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Chapter 34 : The Fall of 1999
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The end of August Harry, Gawain and Al were talking about the new recruits, and the subject of Lavender Brown came up.
“She passed all her tests” Gawain said.
“I can see she is still in pain” Harry said. “I hate to keep her out of the Aurors just because she hurts, but I worry about her.”
“I know she wants to capture Greyback, the werewolf” Al said. “That’s not a problem by itself, but is that the only reason she wants to become an Auror?”
“Lavender was in the DA” Harry said. “Her interest in fighting did not start at The Battle of Hogwarts. We asked all the DA to join the Aurors, remember?”
“I know Kingsley made that offer” Robards said. “I’m not sure he was thinking of badly injured Lavender Brown when he made the offer.”
They looked at Lavender’s test scores again. They were in the upper half of the group that was joining the Aurors, and in the end, after quite a bit more discussion, it was agreed to let her start the training.
Harry Potter was not happy that new recruits always started on September 1, the same day the Hogwarts Express left. He had mentioned to Kingsley and Minerva that he wanted to change the schedule so the Hogwarts express always left on a weekend. He also wanted to start the new recruits in August. He did not make any progress on either of these.
The best thing about this Wednesday, September 1, 1999, however, was that they had 20 recruits, 15 of them from Hogwarts and the other 5 from all over Europe, 5 different countries and all top students. .
Neville was a natural teacher, and one of the senior Aurors was also an excellent teacher, so Harry was able to delegate most of the training to them. Al and his staff also had people to help, and together they were putting together a training program that was as good as the excellent training program the North American Aurors had.
There were only four official Quidditch stadiums in Britain, although there were two additional small stadiums used for games that were not well attended, and thirteen teams. Usually one of the teams would be playing in Europe or occasionally further away, so from September through November and March through May, two three month seasons, there was a game every Saturday. There were private boxes at each stadium, and if you rented a box for the season you had a private box for the whole season, no matter what stadium you were in.
Harry was generally pretty careful with his money. Quidditch would prove to be somewhat of an exception, however. One day late in August Ginny asked Harry “How would you like to rent a private box for the family to watch Quidditch games? Gwen says she will make one available to the family right next to the owners’ box!”
The next time Harry saw Bill he asked him “Could I or the estate rent a box for Quidditch games?”
“Harpies Games?” asked Bill.
“I know Ron will be disappointed, but I was not thinking of attending all the Chudley Cannons games” Harry joked.
“Why?” Bill kidded.
“Domestic reasons” Harry replied. “Like wanting to sleep in the same bed and not get bat bogey hexed by your sister.”
“Wise man” a grinning Bill replied. “Getting your wife mad at you is NOT a good idea.”
Looking next door to Fleur’s office Bill grinned and said “Not that I EVER had that problem!
Is there someone I should contact?”
“Ginny gave me this card to give to you” Harry said as he handed Bill a business card.
Bill arranged for the Harry Potter Estates to rent a private box to watch Harpies games.
There were only four big stadiums, so owning a stadium, or even being part owner, was a big deal. The Harpies were partners in one of the smaller full size stadiums, and it was usually sold out. They could use it for practice part of the time, which was an advantage. When the Harpies were traveling, or playing another team that had its own stadium in the other teams stadium, then the Harpies stadium was rented out to other Quidditch Teams.
There were also a couple of mini-stadiums that held less than three hundred spectators.
By far the largest stadium, a beautiful old cast iron structure that was used occasionally for the world cup, was owned by the Chudley Cannons, and it was said that the only thing that allowed the team to survive was renting that stadium. The Harpies, being a very popular team, actually played at the Cannon’s stadium much more often than the Cannons ever did.
To Ron Weasleys great frustration, the Cannons more often than not played to modest sized crowds in one of the mini-stadiums, with most of the crowd from the other team.
Every stadium had visitors boxes, so when the Harpies were not playing at home Harry and Bill had access to a visitors box in the away stadium. Since there were 13 teams and only six stadiums at least one team was not playing in England during the normal Saturday games, and that team usually played in Europe or occasionally further away from home.
