From Chapter 17:
The blue light from Ginny's reducto spell rebounded off the shield directly back at her. Ginny was stunned to see her spell bounce off a shield as she could see that Daphne did not have time to draw her wand in defence. As the spell hit Ginny square in her chest she was launched backwards across the room and into the wall behind her. The impact of her body against the wall made a large hole in the wall as she collapsed with debris falling around her.
Daphne screamed in shock at the scene in front of her. Harry ran over to hold Daphne, hoping that she was unharmed. Daphne grabbed Harry in a tight hug and buried her head in his shoulder. Sobbing into him she asked, "Harry, is she? Is she going to be all right?"
Harry hugged Daphne tightly for a moment and then released her and turned to look back at Ginny and the wall. The sight in front of him caused his knees to give out from under neath him. As he fell forward onto his knees, he heard the sound of a familiar voice behind him.
Hermione had arrived just after the spells were cast. She had heard the screams and the sounds of the spell hitting something and a loud crash like a wall being blasted apart. "Merlin's beard!" she exclaimed. "What did you do Harry?"
Hermione looked at the bloody and naked body of Ginevra Weasley lying motionless on the floor amidst the dust and debris from the wall that she had obviously crashed into just moments before. Harry was sobbing as he looked back and forth between Ginny's body and Hermione. Hermione did not wait for an answer as she ran over to check on Ginny. She had tears in her eyes as she turned back to Harry who was now being held by Daphne.
Hermione cast a patronus charm, and a silver otter took off running out of the room. She then spoke to her two friends, having a hard time finding the words. "Ginny, she's, she is dead. Harry, what did you do?" She noted his condition was not one that indicated he was about to answer. She looked up at Daphne. "Can you tell me what the hell happened? I already called for the Australian Aurors to come. They will be here shortly."
Daphne had tears streaming down her face as she was holding Harry who had collapsed backwards into her embrace. She stroked his hair as he spoke to him softly, "I know you didn't mean for her to get hurt, Harry. You cast a protego shield, that's all you did. You had no idea that her curse would ricochet back onto her like that."
Harry was stunned and speechless in Daphne's arms. Hermione walked over to her friends. "Harry," she said calmly, "hand me your wand. The Aurors will need to investigate what happened."
Harry looked at his friend. "No, they can't take it," he protested. "It's the Elder Wand. Don't tell them anything about the wand."
Hermione sighed as she reached out to caress Harry's cheek and wipe away some tears. "The Aurors will need to check everyone's wands when they get here. They will need to take a statement from both of you."
Harry coughed once and pulled himself together and began to stand up. "It's okay Hermione, I know what the Aurors need to do to complete their job. Remember, I nearly became one. I know you did what needed to be done."
As Harry was finished speaking several people in long dark robes arrived. Hermione stood up and walked over to greet them. One of the Aurors recognised her as the former minister for the Department of Magical Creatures. "Miss Contadina? I thought you had left Australia? What are you doing here?"
Hermione had momentarily forgotten that she went by the name of Gianna Contadina during her time here in Australia. "Yes, I had left Australia much earlier this year." She studied the man for a moment. "Gibbons, is it?" she asked, recognising the man slightly.
"It's Gibson, mam, Auror Gibson," he answered with a smile as he understood that the former minister had remembered who he was, even if she did not get the name exactly right.
"Very well, Gibson," she added, "what we have here is a very delicate situation. We have some visitors here from England who really don't want to cause any trouble, however they were attacked. From what I understand, the only spell that this gentleman cast was a shield spell, a protego, to defend the lady here. The woman who cast the attacking spell suffered the consequences of her spell rebounding back on to her."
The Auror looked at the group of people gathered and then at the 'victim' lying in a bloody and naked mess on the floor.
"A bit of a lovers spat, eh?" he asked with a wink, taking in the scene in front of him.
Daphne spoke up before Harry as she squeezed his hand tightly urging him to remain silent. "Nothing of the sort," she snapped. "More like an obsessed and crazed woman who couldn't have what she wanted."
The Auror raised an eyebrow. "We'll be the judge of that," answered Gibson coldly. "May I inspect the wands?" he stated, not truly asking a question.
Hermione handed him Harry's wand. "This is the wand that he used to cast the protego charm, I took it from his hand as soon as I arrived." She then tilted her head slightly to the rubble at the base of the wall behind them, "I do believe that the 'victim' still has her wand with her."
Gibson examined the wand he was handed closely without saying a word. Then he deftly pulled out his wand, touched it to the tip of the Elder Wand and softly spoke "prior incantato". A slight mist appeared with the signature of the protego spell. The auror muttered slightly and handed the wand in question back to the former minister for the department of magical creatures. He walked over to the mess that had been Ginevra Molly Weasley, and the other aurors who had begun investigating the body and the scene stepped aside. Ginny's wand lay by her hand amidst the dust and the powder from the destroyed drywall. He picked up the wand, and again spoke "prior incantato" and a different blue mist appeared, indicating that she had used the reducto spell. "While they are both blue mists, it appears that your assessment is correct, Miss Contadina. However," he paused as he let his next sentence sink in, "we will need to be sure that no other spells were cast, that this wand by her side was indeed her own. I will need to have more information about the wands and the events and the people involved here."
Hermione stood up in front of the Auror, trying to look as official as possible, "A prolonged investigation could be rather problematic." She left a dramatic pause of her own, before continuing. "I am not sure that you really want all of the potential publicity drawn into this case and your superiors would not like any sort of scandal to erupt."
