Chapter 1 : Apothecary
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"Dara, you're seventeen. Don't you have someone in your mind?" asked the chieftain.
Dara said what her father couldn't expect,
"I do, father. I want to meet Harry Potter."
"Do you want to meet the man who saved the English Wizarding World?"
"No, father. He saved all people over the world. Voldemort was evil. If Voldemort survived, he would try to invade our lands,"
"Albus Dumbledore said the same thing when he visited here before you were born," said the chieftain.
"Why are you sheltering the evil women and evil men?" asked Dara.
"When Albus asked me, I promised him to maintain neutrality. But after the war the situation hasn't changed. They haven't returned our magical lands yet."
"They are as evil as Voldemort," said Dara.
"Dara, our clan has endured as losers over one thousand and six hundred years. The time has come to get back our magical lands, Anglesy, Isle of Man, Kernow and Isle of Skye."
Proudfoot spoke to trainees in the Gathering Hall of Auror Headquarters after their practicing the Bubble-Head Charm wearing a set of heavy Auror robes in the big hot spring bathroom for Aurors and Hit Wizards on night duty. He showed them how to cast Intruder Charm by their wands and how to feel them,
"If you are used to these vibrations, you could find culprits hiding. But be careful. When you could feel these vibrations of your wand, culprits also could find you and they would attack you anytime. And if they appeared in disguise as your side, you must confirm who they are by asking passwords."
After Thursday training session, shaved headed Proudfoot commanded Harry and Ron,
"Join the tracing team from next weekend. We will search the magical areas in the Isle of Skye including Quidditch pitch of Pride of Portree. One of players was nearly abducted yesterday. Two of you had a fight at the ruins, didn't you?"
Proudfoot stopped talking and fixed his eyes on Harry and said,
"Potter, are you listening?" Proudfoot raised his brow.
"What? Eh, Sorry, sir," Harry came to himself. He was sized with the fear. He had recalled the fight at the ruins again.He shook his head trying to sweep away the traumatic experience at the Isle of Skye.
Next morning Harry left Grimmauld Place for Hogwarts. When he entered the Great Hall Ron who wore a set of dark red robes, had already sat at the long Griffindor table with Hermione and Ginny.
"Morning mate. Have you eaten breakfast?" said Ron.
Ginny stood up and Harry took a step closer to her. He embraced her so tight that she couldn't take her breath away. Ginny turned her face shade of pink and barely whispered in his ears,
When he tried to kiss her, he was spoken to.
"Good morning, Mr.Potter, Mr. Weasley. Are you ready?" said Dedalus who was wearing a top hat as usual.
"Eh, yes, we're ready," answered Harry letting Ginny go.
"Malfoy boy will have an interview at the Apothecary after class. So your duty is to go with him to the Apothecary in Diagon Alley," Dedalus explained nodding towards Malfoy who was eating at the long Slytherin table next to a black- headed witch. Hestia noticed Harry's stare and waved her hand to him.
"Will Malfoy work at the Apothecary?" said Ron.
"Well, he will just be on the job training to open his apothecary," said Dedalus.
"Will Malfoy own his Apothecary?" Ron stunned and asked.
"Yes, he will. He could withdraw his money from the Gringotts last week, you know?" said Dedalus.
"Did he buy a shop?" asked Harry.
"Yes, he did. We accompanied him when he went to buy the shop in Hogsmead yesterday."
Harry thought Malfoy was shrewd, he didn't miss the chance to draw his money from the Gringotts when the temporary removal of ban was put in motion by the Ministry to let the culprits believe their plot had worked out.
When they visited the Apothecary by Floo Powder in the afternoon, Ron muttered wiping out soot and dust,
"Yuk! Horrible smell. I can't stand a mixture of rotted eggs and cabbages."
The shop was filled with the characteristic smell of blended herbs, all kinds of vegetables and enigmatic dead magical creatures.
Harry felt Malfoy stiffen by tension next to him.
"Malfoy, what will you use silver unicorn horns for?" asked Harry pointing at the horns in the shelf.
