Content Harry Potter Trixie Belden Star Trek: TNG My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
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Disclaimer: If I owned these characters, do you really think that I'd be writing this for free and throwing it out on the web, rather than making oodles of moolah the way that the real owner of these characters does? JK Rowling owns them, continues to own them, and is not terribly likely to sign over the rights to them to me.

I admit to being willing to talk, however, if she finds herself wanting to give the rights to someone else...

Note: At least one of my readers will recognise a goblin name here. He comes from an excellent story on called "The Weasley Plot" ( by Loralee1. If you've read the story, you'll know the goblin. If you don't know the story, then go read it! It's a wonderful manipulative!Dumbledore story that focuses on our favourite redheaded family.

"You met the Queen?" Hermione said in a voice that could just as easily have been described as an eep.

"Yeah," he said, still a little surprised by the meeting. "I think I really made my point about my attitudes toward the current government by crashing to my knees and bowing my head as I said, 'Your Majesty!' It was quite obvious that I considered her worthy of respect, and wasn't about to try to usurp her position."

"You wouldn't look good in a dress," Luna said simply. It took a few moments, but the silence was broken by Severus trying very hard not to laugh.

"Be that as it may be," Harry said forcefully, trying very hard not to laugh himself and releasing a small chuckle anyway, "as soon as I assured them that we were not going to try what the Americans did two hundred years ago, and reiterated my willingness to swear that oath, I was given the green light. I've contacted Remus, and he'll be our official ambassador to the Muggle side of the government when we win."

"When?" Severus asked archly. "Getting ahead ourselves, aren't we?"

"We have to walk into this from the point of view that the outcome is a foregone conclusion. These beautiful women taught me that when I was fighting Riddle. They made me realise that I had to intend to defeat him and walk out alive. My original plan would definitely have worked against him, but I'd have been dead. I much prefer this outcome, with four wives and six children so far — seven if Pansy and Hermione will let me consider that one mine as well when it's born — and I'm happy."

He barked a very short laugh. "I think the fact that I was willing to put anyone other than myself in the top position in the new Ministry was something else that made the point for the Prime Minister and Queen. I guess I managed to convince them that I am in fact a loyal subject."

"So they actually gave permission for an insurrection?" Hermione asked, incredulity colouring her voice.

"Basically, as far as they were concerned, we'd be bringing the wizarding government more in line with the existing Muggle world. Right now the current administration can be seen as being in a state of insurrection, because they don't really answer to anybody. My intention is to change that."

"So how do we do that? The Ministry owns the Daily Prophet now, and the readership of the Quibbler isn't that high."

"High enough. Lawrence? I will give you the cash you need for the supplies, but I want you to do a very large run of a single issue, wherein I will announce my intention to fix the wrongs of the wizarding world. I'm not sure how to do it quite yet, but it needs to be done."

"I'll do it gladly. There will be a series of editorials from me and anyone else I can get to write, all about the things that the previous administrations have done, and how they're now hampering things today."

Albus sat back in his chair and smiled, but it was a sad one. "I still find myself amazed to be preparing for a complete and utter overthrow of the current way of doing things. My entire life I have fought against such things." He looked directly at Harry. "Do you know why this one is different?" he asked, piercing Harry with the twinkling, which seemed to have taken on an aura of determination, rather than the usual humour.

"No sir. No matter how you look at it, I'm doing what every other Dark Lord has ever done. Decided that I knew better than the other side."

"Ah, but there is a major difference between you and every Dark Lord I have ever known or studied, Harry."

"Remind me, sir, because I need it right now. Whether or not I have the blessing of the Queen, there's still a part of me that screams that I'm just becoming another Voldemort."

"How many trusted advisers did Riddle have?" Susan asked. "More importantly, who did he bare his soul to when he needed it?"

"Exactly," Severus said. "I joined Voldemort for so many reasons, none of them good, and all of them selfish. He spoke to no one of his innermost secrets. There was none that held his deepest trust."