"What are you saying?" questioned Gibson. "Are you trying to intimidate me?"
"No, Mr. Gibson," smiled Hermione, "I am trying to save you future headaches related to this case. This does not need to become front page news or an international media circus."
"What are you on about?" asked the tall Auror again. "You're acting like it's Harry Bloody Potter who's involved with this mess."
Gibson stared at the woman he knew as Gianna Contadina and awaited an answer. The silence in the room had a deafening affect on everyone present. Slowly he turned and looked at the man with the long black hair and green eyes who was still being held from behind by a rather striking blonde woman. Gibson looked closer and noted a fading lightning bolt shaped scar on the man's forehead. "Bloody hell."
Harry and Hermione were sitting in a conference room in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The Australian Minister for Magic was there as well as the head of the Australian DMLE.
"Now, Miss Contadina, I do not and will not support any sort of cover up. The people have a right to know what happened here," stated the Australian Minister.
"I understand that more than you may think, Mr. Brimley," replied Hermione. "However, I believe that you need to consider the ramifications of the story being released. Once the press gets a hold of this they will have a field day with it."
Hermione's words were interrupted as a couple of men entered the room. Two wizards in fine dress robes had walked into the secured conference room. The Minister of Magic stood up and was about to chastise whomever had decided to interrupt the meeting, but as he immediately recognised one of the men, he stopped himself from yelling and quickly greeted the newcomer. "Ambassador Feldman, it is good to see you again. However, I had not anticipated your joining us for this matter."
Ambassador Feldman, a tall man of about six foot four inches with thinning grey hair smiled calmly at the Australian Minister as he shook his hand. "Oh come now, William," replied the ambassador, "you would actually want me to believe that you did not think that the British Magical Government would want to be made aware when you have an incident involving a number of our citizens, especially when one of those citizens is Harry James Potter." The Ambassador pulled out a chair at the table and sat himself down next to Harry and then he turned back to the Australian Minister. "Oh, and Minister Shacklebolt sends his regards, and he does hope that we can avoid any unnecessary unpleasantness in the press with this delicate situation."
The minister turned a little red in the face. "Of course, that is understandable," he replied. He tried to cover his own backside carefully now as he continued, "I was not aware that Mr. Potter here was such good friends with Minister Shacklebolt that he would send the ambassador himself, I had assumed that one of your staff would be joining us here at the meeting."
Feldman looked over at his aide who had joined him and whispered, "I told you and that will be 10 galleons." Turning back to the minister he actually forced a slight frown. "Really, sir, you did not expect that our minister would be friends with the Harry Potter? After all, this young man is the one who defeated Tom Riddle, the self styled dark lord who used the moniker of Voldemort to spread fear across England and threatened all of Europe. Or has that tale not yet reached the shores of your beautiful country?"
The Australian minister squirmed in his seat slightly. "I did not think that what this young man accomplished in his past has any bearing on the events that occurred here earlier this evening."
Feldman clearly had been well briefed on the situation before he arrived as he calmly had taken over the conversation, alleviating Hermione of having to further verbally wrangle with the bureaucratic mess that they had found themselves in.
"Would you mind if I clarified the facts and the issues we have in front of us?" The English Ambassador did not wait for a reply and he continued with his comments. "One, we have the fact that a young and obviously obsessed Ginevra Molly Weasley, a British Magical citizen, and world renowned Quidditch player, is found dead in a hotel room here in Australia when her team is not even playing anywhere near here. Two, said witch in question, was found by your own Aurors to have cast the very spell that killed her. Three, said witch was also found to be in possession of illegal love potions keyed to herself. Four, said witch was also found to have various mood altering potions in her system at the time of her death. Add to that these facts that only confuse the issue. One is that she happened to have manipulated the hotel employees to illegally gain entry to the room. Another is that she was there to intimidate or manipulate a Lord of a Most Noble and Ancient House, and apparently she had cast a spell in an attack against the Lady of a Noble House. Additionally, publicity surrounding these facts would not only lead to increased discomfort for the involved and clearly innocent parties but it would lead to a potential backlash against the Australian Wizarding Community if people felt that they were not safe in travelling here, particularly when the ones who were being harassed here are of such prominent positions within the wizarding world in England in particular and in all of the magical realms in general."
Feldman turned briefly to Hermione and Harry and gave them the briefest of smiles and then he turned back to the minister. "If the Australian magical government is prepared for the firestorm of media and controversy that would surround such a fantastical tale to be told in the press, then you are welcome to it."
Brimley shifted uncomfortably in his seat and looked for any support from his advisors who were with him at the meeting. Brian Watson, the head of the Australian DMLE spoke up first. "Are you asking for a cover up of the details that happened here? Are you asking us to lie to the public about that? I thought that Shacklebolt was nothing like your old Minister Fudge."
Feldman winced slightly at the name of his former boss. "No, we are not asking for anyone to lie. But perhaps a careful consideration of just what is revealed to the press would be more prudent."
The minister was intrigued but Watson was still concerned. "And just what would you have in mind?" he asked sternly.
Harry felt that this Watson was more severe in his attitudes than even Madam Amelia Bones was when she had run the British DMLE several years before.
The ambassador nodded slightly in acquiescence to the head of the DMLE. "Miss Weasley is known throughout the magical world for her prowess on a broom and there is plenty that has been written about her in the gossip columns about her personal life. Some of the details of the events of today would merely confirm some of that. The fact that a witch who was under the influence of some self administered potion had cast a spell that backfired and killed her would be nothing that would shock some people, and it would give the press plenty of juicy information."