The box could hold 10 seats across, 2 deep if you did not mind being a little crowded, outside, and another 20 or so inside, plus standing room. It was right next to the box used by the directors of the Harpies.
For the Harpies first game Saturday September 5 Harry and Bill had invited Fleur, Arthur and Molly who brought Teddy, Ron (Hermione really did not want to come), Percy and Audrey with 2 guests who were usually going to be either Audrey’s father or grandparents or two grandfathers.
They had also invited Patrick Prewett who wanted to come as a guest and not as an Auror, being on call but not on duty.
They invited Kingsley Shacklebolt and Gawain Robards, both of whom were delighted, and each of them were able to bring a guest. Both were told that in the future that they could bring more than one with advance notice. They were going to use these two extra seats as rewards for outstanding performance at times, and other times they invited someone they wanted to influence. Harry made sure they both knew that they could bring female dates.
Harry learned that both of them had lost people close to them during the wars. Gawain was very private about his personal life, although he was married. Kingsley had been married but had lost his wife during the troubles, and there were no children that he was aware of. Kingsley was very aware that asking most women out was in his position more of a command than a way to meet someone, and he felt he really could not afford a new outside relationship at this point. Occasionally they invited other people, so there were not many days when the box did not hold at least 20 people.
Harry also invited Cindy Base, who brought her regular photographer and partner Henry Hudson. Henry was in school with Cindy, and had become a photographer for a magic newspaper in North America, but he and Cindy had dated when they were in school, and when Cindy needed a regular photographer she asked if she could hire Henry. Harry was pleased to see that Cindy and Henry were more than co-workers.
Cindy had long ago gotten over her fear of Harry, and although she was on the payroll of the Daily Prophet part of her salary was being paid for by the Potter Estates, and she was the official chronicler of the famous Potter and Weasley families. By paying Cindy the Potters and Weasleys made sure to have some control over what was published about them.
The book Harry Potter, the boy who lived, the hero of Hogwarts was, it turned out, published in 2 versions; an abridged version for younger children, the one Harry had read last summer, and a longer version. Harry did not have any say in publishing the book; the books were going to be written. By contributing to the books and working through Cindy Harry and Bill had at least some control over what was written.
Harry, Bill and Fleur got there very early the first Saturday; they had never attended a Quidditch game in a private suite before, and they were going to be the hosts and hostess. They all wanted to know what to do. You could get to the box through a fireplace connected to the floo network; the fireplace connection was restricted and only opened on Saturday and then only to the specific connections that had been set up in advance. In addition Dobedo was stationed very visibly next to the floo.
Harry, Bill and Fleur were welcomed by Penelope Longbottom and her husband Urban. Urban was a distant relative of Neville’s. Penelope had been with the Harpies for her entire adult life, first as a player, then as a coach, briefly as head coach, then in the business office, and for several years as General Manager. Gwen Jones was now General Manager, but Penelope was Assistant General Manager.
Bill knew that the Harpies were “owned” by a non-profit foundation, and was managed by ex-players. Penelope explained that she was actually doing most of the same things as Assistant General Manager as she had done as General Manager, but that the board had decided, herself included, that Gwen was a better public face for the Harpies than she was, and so Gwen had the title and a few of the key responsibilities as well. Penelope introduced the rest of the board members; just over half of the board members were married and usually their husbands were with them watching the games.
When the first game was over everybody waited in the box for Ginny to arrive. Ginny had not played at all the first game, but that was expected. About half an hour after the game ended Ginny showed up at the box, along with Mary Sue. Everybody talked for about half an hour, then Harry and Ginny took Teddy back to Grimmauld Place. They planned to try and spend most Saturday afternoon and evenings with Teddy if they could. (There were not any multiple day games that fall, but a couple lasted well into the night, and it was a good thing they had a box with a crib for Teddy.) Mary Sue went to the New Burrow with Patrick.
Harry asked Ginny when they got home “What is going on between Patrick and Mary Sue? Is this just a professional relationship, or is it developing into something more?”
Ginny answered “let’s see what develops over the next few Sunday mornings. If Mary Sue thrives during the Weasley Sunday breakfast there may be more there. I know Mary Sue is thrilled not to be alone Saturday Night and Sunday, even if it is mostly study and practice.
