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Harry Potter and the Winters After the War by Mrs_Granger
Chapter 64 : Birthdays and Meetings
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 11


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“We’re supposed to be at Andromeda’s by ten in the morning for Teddy’s party,” Harry reminded Ginny as the couple got ready to leave the Burrow for the evening.



 

 

“I’ll be going earlier to help Andromeda get ready Harry,” Mrs. Weasley reminded the couple as she saw them to the door.



 

 

“Yes, but I’m supposed to keep him until ten. I think she wants us to keep him out of the way for a bit,” Harry explained.



 

 

“More than likely,” Mrs. Weasley agreed. “We’ll see you in the morning Harry. Good night Ginny.”



 

 

“Bye Molly. Thanks for dinner. We’ll see you tomorrow,” Harry called carrying Teddy as he pushed open the kitchen door to let themselves out.



 

 

“Bye Mum. See you tomorrow!” Ginny called as she followed him.



 

 

“Bye dears,” Mrs. Weasley called after them.



 

 

“So will that work Ginny?” Harry asked his fiancée as they walked away from the house.



 

 

“It should. I’ll send Rosie to you if it doesn’t,” Ginny offered as the couple stopped at the gate to apparate away, Harry to go home with Teddy and Ginny back to the Harpies facility to spend the night.



 

 

“Shall I send your things though the floo?”



 

 

“I called Hermys and he already did. I’ll see you in the morning Harry.”



 

 

“Bye Gin,” Harry pulled her into a one armed hug with a kiss as they said their good nights before he stepped back to watch Ginny apparate away.



 

 

“Bye bye Gin Gee,” Teddy said with a bit of a pout as Ginny disappeared.



 

 

Harry smiled wistfully at the little boy’s expression then at the space Ginny had just occupied. “Yeah I wish she could stay too Ted. It’s just us for tonight. That’ll be alright though, right?” he said in a tone intended to reassure himself as much as it was Teddy.



 

 

Teddy regarded Harry pensively and Harry chuckled slightly as he began his own turn. He seemed as unsure about that as Harry felt.



 

 

---------------



 

 

A night alone with Teddy at Number Twelve Grimmauld place was a new experience for Harry. Only a few days shy of being two, Teddy was well aware that something was going on, though it was also clear he didn’t quite know what. He could now say the word ‘birthday’ but to Harry it was plain he had no idea what that meant. What it meant for Harry was that the excited two year old wouldn’t stay in his cot. Repeatedly he climbed out during the night and Harry awoke to find him standing beside his bed, staring at him in the dark.



 

 

Harry blinked at the turquoise haired boy standing there in his pajamas, his favorite blanket clutched in his arms. Each time Harry got up and carried him back to his bed, tucked him in and returned to his own bed. He seriously considered magically confining him there after the third time, but then he remembered how it had felt when Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had confined him by locking him into the cupboard under the stairs. He wouldn’t do that to Teddy, no matter how much sleep he lost. And so Harry lumbered back to his room and fell into bed, asleep again before his head ever hit the pillow.



 

 

“Teddy? What’s the matter Bud? Why won’t you stay in your bed?” Harry asked when it happened a fourth time.



 

 

The toddler didn’t answer. He only began trying to climb up next to Harry on the bed.



 

 

“Oh okay,” Harry relented. “We both need our sleep and at this rate, we’re not going to get any, so come on.”



 

 

He held the blankets open and the little boy climbed beneath them, snuggling up against Harry’s stomach. There he slept, curled up in a ball, peacefully until morning.



 

 

------------------



 

 

“Hi Harry!” Ginny exclaimed, her hair streaming behind her as she ran to embrace him as soon as she saw Harry and Teddy pop into existence just outside the Harpies gate. “I was beginning to think you weren’t going to come, that maybe I needed to meet you at the party instead.”



 

 

“I almost needed you to. Sorry I’m so late Gin,” Harry said drawing her into a one armed hug as he kissed her. “We had a bit of a rough night, didn’t we Ted?” he asked the boy in his arms.



 

 

Ginny looked critically at the two, both of whom had dark circles under their eyes.



 

 

“Too excited to sleep?” she guessed.