"From what I knew of Grindelwald," Albus added, "the same is true. He trusted no one completely."

"So the difference is that I have a council?" Harry asked, disbelief evident in both his face and voice.

"No, the difference is that you have a council that you respect," Severus said. "What would you do if you mentioned a given plan of action and Albus were to say that he was disappointed that you were taking that route?"

"Can we assume that I've told him my reasons before he pronounced his disappointment?" Harry asked and received a nod from Severus. "Then I'd sit back and rethink my position. Why do I want to do it if someone I respect ..."

He sat back heavily in his chair for a moment, and everyone could see the moment that the satori struck him. "I actually listen to ... I have people that I trust. None of the others have. I don't want the power for myself; I want to make life better for my children."

"I think what we really need," he said a moment later, "is to talk to Scrimgeour and the others, in an effort to make the change happen painlessly. We know that it's not very likely, but we have to at least try."

"Agreed," Albus said. "Would you like me to be part of that meeting?"

"Actually, I was about to try to cajole you into being there, so you've just knocked one thing off my mental checklist," was the amused reply.

They managed a meeting the very next day, probably through judicious usage of Albus's fame. They arrived at the Ministry and Harry was amused to see the secretary trying hard not to fall all over herself in meeting the both of them. She announced them both, and for the first time Harry got to see and meet the man who was now the Minister for Magic for England.

He looked rather like an old lion; there were streaks of grey in his mane of tawny hair and his bushy eyebrows. He had keen yellowish eyes behind a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles and — as Harry noted as the man met them at the door and then walked back behind his desk — a certain rangy, loping grace even though he walked with a slight limp.

"Sorry about your leg, sir," Harry said without thinking.

"Old injury fighting dark wizards," the man said, brushing it off politely. "What can I do for you gentlemen today? Rufus Scrimgeour, by the way," he said to Harry.

Albus gently took the lead. "Thank you for seeing us, Rufus. The past few weeks have been quite filled with problems, and young Harry here has been at the heart of them, it seems."

"Ugly business, that. I'm glad it's over, though."

"I'm not sure that it is, though," Harry said.

"Umbridge is in Azkaban and Malfoy has been stopped. What more is there to deal with?"

Harry frowned. "Honestly, the Ministry itself. Has anyone really dealt with the aura ... the, what's the word I'm looking for here -"

"Environment?" Albus asked helpfully.

"Yes! ... the environment of the Ministry that allows a Dolores Umbridge or a Cornelius Fudge or a Millicent Bagnold to take office?" Harry finished.

"Millicent was a quite good administrator," Scrimgeour said with some asperity. "We did some excellent work against the dark elements of society when she was around."

"Including throwing at least one innocent man into prison without a trial," Harry replied, matching his tone.

"You need to understand the times, Mr Potter, and I doubt that you do. You mostly grew up in an era when we thought You Know Who was gone. There wasn't the miasma of fear throughout the land like there was when You Know Who was at his height."

"No, we just developed that miasma in my last three years at Hogwarts, while Fudge did everything he could to make the public feel safe, even though it was the worst possible thing he could have done to the people."

Harry laughed with no humour. "I love how people assume that they know my life. I didn't grow with the miasma of knowing Voldemort — I grew with the knowledge that my so-called family hated me, and wished that I'd died with my parents. I was a house elf to them, and nothing more. I grew up without love."

He waved a hand to dismiss what he'd just said. "We're still doing it. Nothing has changed at the Ministry, has it? Most everyone has the same old jobs that they used to, and those that are working to climb the ladder to reach where you are are still doing it the same way. The Wizengamot sits on their hands and does nothing unless someone actually brings a problem to their attention, and then they only do something if it might affect them personally. We need to change the Ministry, Minister Scrimgeour, and we need to do it now."

"And what do you propose we do?" Scrimgeour asked rather acidly.

"Rebuild it from the ground up. Take a page from the Americans and use their Declaration of Independence and their Constitution as examples of where to take a government. Give the people a greater say in things than they have now. It's their government, after all."

