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The First Year, an Almost Happily Ever After story by Jet LaBarge
Chapter 28 : Ch 28 Some progress
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 3

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Monday after the normal management meeting Harry had a meeting with Al and Gawain.
“With your permission I have a couple of projects I am working on right now, that may occupy some of my time,” Harry said.

Gawain gave Harry a wary look and asked, “What now, Potter.”

“I’ve explained how we think there are magic rooms next to some of the basement rooms in the houses where there seem to be strange things going on, people appearing and disappearing. Well we theorize that if we had a magical drill, a drill with multidimensional material in it, we could drill into the hidden space. We have found the magic material, we think, and now we just need to put it into drills and see what it is going to take to make it work?”

“Have you been reading Muggle Fantasy and Scientific Fiction, Potter?” asked Gawain. “Sounds like a dumb idea to me. If you want to waste your time and VanLente here agrees I guess I don’t have much to say about it.”

Al turned to Harry and said, “Gawain said yes, but he is on record and being against it. As long as it does not take you away from everything else spending a little time on this can’t hurt. What else do you have?”

Harry brought out the Marauders Map and showed it to Gawain and Al, and then said, “I have notes from my Mum and Dad about how they made it, and I am trying to see if I can duplicate it, not just at Hogwarts but anywhere. How handy would it be to be able to make a map of a place before a raid, showing how many people were in a building, what it looked like on the inside, and who the people were?”

“Merlin!” Gawain said. “You can do that?”

Harry admitted, “Well, not yet. My dad and the Marauders made some notes, and my mum helped with the potions, and I have their notes. I’ve showed a couple of people the instructions, and the two spells to treat the paper are some of the most difficult potions and spells they have ever seen. The actual mapping does not look easy either. I’m almost sure it can be done, but it may take a while.”

Gawain looked at Al and they both nodded their heads. “No reservations on my part,” Gawain said, “as long as it doesn’t lead you to a one way trip to Knockturn Alley.”

“You need to work on this, Harry,” Al agreed, “and I think that you are probably the best person to figure this out. It would be fantastic to be able to go into a building to arrest people and not get surprised by how many there are or who they are.”

Monday afternoon Harry was explaining to Bill what he wanted for the drill project, and Bill found another person in the company who knew about some of the more obscure properties they owned, and they found a company that was in the road salt business that owned a small underground mine. Officially the mine was closed, as it was just worked a little by magic, the road salt from the mine being used on mostly Wizarding properties. It was a registered Muggle business, however, with enough sales to Muggle private companies to be making a profit, paying taxes, and had enough reserves to pay for quite a lot of experimenting with Magic drills.

Harry also found out that he and Bill were well known to the Muggle legal and taxing authorities. Although most of the property he inherited was hidden from the Muggle world there were large amounts of property registered in the Muggle world, and keeping a low profile on how much he owned was not going to be easy.

By Wednesday they knew they needed not only rock drills but a machine to do the drilling. The normal hand held drill, even a big one, could only go through so much rock, and they needed a big drill to hold the special drill bits that Wiski wanted.

By the next Monday, the first of March, Harry found that the Salt Company had purchased a used self-propelled rock drill and a small van to transport the drill to different locations. They were going to experiment first in the salt mine, and then if things worked go on to other locations, and finally go back to all the rooms where dark wizards seemed to come out of thin air. Monday they also had some of the insulating paper rolled up as tightly as the supplier could roll it, about 1mm in diameter. They slipped this inside a hollow opening in a 3mm diameter rock drill, and started to drill to the known location of a magic space, where the magic space was open on one side and they could see into it. The drill went right through the magic space without going into it..

When they opened the drill to look at the magic paper it was all shredded in very fine chunks. When they weighted the chunks it was obvious they had all 21 layers.