 

 

Harry shrugged. “I guess. He knows something’s going on, but I don’t think he knows what.”



 

 

Ginny grinned. “Well he’s right, something is going on. Today is a special day, isn’t it Teddy?” she asked and to Harry’s surprise Teddy reached for Ginny from his arms. She took him willingly leaving Harry carrying Teddy’s bag which was slung over his shoulder. “Let’s go,” she said, and gripping Harry’s hand, they turned together moving through nothingness to arrive with a pop just beside the pond in Andromeda’s front yard.



 

 

“Whoa. A few more feet to the left and we would have been in that,” Harry commented staring at the pond. “I must be more tired than I thought.”
 


 

 


 

            “There you are!” Andromeda said anxiously as she saw them arrive in the yard and rushed out to greet them. “Are you alright Harry?” she asked as she drew close looking into Harry’s tired face.



 

 

“Yeah I am. We had a rough night though. Teddy really didn’t want to sleep in his own bed,” Harry explained.



 

 

“Harry dear, you have to use a confinement charm at night when they reach this age or they’ll go roaming all over the house.”



 

 

“No. I’m not going to do that Andromeda. He will learn eventually, on his own. But I’m not going to lock him up,” Harry insisted.



 

 

“But what about the stairs Harry?” Ginny asked worriedly.



 

 

“I’ve got a charm across that so he won’t fall down them, but I won’t lock him in his room Ginny,” Harry said firmly and both women knew from his tone not to question him on it any further.



 

 

“Well come on in,” Andromeda said leading them inside. “We’ve still got plenty to do, and maybe this way Teddy will have a nap before everyone else gets here.”



 

 

Harry nodded and followed her, Ginny, and Teddy inside though the kitchen.



 

 

“Hello Molly,” Harry said as he stepped inside.



 

 

“Hi Mum,” Ginny added.



 

 

“Hello Harry, good morning Ginny, and happy birthday Mr. Lupin,” Mrs. Weasley said smiling as she came over to kiss Teddy who promptly drew away. Everyone laughed at Teddy’s determination not to get kissed.



 

 

“So what are you doing?” Harry asked looking around the kitchen as Andromeda took Teddy’s bag from him and she and Ginny took Teddy upstairs.



 

 

“Just preparing some things for the party.” She waved a hand towards the trays of small sandwiches and snacks she was preparing to be set out for the party later. “I overheard what you told Andromeda, Harry,” she commented when the others had left the room. “I understand how you feel about it, but you might consider that occasionally it is appropriate to confine a toddler. I’m not saying to lock him in his room,” she added quickly as Harry started to protest. “Dumbledore told us it’s what happened to you.”



 

 

“Yeah it did,” Harry interjected quickly.



 

 

“But a properly applied confinement charm would allow you to leave the door open so you can hear him and he can see out, while still preventing him from wandering about. It’s for his safety and protection Harry, not to shut him away as was done with you,” Mrs. Weasley said gently.



 

 

Harry just shrugged. “It worked out. Once he’d climbed in bed with me, we both slept through the night.”



 

 

Mrs. Weasley sighed as she studied the tired looking young man, but Harry ignored her. 



 

 

“So, what do you want me to do?”



 

 

“In here Harry,” Andromeda called. “We need help with all these tables.”



 

 

Harry was rapidly pressed into service, setting up tables and spreading clothes over them, arranging chairs, and generally preparing Andromeda’s front room.



 

 

“Where is Teddy?” Harry asked when he looked up after noting Ginny’s return to the front room.



 

 

“He’s down for a nap,” Ginny said.



 

 

“Lucky,” Harry muttered.



 

 

“Harry…why don’t you go lie down too? There’s a spare bed in Teddy’s room.”



 

 

Harry stifled a yawn. “Do you know when the guests will be getting here?”



 

 

“In about an hour I think.”



 

 

Harry nodded. “Good. I think I will. After all, Teddy insisted on sleeping in my room. Maybe it’s time I returned the favor.”



 

 

An hour later Ginny was awakening him with the gentlest of kisses. Harry smiled as he looked up at her.



 

 

“Thanks Gin. I needed that.”