"Potter, I can't believe you were really at Hogwarts. What have you learned in the Potions class?" Malfoy raised his brow.
Harry bit his lip. His trial to promote the adult-like relations with his old rival broke into shatters. Maybe Snapes's Gryfiindore-like behavior through the war put Harry out of gear. When Harry tried to retort, the shopkeeper appeared from the back room.
"Good afternoon, boys," he greeted them and he was surprised to see Harry.
"Mr.Potter, I feel honored to see you in my shop. Thank you for defeating You-Know-Who," the old man held out his hand to Harry.
They shook hands.
"So who will help my shop? You? Mr.?" The shopkeeper asked Ron.
"I'm Ronald Weasley. I'm also a trainee Auror,"said Ron.
"Oh, you're Mr. Weasley. Thank you for saving our world," the old man offered his hand to Ron.
Ron grasped his hand and mumbled,
"My grandchildren have your chocolate frog cards," the old man beamed at them.
"Our chocolate frog cards?" Harry and Ron exchanged glances.
"Yes, they do. Here are some. I bought them, too," the shopkeeper took the cards from the counter and showed the cards to Harry and Ron. Ron took one of them, stared at it and said,
"Blimey, it's me."
The old man handed another to Harry. He was wearing his simple grey T-shirts and jeans in the picture . Harry grinned at his picture on a chocolate frog card. When he tried to ask the shopkeeper if he had a card of Hermione, Malfoy cleared his throat.
"When will you start an interview?"
"Oh, you're an apprentice potions maker. What's your name?"
Malfoy hesitated to say his name and opened his mouth,
"Malfoy...Oh, Merlin. Are you a son of the ex-Death Eater?" the shopkeeper said in his trembling voice.
Mafloy bit his lip and looked down.
"I've only heard from Headmistress of Hogwarts a talented Head Boy of Hogwarts would come. I haven't heard the son of an ex-Death Eater would come," the old man showed his disapproval.
Soon Ron opened his mouth before Harry tried to.
"Malfoy is a Potions Master. I can guarantee. My brother, George who is a manager of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, will also guarantee. We ordered him five hundred tester bottles of powders to deliver to the Ministry," said Ron decisively.
"To the Ministry?"
"Yes, we did."
"George Weasley who's a manager of W.W.W?"
"Yes, he is, sir."
The shopkeeper stared at Ron, Harry and Malfoy by turns and said,
"Will you keep watching him while he works here?"
"Yes, we will. We will watch him on this weekend," said Harry.
"Well, if two of you will watch him, I will hire him," the old man said.
While Malfoy helped the shopkeeper with stock taking, Harry observed goods and pictures on the wall. And he found a picture which was familiar to him. It was a picture of the castle by the seashore. Harry blinked and squinted at the picture. The blonde-headed witch entered the castle in the picture and she vanished.
"Excuse me, sir, but where is the castle?" Harry asked the shopkeeper.
"Oh, it's Druid's old castle which is the ruins in the Isle of Skye."
Harry startled by the words.
"Is it the Druid's castle?"
"Yes, it was a long time ago, maybe 1600 years ago. The ruins have been in the Isle of Skye for ages" said the old man.
Harry turned his gaze towards the stones on the shelf. He couldn't tell the difference of each stone but he found runes on each stone.
"What are these?" asked Harry.
"They are, from the left, serpentine, greenstone, granite, limestone, slate and flint. Those Ancient Runes Stones have been used for curing the sick," said the shopkeeper.
"Wicked! Do you think Hermione knows these stones?" said Ron.
"Maybe. Can I buy one of them?" Harry asked.
Harry thought Hermione or Neville would have a great interest.
"I'm sorry. They are rare stones. We could get them only in Cornwall, Isle of Skye and Wales. Sometimes we lend them to healers of St.Mungo's."
Malfoy also seemed to listen to what the old man said with great interest.
At the meeting of Prefects Hermione raised a question,
"I can't agree your accusation of Gryffindors" attacking Slytherins, Ernie. I heard some Hufflepuffs also attacked Slytherins this week.β
Harry and Ron exchanged their looks.