Sunday morning Harry, Ginny and Teddy took the floo over to the New Burrow for breakfast. Mary Sue was there, and during some of the conversation Arthur overheard Mary Sue’s last name, and asked if she was related to Damian McDivvott? Mary Sue replied “Damian McDivvott is my father!”
“Where is he now?” asked Arthur.
Mary Sue replied “My mother Genevieve and father Damian both have a lot of Muggle blood in their families, so they hid before I was born. They do not have much money; I have been helping to support them. I think they are afraid to come out of hiding.”
Arthur asked “did your father work in the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects?”
Mary Sue replied “I think so.”
Arthur said “we are really short just about everywhere in the ministry. If your father would like to come back to work we would love to have him. Please ask him.”
Mary Sue said “I think they are still afraid, but I will ask, Mr. Weasley.”
Harry had to spend part of September and October working with Kingsley, Al and others in redoing the legislation the Auror department was working under, undoing some of the “reforms” passed over the last few years under the influence of Voldemort and his supporters. As usual Harry kept advocating for calling him Tom Riddle and not Voldemort, with some success. At least no one was calling him he-who-must-not-be-named anymore. The whole ministry had strict orders that if anyone used that phrase it must be corrected immediately. Tom Riddle was dead and any of the behaviors that reflected a continuing fear of him must be stopped immediately.
They also needed to introduce modern technology into the department and into the entire ministry. Hermione was central to much of what they were doing. Officially she was an undersecretary in the Department for the Regulations of Magical Creatures, with a special emphasis on House Elves. In reality she was also involved in lots of the legislation of the Wizengamot. By law and tradition there were no full time employees of the Wizengamot, but Hermione was trying to learn as much as she could about how it functioned.
Monday September 6 after the morning management meeting Harry said to Gawain and Al VanLente “I think I can make good enough maps pretty quickly now.”
Al replied “Can you give us a demonstration on a few houses and other places, Harry?”
“I don’t have much mapping paper” Harry replied. “That’s the trickiest part, making the paper. I could go back to the basement potion room at my house and make a couple dozen pieces of mapping parchment today and give you a demonstration tomorrow.”
“Do it!” Gawain said.
“Make it happen” Al seconded.
Harry went to Diagon Alley and purchased a rather large supply of moderately special parchment. He then purchased a large supply of potion making ingredients, some from three different stores so no one store knew all of the things he was buying. He had enough of one special ingredient he got by owl post, but he ordered more to have an ample supply on hand; the material he got by owl post could take three or four days to arrive.
Harry went down the basement and got out the large glass pan he used for the first step, and the large ceramic pan with a special ceramic coating that he needed for the second step, and in about four hours had twenty four pieces of the mapping paper.
Wednesday Gawain and Al finally had time to go with Harry to see the mapping. They spent all afternoon, about half an hour a hours, doing nine houses. Harry made a map, and they could see who was in the house, and the room layout, even when they were back at the Ministry.
“We need to be able to get to these maps” Al said. “Let’s show them to Carmella and the Marcellettis.”
After some discussion it was decided to expand the office and put Harry in with Carmella and the Marcellettis’, with a partition so he had a little privacy but with the maps available to all.
“Harry, I want you to map all the houses of anyone who may be at risk” Al said. “This is going to be the bulk of your job for the fall.”
“I still can’t get hidden rooms” Harry said. “There is still a lot I don’t know about this mapping.”
“Well then keep doing it and keep learning” Al said, and Gawain agreed.
Over the next week Harry did show several of the other Aurors what he did to make a map. John Dawlish and Ron could sort of make a map, but none of the other Aurors could even get a line to appear on the paper. Map making was obviously more difficult that Harry thought.
Saturday September 18 Damian and Genevieve McDivvott attended the Quidditch game, sitting in the private box along with the Potter and Weasley families. After the game they went to Arthur and Molly’s house along with Mary Sue and Patrick.
By Sunday Arthur had convinced Damian and Genevieve to move to Ottery St. Catchpole. They were going to move into a rental house very close to the protective wards, and if the job went well and they could they were going to build a house inside the Weasley wards, not next to the Appleleaf family but across the road. Damian knew of other Witches and Wizards with Muggle blood in their background who had left the ministry but may be willing to come back under a new administration and over the next few months Arthur and Damian were able to hire 10 additional very qualified people for various shorthanded departments.