 

 

“I could tell. Come help me get Teddy up too. Andromeda’s set out these clothes for him to wear.”



 

 

Together the young couple got Teddy ready to greet his guests, though this year when they went down the stairs, Teddy was walking holding Harry’s hand.



 

 

“Hi Teddy!” George called as soon as they emerged on the steps leading to the front room.



 

 

“Happy Birthday Teddy,” Angelina and several others said.



 

 

Teddy stood slightly open mouthed looking at them all. Everyone was there including all the Weasleys and even Draco and Narcissa Malfoy.



 

 

“It’s your birthday party today Teddy,” Harry told him. “That’s why you were at my house last night, so your grandma could get ready. You’re two.”



 

 

Teddy looked at Harry intently then back at the crowded room. “Teddy two!” he crowed and everyone smiled and started talking at once.



 

 

Harry joined Ron and Hermione in standing in a corner as they talked on the opposite side of the room from Draco and his mother. Together they all watched Teddy roam about the room, looking at all the tables Harry had set up, festooned with the colorful tablecloths. He peered with interest at the wrapped packages piled on a side table, running to find his grandma as she disappeared into the kitchen. Harry darted after him.



 

 

“Let’s stay out here Ted and visit with everyone, okay? They’re here for you,” Harry explained.



 

 

Teddy blinked. “Grandma,” he said clearly. “Juice.”



 

 

“You know, I think I could use some too,” Ginny agreed as she appeared at their side. “Come on Teddy, let’s go find some.”



 

 

Harry smiled at her as she took over in watching Teddy for a bit. When he looked back across the room Draco was uncomfortably talking with George and Angelina.



 

 

“Ginny is really good with him,” Hermione commented to Harry when he rejoined them.



 

 

“What about Harry?” Ron remarked. “He is too, and you’ve never really been around kids before, have you?”



 

 

“Nope, just us,” Harry agreed with a grin. “We were kids not so long ago if you remember. But I’ve been around Teddy loads, so I’m getting used to it,” Harry said with a slight yawn.



 

 

“Is the case keeping you up Harry?” Hermione asked with a slight frown, remembering the work they’d done the Friday before.



 

 

“You would think, but no. It’s Teddy who’s responsible for this. I had him by myself last night and he wouldn’t stay in his own room.”



 

 

“So what did you do?” Ron asked.



 

 

Harry shrugged. “I let him sleep with me. What else could I do?” he asked rhetorically.



 

 

“Really? We always wanted to sleep with our parents when we were young,” Ron recalled, “but Mum never let us. Ginny got to though.”



 

 

“That’s because she’s a girl,” George commented as he joined in on their conversation. “I think Bill and Charlie got to when they were small, but Mum and Dad had learned better by the time Fred and I came along.”



 

 

“What did Charlie and I get to do?” Bill asked as he joined in on the other side.



 

 

“Sleep with Mum and Dad when you were small,” George said.



 

 

Bill looked at his brother in surprise. “Why in Merlin’s name are you talking about that?”



 

 

“Don’t look at me, Ron brought it up,” George commented.



 

 

“Not me, Harry was the one talking about it,” Ron countered.



 

 

“I never said anything about any one of you ever sleeping with your mum and dad,” Harry shot back.



 

 

“Then what were you talking about?” Bill asked.



 

 

“Teddy’s started roaming at night apparently, and last night ended up sleeping with Harry,” Hermione explained.



 

 

“Ah…I should have guessed. Victoire’s been trying the same thing,” Bill said. “We keep putting her back.”



 

 

“But let me guess, she keeps getting up,” Harry said.



 

 

“Well she does, but we put up a confining charm across her door after she does it twice,” Bill said. “She doesn’t like it, but she’s learning.”



 

 

“But in the meantime, ve are a bit short on sleep,” Fleur commented as she appeared at Bill’s side as she wrapped her arm around her husband’s waist.



 

 

“You know, maybe I would if I had to deal with it every night, but once in a while, it’s not so bad,” Harry commented. “Where are the kids anyway?”



 

 

“They’re in the kitchen having juice,” Ginny reported as she appeared at Harry’s elbow. “What are you all talking about?”