"Things have worked quite well so far, and I honestly see no reason that it should change," Rufus Scrimgeour responded. He looked at Harry for a long moment before saying in a lower, far more dangerous tone, "I would think twice about going up against the Ministry, Mr Potter. We are not as ripe for destruction as I think that you believe us to be. We will not go down without a fight."

"I don't want a fight, Minister, but we need a change — one that will not come so long as people ascend to this chair who care more for the job than they do the people they are supposed to be working for."

"I think that you had best watch your tone, Potter, lest you say something that you will regret later."

Harry looked to Albus. "I think that this meeting is at an end, sir. Shall we go?"

"I would have thought better of you, Albus," Scrimgeour said. "Coddling this child's fantasies that he knows how a government should run? Does he understand what he suggests?"

"Yes, he does, actually, and he has seen how this government works, Rufus. I do not think that he has a good picture of it at all. It has cost him his godfather, his freedom, and nearly his family. Good day to you, sir." he two men rose from their chairs and headed to the Apparation point.

Back in Potter Manor, they walked into the large dining hall that seemed to have become their informal meeting room. "Stupid, stupid, stupid!" Harry was repeating, hitting himself in the head with the heel of his hand. "Could I have been more antagonistic to the man? I never even said half of what I wanted to, all because I let my temper get away from me, and screwed any chances we have of a peaceful way of working this out."

"As much as you may be enjoying your self-abuse," Albus said, "I must dis-abuse you of the notion that you could have changed his mind. I agreed to this meeting because I had hoped that you could, but I fear nothing that you could have said would have swayed Rufus. He is the epitome of a Gryffindor Auror. He is almost the stereotype, if you will. He is on a given course, therefore the course is the right one, and nothing can sway him from it." The elderly Headmaster sat down finally. "I so wanted to be wrong in my belief about Rufus."

"So I should go ahead with my issue about the government?" Lawrence asked. "I've already got an editorial written, where I get quite personal about things. Literally. I talk about what it feels like to realise that the government has sent people into your home to kidnap your granddaughter, just to make someone else do something for them."

Harry blinked. "You still trust me to run this revolution?"

"I believe that the term is 'Hell yes!'" Lawrence answered with a smile. "You have done so much for me personally, and my daughter. She was existing at school until you came into her life. Now she has become the vibrant and beautiful, and — dare a father admit — sexy woman she was always meant to be. You have brought delightful grandchildren into the family, one of them related by blood to me, but I love them all. For the type of man that you have proven to be, I will follow you to the gates of hell, if need be."

"Then perhaps you'd be willing to move the offices of the Quibbler?" Harry asked. "The current ones are too well known, and likely to be destroyed when the fight against the Ministry begins."

"Hmm, yes. Do you have ..." Lawrence started to say before laughing. "What am I doing, asking the wealthiest wizard in England if he's got somewhere I can move to?"

"Let go have a conversation with Ragnok and Griphook, Lawrence. I'm sure that they can give us a good idea of the best place to move you to, and even get us a good set of wards." He thought for a moment. "I'm betting that Bill could likely do a kick-ass job on them as well."

"For free," Bill said seriously. "I won't accept your money for this. I owe you too much."

"I understand," Harry said. "Let's go talk to the goblins, Lawrence." He started to walk from the room. "Albus? Would you talk to Keith and Dorothy, and Alonso and Aldonza? I want them safe as well. Scrimgeour might not, but someone trying to curry favour with him might try something against them."

"I'll get right on it," Albus said.

"I think I'll come with you," Hermione said. "It might work better that way."

"Put a shirt on first," Harry laughed. "Your dad insists on thinking that you're a virgin until Alexandria's first child is born, so seeing your bare breasts, no matter how perfect they are, might give him pause."

She Summoned a shirt to herself. "I've gotten too used to that — I hadn't even thought about the fact that I was doing it. Was I bothering anyone?"

Bill looked thoughtful for a moment. "I'm trying to think how to say it without getting Harry trying to kill me."