The last week in September at about one in the morning an alarm went off at the Ministry; someone had placed a ward around the Grainger house and it was disturbing the cell phone they had placed there. Harry was alerted, and when he was notified what house it was immediately went to the ministry and got the map he had made of the Grainger house before apparating to the Grainger house.
Harry showed the Aurors there the map. Inside were Mr. and Mrs. Grainger, upstairs, and downstairs the fugitive death-eater Goyle and one other person who one of the Aurors identified as one of the stupider snatchers.
(There were a lot of Goyles. They were a bad bunch, and stupid, but most of them were either captured or not currently wanted)
Knowing where the bad guys were and how many made the capture easy. The spell they tried to cast around the house was easily broken and the two were quickly arrested.
The next morning the Daily Prophet had a front page article that said NEW AUROR TECHNOLOGY CAPTURES GOYLE Without going into any detail it said that new technology introduced by Harry Potter and Al VanLente had made a quick and quiet capture possible.
The next afternoon Hermione wanted to know more, since the article did say that the capture was at her parents’ house. So that evening Harry showed Hermione how to make a map, something she sort of learned how to do after about four frustrating hours of practice.
The next night she tried to make the mapping potions, with absolutely no success.
The following night she tried to make the mapping potions again, with no apparent progress. By the end of the night Hermione was fuming. “It can’t be that hard! What’s the matter with me?”
“win-GAR-dee-un lev-ee-OH-sa, Hermione” Ron said with a sarcastic sneer, “win-GAR-dee-un lev-ee-OH-sa.”
“Ahhhhhhh boggards” Hermione said, giving Ron a whack. “I probably deserved that. You deserved the whack too, making fun of me!”
“Yes, smartest witch in the world” Ron said. “Let’s go home.”
“Tease me will you” Hermione said. “You’ll pay.”
“Not any more than I would if I didn’t tease you, Hermione. You’re in a foul mood anyway” Ron said.
“So I’ll be in a better mood if I get mad at YOU as well as that stupid spell?” Hermione asked.
Harry watched as Ron and Hermione left, poking at each other all the way to the floo.
All Harry could think of when he saw them leave was how much he missed Ginny. Saturday after the game until Sunday afternoon just wasn’t enough, even though they did talk a little during the week.
They finally seemed to have a way of making sure Muggle born witches and wizards, half bloods, and the parents of them, were as safe as they could be. All of them were given modified wizard cell phones. Since the magical part was similar to what Hermione had created with the DA coins, she was given all the information on how they were made, although it was complex enough that she was not going to read much of the information until she had time. For most of the Muggles it was a question of adding the Wizarding modifications to the cell phones they already had.
Saturday October 2 should have been a normal game, but after the game Harry said to Ginny “Bill and Fleur seemed a little strange to me. Did you notice anything?”
Ginny replied “I hardly had a chance to see them. Fleur is usually one of the last people to leave, and she was one of the first ones to leave today.”
Sunday October 3 the rather large group that had become the standard Weasley Sunday Morning Breakfast meeting was in session. You had Arthur and Molly, Andromeda Tonks and Fiona McGonagall Prewett, then Bill and Fleur, Percy and Audrey, George and Angelina with baby Fred, Ron and Hermione, Harry and Ginny bringing Teddy home, and finally Patrick Prewett and Mary Sue McDivvott.
Ginny looked at Harry and whispered “Bill and Fleur look nervous. Fleur’s shape has changed and something is going on with her. Percy and Audrey also look nervous, but they always look nervous.”
A short while after Ginny whispered this to Harry Bill got up. Everybody looked at him and he cleared his throat and said “Fleur and I have an announcement. If everything goes well the first of May our little family will get bigger; Fleur is pregnant!” Fleur looked very happy. Molly was beside herself with joy, going over to hug her and announcing to everyone that as far as she was concerned the more grandchildren the better.
As she was saying this Percy and Audrey were getting more and more nervous; finally after some whispered conversations Percy got up and said “Audrey is also pregnant, and is due the middle of April.”