"Did you know their attacking Slytherins?" asked Ron.
"Eh, well, I know one of Gryffindor Quidditch players tried to attack Slytherin players," said Harry.
Hermione continued to speak.
"We can't ignore them to attack Slytherin students any more. A peacekeeping of the Wizarding World will start here in Hogawarts. We must take away house discrimination."
"Yeah, we understand what you say but how can we stop them? Most of the studetns don't feel guilty to bully Slytherin students," said Ernie.
Another Ravenclaw Prefect opened his mouth,
"How about requesting Aurors to patrol?"
All the Prefects turned around to see Harry and Ron.
"Us?" said Ron perplexed.
"Eh, we are assigned to guard a Head Boy from the remaining Death Eaters, not to patrol," said Harry.
Harry's words seemed to create a tense atmosphere.
Then Malfoy opened his mouth.
"Potter, Weasley, patrol for them. I'll be with you anywhere. I'm a Head Boy. I also have obligation to protect students of my house."
Nobody took objection to what Malfoy offered.
Harry and Ron followed Malfoy who walked down the stone steps into the darkness. Their footsteps were echoing in the labyrinthine passages.
"I didn't know that Slytherin students were bullied by other students," said Ron.
"Most of our years haven't come back because they were afraid that we would be attacked by other houses," said Malfoy dispassionately.
"I don't think all the students of Slytherin are harmful. But what Death Eaters have done is unforgivable. They tortured innocent people. They killed their parents and their relatives. They took the dearest people from innocent people by force. You understand their sorrows, don't you, Malfoy?" said Harry quietly but strictly.
Malfoy stared at Harry's eyes and said,
"Yes, I do understand."
Just then the sobbing voice was echoing from the side room. It was a girl student. Her long hair was dark brown. Her eyes were grey like Malfoy.
"Astoria, what happened?" Malfoy talked to her gently.
Astoria Greengrass stopped sobbing and looked up. She looked surprised to see Harry and Ron.
"They are Aurors. You don't have to be afraid. Tell me why you were crying," said Malfoy assuring her.
"They hexed me. They took my potions report away while I was stunned," said Astoria.
"Who took your report?" asked Harry.
Astoria hesitated to say.
"Tell us. We'll catch them and we'll return your potions report to you," said Ron.
"They are Andrea Cattermole and Maura Alderton, Hufflepuffs," said Astoria.
The names, Cattermole and Alderton sounded familiar to Harry. Just then Ron groaned and said,
"Merlin's beard. Mrs. Cattermole. Harry, do you remember?"
Mr. Alderton was sentenced to the Dementor's kiss by Umbridge last year in the Ministry. Harry and Ron helped Mrs. Cattermole to run away from the Muggle-Born Registration Commission last year.
"Yes, I do remember." said Harry.
"Miss Greengrass, we'll bring them here. Are you OK with them?" Harry asked Astoria.
She nodded with her worried look. Harry conjured his Patronus and his silvery stag leapt away. Soon Ernie Macmillan dashed down with two other girls.
"I saw your brilliant Patronus in a long time. I brought them, Harry," said Ernie.
Black-headed six year, Andrea Cattermole began to speak timidly,
"Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley, I'd like to say thank you for saving my mother's life in the Ministry last year,"
And she whispered words into Maura's ear. Maura took out Astoria's crumpled parchment reluctantly from her pocket and said,
"I'm sorry for hexing her. And thank you for letting my father go from the jail last year, Mr. Potter."
Harry nodded and took Astoria's report and returned it to her and said,
"Is it yours?"
"Yes, it is," answered Astoria.
"Why did you hex her?" Harry asked two Hufflepuffs.
They kept silent and Maura opened her mouth,
"It was revenge. Slytherins tortured us. Carrows let us torture first years. Death Eaters were all from Slytherin. After they took over the Ministry, my father was sentenced to the Dementor's kiss," huffed Maura.
"We can't accept Malfoy, a son of ex-Death Eater as a Head Boy," said Andrea and she stared at Malfoy in a hateful manner.