"I wouldn't kill you, Bill. I'd compliment you on your good taste and gloat that I got there first." Bill blinked and then smiled, the first one that didn't hold a touch of self-loathing to it.

In Ragnoc's office, Harry was looking over the available properties and discussing the merits of each of them when Lawrence suddenly spoke up. "Mr Ragnoc? Do you still have any Delacours working for you?"

"Just call me Ragnoc. Yes, actually we have two of them — sisters." He cocked his head. "You wish to sound them out about your cause, and perhaps see if some matchmaking can be done?" The smile he gave Lawrence showed no teeth and a great deal of humour.

"Would I be so crass as to suggest such a thing?" Lawrence asked in a voice that made Harry actually look for a halo for a moment.

"Um, yes?" Harry replied with his own grin. He turned back to the documents and tapped one of them. "This one seems best suited for our purposes. Secluded enough to not be a worry in case the Ministry or whomever they hire can actually get to it and try to destroy it, but not so far away as to make it a problem to get a lot of people there if they try that."

"I agree," Ragnoc said. "Now we have the question of warding it."

"Of course I'll be hiring the very best goblin warders, and we have an offer of free assistance from Bill Weasley. He won't take any pay from me, but perhaps ...?" Harry asked hopefully.

"We would be greatly offended if anyone so skilled were to not accept at least a large bonus for work well done," Ragnoc said, eyes twinkling in an almost Dumbledore-like fashion. "That is one of the things that I like about you, Harry. You remember that there are others, and you want them to do well, as well."

"He gave me his broken wand. He thought the way to atone was to leave the wizarding world and never do magic again. That's not the mark of a man trying to set me up for a fall. That's someone who has learned his lesson."

He was stopped from saying more by the simple fact of Griphook leading two women into the room. They were quite familiar, and he smiled. "Fleur, you are as lovely as ever," he said with a huge grin. "I assume that you must be Gabrielle?" he asked, leaning over her hand and kissing the back of it. She blushed furiously.

"Impressive, 'Arry," Fleur said. "It takes quite a bit to make a Veela blush." She smirked. "Zen again, she does wish to be your fift' wife."

"There are obstacles to such an endeavour, dear Gabrielle," Harry said kindly. "First is the fact that I know you only as that cute girl I saved from the lake and as a devastatingly physically beautiful young lady right now. I don't yet know your inner beauty, although I suspect that it is impressive if you are like your sister. Second and most important is that you would need to be accepted by the other four wives. They are my very life, and you would have to impress them to begin to have a chance with me."

"But you allow me ze ..." She scowled. "Non, I will get rid of ze ...the accent."

"Why? It's part of who you are. Are you changing to be what you think I might want? That's a sure way to ensure that you don't impress the other four or me. Do you have a different reason for changing the accent? Then by all means do."

She thought for a moment and then nodded. "As I was going to ask, you will at least allow me ze chance to try?"

"It's their choice. I think you're quite pretty, and can say that at least from a physical standpoint would definitely be pleasant to wake up next to. But I need to know your heart if you're to become a Potter."

"Would zat Bill had understood you better," Fleur said sadly.

"Ah, there we come to the crux of this little scenario," Harry said with a grin. "All hell is going to be breaking loose in the British wizarding world, and I was wondering if you'd like to have a hand in it? You'd likely be working quite closely with one of my personal warders."

She looked at him with an expression that managed both suspicion and hope at the same time. "Am I to assume zat ze first name of zis 'personal warder' might be 'William'?"

"You can assume that all that you want to," Harry said with a smile. "I think you'll like him. He comes from a big family, and was engaged once, but as he says about it, he did the stupidest thing he's ever done, and lost everything that meant anything to him." He went serious. "He felt that he had destroyed his honour, and is trying to regain it. He's working toward redemption, knowing that from a personal standpoint he can never reach it." The grin came back. "I think that you and this guy might really hit it off."