Watson raised an eyebrow at this. "So, your staff already has the results that indicate that the victim, Miss Weasley, had potions in her system?" He scoffed before Feldman could reply. "I am not sure I want to know how you got that information so quickly."
Feldman merely smiled slightly.
"And what about Mister Potter and Miss Greengrass?" asked the head of the DMLE. "What are we to tell the press about them?"
"Does the press need to know who was in the room? Lord Potter and Lady Greengrass could have easily been staying in the hotel next door, the Crowne Plaza, for all we know. Mere coincidence that they were here in Perth." The ambassador waited for a reply from his Australian colleagues. Upon hearing nothing he then stood up and stated firmly, "I do believe that Lord Potter and Lady Greengrass would prefer to have no further interrogations on this matter and that they would prefer to retire to their rooms, at the Crowne Plaza, as soon as possible as it has been a long day for them. I am sure that they will be available for any necessary but appropriate follow up you may have with them over the next several days. It seems that they are booked in their rooms at the hotel next door for the next several days. If you have nothing further this evening, then we shall be on our way." He turned to Harry as he spoke softly, "Lady Daphne is already next door, as is all of your things which you came with."
Harry nodded in reply. The ambassador and his aide then escorted Harry out of the room and down the hall towards the front doors. Upon entering the Crowne Plaza Hotel next door Harry started to ask some questions. Feldman silenced him with a slight shake of his head until they entered the elevator and he cast secrecy charms.
"Now, Mr. Potter, what questions do you have for me?" asked the ambassador.
"What about Hermione? Why is she not coming with us?" asked Harry who was worried about what had just occurred.
"Hermione is officially an Australian Magical citizen in their eyes, and she is only involved in that she came into the room as a witness. We have no responsibility for her welfare and safety in this situation." Feldman paused briefly, and then added, "However, I do believe that she may choose to relocate to the Crowne Plaza Hotel on her own, and we have already spoken with the hotel here in case she decides to do just that."
Harry felt a little reassured on hearing that, and then he asked about the press comments.
The ambassador's eyes twinkled slightly as he answered Harry. "Minister Shacklebolt has made it quite clear that he understands your desire to stay out of the limelight. But there is a story here and apparently one Rita Skeeter is already on her way to investigate the rumours of the death of Ginevra Weasley, Quidditch star, and she will be here by tomorrow. We will do our best to keep you and Daphne and your presence here from being revealed to her. I honestly have no idea what you and your friend are doing here in Australia. Honestly, I personally do not care. But as I said, the minister wants to make sure this does not affect you anymore than the obvious emotional stress of the actual events."
At that point the doors opened and they walked into the hallway leading to the suite of rooms that had been arranged for Harry and Daphne. Harry was glad to see that Daphne was waiting for him there when he entered the room. Apparently this suite had been magically enhanced already and it was quite spacious as well as being very comfortable and elegant.
Harry and Daphne greeted each other with a large hug. The ambassador smiled at the happiness of the reunion. As he was about to leave, he had one further question for Harry.
"Lord Potter," he asked, "would you mind telling me just why it is that you are here in Perth to begin with?"
Harry looked at Daphne who responded with a puzzled expression as she understood what Harry's look had implied but she had no idea what to say to the ambassador.
"Simply put," Harry answered, "we are here on a religious pilgrimage. I hope to speak with the abbot at a local church about some historical issues involving the cathedral here. I have become a student of history of sorts, and we just wanted to visit here and research some of the local church history."
"I should have known better than to receive a straight answer from you," said the ambassador with a grin. "Very well, I don't really need to know why you are here. But do not leave Perth until you speak with me further. We do not want to upset the Australian Magical Government any further. They are the ones who still have to deal with the death of a British citizen on their soil. Good night to the both of you." With that he turned and called his aide to join him with a silent hand signal and they left Harry and Daphne alone in their new suite.
It was an hour after the ambassador had left before there was a knock on the door to their suite. Harry approached the door tentatively, hoping that they were not going to be having any further trouble from the Australian Magical authorities. He glanced through the peep hole in the door and he was thrilled to see a his bushy haired best friend. He opened the door and he was immediately grabbed in a large hug from Hermione who started crying.
"I am so sorry Harry," she sobbed into his shoulder. "I am so sorry this all had to happen and then the investigation and even the Australian Minister getting involved. I can't believe Ginny tried to do that to you. Or to Daphne. What are you going to do now?"
Harry grabbed Hermione gently by her shoulders and eased her away from him so he could look into her eyes. "Easy there, Hermione." His smile softened her expression and helped her to calm down. "Daphne and I are fine. We will be fine. Let's not worry about this at all right now. Come on in and sit down. We all need to take some time to relax."
Daphne came up and gave Hermione a hug. "You of all people should know Harry well enough by now. Things happen around Harry and he always seems to come out okay." She turned to Harry as she added, "But I advise you Mr. Potter to try and put an end to this kind of excitement in your life. Neither you nor your friends need to go through this time and time again. And I am not interested in making a habit out of having to go through things like this with you."
Hermione's sobs had subsided to sniffles and then she was able to control her emotions again. The three of them entered the sitting room in the middle of the suite. They gave a collective sigh of relief that the past several hours of questioning and investigations was finally behind them. Harry noted that he heard several stomachs beginning to growl hungrily. It had been about 4 in the afternoon when the incident occurred at the hotel room and it was nearly 10 pm. Harry suggested that they order room service to settle their hunger and avoid having to go out in public.