They tried again with a .5mm rod in the center and .25mm thickness of foil surrounding the center rod. Since this took Dudley making another special drill and Wiski getting more of the insulating paper, and having the company that made the paper wrap it around the .5mm rod, this experiment was not done until Friday. Still shredded paper and foil. Both Wiski and Dudley said that you needed something much stiffer in the middle of the drill. Harry was again amazed that Dudley not only got the drill part, but really seemed to understand when Wiski was talking about running into other dimensions.

Two to three times a week if he was not in Switzerland at the company making the insulating paper Wiski would spend the evening with Dudley. The drill company was very well compensated for these meetings, getting paid on a time and material basis with plenty of margin for the company.

Vernon was extremely proud of Dudley for landing this research contract, and when the company had to sign tough non-disclosure agreements so that only Dudley and the machinists working with him could discuss the program Vernon assumed it was some secret M5 government program and kept his nose out of it. “Dudley is working on secret government work,” Vernon told Petunia, and when she asked Dudley all he would say is, “I’ve signed non-disclosure agreements, mum. I really cannot talk about what we are doing.”

By the end of March some minor hit and run types of attacks were again starting to happen to Muggle born witches and wizards or their properties. It looked to Al and Harry that these were more reconnaissance missions, trying to see what the Aurors knew, than real frontal assaults. There were no more major assaults.

Meanwhile Harry had another thing to contend with. At least once a week and sometimes several times a day there were witches or wizards that wanted to talk to him about House Elves with Cleavers and how he was trying to ruin 4,000 years of tradition and magic. Hermione was in school and the school just refused all requests from people wanting to talk to her, and Harry was the only ready target for most of the rage. Harry had to meet with most of them. No one could meet with Harry unless they surrendered their wand, and there were at least 2 Aurors present at these meetings, one visible another one in the next room watching. Sometimes the discussions became heated, and Harry spent a lot of them getting yelled at.

Al and Kingsley asked Harry how he could calmly put up with all the abuse he was getting. Harry chuckled as he explained, “Well, once you face Tom Riddle and let him throw the killing curse at you everything else is sort of easy by comparison. Besides, have you ever been on the other side of Molly Wesley’s anger? All her boys are scared of her. Charlie even said its easier facing dragons than her wrath. And I’ve married her daughter who has taken lessons from her mother. I would much rather face the worst of these people than have my wife and mother-in-law gang up on me.”

Al was not familiar with Molly Weasley in full rage, but Kingsley had heard stories. Albus Dumbledore was even intimidated by Molly. Few of Molly’s friends were all that surprised that she was the one who finally took down Bellatrix Lestrange. So Kingsley Shacklebolt threw a little barb at Harry saying, “You do not mean to tell me you are afraid of that little wife of yours?”

Harry had to think a minute before he answered. “The day we got engaged, we were in the Potter family vaults, and I found the engagement and wedding rings that belonged to the family. Ginny put this ring on my finger and by looks alone insisted I put the other ring on her finger. I was not about to fight her over it, so I put it on. And then she thanked me for asking her to marry her, and I had to decide right then and there if I wanted to get into a big fight with her, since I really did want to marry her someday, or if I would go along. At that point I thought that getting Ginny to take off the engagement ring was going to be as hard or harder than facing Tom Riddle.

“I’m not really afraid of Molly or Ginny. I’d just rather face this rabble than be on the other side of their anger.” Harry was laughing as he finished his story.

“Fair enough,” said Kingsley, laughing and shaking his head. “I know who to have on my staff take the abuse of the ignorant public. You’re a good man, Harry.”

Dobedo was with Harry whenever he went out on a mission, and was usually with him whenever he was not at the Ministry or Hogwarts. He was at most meetings where they talked about finding the dark wizards. Harry was curious what Dobedo did with the rest of his time, so one day he asked him, “Dobe, what do you do when you are not with me?”

“Dobe gets educated,” the house elf replied proudly.

“Do you attend classes somewhere?” asked Harry.

“Go to Hogwarts,” Dobedo said. “Hogwarts elves say Dobe very important, protecting Harry Potter. Dobe needs to know everything. So Dobe reads old documents in elfish, one, two, three, even four thousand years old. Old documents hard to read. Language not change too much, not so many words in elfish back then. Still is hard.