"I zink zat I shall meet zis 'personal warder' of yours. Perhaps we might, as you say, 'it it off."

Harry looked to Griphook and mouthed a 'Thank you', which was responded to with a simple nod. "I believe that I shall take these two ladies home with me and let them meet my warder. Perhaps you could send the head of your team, and the three ... sorry, four can talk wards?"

"I expect that we shall send Steve along shortly," Ragnoc said. After a moment's thought, he said, "No. Steve is back in Australia again on a job. We shall send Alorkin instead. I expect that he will be along within the next sixty minutes."

The look of betrayal on Bill's face was priceless when Harry arrived with his guests. "Look, Bill, Ragnoc sent me his two best non-goblin warders, and if one of them by the odd name of Steve hadn't been in Australia, there'd be a goblin here right now. As it is Alorkin will be along soon."

Bill unfocused for a moment. "Damn, must be big if Steve is down there. Maybe they found something?" He shook his head. "You're right. We'll have this place you're looking at so warded that it'll take us hours to get through. The elder Miss Delacour — I'm not saying you're old, by the way," he added as a quick aside to Fleur, "is the best non-goblin warder that they ever hired."

"I would argue zat, Mr Weasley," she said, not unkindly. "I 'ad an excellent teacher."

"The man who taught you had the problem of having his head stuck so far up his arse that he had to open his mouth to see."

She paused for a moment and then moved much closer to him. "I would not 'ave fallen in love wiz such a man," she said quietly. "'E made a mistake, and even now tries to pay for it. 'E is still an 'onourable man." She leaned forward and kissed his forehead.

"You two go talk," Harry said. "You'll be needed within a few days, so best to start working out your problems now."

"If I know Fleur," Gabrielle said, "She will 'ave 'is clothes off within fifteen minutes, wezzer or not 'e can ignore Veela charm. And 'e can, I discovered years ago." She blushed furiously.

"Sounds like an interesting story," Susan said.

"Not for polite company," she replied. "Not ze least because it is embarrassing enough by itself."

"Say no more," Susan said. "I think we all have those stories we'd rather not have anyone know?"

"Agreed," Hermione said. "Although some of them are wonderful bedtime stories for adults," she said, eyes sparkling as she looked at Pansy.

"Down girl," Pansy laughed. "I'm the pregnant and horny one."

"You don't wish 'er 'orning in on your territory?" Gabrielle asked, then immediately winced. "I do not believe I said zat."

"You'll do for this group of strange people," Severus said.


For any revolution to succeed, it must have the popular support of the people. The rich and famous do not speak for those who consider themselves 'just plain folks', with a few rare exceptions, and those must be brought to the attention of those same people through more than just talk.

This revolution could be said to have gotten its start when the Ministry stopped caring for the very people it supposedly served, or when they threw innocent folk into prison without benefit of trial for a feeling of safety, or when they began to attack children publicly in the press, or when they began to heavily tax earned income but not unearned income such as rents and dividends. Most trace it, however, to a Ministry employee named Patricia Baddock.

Patricia Baddock looked through the tall stack of paperwork on her desk with alarm. The past few weeks had been difficult for the Ministry. There had been the rumours of the rising of a new Dark Lord, but they had been told quite clearly not to speak to others of it. Suddenly, the Minister was dead — murdered by the new Dark Lord! — and Madam Umbridge had stepped into the position of Minister.

She shook her head as she attacked the pile of mostly meaningless work. She nearly rubber-stamped one sheet of parchment until she saw the actual memo:

By Executive Order of Dolores Umbridge

Minister for Magic

Polygamous marriages are hereby outlawed within the British Isles, and all previous multiple marriages are declared null and void as of this date.

All children of said unions are hereby to be considered illegitimate, and should be brought to the Ministry for proper placement within wizarding families.

This Executive Order covers all illegitimate children. All illegitimate children shall be placed with proper families at soonest opportunity.