Molly went over and gave Audrey the patented Molly Weasley hug and again was overjoyed.
After a brief while George said “You must have had sex on your honeymoon! Who would have guessed?”
Percy and Audrey got real red and embarrassed. Angelina looked like she was getting ready to explode at George; he needed to stop this line of talk right now, but before she could say anything George said “Must not have read the part in the book about birth control, did you?”
Percy shot back “I would not say too much, George. At least we waited until we were married!”
“I had an excuse, Percy” said George, “I was a mental mess because… because …” George took a huge breath, looked at Angelina with horror in his face, and she grabbed George and held on tight. George was obviously fighting for control. Everybody was quiet for about 4 minutes while George got control of himself. Finally George said in a quiet voice “It doesn’t happen as often, but sometimes I think it never gets any better.”
Angelina said under her breath “Apologize to Percy and Audrey” and George said “I’m sorry I gave you a hard time” to them.
Percy said “I should have been more charitable as well.”
George was uncharacteristically quiet for some time after that, with a look on his face that told everyone that he was still having a very hard time getting over Fred’s death.
Molly had another book, The Modern Witches Guide to Pregnancy and Lactation. She gave a copy to Fleur and another one to Audrey, and said “If you have any problems nursing just ask me or ask Angelina. Angelina has done a fantastic job nursing Fred.” Molly was looking right at Audrey when she said this.
Ginny later learned that Molly had guessed that Fleur was pregnant a couple of weeks ago, and Fleur had every intention of nursing her babies. You had a very hard time talking to Audrey about anything to do with bodies or sex, but Molly had all but laid down the law. None of her grandchildren was going to be bottle fed, not if you did not want to get on Molly’s bad side, not if she had anything to say about it.
Ginny learned months later that Molly did make time to have several one on one talks with Audrey, who was no longer working. Molly did have to go over how not to have babies. George was right. Percy had at least read the book, or parts of it, but it was up to the female to get a birth control potion, and Audrey had never read the book, and her mother had never talked about sex to her.
Molly had to assure Audrey that Hermione’s attitude to sex really was over the top, and that as long as she and Percy were happy it was no one’s business what their sex life was like. Molly also knew that the Baker women usually nursed their babies, at least for the first few months, but never in public. No one was expecting Audrey to sit up in full view of everyone watching to make sure no one stole anything from the store while nursing a baby, like Angelina. Audrey’s mother was shy about sex even for the reserved Baker women, which may be why she only had one child.
October 12 there were strange things happening, phones becoming unreachable because of magic, other indications that there were fugitives around, in an area Harry had not mapped. So about noon Harry started mapping forty houses or buildings. Harry was finally finished with the mapping at eight in the morning of Wednesday the 13th. He went home and got about three hours of sleep, and was awakened because of some other problems needing mapping and his advice about noon. John Dawlish and Ron were both trying to help, but only Harry could make any progress on finding hidden rooms, and he could only do a little.
Harry finally got home about six, had a little dinner, and fell asleep until nine, when all hell broke loose in the area he had been mapping, including in some areas that had not been mapped, and Harry was called out again.
At nine thirty Ginny came bounding in through the floo. “Harry, I have the rest of the evening off, until early tomorrow!” Ginny said.
Mabel said “Harry and Dobedo out on missions. Very very tired, working hard for two days.”
“Boggards” Ginny cried. It was hard enough to get away in the middle of the week, and her chance to see Harry looked like it was going to be ruined. “Will they come in through the floo?” Ginny asked.
“Yes, Mistress” Mabel said.
“Can you bring a comfortable chair down here so I can relax here?” asked Ginny.
“Yes, Mistress” Mabel said, and in a flash one of the big comfortable chairs was right before the floo. Ginny waited and waited, finally falling into an uneasy sleep about ten, but waking every hour or so.
At six in the morning two Aurors appeared at the floo with an utterly exhausted and somewhat filthy Harry Potter and an almost as exhausted Dobedo. Mabel quickly appeared and one of the Aurors said “Put this house elf to bed right away!”
“Dobedo, to beds” Mabel said as she grabbed hold of his hand and they disappeared with a Crack!