“House elves not let wizards know house elves has own language and schools. Professor Dumbledore know, but he spend time with elves. Noble Harry Potter, friend of house elves and Goblins, spends time with house elves too.

“Kreacher educated too. Hogwarts house elves tell Kreacher, ‘Harry Potter very important. Many prophesies about. Needs to educate Kreacher as Harry Potter’s house elf.’ So they do. When Harry Potter gone Hogwarts house elves have Kreacher spend all time getting educated.

“Dobedo goes to Switzerland. Real old elfish books in Switzerland. No one knows what is there. Only a few house elves and many many books, scrolls, things.

“Too many house elves working all the time, no time to get learning. Almost every house elf can speak elfish. Needs to so can serve masters better. Needs language of house elves. Most can read elfish, but hard to learn when working all time. Many house elves read but not write. Hard being house elf, but easy being Potter/Weasley house elf.”

“Are there house elf schools in every country?” Harry asked.

“Oh no,” Dobedo replied. “Needs big school or farm or, usually school, many house elves at one place, and some can teach. Wizards wants dumb slaves, house elves act dumb. Wizards not want house elves fighting, except for them. House elves play dumb and not fight at all if possible.

“Harry Potter changing everything. Many house elves very upset. Harry Potter loves Dobby, buries him with marker, cries over him, changes everything. Kreacher leads house elves in taking sides in battle, changes everything. Harry Potter has monument with house elves names in elfish, changes everything. Lets wizards know of elfish, knows house elves not always so dumb. Dobe and house elf Aurors from North America take sides in battle against dark wizards. Four thousand years house elves not take sides in wars. Taking sides a problem. House elves not property, have to choose between good and bad. Sin of Adam, taking apple and having to choose between good and bad.

“House elves very upset. Mother’s mother is mad at me!” said Dobedo. “Says no good house elf gets involved in Wizarding battles. Don’t care. House elves needs to know rights from wrongs and fights for the rights!”

Harry had to thing about the last statement. ‘Knowing right from wrong, and having to choose the right, is the sin of Adam?’ He would have to learn more about that sometime.

As March turned into April Ginny had 2 more Quidditch games. She was flying better than ever, the broom was continually being adjusted by a young executive, Hudson Harrison, of the Firebolt Broom Company. Ginny was even helping Hudson and a very old wizard develop a special spell to make the broom even more manoeuvrable. Harry was pleased because the Harpies were seriously recruiting her, and it looked like her dream of becoming a professional Quidditch player were going to become a reality.

April the R&D team had its first success, sort of. Harry got a message on his mobile from an excited Wiski saying CAN WE MEET FOR DINNER. FIRST SUCCESS.

Harry used the mobile and called Wiski, and agreed to meet Wiski at six at the Leaky Cauldron. Harry came in the door just a little late, Ginny, not wearing anything special this time, in tow.

“Harry, Harry, you won’t believe what is happening,” Dudley shouted as Harry and Ginny came in. Carmella and Wiski were there, at a booth big enough for the five of them. Harry and Ginny sat down, and Wiski did the Muffliato Spell.

“We’ve ordered,” Wiski said. At that moment their dinners came, and Harry and Ginny took a moment to order dinner for themselves.

“Wiski says we should eat here so we can be more private, using that spell,” Dudley said. “Well, we were looking at our last batch of utter failures. We’d tried stainless steel, several different alloys, different ways of putting the material in, and nothing was working. Wiski says, ‘We going to have to tell Harry Potter we’ve failed’ and James Jones, that’s the machinist I have working on the project, he says, ‘Harry Potter, like the Harry Potter, that defeated,’ and then he’s real quiet like he is saying too much.