Dolores Umbridge

Minister for Magic

Patricia Baddock quickly handed this to her supervisor, who immediately spoke to a functionary in the Child Protective Services office, and before the day was out, there was a task force in place to begin the process of collecting the illegitimate children, defined as those children born into families not married under wizarding tradition.

The process began simply — low-level Aurors began sweeps of Knockturn Alley, gathering in children and interviewing them. Roughly half of them were released the same day, while the others entered the system.

Missing children reports were taken that same day, of course, but as is often the case when the complainant reported that the child had been either working or playing in Knockturn Alley, the Aurors tended toward laxity, since each of the low-level Aurors did a turn on the Retrieval Squads.

A rumbling of distaste began to build in Knockturn Alley. Many people who worked there — and in a few cases lived there — were used to being ignored or looked down upon because they didn't tend to use wands, or because they were in Knockturn Alley at all. Most wizards were snobs, whether or not they ever admitted it, since the average wizard or witch in England was trained in one of the many fields that simply never used a wand, such as low level Potions work. Many Potions workers could likely have tried for a Mastery, if not for the slight difficulty in procuring that wand. Only 'properly trained' witches and wizards could try for a Mastery, and to the English wizarding population, that meant that they knew how to use a wand.

This meant that the average person who visited Diagon Alley considered most working in Knockturn Alley to be Squibs. What they never thought about was that many of the people that they interacted with regularly in Diagon Alley were also people unable to afford a wand. The broom salesman, for example. The Apothecary clerk. The Fortune teller. The herbalist. While Ollivander put a great deal of work and time into his wands, and they were worth the cost, most people who worked the Alleys were lucky to be paid in Sickles. Most saw Knuts as their entire pay. They made it from day to day, as all people do.

But their children were often their lives. And now the Ministry was taking that from them as well. It was bad enough that the legitimate business owners were paying out a majority of their profits into taxes levied by the Ministry, while those who owned the buildings that they worked in paid nothing. To lose their children as well, because someone in the Ministry felt that they weren't a good enough parent?

Amelia Bones felt that something was off; she'd been in this business for far too long to not trust her instincts, and they were telling her that something was happening; something that she felt would end badly. She sent Tonks and Shacklebolt to check out whether or not age had caught up with her, or whether her instincts remained as sharp as ever.

End Interlude:

A goblin walked into the room at roughly the same moment as a somewhat shell-shocked Bill Weasley entered with a fairly smug (and more than a little rumpled) Fleur. She was advertising that she had certainly enjoyed whatever had happened in that room, and that Veela were blessed with the ability to not need a brassiere.

Alorking looked at them, smirked and said softly, "You didn't stand a chance, Weasley. Give in to it."

Bill's voice was full of wonder as he said, "I did." The air was split with five squeals almost immediately, because Gabrielle and Harry's wives had noticed simultaneously that Fleur once again wore a ring on her finger.

"Ze fact zat 'e carried it wiz 'im told me everyzing." She gave Bill a smouldering look and said, "And now we can plan for a wedding again." He smiled widely, still obviously stunned.

"As fun as this conversation is," Harry said, "We need to do some planning. We've got the building picked, and we'll be going there as soon as you four want to, in order to see what should be done with warding the property."

He was about to speak further when a Floo call came in. "Harry? Anybody?" It sounded like Fred (or George), and he did not sound happy. If anything, he sounded a little scared.

"Yeah?" Harry shouted as he ran for the fireplace. "What's happening?"

"We've got a crowd outside in Diagon Alley, and things are starting to get a little ugly, from the sound of it."

"Any idea what's happened to cause it?"

"What little we can make out is that someone's been kidnapping children, and these people think that it's the Ministry that's been doing it."

"Okay. Do you think that we should show up, any of us?" he asked. By this point, the meeting had spilled into the area of the fireplace.

"Hard to say. It could get ugly really fast, but then again, you or the Headmaster showing up just might calm these people right down."

"Then a small number of us will show up and see if we can talk to the crowd and maybe calm them down. We'll Floo to you and head out from there."

