we tell him?”



Ginny looked warily at Harry. “Will you laugh at us if we do?”



Harry smiled a crooked half smile. “Why? What did you do?”



“This.” Ginny pulled the wallet from beneath her blouse and handed it to him. She showed him the arrows and how by scrolling the pattern from side to side and also up and down, various names could be made to show.



“Ginny, this is brilliant!” Harry breathed. “Now you don’t have to depend so much on the wall! Why would I laugh about this?”



“I thought you might accuse me of becoming like Mum, wanting to carry it around with me all the time like she does with her clock,” Ginny answered hesitantly as if she still was at risk for being teased.



“Oh well…Ron might, but I won’t. I think it’s fantastic that you thought of it,” Harry said with a grin.



“It would be fantastic if we could get it to work,” Hermione told him.



“Why won’t it?” Harry asked. “You’ve got most of the pattern here.”



“We were able to duplicate the pattern and fix enough magic in it to get it to scroll, but the symbol just won’t stay put,” Hermione explained. “I think it has something to do with the elf magic that created it, but it won’t let me copy it here.”



Harry nodded thoughtfully when he saw what she was trying to do.



“I wonder if Kreacher could,” Harry suggested.



“But this is old magic Harry. What makes you think Kreacher knows how it works?”



“Its elf magic Hermione, and Kreacher knows enough about it to make the tapestry work,” Harry argued.



“He might, but I’m sure it’s not allowed,” Hermione argued.



“It might be if I asked. Kreacher!” Harry called before Hermione could object again.



“Did Master call old Kreacher?” the little elf asked from where he appeared beneath Harry’s elbow when Harry said his name.



“Yes Kreacher I did,” Harry began.



“Don’t ask him to do it Harry,” Hermione begged. “You know how I hate it whenever you order him to do something like this!”



“It’s not a bad thing Hermione,” Harry said. “In fact if it works, it could really help. I’m beginning to think that sometimes it takes new applications of old magic to keep other forms of old magic strong.”



“How do you mean?” Ginny asked.



“I was thinking of blood magic Gin. I promised Dudley today that we’d use the tapestry to try to help him look out for Esme. I don’t know what caused me to say it, but I couldn’t help it. I just kept thinking about how I know how I would feel if it was you. So even though I know I’m probably not supposed to because he’s a muggle and she is too, I’m going to,” he said.



“Do you think she’s in danger Harry?” Hermione asked.



“Yeah I do. Ron and I got to explore some when we rescued that scientist last night. We think there’s another entrance to the Death Eaters’ stronghold there. And Esme’s working right beside it every day. They’ve already lost three or four people that way, at least one of which has already shown up dead.”



“But aren’t archeological digs inherently dangerous places to work?” Hermione asked.



“They could be Hermione, but the woman that died was mauled by a dragon. She had the same dark magic on her as those bodies we examined last summer in France, and she showed evidence of having recently been under the imperious curse. I think it’s pretty clear that the Death Eaters had something to do with it.”



“Where did they find her?” Ginny asked.



“Dudley said some fishermen pulled her out of the ocean. We’re actually going to meet with him and Rupert here on Monday evening to go over the case,” Harry said. “But in the mean time, if we can get this to work, that would be brilliant.”



He turned back to old elf who stood patiently waiting and listening while the witches and wizards around him talked.



“Kreacher, do you know what we are talking about?” Harry asked.



“Master is talking about old magics. Magics older than Kreacher is.”



“That’s right,” Harry said. “We were wondering…or rather I was, if you know enough about the old magic of the tapestry to help us with something.”



Kreacher glanced at the purse and the coin wallet on the table, then at the mirrored wallet in Harry’s hand. His eyes grew wider when he saw that the wallet already bore Harry’s name.



“Master has the old magics in his hand!” Kreacher exclaimed.



“Not really. I think Ginny just duplicated this from the wall,” Harry explained. “But we wondered if you might know a way to get the symbols to show up here? We don’t need it to have the full magic of the tapestry, just a way to reflect the symbols attached to these names.”



Kreacher eyed the walls with their extensive array of names as it stretched around the room. “All the names Master?” Kreacher asked.



“Just these ones.” Harry showed him the wallet, manipulating the pattern to change the display.



“Why does Master want this?” Kreacher asked and Hermione’s eyes widened in surprise. Usually house-elves did the bidding of their masters without question, but apparently with Harry’s encouragement towards individual thinking by his elves, Kreacher had finally accepted that questions would not only be tolerated but encouraged in the Potter household.



“It helps me to know while Harry is working that he’s safe,” Ginny explained.