“Well I say ‘magic?’ and he says, ‘witchcraft and wizards,’ and I say, ‘defeated?’ and he says ‘Voldemort?’ and I say, ‘how do you know about all of this?’ Well James says, ‘my wife is a witch and my children go to Hogwarts. Judy is a waitress in a Muggle restaurant, but she wants to be a machinist and is taking classed. Magic and machining, that’s fascinating!’

“See, so I says, ‘but we’ve failed. We’re trying to get through spells and so far we’ve failed,’ and James says, ‘Why don’t you ask a goblin? They are supposed to be the best metalworkers in the world.’”

Wiski joined in with, “I don’t know why we didn’t think to ask the Goblins before, but Wizards are not very good about asking other races for help. Well, there is the question of how to recruit one and how to pay for it, so we went over and asked Bill, your brother-in-law, and he brings in Kreacher.

“Two days later Kreacher has this Goblin, Eniac, loves computers and machine tools, and he brings a laptop along and almost drools at the CNC machinery at Dudley’s factory. So we explain all about what we are trying to do. And then Eniac rummages in this big bag and brings out a big laptop and several books, and then a mirror, and uses the mirror like a telephone and talks to a couple of people, and then looks at us and says.”

Wiski looked at Dudley, who grinned and said, “He says, ‘Can’t drill through a spell, or punch, or grind, or poke. Must confuse the spell.’ So he draws out these strange patterns of putting material in the drills, a little here, a little more there, real strange. The center part off center. No pattern that I could see. We have eight drills, and six of them get at least part way through the spell, leave chunks inside the magic room.

“Eniac and Wiski are sure they can make drills that will work. It may take a few more experiments, but now that we know we have to confuse the spell we are a long way there!

“Then we talk about other things, and I think I am going to have a Goblin on the payroll. ‘Needs Muggle money,’ Eniac says. Your house elf, Kreacher, seemed to be smiling when he says ‘I arrange,’ and then he says, ‘much subersives’ while he is grinning at me.”

Harry laughed. “How unusual is it to have a Goblin working in a machine shop?”

“A Muggle machine shop, unheard of!” exclaimed Wiski.

“Harry,” Dudley says, “We are going to make impossible things. We’ve already made five new drills we had been trying to make but failing. A lot of machining and a little bit of magic and we can get big bucks for this stuff! I just have to tell Dad that the way we did it is part of the highly secret project I’m working on and if I reveal it to anyone but me and James Jones we could be in real big trouble, not only losing the contract but I could end up in a place that would make the average British jail look like a country club.”

Wiski piped in with, “Vernon knows that what was going on behind those curtains between Dudley and that G..D…Black SOB is paying them good money. As near as I can tell Vernon is frequently mad at most of the world. I hate to say it, but racial prejudice is only one of his failings. I feel sorry for Dudley for having to live with him.”

“That’s Dad,” Dudley admitted. “You always want to look up to your father. He knows his drills, but he’s not a very nice person. I learned that last year. Having to go into hiding and learning what it meant to be hungry and scared, and to cooperate with other people, was the best thing that ever happened to me. But Dad learned nothing.”

Fred Weasley, the son of George and Angelina, was born April 1, 1999, on his father’s birthday, to the delight of George. Of course everybody was anxious to see Freddy, as he was called, on Sunday April 4.

George and Angelina were the last to arrive Sunday morning, getting to the family breakfast just a little before nine. “Messy nappy, and when he was clean and dry Freddy seemed to think he needed feeding right now,” Angelina explained.

George, who was carrying Freddy and the bag with baby necessities remarked, “For such a little tyke he sure comes with a lot of baggage.”

Hermione promptly remarked that, “You can shrink the baby bag.”

“Can’t shrink the wiggly one,” George said, pointing to Freddy.

Everybody needed to see Freddy, and he was passed around.

After a nap Freddy woke up crying. Angelina scooped up the little tyke and quickly changed his nappies, and then started to nurse him.

Are you still working at the store?” asked Molly.

“Sure,” Angelina said. “He has a crib behind the counter.”

“How do you feed him,” asked Audrey.