"All right, Harry. See you in a few." Harry stood and turned to face the group. "So, who should go?"

"All of us," Pansy said. "We need to keep you safe."

"No," he said simply. "I will not accept you going into this situation at this time when it is so volatile. I've never really heard Fred or George — whichever one that was — sound really scared before, so that tells me that the crowd could erupt into violence. We have children, and I will not run the risk of leaving them orphans. I have no intention of going there and dying, but I'll be damned if I'm going to put the entire family on the line. One of you perhaps." He thought for a moment. "This is the crux point. No matter what, I think that the revolution has started, and we need to see if we can make it a bloodless one."

He turned to face the others. "Grandfather?" he asked Albus. "Will you come with me?"

"I believe so. Perhaps we can keep them quiet enough that no one will be hurt."

"Who else?" he asked.

"May I come, Harry?" Luna asked.

He couldn't help himself. Maybe it was the tension of what they were about to do, or maybe it was just the Marauder in him, but his first thought, which got vocalised, was, "Sure, but make it quick, we've got a crowd to meet." He winced as he realised that he had in fact just said that, and blushed in embarrassment as the crowd chuckled softly.

"I think I'll wait for later on that particular meaning," she purred at him. "But to rephrase my question, might I accompany you?"

He looked at her for a long moment before saying, "Yes. That's probably a very good idea. No idea if it's to help the revolution along, or to calm people down, but I think you should be there."

"It would be best to keep the number down," Albus said. "We are probably best if we leave it to us three. Too many and it will look as if we are bringing a small army against them. It is bad enough for them that the Aurors will be amassing soon."

"Good. Weasley Wizard Wheezes!" he said, throwing some Floo powder onto the fire.

"Glad you guys could drop in," Fred said. "Just wish it was in better circumstances."

George finished hugging Luna. "Have we ever told you how lucky Harry is? All four of his wives are rather cuddly."

"And taken, unfortunately," she sighed. "That is the way of things, however, and not even the Squeebling Throckles can change that."

"We're glad that Lorelei is all right," Fred said. "We were worried about her for a while there."

"She's doing quite well," Luna said. "She had a short crisis over what had happened, but Harry convinced her that nothing that ... individual did made us love her any less."

"They've all got me wrapped around their little fingers," Harry said with a smile. "And I wouldn't have it any other way."

"As pleasant as this conversation is," Albus said, "we should join the crowd and see if there is a point that they are aiming for, or if they are simply milling, awaiting a spark to set off the powder keg."

"From what we can see from in here, there is no specific point — it's just a lot of angry people milling around."

Harry looked at the others. "Gringott's," he said. "We can talk to them there, and see if we can defuse this."

"Agreed. Let us," Albus said, and they exited the shop, walking purposefully toward Gringott's. The crowd seemed to part for them, closing behind them again, and began to focus upon them as well.

At the steps of Gringott's, Harry turned around and looked out at the massive crowd. He thought for a moment and then said in a voice that carried to everyone in the Alley, "Is there anyone in this group who might be considered a spokesman for you? You all seem to be angry over the same thing, or at the same people, so maybe we can figure out how to deal with it?"

"You're working for the Ministry!" someone shouted.

Harry couldn't help it; he laughed. "Are you kidding me? The way that they've treated me over the years?"

A gentleman in his eighties stepped forward. "Maybe folks will let me speak for them. They seem to come to me with problems." The nearby crowd seemed all right with this choice, so he continued. "The name is Barnaby Nisslefoot, young man. We're angry because something is happening, and either the Ministry is behind it, or they just don't care!"

"What's happening? My friends said that it sounded like children are disappearing?"

"Exactly!" Mr Nisslefoot said. "My grandson disappeared two days ago, and the Aurors don't seem to want to do anything about it!"

"I want to try to help you. Is there any further information about ... has anyone seen the missing children leaving with anyone?"

"A few people down in Knockturn Alley have reported seeing the Aurors grabbing children, and a number of them have not been seen since," Nisslefoot said.