While they waited for the food to arrive, Hermione was able to switch back into her usual self and began to plan out the schedule for the next several days. "So, Harry, you and Daphne should go to the cathedral tomorrow morning by 9 and try and set up a meeting with the abbot. Hopefully you will be able to meet with him by the next day. In the mean time, I will head over to my parents' dentistry office and then I will try to arrange a time and a place for us to meet with them so we can try using the Elder Wand to restore their memories. Then I am sure that the Australian DMLE will insist on at least one more meeting before they allow you to leave. In addition to that we will have to plan on how to avoid the press, as I hear that Rita Skeeter is on her way to Australia to investigate the story about Ginny's death. And someone will have to contact the Weasley's to let them know about what happened."
Harry put a finger to Hermione's mouth and quietly shushed her. "Easy there, Hermione. Take a breath. We will have plenty of time to figure all of this out. And I am sure that her parents have already been informed by the ambassador's office if not by Kingsley himself. He was the one who sent Ambassador Feldman to our meeting. Also, we don't need to make things worse for her parents. Do you think they really want the whole story of what she was trying to do?"
Hermione was surprised at Harry's comments. "But Harry, how could you say that? You hated being lied to and not being told the whole truth."
Harry nodded his understanding of where she was going with this argument. "But that had to do with my life and others trying to control me and not tell me the whole truth of my destiny and my family. I might have made different choices in my life back then when I was in school. But we cannot change the fact that Ginny died. She died because of choices she made and that cannot be undone. What would be gained from Molly and Arthur hearing more details of what happened, that she continued to stalk me for months on end?"
Hermione but her lip as she considered what Harry was saying. Before she could answer there was a knock on the door as room service arrived with the food and drinks they had ordered. They trio relaxed as they ate. Daphne had investigated the suite while she had been waiting on Harry to finish his meeting with the officials and she had discovered there were three bedrooms as well as a hot tub connected to one of the two bathrooms. The three decided to take a relaxing dip in the jacuzzi before retiring to their own beds for the night.
Harry had decided to avoid going out in public for a meal for breakfast, even if they were in a different hotel than where the tragedy had occurred the previous day, so he had arranged for room service for breakfast. As the three friends sat around enjoying their leisurely start to the day they discussed their respective plans for the day. Harry and Daphne would walk over to the cathedral and Hermione would plan on meeting with her parents. When Harry had been walking through the park yesterday afternoon he had noted that there was a nearby pub on the river only a block or two away from the hotel so they agreed they would meet up there for dinner at bout 5:30, hoping that would avoid the evening rush.
Hermione had also suggested that they use the back entrance to the hotel as she knew that Rita Skeeter would be showing up any time that day to begin her investigation into what she would write as the 'real story' behind the death of Ginny Weasley, world famous Quidditch player.
Harry and Daphne had been happy to do anything to avoid the possibility of running into the reporter who had previously caused so much distress in Harry's life, even if she had eventually written some positive articles about him during Harry's fourth year. They had found the back entrance and headed down Adelaide Terrace which would connect with Saint George's Terrace. The arrived at the cathedral and made their way to the church office where they asked if they could speak with the abbot. The church secretary seemed like a stern woman as she asked them to explain the nature of their meeting. Daphne quickly answered for Harry.
"We're hoping to discuss the some of the history of this beautiful building and the parish itself. You see, I'm writing a paper on Saint George and the various churches that have named themselves after him, and I really was hoping to be able to get the perspective of the clergy at some of the more prominent churches and cathedrals that are named in honour of this most fascinating saint. We've travelled all the way from England, by way of Israel, and we were just hopping that we might be able to meet with him." Harry was amazed by Daphne's quick and detailed reply. He almost believed her story himself, he found it so convincing.
The secretary seemed to believe the explanation as well. She quickly opened a file on the computer in front of her and she hummed quietly as she looked over the abbot's schedule. "Well, I am sure he would be happy to help with such a noble project, perhaps he could meet with you at 1 this afternoon. I'd have to make some adjustments in his schedule. In the mean time, I can arrange for one of the staff here to show you around, give you a tour of our cathedral and the rest of our facilities."
Harry leaned forward and took Daphne's hand in his as he replied to the secretary. "That sounds absolutely wonderful. We really do appreciate your help in this manner."
One of the teachers from the Cathedral Education Series was available to give them a tour of the cathedral as she explained the history of the building and the parish. Daphne had conjured a small note pad and a pen so that she could take notes during the tour so as to make it appear as she truly was preparing to write a paper on the cathedral. As the tour was winding down, Harry tried to see if there was any further information their guide might have about Saint George himself, although he was no expecting to be able to get any information about the lance.
"I was wondering," he began, "does this church, or cathedral, have any relics or anything special from Saint George himself? I had heard that some churches would try to have something that once belonged to or was a part of the saint that the church was named after."
The tour guide huffed in response. "We're not barbaric like those eastern churches or even some of the Roman churches that keep bits and pieces of the saints bodies lying around. That would just seem so horrid." She looked at Daphne as she added, "Just the idea of something like that makes me shiver."
Daphne smiled back at her as she gave a nod in agreement. "I know what you mean," she replied. Then she turned to Harry as she chastised him, "How could you possibly ask something like that?" She pretended to be upset with her companion, which the tour guide noted and smiled back at Daphne reassuringly to indicate that it was really okay.