 

 

“About how you used to sleep with Mum and Dad and we never got to,” Ron told her.



 

 

“What? I did not,” Ginny protested. “It was you that did.”



 

 

“You both did,” Bill reported. “You did Ron until Ginny started coming in. That’s how it worked. We got to do it until the next kid started to then we weren’t allowed anymore.”



 

 

“I don’t remember that,” Ron said pointedly. “All I remember is Ginny.”



 

 

“That’s cause she got to do it longest,” George said. “No one came after Ginny.”



 

 

“Yes, well it was a bad habit to have let any of you,” Mr. Weasley remarked as he was drawn into the conversation he couldn’t help overhearing from the side of the room. “My advice is to not let them get started on it to begin with Harry,” Mr. Weasley went on. “You’ll sleep better if you do.”



 

 

“Actually, if last night was any indication, I’m tempted not to fight it much.”



 

 

“Lunch is served,” Andromeda announced as she and Mrs. Weasley emerged from the kitchen levitating platters of sandwiches, relishes, and crisps with dip out in front of them.



 

 

The food was set out on another side table and everyone began to serve themselves. Cake followed with Teddy making a valiant attempt to blow out the candles once Harry had shown him how, followed by presents. Unlike last year when Teddy’s main interest in his presents had been in the wrappings and boxes all the various items came in, this year he knew all about presents. He still had a tendency to pull gingerly at the wrapper, as though worried he might get in trouble for tearing it, but once inside he alternately crowed happily when toys were received while clothes and similar items were unceremoniously pushed aside. Teddy poked curiously at the gears to the enchanted locomotive engine George and Angelina gave him, grinned at the magical picture book with moving illustrations Hermione gave him, looked curiously at the puzzle from Ginny that had a picture that changed between one of three each time it was constructed. He tossed aside the knitted jumper Molly gave him and everyone chuckled. Even the Malfoys had brought a gift: a soft gel cube with a three dimensional representation of a magical creature inside that changed each time it was shook. Finally it was time for Harry to give Teddy his gift.



 

 

“Are you ready Teddy? This ones from me,” Harry said still holding the package.



 

 

Teddy nodded, looking up at Harry expectantly.



 

 

Harry withdrew the package from beneath his shirt and handed it to him, watching as Teddy pulled off the wrapping.



 

 

“Ball?” Teddy asked tentatively as he studied red spherical object in the box, then looked back up at Harry with his question.



 

 

“This is a snitch Teddy, like you saw at Ginny’s game yesterday. It’s a play snitch for you to practice with. You can chase it on your broom,” Harry started to explain, looking up when Draco muttered,



 

 

“Figures.”



 

 

And Andromeda groaned.



 

 

“You can charm it Andromeda,” Harry added. “To stay away from breakable things…or to only fly outside if you wish. They’re designed for children and it should give your cat a bit of a break. I thought it would help…really.”



 

 

“I’m sure you meant well Harry,” she told him patting his shoulder. “What do you say Teddy?” she prompted.



 

 

“Mine,” Teddy pronounced.



 

 

Harry chuckled.



 

 

“Say ‘thank you’ Teddy,” Andromeda tried again.



 

 

“Tank you,” Teddy said looking up at his grandma.



 

 

“Say it to Harry, Teddy.”



 

 

Teddy nodded. “Papa Harry. Here,” he said thrusting the toy in the package into Harry’s hands.



 

 

“Let’s wait until everybody goes home to open it Teddy,” Harry said giving it back. “And happy birthday.”



 

 

Teddy grinned then went on to the next present in the pile, though the gift that was best received was by far the red, rubber, practice snitch from Harry.



 

 

By the time the party came to a close, it had already been a very full day and Teddy was yawning copiously, though he wouldn’t let go of the box the snitch came in. Guests had gradually begun to leave and finally, last of all, Harry took the snitch from the box, handing it back to Teddy.



 

 

“I’ll come by to charm it for you Andromeda, as soon as I can,” Harry promised as he got ready to leave with Ginny to take her back to Holyhead.