"Is there any connection between the children that have disappeared; anything that sets them apart from those that have come back?" Harry asked. He wondered why neither Luna or Albus were saying anything.

"Hard to say," Nisslefoot said. "Some of 'em have been half-bloods, and the others have been purebloods. All we know is that those who report seeing the abductions know that they were Aurors, because they often flashed their badges."

One person stepped forward. "I ... uh, I noticed something, but it only has to do with the purebloods that disappeared. All of them are ... well, to be crude, they're bastards. Parents aren't married. Quite a few of the half-bloods that were taken were from good stable homes, though."

Harry opened his mouth to speak when a loud voice pierced the area. "This is the Ministry. This gathering is illegal and needs to be dispersed now." Someone in maroon robes with insignia on the shoulders was striding through the crowd with little care for who had to be pushed out of the way. There was a V-formation of Aurors behind him, widening the space.

The man stepped up the Gringott's steps and faced Harry. "Are you the one who called this illegal gathering?"

"No, I was trying to defuse them and get them to return to their homes," he answered, trying to keep his temper in check. "They have legitimate concerns; they just want someone in the Ministry to listen to them."

"There is a process for getting a concern heard. This is not it." The man sounded more and more officious the longer he spoke.

"Actually, since you're here, maybe you can tell me. These people have seen Aurors picking up children and only returning some of them. Do you have any idea what that's about?"

"Don't you pay attention to the laws?" the Auror scoffed. "We have a mandated to pick up all illegitimate children and see to it that they are given to proper homes."

Harry went white for a moment while the crowd rumbled. "Wait a second," Harry said, starting to get annoyed. "Who signed this law into being?"

"Madam Umbridge, during her short term in office." The man delivered this pronouncement with the air of someone who had just won an argument.

"Who is the unmitigated idiot who kept this thing going?" Harry yelled in the man's face. "That law was struck down not twenty-four hours after she signed that edict! The whole purpose of it was to declare my children illegitimate and steal them from me!"

"I've no word on the law being struck down," the Auror replied, pulling his wand. "I'm going to have to ask you to come with me, sir." He motioned as if he were arresting Harry.

"That is a very bad idea," Harry said softly. "I don't want to cause you distress, but you do recognise me?" The man nodded. "Do you remember who one of my wives is? Maiden name used to be Bones?"

The man blanched and opened his mouth to say something, but Harry was never to know what it might have been. In the moments that his attention (and that of Albus and Luna as well) was on the lead Auror, the crowd had surged slightly to see what was going on. The green Aurors didn't know how to handle such an occurrence and fired into the crowd, which quickly led to a panic.

Harry and Albus worked to try to quell the explosive crowd; to keep them from hurting anyone in their rush to get away, but it was a losing battle. There were simply too many people, and only three people doing anything to try to stop it.

The dust settled a short time later to the sight of an empty square, empty except for some abandoned tattered cloaks. They looked out over the square and shook their heads. "At least the crowd dispersed," the lead Auror said.

Harry was about to say something scathing when he noticed something that chilled him. One of the abandoned cloaks was bleeding, and bleeding badly. He leapt past the man and ran to the cloak, lifted it and began to cry. Beneath the cloak was a child of about nine. It was obvious that the blood was from multiple wounds, and that this child would never again play with his friends, with his neck at the angle it was. The blood came from multiple broken bones and head wounds. The body was bleeding out the no longer needed precious fluid.

He stopped crying a few moments later and turned to face the Aurors. With a gesture, they all shot skyward, impacting the columns of the bank with great force, about fifty feet up. They stayed where they were as he turned to face Albus. "Go get Amelia, grandfather. If I do, I'll literally drag her here, and that's not how to keep her happy with me."

"You won't do anything rash to them?" he asked.

"Luna will keep me sane," he replied softly.

"I shall return shortly." With that, Albus disappeared.

Harry looked back out at the boy and started to cry again, this time deep, body-wracking sobs.

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Author Notes:

Please don't kill the author...

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