“How do you think I feed him,” Angelina replied a little tersely. “The same way I’m feeding him now. Sometimes I stay behind the counter but sometimes I go up to the landing where I can see the whole first floor and make sure no one is stealing or damaging anything.”

Angelina continued to work at WWW, and when Fred needed to be fed stayed in the store keeping track of the customers while she nursed Fred. (The apartment above WWW was expanded a few times, but George and Angelina could never imagine living anywhere except above WWW, even when the business grew so big there was an office building, a joke factory and another fireworks factory located a very long way from anywhere else.)

Harry was not making enough progress on the mapping, and he was glad he was going to classes in Egypt. They were making no progress in tracking down the other Death Eaters either, and everything had calmed down. Harry had some time to work with Bill on the estate issues, and worked a little with Al and Gawain on assigning Aurors to more routine assignments. It was actually very productive time learning what he would be doing in more peaceful times, just not very exciting.

Sunday evening April 4 Harry left for 2 weeks in Egypt, trying to learn more about Muggle and Magic space. He took as much of the information about making the Marauders Map as he could to see if he could find out more about making maps of magic spaces. Harry had tried to figure out how to make maps on his own, and had even asked Hermione to help, but neither of them could figure it out. Map making, especially showing not only the physical space but also people, was obviously very advanced magic. He also took the map, even though Hermione was still using it. The incidents at Hogwarts had almost stopped; one Slytherin student seemed to be behind most of it, and when he was closely watched and severely disciplined a couple of times most of the incidents stopped. The map had been instrumental in catching him once.

Harry was again one of the most advanced students in Egypt. Most of the students had no idea that magical space was any different than Muggle space, but Harry had been puzzling over it. The Egyptians were short on theory, but had thousands of years of very practical experience. They were fascinated by the Marauders Map, but figured out roughly what spells and potions had been used to make it without having to see James Potters notes, and gave Harry additional instructions on how to make similar maps. There were some refinements in what Harry’s dad and the Marauders had done that were fascinating to the instructors in Egypt. Harry wanted to know if they could help him find the hidden rooms in the basements; they were not sure but several of the instructors wanted to try, and they agreed to try and have a small group of them come over in June or July.

Eventually some of what Harry wanted to try was way beyond his ability to learn, and he asked if Herodotus Budziszewski knew the spells. They all either knew Wiski or knew of him, and all agreed that he should not have any problem with them. Harry send a text message to Wiski on his phone and within 24 hours Wiski was there working with Harry and the Egyptian Wizards on mapping and the hidden magical spaces. The next day Tom Jones was there, and the day after a young student from the San Francisco College of Witchcraft and Wizardry who was the equivalent of a graduate student, working on mapping Muggle and magic spaces. Wiski suggested that the graduate student could take as his project for the next couple of months making a magical map of all the Harry Potter Estate properties, with special attention to any hidden magical rooms.

Harry ended up missing about 1/3 of his classes, but when he asked about it he was told that he was already way beyond what most of those classes taught.

Harry left Egypt with the ability to make maps. It was concluded that he mostly needed lots of practice in map making to get really good at it.

Harry missed Ginny’s last Quidditch game, which frustrated her. She did not yell at Harry when he called Saturday night, but she did indicate that she was upset. She did share some of her frustration with Fleur Sunday morning, and they went for a walk and talked a little about their men being gone. Bill’s schedule had been as busy as Harry’s, and Fleur said they both needed a vacation. Fleur asked if Ginny was still seeing a healer, and when Ginny said she was Fleur just asked her to tell the healer about her frustrations.

Tuesday April 20, 1999 was Teddy Lupin’s birthday. Since Harry was going to the New Burrow anyway that day Kreacher asked if he could come early, about 3:00 PM. He wanted to show Harry some of the things that the house elves had been doing. Harry knew he had signed papers for some remodelling at the New Burrow and there was also something going on with the uniforms.