 

 

 “Come back when you can Harry. There’s no rush,” Andromeda assured him. “Here Teddy. Give me your present. It’s time for Harry to go. Say bye, bye,” she prompted.



 

 

“Bye, bye,” Teddy said dutifully.



 

 

“Bye Teddy,” Harry said as he bent to kiss the little boy’s cheek.



 

 

“Bye from me too,” Ginny added and to her surprise Teddy threw his arms around her neck and hugged her tightly, nearly as tightly as he hugged Harry. “Thanks,” Ginny said feeling touched.



 

 

They waved once more at Teddy who was standing with his grandma in the door as the couple walked out into the yard preparing to go. Then the two of them turned on the spot and appeared moments later outside the gates at Holyhead.



 

 

“Well that was fun,” Ginny commented as they landed. “No emergencies or anything this year.”



 

 

“Yeah. Much better than last year,” Harry agreed and he pulled her into a hug that turned into a kiss as he held her close, unwilling to let her go.



 

 

“Good luck with your meeting tomorrow Harry. Send Rosie to me, okay?” Ginny said into his chest as she recognized the reason for his distress. “Let me know how it goes?”



 

 

Harry nodded. “I will, goodnight Ginny,” he said as he kissed her again.



 

 

“Goodnight,” Ginny murmured reluctantly as they pulled apart. She allowed Harry to kiss her one more time before insisting he let go. “You need a good night sleep tonight,” she admonished.



 

 

“You’re right, I do,” Harry agreed sheepishly, still reluctant to leave.



 

 

“So go. I’ll watch, just to make sure you manage it okay before I go in.”



 

 

“I’m okay Ginny,” Harry assured her. “I’m not so tired I can’t get home.”



 

 

Ginny pursed her lips at him as she studied his tired face.
 


 

“I’m going,” Harry assured her and stepped back to begin his spin.
 


 

“Sleep tight Harry,” Ginny whispered and she watched him disappear.



 

 

----------------------



 

 

After being so short on sleep the night before, Harry slept amazingly well the night after Teddy’s party. As usual, he awoke early and was in the office on Monday morning before eight. Upon confirming the previous Friday that even Dr. Summerby felt their map was complete, Harry finally felt ready to implement the next stage in their plan. Armed with Hermione’s duplicate of the sonar map on the parchment scroll, Harry knew the first step in accomplishing this was to get Kingsley on board. The minister had asked Harry to arrange a meeting with him when he was ready, and so he had. Harry arranged a meeting with himself, Kingsley and Hermione for the very next Monday in the fourth week of March.



 

 

“What do you have Harry?” Kingsley asked as they all sat down.



 

 

“Information Sir…and the beginnings of a plan, at least enough of a plan to begin sending the muggles in,” Harry answered. “Hermione, the map?”



 

 

Harry had spent hours with Hermione that morning preparing her and their material for this presentation to Kingsley, and predictably, Hermione was nervous.



 

 

“Now Harry?” she asked tensely.



 

 

“Now Hermione.”



 

 

At his word Hermione unrolled the parchment with the map on the table, then tapped its surface causing it’s image to project up into the center of the table, turning slowly so as to make it easier for them all to see, looking much more clearly like a cave system this time instead of the root of a plant.



 

 

“The black we see in the image is the rock,” Harry began to explain. “The white is the open space of the tunnels and caverns. The clouded areas here and here represent water. And these speckled spots?” Harry pointed to them specifically. “These are glass.”



 

 

“Glass, Harry?” Kingsley asked in surprise.



 

 

“Glass Minister, magical glass. Some of it…here and here, is raw material. If you get it too close to a dragon without working it, it turns into these,” Harry placed a handful of tiny crystals on the table. “Some of these are stored here and here,” Harry point to another pair of relatively small chambers in the cavern. “In other areas here and here…“ he pointed to areas towards the back of the main chamber. “We think these represent structures or objects made from it. The locations of the objects appear to be stationary though, so what ever it is, it stays put,” Harry explained. “We can’t be certain, but we think most of the muggle activity centers around those spots. Our goal is to send someone in to get a better look.”



 

 

“Muggles you mean,” Kingsley replied. “You want to make use of your AMASS group.”



