Harry Potter and the Draught of Life

Collecting Weasleys

Three days later, Professor Flitwick dropped by the table in the Common Room where Harry, Ron, and Neville were revising an essay for McGonagall.

“Ah, Mr. Weasley!” squeaked the little professor cheerfully. “I’ve come to collect you and your brothers.”

Neville raised an eyebrow. “Why are you collecting the Weasleys?” he asked. “Looking to get the whole set? Hello, Ginny.”

“Hi Neville!” Ginny grinned, stepping out from behind Flitwick. “No, our brother Charlie’s come.”

“Can I come too?” asked Harry as Ron went up the stairs to fetch Percy and the older twins. “I mean–“

Flitwick shook his head apologetically. “I’m sorry, Harry, but only family is allowed, and you’re not related to the Weasley’s closely enough.”

Harry nodded. “Okay, I guess that makes – wait, does that mean that we are related?”

“Of course,” Flitwick agreed. “Did I forget to explain? All purebood families are related in some way, closely or not – you and the Weasleys are most closely related through the Blacks. Your paternal grandmother was Dorea Black, and Arthur Weasley’s mother was a Black as well.”

Harry furrowed his eyebrows. “Okay… so why wasn’t I left with the Weasleys instead of the Dursleys?”

Flitwick sighed. “Well, first of all they already had their younger twins, who were only a few months older than you, and saddling Molly and Arthur with another young child wouldn’t have been fair to them,” he explained. “But not only that, they aren’t the closest wizarding family to your own. That would be the Malfoys, and Dumbledore didn’t want to give you over into the clutches of Lucius and his ilk.”

“What is it with people assuming that Draco’s dad was a Death Eater?” Harry demanded as Ron returned with the elder twins. “He was found innocent by the Wizengamot! Don’t they use Veritaserum?”

Professor Flitwick looked uncomfortable. “Well, no, they don’t. Only if the accused requests to take Veritaserum, actually.”

“Invasion of privacy, okay. I can see that.” Harry thought for a moment. “He was under the Imperius curse, yes? Isn’t there any way to check for that?”

“He was found to have Imperius residue on him, yes. But Albus believes that it was a dormant spell, one which activated only if he tried to betray You-Know-Who.”

“So the Headmaster says that he was a willing Death Eater.”

“Yes.”

Harry considered this. “Has he done anything to suggest it since he was captured?”

“No, and in fact he turned himself in within a few hours of Voldemort vanishing.”

“So tell me again, why do you think he was a Death Eater?” Harry demanded. “He did have an Imperius over him, he did turn himself in, and he hasn’t been doing Death Eater things since then.”

Flitwick blinked. “I never really thought of it that way. I…”

“The Headmaster’s not perfect,” Harry said. “No one is, Professor.”

“I should bring the Weasleys to see their brother,” Flitwick said after a moment of silence. “You’ve given me something to think about, Harry.”

As the Weasleys left the Common Room, Neville asked, “What was all that about, Harry?”

“That was about justice, I suppose,” Harry said. “The justice system isn’t perfect, but people should at least assume it’s correct. Innocent until proven guilty, right? Look at it and actually think. And if people actually think about that, maybe they’ll notice that Sirius Black never got a trial. I know that he’s probably guilty, but he’s my best bet for leaving the Dursleys, and I don’t really want to stay at Hogwarts over every summer until I turn 18.”

“17. And is that what you’re doing?”

“Yeah, I told you about overhearing Snape and Dumbledore, right? But what’s this about 17?”

“Oh, yeah you did,” Neville agreed. “And we come of age at 17. Do muggles come of age at 18?”

“Yup,” Harry said. “Well, we stop being minors, anyway, so I could go and rent an apartment for the summer, or something.”

“Huh.”

They continued to rework their essays in silence for a while, occasionally asking for help from older Gryffindors, until Neville finished and rolled up his essay.

“Right, I’ve got to get to Greenhouse five. Sprout wants my help repotting the Babylonian Tongue-Violets.”

“Hold on,” Harry said, grabbing Neville’s bag as he lifted it. “I need help with Gamp’s Exceptions.”

Neville sat back down. “What about them?”

“There are five, yes?” Harry asked. “Food, money, life, magic, and information.”

“Yes…”

“And I understand why four of them can’t be transfigured, but what about money? It’s just another kind of matter, it’s not a quality like life, magic, and information, and it’s doesn’t have some quality like food does. So why can’t you make gold?”

Neville shrugged. “I’m not really sure. I put down something about how the goblins can tell the difference and won’t accept it as money, but I got the feeling it was one of the laws of magic.”

“But the Philosopher’s Stone is supposed to have been able to make gold.”

“Supposed to, yeah. Who’s to say it really does? I’m sorry I can’t help more, but I really do need to help Sprout with those Tongue-Violets.”


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