Harry and Kreacher apparated to the proper place at the New Burrow, outside the wards but in a place where someone was always watching because of the security. As they walked to the house Kreacher pointed out a row of dormers on the roof. They then went up to the new house elf quarters above the main house. Kreacher explained that the house elves at the New Burrow never felt comfortable in the bedroom Molly had them in. It was too big and nothing was sized properly for a house elf. Besides if Harry wanted his house elves to be an example making bedrooms that were designed for house elves in the attic of houses made more sense than making house elves use bedrooms that were designed for witches and wizards and not the smaller house elves.

In addition to what looked like at least five bedrooms there was a day nursery and a couple of classrooms, and Azaleas and a couple of other elves were teaching some small house elves how to read and write Elfish and English, and many other things besides.

Kreacher wanted to show Harry the new uniforms that were shared by all the house elves working for him or the Weasley family. It had a stylized PW in the middle, and around the outside in small letters “House elves of the Potter/Weasley family.”

Kreacher explained, “We is moving ownership from one person or building to group of related people and buildings. Does not look like a big change, but Kreacher is told is major subversive on way to being free. We hopes the most noble Harry Potter agrees.”

Harry laughed. “Good for you, Kreacher! I agree. Stay subversive.”

“Many elves upset with poor old Kreacher, because he is subversive” Kreacher told Harry. “Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, friends of house elves and Goblins, happy! Kreacher doing what his master has asked him to do.” Kreacher followed with a smile.

Harry spent more time talking to all the house elves. A little before 5:00 PM he started downstairs, where he was met by Leaf coming up the stairs followed by his father. Kreacher told Harry “Leaf and Teddy becoming good friends. More subversives.”

Shortly after 5:00 PM Ginny and the whole Weasley clan arrived at the New Burrow. George and Angelina had arranged for other people to cover the two stores so they could be there with 20 day old Fred, and Neville and Hanna brought baby Frank over as well. Hanna said she was going to be taking her NEWTS one at a time as she could, probably at the Ministry, but she and Neville and Frank were now living in the owner’s quarters of The Leaky Cauldron, and that the ownership of the tavern was being transferred to her. Her school days were over.

Andromeda was not there, although Molly explained that she had shown up briefly in the morning to wish Teddy a happy birthday. Andromeda had come with a couple of healers from St. Mungo’s. Molly explained that she was in St. Mungo’s for intense therapy. The closer they got to the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts the more upset she had become, and she was going to need some help to be able to go to the anniversary celebration and receive the honours that Remus and Narcissa were going to be given.

The Appleaf Children were also at the party. They of course were very familiar with Teddy, and all of them had at one time or another, usually with adult supervision close, taken care of and played with Teddy.

Harry insisted on getting Teddy a child’s broom, which Teddy immediately got on and flew, and fell off, and bumped into things with. Harry was delighted, although some of the women thought Teddy would do too much damage with the broom. Harry had also purchased a harness to wear so Teddy could ride in front of him when he rode on his broom. Teddy loved flying with Harry.

Teddy was saying g-ma for Molly and sometimes for Andromeda, although Molly was the primary caregiver. Harry identified himself as “daddy Harry” and Ginny as “mummy Ginny” but Harry had become “da-hair” and Ginny “ma-gin” and for several months that is what Teddy called them.

When Harry and Ginny got back to their room at Hogwarts they noticed information on their desks about the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts in a week and a half. Students had to start Friday getting ready, and the anniversary was Saturday and Sunday. Ginny looked at the calendar and at Harry and said, “I knew Teddy was young, but look. He was only 2 weeks old when I started to take care of him. He knew the love of a mother and father for a week and a half.” She hugged Harry, sat down at her desk, looked at the calendar again, and said, “I know I am not really ready to be a full time mother yet, and as long as my mother and Andromeda can take care of Teddy most of the time I guess that is best, but I would quit school and Quidditch and anything to be Teddy’s mum if I had to. I still miss him.”

Harry answered, “I miss him too, Ginny. We are just going to have to work hard to include him in our lives.”

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