“Thank goodness for the mapping spells, Mrs. Potter” one of the Aurors said. “We captured Jugson and Mulciber and about a dozen minor figures we had been looking for, and because of Harry’s map we didn’t have even one Auror injured! Fantastic!
“Harry’s a little worse for wear, though.”
Ginny and the Aurors got Harry up to their bedroom, and Ginny levitated Harry into the shower and got him clean. Harry sort of stayed awake for the shower. When Ginny got Harry down to bed he was shaking, so tired he could not sleep but could not stay awake either. Ginny had put boxers on Harry and she had her undergarments on; she ended up holding Harry for about an hour before he finally relaxed and went to sleep.
It was eight thirty, Ginny was horny as hell, hungry, and at least a half an hour late for the Harpies. Plus she was tired. Ginny took the floo to the Harpies.
Ginny came through the floo at the Harpies mad. “I STAYED UP ALL NIGHT WAITING FOR HARRY TO GET BACK FROM AN URGENT MISSION. I’M TIRED AND HORNY AND HUNGRY AND IN A REAL BAD MOOD, AND IF ANYONE SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT ME BEING LATE I’M GOING TO BE IN AN EVEN WORSE MOOD!” Ginny yelled.
No one said anything.
Harry woke up about one o’clock Thursday afternoon. He had to go to the loo, and he was hungry, although he was still exhausted. He went to the loo, then got a few clothes on and called for Mabel. “Was Ginny here?” he asked.
“Waited all night, but had to leave” Mabel said. “Was late for work. Left in a bad mood.”
Harry knew it was hard for Ginny to get off in the middle of the week. This mission had been fantastically successful, but for his and Ginny’s personal life it had apparently been a real disaster.
The middle of October Harry had read enough about the Marauders Map, and had enough success with simple maps, that he felt he needed to spend some time in Hogwarts with the map. He had created about plenty of maps of houses, but often he did not find magic rooms with the maps he had created even though they were sure they were there and even when he knew how to get to one.
Harry decided he was going to have to create a duplicate of the Marauders Map, with all the hidden passageways and strange rooms, before he knew enough to make good plans of the houses. In order to do this he was going to have to go into most of the rooms of the castle, including the student dormitories. Since he was not going on any mission involving the students he was given special permission to visit all the rooms in the castle, including with advanced notification all the boys and girls dormitories.
Harry had not been to Hogwarts since the start of the school year. He was going to be attending some of the DA classes later, but then only the DA members would see him. Few of the 1st years had ever met him. So when Harry showed up for breakfast and sat at the head table lots of students stared at him. He was not introduced, but he was easily recognized. There seemed to be plenty of photographs of him in the paper, and since the photographs moved the animated way he talked, his sincerity and his high spirits, were as easy to spot as his looks. Besides most of the older students had been at Hogwarts with Harry, but the younger students did not know him.
Two of the first years that did know Harry were Tom and Cinnamon Appleleaf. Both had been sorted into Ravenclaw, as they were both very smart, and when they saw Harry they waved, and he waved back. After breakfast they waved again trying to get Harry to come over. Harry went over to the Ravenclaw table and said “How are my favorite first year students doing, Tom, Cinnamon?”
“We’re doing well, Mr. Potter” Tom said.
“I thought the course work would be harder” Cinnamon said. “So far everything has been easy.”
“Did they really live with you, Mr. Potter, sir?” one of the first year students asked.
“Yes, for a while after the Battle of Hogwarts” Harry said. “They still live on the same plot of land that my father and mother-in-law live on. I expect to see them some every summer at least.”
“Wow” one of the students said to another one.
Harry spent a few minutes talking to Tom and Cinnamon before everyone had to run off to class. Tom and Cinnamon had told other students that they knew Harry and Ginny Potter, but some of the students thought they were making it up or exaggerating how well they knew them, and Harry coming over was really appreciated!
Harry could afford to spend about half a day at Hogwarts about 3 times a week, and it took him 6 weeks to get all the spells and other things down to make a duplicate of the Marauders Map, without the “I solemnly swear I am up to no good” spell but with a couple of refinements of his own that would help him in finding hidden rooms.
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