 

 

“We already have been just in setting the sensors to get these maps,” Harry reminded him.



 

 

“So you said last time we met.” Kingsley took a moment to study the map in all its complexity. Hermione charmed the image so that it rotated more slowly above the table, enabling them to view it more thoroughly from a variety of angles, his appreciation for what it represented growing as he did. “I must say, your efforts have generated very useful results. Far beyond anything we could have generated using magic alone. Shall I assume it went relatively well?”



 

 

“Mostly,” Harry agreed. “I don’t think Smith or Wendy was very comfortable working with the muggles, but the rest seem to be.”



 

 

“They are old school Harry, like me. They understand that there is a place for change in our system, but it will take them a while to get comfortable with all these new tools you are introducing to us,” Kingsley commented as he continued studying the map, watching as Hermione manipulated it, turning the three-dimensional image so that it could be seen from other sides. “What are these?” Kingsley asked noting the blank spots on the map.



 

 

“The position of their wards Minister,” Harry answered. “And ours. I’ve checked out as many of them as I’ve dared to myself. In every case the blanks I have checked are consistent with concealment charms in place, some of which I set myself to conceal the sensors we placed down there to allow us to construct this map in the first place.”



 

 

“And they worked?” Kingsley asked in surprise. “In the presence of magic?”



 

 

“They are passive sensors Minister,” Hermione explained. “Other than being unable to conduct a signal properly in the position of Harry’s charm, they worked perfectly well as a known object to bounce a sonar signal off of.”



 

 

Kingsley raised a brow. “Which ones are the ones you set Harry?”



 

 

Harry pointed to more than a dozen specific points on the map, all arranged along various of the passageways that could be reached easily from the top. “Ron set these, and Dean and Justin set these,” he added as he pointed to a few more. All together they had managed to go east far enough that the tunnel leading to the cavern they’d been monitoring near the shore was included too…except that there were multiple gaps in the scan in that particular location.



 

 

“Then these here …”



 

 

“This one is the concealment charm of our blind,” Harry pointed to a particular spot. “This one conceals the crack in the floor from the top, this one the stairway from the cavern with our blind to the cave with the dragons from the bottom. I suspect these are similar as they occur at the junction of other passageways…obviously they want to conceal that they are there.”



 

 

Kingsley’s brow climbed as Harry continued on with his explanation.



 

 

“Harry, this is incredible, truly amazing. Director Robards needs to know about this. We have the complete layout of the place, including the placement of their charms, without ever having set foot in it.”



 

 

“Yes Sir. That was what I had in mind,” Harry agreed.



 

 

“Actually Minister, that’s not exactly true,” Hermione interrupted. “Harry and the other Aurors along with the muggles did have to go in, in order to set these sensors up in the first place.”



 

 

“Did you Harry?” Kingsley asked.



 

 

“Yes Sir.”



 

 

“Then you found a way in without being detected.”



 

 

“Through the burial mound…” Harry started to explain but Kingsley interrupted him.



 

 

“Just a minute, Harry. Robards needs to hear this. The next steps will need to be a cabinet level decision,” Kingsley reminded him.



 

 

“Yes Sir,” Harry agreed though his level of apprehension went up significantly.



 

 

“I’ll go call him, then you two show him just what you’ve shown me. We’ll all look at it together,” Kingsley instructed them.



 

 

Hermione glanced at Harry nervously as the Minister left the conference room, but Harry didn’t have time to say anything reassuring…even if he could have thought of something. Apparently Robards was waiting right outside and Kingsley escorted him in with only a few words exchanged out in the hall.



 

 

“Now show Robards what you’ve been showing me Harry,” Kingsley instructed.



 

 

Drawing a deep breath Harry and Hermione repeated their presentation for the two of them. This time Harry could see that Kingsley was taking in even more of the nuances in the map than he had before.



 

 

“But how did you get in?” Robards asked. Even he could see the usefulness of the map Harry and his squad had obtained, though his praise for Harry’s methods was much slower in coming.