Malfoy kept his poker face. Ron whispered to Harry.
"Harry, this is beyond our control. We should call Headmistress or Hermione."
Then Ernie cut in and said,
"Did Astoria Greengrass do something wrong to you?"
"Professor Slughorn has a partiality to her," said Andrea.
"Well, you should have talked with Professor Slughorn at first," said Ernie sternly.
"I'll ask you again. Did she hex you? Did she hurt you?"
"No, but.." Andrea and Maura murmured.
"Well, Miss Greengrass, I'm very sorry that six years from my house hexed you and took your potions report. Ten points from Hufflepuff. If you do such a thing again, I'll take off more points from our house," said Ernie and he let them go.
"Miss Greengrass, it will take more time for them to apologize to you, but I promise I'll let them apologize to you," said Ernie.
"Wow, Ernie, you look like a Head Boy," said Ron.
Ernie grinned and said,
"Well, Professor McGonagall told me she was thinking I should be a Head Boy but she explained she chose to designate a student from Slytherin as a Head Boy for leaving out prejudice against Slytherins and I agreed," said Ernie.
While they were talking, Harry noticed Malfoy took Astoria's hand and led her to the Slytherin Common Room.
After patrol they went back to the Head Boy's room. Harry and Ron kept watching Malfoy by turns through the night. But Malfoy didn't stir from his Dark Mark at all.
Next morning while Harry and Ron were yawning over breakfast, Hermione kept asking about their night patrol.
"Ten points? Did Ernie take off ten points?"
"Yes, he did. How many times did I say?" said Ron. He yawned again.
"Well, I haven't expected Ernie to take off points from his house. I ought to give him more credit," said Hermione.
"Yeah, he handled very well. Have you encountered the similar matters by now? How about Gryffindors?" Harry asked Hermione.
"Old and new seven years are OK. They control themselves for you, Harry," said Hermione.
"For me? What do you mean?"
Hermione stared at Harry's eyes and said,
"They are very proud of you. They understand to control themselves is noble. They decided not to attack Slytherins for you. You are our hero, Harry."
"Hermione and I keep an eye out for bullies," said Ginny.
Hermione giggled and added,
"Ginny announced she would hex Bat-Bogey Hex against anyone who bullied a weaker student."
Harry beamed at Ginny. Ginny smiled back and said,
"Your guarding Malfoy gave much influence on us. The boys who saved the Wizarding World are guarding an ex-Death Eater."
"Well, we are just doing our duty," said Harry and thought for a while. Dumbledore of Portrait might have given Kingsley and McGonagall instructions to protect Malfoy before this year started.
"How are other year Gryffindor students?" Harry asked Hermione.
"I'm sorry we couldn't stop first and second year students from harassing Slytherins," said Hermione with her annoyed look.
"Could you grasp any information about that?" asked Harry.
"I had received information from Slytherin Prefects about the matter that two Slytherin Quidditch players were harassed in the boy's bathroom last Wednesday night," said Hermione.
Harry was sure she talked about Andrew.
"Do you know who did that?" asked Harry.
"No, I don't. I've just heard they were hexed in the boy's bathroom and an Auror found them and released them..," then Hermione hit the clue and said,
"Harry, was it you?"
"Yes, I was there. I know who did that. But I won't tell you who he was for his honor. I believe he will not do that again," said Harry.
"Did you talk him about that?" asked Ginny.
"Yes, I did."
Ginny looked she sensed something and said,
"Ginny, don't.." Harry placed his index finger on his lips to hush Ginny.
"Well, I understand their feeling. Think about what they have done to us. If I stay here and see Slytherins every day, I will hex them," said Ron.
"Ron! You were a Prefect and you are a trainee Auror. Donβt say such a thoughtless thing," Hermione admonished Ron.
Ron stood up, stretched and said,
"Harry, let's go. We'll see Malfoy to the Apothecary."
Author's note: Thank you for your reviews. Your reviews makes me keep on writing fanfic stories. I'll add more description in the next chapter, too.
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