 “It is a way for us to know that about all the people we love,” Harry added. “Not only about Ginny and me, but everyone.”



“Not everyone,” Hermione said. “Only those connected through marriage or blood lines.”



“Well yes, but everyone we are connected to with old magic ties,” Harry said. “Do you understand?” he asked the elf.



Kreacher’s old eyes narrowed slightly as he concentrated on what his master had said. “Elfs magics is not powerful Master. Its is knowing only. Its is not doing or saving or keeping Master safe.”



“Information is power Kreacher,” Hermione told the elf gently. “With the right information, wizards like Harry can keep lots of people he cares about safe.”



Kreacher nodded as he seemed to consider this.



“Kreacher, Harry and I have old magic,” Ginny said. “You talked about that when we got engaged. But as strong as that is, without this sort of help, I can’t be there for him as I ought to be. Hermione and I need your help in order to keep him and those we love safe.”



Kreacher regarded Ginny evenly. “Miss must tell Kreacher if she will use the magics this way.”



“You mean I need to promise to tell you if I ever go to help Harry because of this?” Ginny asked with a start.



“Yes,” Kreacher croaked. “Elfs magics must only be used in the service of one’s house. Master’s house is Kreacher’s house. Master is Kreacher’s responsibility. Mistress is Kreacher’s responsibility because she is promised to his house.”



“That makes it sound like you can only do this for us if we marry,” Harry said.



Kreacher nodded emphatically. “Kreacher is doings his best to serve Master’s house.”



Hermione regarded Kreacher with an expression of someone on the verge of figuring something out.



“I think Kreacher wants to do this for you Harry, but he’s bound by elf laws that govern elf servitude at the moment. Is that right Kreacher?” Hermione asked.



Kreacher didn’t answer but Hermys came running up eagerly.



“Oh yes Miss!” he said clapping his hands together.



Hermione nodded. “They can’t tell you, but they can agree with you if you guess.”



Harry nodded with a slight frown. “Then all we need to do is to find a way that it’s legal for Kreacher to do it and suggest that.”



“Yes,” Hermys agreed. “Miss has been so kind to Hermys, helping him, allowing him to study. I is learning lots!”



Ginny stared at the younger elf. She had the distinct feeling he was giving her a clue.



“So legally, both you and Hermys are tied to the Potter house,” Ginny began, directing her comments to Kreacher again, but once again it was Hermys who answered.



“Yes,” he said bobbing his head so hard his ears flapped.



“And you are bound to serve and protect all those who are of Harry’s house,” Ginny continued.



“Um hum,” Hermys murmured, much less clearly this time, so that Ginny had the feeling she was getting close.



“Does that mean using elf magic to help keep a wizard’s magic strong?” she asked.



“The health of all the house we is bound to serve,” Hermys answered.



Ginny studied him. He was becoming as vague and obscure as Kreacher, but she thought that probably meant ‘yes’. On a hunch, she wandered over to the tapestry looking again at the section she wanted to copy, surveying Harry’s name. As always when he was there, his symbol was a house when he was home.



“This house,” Ginny ventured cautiously. “It represents the house of Potter, doesn’t it.”



Hermys grinned, but Kreacher shot him a warning look.



“I think you’re getting closer Gin,” Harry commented.



Ginny nodded as she looked at her own name. After a month of living with Harry, of working things out, of undoing the habits they’d accumulated during that dreadful summer, her symbol had once again become a house when she was here. Ginny sighed in contentment as Harry came to look too, wrapping his arms around her for a hug from behind, grinning at the satisfied look on her face. Ginny smiled again as Harry released her.



“You’re of my house Gin,” he told her. “They not only have to protect and serve me, but they also have to protect and serve you.”



“That’s right. Legally it’s the reason you were able to be the one to approve Hermys training as a healer,” Hermione added.



“Then I should be able to ask for this too,” Ginny said determinedly as she turned from the wall.



“Kreacher, I know you are primarily bound to serve Harry, and I know that you know Harry is a powerful wizard. But are you also aware that most of Harry’s power comes from his ties to old magic?”



“I is Mistress Ginny,” Kreacher confirmed.



Again Ginny nodded. They were getting closer, she was certain of it. She could feel it in her bones.



“Then, what I am asking for is a way to keep Harry’s house healthy and safe by guarding the magic that makes it strong. In Harry that magic comes from family, and from blood, and from love. I know his magic is healthy by looking at my ring. What I’m asking for is a way of guarding its safety too, even when I’m away. And in order to do that, I need to know about it if he needs me.”