 

 

“We went in through the burial mound,” Harry began again, “but we didn’t actually get into the part of the cavern they are using. We set the last sensor near where the passageway we’ve been using joins the main one. That is how I plan to get the muggles in though. I’d like to place them here and here. These are positions where typically the Death Eaters have muggles posted as guards. My first idea was to try to swap them out with the muggles already in place…and we may be able to do that eventually, but at the moment the muggles in captivity are being very heavily controlled and we’d have to find a way to break that control to get them out. Since we’re not certain how to go about that, we are hoping that simply placing one or two extra muggles amongst their dozens wouldn’t be noticed by the Death Eaters just yet,” Harry said.



 

 

“But don’t you risk simply adding to their numbers by sending muggles of our own in?” Kingsley asked. “These people may be trained Harry, but they are still at risk from what ever methods the Death Eaters are employing to control the rest of them.”



 

 

“We think it’s primarily spells,” Hermione said. “And we think we may have something that will help protect them from that.”



 

 

“What sort of a thing?” Kingsley asked with a curious but concerned look on his face. Robards on the other hand contented himself with listening.



 

 

Harry nodded and Hermione pulled a shirt from her bag. It looked like a perfectly ordinary t-shirt until one looked closely. The fabric was puckered and in each of its hundreds of puckers was a tiny rectangular crystal. It was covered by them, producing an unusual effect.



 

 

“What is that?” Kingsley asked in surprise.



 

 

“We got the idea from the Death Eaters themselves actually,” Harry remarked deliberately avoiding the question. “The teams in the cave started noticing the muggles wearing them during transport. Then those on the beach noticed them when the Death Eaters were making them work. And, when the dragon attacked the muggle Lolita and I went to examine her body…this was amongst her effects … except she’d been wearing it wrong side out. After examining one closely, we think this is how they’ve been controlling them Minister. How one wizard can use an imperius curse on so many at one time; with these. All we did was to turn the crystals around. Attach them so they diffuse the magic instead of concentrating it. Then there’s a potion we can give them to reduce the effects even further. We don’t think they’ll eliminate it exactly, but we do think it will keep them in their right mind, and better able to resist.”



 

 

“Sort of like a spell proof vest,” Kingsley commented.



 

 

“Yes Sir.”



 

 

“How have you tested it?” Robards asked unable to contain himself.



 

 

“We haven’t. I’d like to though, but since it would involve using an unforgivable curse, we thought I should get yours and the Minister’s approval first.”



 

 

Kingsley regarded the young Auror with a raised brow. “Very good Harry. Very good. I can actually help you if I know what you’re about. What do you plan to do?”



 

 

“With your permission, I’d like to expose the muggles who expect to be going in to what the conditions are likely to be like. I want to get them used to how it feels, then try it with the shirt. If it helps and if they think it helps enough, we’ll use them,” Harry explained.



 

 

“We also thought we’d like to try them with the potion,” Hermione offered. “Just to see if that strengthens what the crystals alone are able to do.”



 

 

“And if they work, will these magical strategies you’ve worked out be their only means of protection?” Kingsley asked.



 

 

“No. We’ve figured out that the sonar wave generator can pick up the sensors when they’re moving. We’ve devised two that we’ve built into these shirts. As long as they are wearing them, the muggle scientists will be able to track their movements for us on the map from the computer monitor on the surface. We’ll have them go in using the cloak, then stash it in one of these pre-defined locations where the sensors we used to build the map are, so that should protect them going in. If they get in trouble, they are to attempt to get back to one of these points and wait for us there. If they can get behind the shields that have been set up to admit them, they should be safe until one of us can go in and retrieve them,” Harry explained. “Then we’ll use their memories to allow us to see what they saw. We want to know what the weaknesses in magical protections are before we send the Aurors in. They’ll never suspect the muggles though. They never do.”



 

 

“You are probably right about that,” Kingsley agreed. “The Death Eaters do consistently underestimate them.”



 

 

“That’s what we’re counting on Minister,” Harry replied.



 

 

Kingsley hesitated only a fraction of a moment as he exchanged a look with Robards.



 

 

“You have your permission Harry. Be sure you test these thoroughly before you send anyone in.”


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Harry Potter and the Winters After the War: Birthdays and Meetings

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