As the tour completed, Harry and Daphne thanked her for her time and they stopped by the office again to confirm the scheduled meeting with the abbot for later that they wandered around the local area of the city and found a simple sandwich shop not too far away. They arrived back at the cathedral a few minutes before one, and the secretary informed them that the abbott was running a little late, but that he would have a few minutes to meet with them shortly. Harry and Daphne again thanked her for her efforts to arrange this appointment and they waited patiently for their meeting with the abbott.
Shortly after one in the afternoon, a tall thin man in dark robes came out to greet Harry and Daphne. "Welcome to St. George's Cathedral," he said with a slight bow of his head. "I am Father John, the abbott here. Why don't you come join me in my office, I understand you have some questions about this church and its history."
Harry and Daphne both smiled pleasantly as Harry answered, "Yes we do." The young couple followed the man into his office, which was simply decorated but had several tall book shelves. The abbott closed the door behind him and gestured to several chairs around a small table and offered for them to take a seat. He then sat down in his chair and steepled his hands as he serenely asked, "So just how may I be of assistance to you? What would you like to know about our cathedral or our parish?"
Harry smiled pleasantly back as he pulled the coin that Merlin had given him out of his pocket. He placed it gently on the table between Father John and himself. He noted the abbot's eyes open wide in response to seeing the shiny coin. Harry was pleased that it seemed the priest recognised the significance of the coin. The abbot looked at Harry, with a look of expectation as he awaited an explanation from his guests about just why they had this coin.
Harry sensed the tension that the abbot was feeling which was communicated through the silent stare at the coin and at Harry. "You do recognise the significance of that coin," stated Harry. He received a silent nod acknowledging that he did indeed.
"I come in search of Ascalon, the lance that was used by Saint George himself." Harry made his simple statement and waited on a reply from the abbot.
Father John sat in stunned silence, and shifted his gaze from the coin to Harry and to Daphne and then back to the coin. After s couple of minutes in silence, the abbot spoke softly. "But my good friend, if you have that coin then surely you must know."
Harry gave a confused look in response. "I must know what, exactly?" he questioned.
"Ascalon, the lance," said the dumbfounded priest. "It has not been here for a number of years. At the time that we began the major renovations of this cathedral about ten years ago, several monks came from the monastery and they explained that with the work going on here that this was no longer a safe place to keep the lance. Such an artefact needed to be kept in a much safer place."
Harry looked at Daphne and sighed in frustration. He rubbed his forehead and then turned back to face the abbot. "Who were these monks? Were they form the church in Lydda? If so, I was just there and they suggested that I come speak with you, here in Perth."
The abbot seemed to struggle with whether or not he should say anything further, and then he looked at the coin once more and reached out and gently picked it up, running his fingers gently over the surface. He then placed the coin back on the table and slid it back to Harry. "You come in possession of this coin, so I presume that I can tell you this information. The lance was taken by monks from the St. Yuriev Monastery." His answer was met by blank stares from both Harry and Daphne. "It's in Novgorod," he continued, " in Russia. Along the Yohlkov River. The Monastery was only recently returned to the Orthodox Church, maybe ten or so years ago. It was shortly after this that the monks came and took Ascalon with them. If you seek the lance, then that is where you must go."
Harry reached out and picked up the coin and slid it back into one of his pockets. Harry and Daphne rose up from the table as Harry bade the abbot farewell. "You have been most helpful, father," stated Harry. He and Daphne then turned and left. They walked silently out of the cathedral. The two continued in silence with Harry leading the way to a bench in the riverside park where he sat down and groaned his frustration. "Why do I feel like we're on a wild goose chase?" he wondered out loud.
Harry had arranged for them to meet up with Hermione at the pub by the waterfront. Shortly after five thirty that afternoon, Hermione arrived in the pub and she was beaming from ear to ear.
"It looks as if her day has been more successful than ours has," commented Daphne.
Hermione heard this and frowned. "What? No leads on the lance? I thought you said that the monk in Israel was reliable."
Harry sighed, "Oh, the monk there was reliable. The only thing is we are about ten years to late."
Hermione's jaw dropped. "Did they destroy the lance? Did something happen to it? Did someone steel it?"
"Slow down girl," chastised Daphne. "It is more polite to breath in between sentences, or questions for that matter."
Hermione rolled her eyes at Daphne's comment, and then she turned to Harry, who was obviously laughing at Daphne's chiding of their friend. Hermione merely glared at Harry for taking pleasure in the situation, and then she restated her questions, although a little slower this time.
Harry's expression turned into a frown. "No, they did not destroy the lance. They just gave it away to a different group of monks."
Hermione's eyes opened wide. "What," she exclaimed, "how could they? Where is it? Do they have any idea what they did?"
Harry shook his head in response to her outburst as Daphne gently placed her hand on Hermione's arm to try and get her to settle down. Harry then continued in a quieter tone, "Russia, they sent the lance off with a group of monks to a monastery in Russia. Bloody wild goose chase we're on now I'd say." Daphne now placed her hands on Harry's arm to calm him down before he got riled up.
When she was sure that Harry was not going to go on a tear about the chase they were on, she turned back to their friend as she asked, "So, did your afternoon meet with any more success than ours did?"
Hermione was beaming with excitement now, "Yes, my parents have agreed to meet with me, or rather us, tomorrow evening, after their busy day at work. They still have no idea who I am but they have met me several times now. I told them that this is the last time I will try and help them remember their past, but I think they're doing this just to humour me and get me out of their lives once and for all. Not that I could blame them when this young woman who they don't recognise keeps showing up and telling them what they know of their lives is really a lie."