Kreacher considered this and again he nodded. “Elfs magics can do this Miss.”



Ginny smiled, still looking at Kreacher intently. “Then, all I’m asking for is a way to take that magic with me. A way to use all the magic associated with Harry’s house, to keep us and him safe.”



 



“Elfs magics for building a tapestry is lost,” Kreacher warned.



“I know. All I want you to do is to copy the symbols that are here. Use this old magic, then just expand on that. Can you do that?” Ginny asked curiously. “I don’t want you to create a new one.”



“Papy can Miss,” Hermys said solemnly.



Harry grew suddenly alert at the seriousness of the expression on Hermys face.



“What is it Kreacher?” Harry asked. “What’s the catch?”



“Old elfs magics is bound with a promise,” Kreacher explained. “Master must agree with Mistress Ginny for Kreacher to do this.”



“The old magic must be aligned you mean,” Harry realized. “You can do it because the old magic in the tapestry is tied to the magic in her and in me. So in order to make this work, the elf magic and old wizard magic must be aligned.”



“A promise must be made,” Hermione said stepping forward. “Harry, I don’t think you should let him do this. A promise like this could bind Kreacher even more tightly than he is now to you and your house.”



Harry listened to what Hermione was saying before answering.



“I’m not going to order him to do it, but I’m going to allow it if Kreacher wants to agree. You have my consent and support in expanding the elf magic to these new objects, to make them into magical devices to aid in keeping my house safe; not only me, but Ginny and the rest of our family as well. Will that do Kreacher?” Harry asked.



“And Mistress Ginny promises her part?” Kreacher asked.



“I promise Kreacher,” Ginny said.



“Are you sure Ginny?” Hermione asked. “I suspect this sort of magic is binding.”



“How do you mean Hermione?” Harry asked.



“If Ginny promises to use this magic to help protect you, under the provision that she must tell Kreacher about it when she does, it means that if a time ever comes when you are relying on your old magic with Ginny exclusively, Kreacher will be there too. You are committing him Harry, to come fight for you.”



“Old Kreacher would be honored to be of service to Master. Old Kreacher is grateful for the opportunity to serve,” the elf told them.



He looked at Ginny who nodded. “This is between him and me, I think,” she told them. “And I agree. Kreacher, if you are happy to serve me too, then I agree. I’ll bring you along if Harry ever needs me.”



Kreacher bowed to Ginny more deeply than he ever had to Harry, scraping his forehead on the floor. When he rose, he touched a finger to the wallet in Harry’s hand, then to the one in Hermione’s hand, then to each of the remaining two items on the table. As he touched them, each item briefly began to glow. When the glow subsided, the symbols had appeared.



“Thank you Kreacher,” Ginny beamed.



“Mistress Ginny is welcome,” Kreacher intoned and he shuffled his way back through the door and out of the room.



Harry handed Ginny back the compact while Hermione picked up the purse.



“Don’t you want one of these?” Ginny asked.



“No thanks. I think perhaps Harry or Ron could make better use of them. I’ll take the purse,” Hermione said.



Ginny nodded. “Give Ron the coin wallet. I think Harry and I should make use of these.”



“What do I want with a wallet with a mirror Gin?” Harry asked in some confusion.



“Not just any mirror Harry, a two way mirror. I’m going fix our mirrors I bought from George to these. Then, we can keep them with us protected by these so they don’t get broken. That way we’ll have a way to not only check up on each other, but to communicate too, if ever we need to. Think of it as the communicating tapestry you were wishing for.”



Harry grinned as he followed her thinking. “We’ll be able to keep in touch, no matter what! With our busy schedules and everything! I know we could before, even without the wallet, but you’re right. Protected like this, I won’t worry so much about carrying it with me.”



“That’s what I was hoping, yes,” Ginny agreed as the clock on the mantel chimed the hour.



“I suppose I should be going,” Hermione lamented as she began to gather up her packages from the sofa. “Ron’s going to wonder what kept me.”



“Just give him the coin wallet and he should be fine,” Harry assured her.



“You working tomorrow Harry?” Hermione asked.



“Yep. I’ll be in the office all day. I’ve got to train more teams for surveillance, and do management stuff for the trainees going to France next week.”



“So you won’t have time to meet?” Hermione asked. “Ron’s note said there was something you wanted to ask.”



“Oh well I do. I wanted to ask you to come to our first AMASS meeting. We’re meeting here on Monday at seven.”



“Thinking of using more muggle technology Harry?” Hermione teased.



“As a matter of fact…maybe. Just come to the meeting Hermione I’m going to need your help to decide what to do.”


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