Daphne noted a tear forming in Hermione's eye and she leaned over and gave her friend a hug. "We'll be there to help you through this tomorrow. And remember, however it all ends up, we'll still be there for you."
Hermione leaned in to accept the hug. After a moment she sat up and wiped her teary eyes. "I know, and I am so grateful that you two are here. Now, let's just order dinner and get out of here."
It didn't seem to take long despite the crowds forming in the pub for the threesome to get their meals and be done and on their way. They were enjoying their stroll along the park at dusk back to the hotel when they noted a crowd that had formed in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Harry realised what must be happening and internally moaned at the implications. Hermione spoke up as she cursed out loud, "Bloody hell, this is turning into a media circus. I thought Brimley and Watson weren't going to let this get out of hand!"
"Language, Hermione," chastised Harry who was surprised that his friend was the one to actually curse. "It could just be Skeeter making a scene," he suggested.
Daphne commented, "No, that wouldn't be her style. She might miss a scoop if she did that. But I am sure she must be lurking in the shadows if she is not in the middle of the hoopla that someone is generating. Perhaps we better detour around to the back of the Crowne Plaza, because I suddenly don't like crowds at all."
The next morning, the three friends awoke to find the British magical ambassador waiting for them in the sitting room of their suite. He tossed a copy of the Daily Prophet onto the table in front of them before anyone was able to muster a question about why he was there in their hotel room.
Harry picked up the paper and looked at headlines as Daphne and Hermione looked over his shoulder.
England's Best Chaser Dead in Hotel in Australia, by Rita Skeeter
They skimmed the article which included only minimal details of how Ginny had been found. Of course the article was sensationalising the discovery of her body in the suite of a muggle hotel room. However, there were not as many details about how the body was found as the three had expected they might read in an article written by Skeeter. The end of the article concluded that the Australian DMLE had found no evidence of foul play, that her death was not considered suspicious, but was most likely related to a magical accident that may have been the result of her using mind altering potions.
Towards the bottom of the front page there was another article:
Dead Chaser's Troubled Life, by Rita Skeeter
This article documented the tale of Ginny's misadventures, including her run in with muggles in California not too long ago, as well as the reports of her on and off again relationship with Harry Potter. Harry winced as he read the details of their encounter in Diagon Alley that occurred nearly a year ago, shortly after he had first met Daphne. This article concluded with one of the Daily Prophet's typical teaser comments: for more information on Harry Potter see page 3.
On page 3 they found this article:
Harry Potter, The Boy-Who-Lived, Now the Man in Hiding?, by Rita Skeeter
This article gave a supposedly factual history of what the Vanquisher of Voldemort was up to since the end of the battle of Hogwarts. It discussed his time in auror training and gave various theories as to why Harry never became an auror, ranging from his inability to do the actual course work without the aid and assistance from Hermione Granger, to Harry being kicked out of auror training for using dark spells, to his teachers not wanting to have someone around who was obviously more qualified to the job than they ever could be. The article delved into his romantic life, including stories of his "affair" with Ginevra Weasley and supposedly not being able to handle her fame as a Quidditch star. Rita once again brought up the rumours of Harry being in a clandestine relationship with Hermione Granger, whose whereabouts had been unknown for some time until it was learned that she was working at the Library of Alexandria. The article finally got around to the rumours of Harry travelling the world with Lady Greengrass, and even suggested that the two may already be secretly married and living in the Mediterranean on a hidden island.
Harry handed the newspaper to the women to review the articles more closely. He then turned to speak with the ambassador who was patiently waiting for the group to react to the various articles. A few minutes later the two witches sat down in chairs around the small table with Harry and Ambassador Feldman.
"So, the news is out that Ginny died," commented Harry, "and we saw all of the press that had gathered outside of the Hyatt Regency last night."
"Yes, we know that you did a good job of not being seen by Skeeter, or she would have had photos of you all on the front page," added the ambassador dryly.
"And trying to create even more sensational headlines if she had seen us," stated Hermione.
"Staying out of sight, or as the muggles would say, 'under the radar' for the next few days would be a great idea," suggested the ambassador. "By the way, the official position from Minister Shacklebolt as to the whereabouts of Harry Potter is that you are a freeman and a hero and are allowed to come and go as you please, within the same rules as govern all of magical society. Skeeter has already tried to find out if you are here in Australia or just where you might be. So far she has only found a report that you were planning on travelling to this country at sometime, as well as evidence that you were here earlier this year."
Harry raised an eyebrow at that comment. "I would have thought that with our travel through various ports on our way here from Israel that it would have been easy for us to have been tracked here. How can there be no proof that Daphne and I are in Australia?"
Feldman's eyes twinkled slightly as he gave a deadpan answer, "I have no idea how that could have happened. My office is quite busy at this time, but if you insist, we might be able to look into that for you, but it would probably be a few weeks before we could spare the time."
Daphne smiled at the comment and then asked the ambassador, "You wouldn't have happened to be in Slytherin House when you were a student, were you?"
The ambassador turned to her as he answered, "I fail to see how my proudly wearing the silver and green as a student has any relevance to this conversation," as he gave her a conspiratorial win. Addressing the entire group he continued, "So, how long will you three be remaining here in Perth? Or even Australia? What are your plans for the remainder of your stay? And do you have travel plans for when you leave? Do you need an international port key arranged?"
Hermione answered first, "We have a dinner meeting with my parents scheduled for this evening."
The ambassador considered this for a moment, and then he asked, "Is there anyway you can reach them through the floo network here? We can make arrangements for a direct connection to help keep you all out of the public eye as much as possible." Turning to Harry he added, "Minister Shacklebolt has requested that we do everything possible to keep your privacy secure."
Harry was glad to hear this. "I am sure we all appreciate Kingsley's concerns and your help with this. I think I may have a way for us to return to England without going through the usual public transportation, so we can look into that a little later today."
Feldman raised an eyebrow at this. "Is there anything you need to help arrange this?" he asked, a little puzzled by Harry's vague statement.
"Oh, just a meeting with the local branch of Gringotts," said Harry with a smile. "I'm sure they will be able to see their way to helping me out."
The floo connection that was arranged through the British Magical Embassy allowed Hermione, Harry and Daphne to arrive directly at Hermione's parents' home. The group's arrival into the living room of Wendell and Monica Wilkins. The couple were more than a little startled with the sudden arrival of three young adults into their sitting room. As the dust settled from their entrance through the floo, Hermione quickly made introductions.
Hermione's mother stood up and greeted them all with a smile. "It's nice to meet you all, although I am really not sure why this young woman is going through all of this trouble."
Hermione's father stood up and greeted them as well, shaking Harry's hand firmly. "Well, I guess seeing this unusual way to enter into our home is supposed to convince us that this young woman's stories are true, but I still find it a bit odd that if she was truly our daughter that we would have absolutely no memory of her or of our life in England. This magic stuff that she prattles on and on about when she comes by is a little to fantastical for me to believe. No offence to you two, you seem like nice enough people but I just want this to be put behind us."
Hermione was obviously pained to hear her parents talk like this. She was working on keeping her emotions in check as they were about to attempt to reverse the memory charms she had previously cast.
Hermione's mother took her husband by the hand and gently pulled him to sit back down on the sofa. "Very well, you may begin with whatever it is you need to do," she said.
Harry released the Elder Wand from the holder on his forearm and it slid easily into his grip. He offered the wand to Hermione who hesitated to take it from him.
"Are you sure Harry?" she questioned. "It's your wand, it's keyed into you using it as the master of the wand."
Daphne reached out and tenderly rubbed Hermione's shoulder. "It's okay, and you know it," she gently admonished. "You saw Draco use it to heal Harry back when we were in the states."
Hermione nodded in agreement with her words, but then she brought up another argument, "But Draco had been the master of the wand at one time, I've never been this wand's master. Won't that make a difference?"
Harry placed the wand into her hand. "I don't think so, but you should try it first. You're trying to reverse a spell that you cast. It should respond to you just fine." He smiled warmly at her.
Hermione bit her lip as she looked at the wand and twirled it in her fingers. She then silently practiced the words for the reversal spell in her mind several times to make sure she would do it right. Then she waved the wand slightly to see if it would spark, just like when she tested her first wand at Ollivander's Wand Shop in Diagon Alley over ten years ago. The wand let out an array of gold and red sparks which brought a hopeful smile to her face.
Daphne encouraged her, "See, the wand will respond to you."
Hermione closed her eyes tightly for a moment as she prepared to cast the spell, then she looked at her parents who were patiently waiting quietly on the couch. Finally she said, "Well mum, I'll try you first. Here we go," she said as she proceeded to speak a series of Latin phrases as she did a complex series of wand movements in front of her mother.
The wand emitted a silvery glow that then surrounded her mother and seemed to coalesce around her mother's head. This glowing clear orb then pulsed brighter for a minute before it vanished with a flash of golden light. Everyone shielded their eyes from the brightness of the flash. Hermione opened her eyes to see her mother holding her head in her hands and looking up at her and then over at her husband on the sofa.
"Hermione?" she asked tentatively, "oh my goodness, why did you do that to us? And your father, will it work on him too?"
Hermione was in tears as she lunged forward to entangle her mother in a bear hug. "Oh, mum, it is SO good to have you back! I am so sorry I did this to you and dad, but I was so worried about you at the end of the war."
Hermione's father was a little uncomfortable at this point. "Don't tell me those sparkles she attacked you with have confused you too, now Monica. I'm not sure I like this any more. I thought this was just some simple game and if we agreed to let this young lady have her little fun she would finally leave us alone." He turned back to Hermione and glared at her. "I am not sure I want you waving that stick anywhere near me."
Ellen Granger reached over and took her husbands' hands in her own. "Please, Dan, or Wendell, you need to trust her. Believe me when I tell you I didn't think there was anyway she was telling the truth. But just give her one more chance, for me, your wife." Her pleading caused him to relax only slightly.
Harry was torn between letting this play out and doing something to force Hermione's father to let her cast the reversal spell. However he understood that if he did anything further then he would risk alienating him from his own daughter, as it was apparent that Hermione's mother retained her memories from her time as Monica Wilkins. Harry stepped back away from them all to make it clear that he was not going to involve himself in this family matter. This action by Harry caused Wendell (or Dan) to visibly relax. He was clearly afraid but he turned to his wife as he said, "All right, for you dear, I will let her do it."
Hermione bit her lip again and brushed away her tears of happiness over the success of restoring her mother's memories. "Right, then, let's do this." She repeated the Latin phrase and the wand movements as the silver mist again formed a glowing orb that now surrounded her father's head and pulsed for a minute before vanishing in a golden flash, just like it had happened with her mother. As everyone's eyesight returned to normal the three young friends could see Hermione's parents holding each other tightly in an embrace as they sobbed into each other's shoulder.
Hermione was watching with tears streaming down her face. Harry stepped up beside her and took the Elder Wand out of her hand before she dropped it onto the floor. He then leaned in and whispered into her ear. "We'll leave you to have your reunion with your parents now. You need this time together. We'll see you back at the hotel suite, tomorrow perhaps?"
Hermione turned and gave Harry one of her trademark hugs. She whispered back, "You're the best Harry. Thank you so much. Thank you. Really, I just don't know what else to say."
Harry gave her a kiss on her forehead as he quietly answered, "Don't say anything. Spend the time with your parents. You three need this time together. You don't need Daph and me to get in the way." With that he stepped back and took Daphne by the hand. With a quick flash of floo powder that he had in his pocket they stepped into the floo and back into their hotel room.
The next morning found Harry and Daphne enjoying a pleasant brunch in their suite as Hermione joined them after returning from spending the night at her parents' home. Harry was glad to see that she was smiling. He waited for her to sit down and then he asked how the rest of her evening had gone with her family.
Hermione shared how she had told her parents the history of the war, of the fallout between her and her former boyfriend, Ronald, and about the adventures she has had over the past year with Harry. Ellen and Dan Granger were happy to have their memories back, but they weren't too keen on the idea of resettling back in England, and they felt it would be best to continue their dental practice here in Australia. Also, it seemed like it would be a little easier to continue to be known as Wendell and Monica Wilkins as all of their papers and identification were currently under those names, and their current friends only knew them by those names. Hermione was also glad that her parents were excited to hear about her work through the Library at Alexandria, as they remembered how much she liked to study and to learn.
After Hermione had finished recounting the main points of her time with her parents, she asked Harry and Daphne about their current plans.
"We were not going to be leaving here until you were either ready to leave yourself or had at least managed to reconnect with your parents," said Harry. "Seeing as how you have accomplished that, then we will be returning to England so we can visit with the Greengrass family before we travel to Russia."
Daphne continued his thoughts, "We probably should pay a visit to the Weasleys at some point, and make sure that we are seen publicly somewhere in England, before we disappear again."
Hermione sighed as she thought about the potential publicity her two friends could be walking into with Rita Skeeter getting stores printed both about Ginny and about Harry. "So, do you have a plan for how you will be returning to England?"
Harry grinned. "Yes, I've already had some quick communication with the goblins. We can do international travel through the bank's networks. All due to the fact that I am supposedly on a special research project for the London branch, so they will be extending me special courtesies as long as I am working for Ragnok."
"That sure sounds convenient for you two," replied Hermione with a slight smirk. "So, when do you two leave?"
Daphne answered first, "That depends, Hermione. How long do you need us to be around? We want to be here for you if you need some friends, but it sure sounds as your being able to restore your parents' memories is all you needed, other than time with them."
By this time Hermione had prepared herself a cup of tea from the array of food and drink that had been brought to the suite for their brunch. She took a sip as she sat down on the sofa and curled her feet underneath her. "I'm good, really. I don't know how I will ever thank you two for all that you have done to help me. You've made this difficult time so much easier and now I have my parents back because of Harry and the Elder Wand." She closed her eyes as she silently thanked the powers that be for the good fortune she had in having such special friends and in having her parents back. She opened her eyes and looked at the young couple as she told them that she was doing well, and that they needed to get on with the next stage of Harry's quest.
Harry was dealing with so many emotions at this time he was speechless. Hermione looked over at him and could see that there was an internal struggle going on. She was about to ask what was wrong when Daphne had moved over next to Harry and wrapped her arm around him.
"I'm sure it's just the combination of everything going on lately," explained Daphne. "What with Ginny showing up and the events that lead to her death, your finally being able to reunite with your parents, and now we need to travel to find the lance that continues to be eluding him, it is just an emotional time."
Harry looked up at Daphne and wondered just when she had learned to read him so well. Hermione used to do that to him when they were students together. Daphne noted the questioning look in his eyes and she answered him, "You're an open book emotionally, Potter. You always have been." She turned to Hermione who understood just what Daphne had been saying. "Add to all of that the fact that once again, Hermione, you have something that he has never had since before he can remember. Your family."
Harry sat up straighter and looked at his fiancé and at Hermione. "No, I have my family, and you're right here with me." Turning back to Hermione he added, "Really I am so happy for you. But we do need to head back to England, and then on to Russia. Maybe we'll spend some time with Daphne's family before we travel again, because we don't want to lose that closeness with family. Ever."
AN: In response to the review from N Flamel:
First off, Harry and Daphne were expecting Hermione to meet with them - they had a suite reserved at the hotel with multiple rooms, which I may not have made clear in the story.
Hermione is reacting from shock. She came into the suite just after the incident happened, so she would have heard the sound of the spell fire. She walks in and sees Ginny dead on the floor in a pile or rubble. She was reacting emotionally to what was in front of her. She may have the emotional range of MORE than a teaspoon, but she still has issues with assuming things.
So yes, she did jump to conclusions but she did ask for an explanation.
She quickly accepts what Harry has said, but she also is quick to summon the Aurors because that is what is done in her mind, let the authorities know. I hope this helps explain things.
Thanks again to everyone for their interest and support for this story...Chapter 19 is being written...as is the outline for Chapters 20 +