There was a knock on the door. The man sitting behind the desk was not exactly pleased with being disturbed. He was reviewing ledgers for his business, and he was not happy with the numbers. He was a tall man, but sitting behind his desk, slumping forward, it was not easy to tell. His broad shoulders were rolled forward as he was scanning the numbers before him. No matter how he looked at it, no matter how long he studied the information in front of him, he was left with the same conclusion and he was not happy. And he was definitely not happy to be disturbed.
He growled at the door, "You may enter."
The door swung open gently and a beautiful young blonde woman in a muggle style business suit walked in. His eyes lit up with joy in seeing his daughter, despite her lack of traditional witches clothing. "Daphne!" he greeted, his frustration behind him as he stood to meet his daughter. He walked around his large oak desk and gave her a quick embrace followed by a kiss on each cheek. "My beautiful angel, how did today go?"
Daphne Greengrass, eldest daughter in the Greengrass family, slid into a chair and sulked. "I am sorry father, but I have failed you again today." She avoided looking the man in the eye.
Jonathan Greengrass did have an imposing presence, with his tall frame of nearly 1.9 meters and his broad shoulders, he looked as though he could have been formidable beater on a quidditch team. But for all of his appearance as a tough man, he was very gentle with his family. He reached out to caress her cheek to comfort the blonde young woman in front of him. He marveled at how much she looked like her mother. "Daphne, it will be alright and I do not blame you. Thank you once again for trying."
Daphne turned away from her father's gentle touch. "It will not be alright. I have reviewed your ledgers. I know what is happening to the family business. I am not blind and do not treat me like a fool. Greengrass Imports will someday be mine to run, or perhaps Astoria's, but if there is no family business then what will I have?"
She stood up and walked to the other side of the ornately decorated office.
Jonathan sat back against the edge of his desk, knowing full well that an attempt to approach his daughter now would be futile. He let out a slow sigh before beginning to speak to her.
"Now, my precious laurel nymph, we will have none of this pouting and carrying on. I know that the current state of our financial affairs is not looking good..." began Jonathan until his daughter cut him off.
"No it is not!" she screamed at him as tears began to flow. Daphne had learned long ago to hide her emotions, something she never was able to do in front of her father, and now she was having a hard time doing it in front of Harry Potter, but she knew she could not hold back her tears so she did not even try. "The Death Eaters, and the Dark Lord and their damnable wars! They ruined our business, your business. In all of his quest for power and glory he was so short sighted. Wars do not necessarily go tot he most powerful, but often to the one who can control the economy. They destroyed the economy by their actions! The pure-bloods cannot support the economy of magical Britain alone."
"That is a fact that is all too obvious to us in these trying times. But the ministry is setting things back on course. We should be able to weather this storm," he said trying to reassure her.
"But what if we cannot 'weather this storm' papa?" she asked, reverting to her more familiar nickname for her father.
Jonathan was a patient man, and he knew he needed to let his daughter vent, but he knew he needed to be strong. "What would you have me do, or what you have had me do before? Supporting the Dark Lord would have been the complete ruination of our family, much less our ideals. Opposing him could have destroyed us easily as well, as you are too well aware of the attacks that his followers made against those they viewed as blood traitors. They treated them almost as badly as the muggle born and the half-bloods. Staying neutral was the only way we could survive."
"But at what cost, papa?" she cried, "at what cost? The supporters of Voldemort will no longer do business with our family because they view as as traitors to their cause. The supporters of the light, of the current ministry, of Potter, they will not do business with us anymore either, for we would not oppose the Dark Lord. This is so unfair!" Daphne hid her face in her hands as she let her emotions go and her face was covered with tears.
Lord Greengrass walked over to his daughters side and knelt down beside her and wrapped his large arms around her petite frame. "I am sure it is not as bad as you perceive it to be," he said as he tried to comfort her.
Daphne snapped her head back up and looked her father in the eyes. "Not as bad? How can that be? By pulling out that marriage contract? You know what I went through in school to protect myself from that cretin. He is foul. He is marked. We all saw it in school. His family is in disgrace. How can a marriage contract with that useless excuse for a wizard possibly help us? I would rather die than marry Malfoy!"
Jonathan nearly fell backwards in reaction to the anger in his daughters words. "I know how you feel, and your mother knows how you feel. I would never ask you to do this."
Daphne looked at her father in shock. "No!, You couldn't do that to her. Not to Tori! She doesn't deserve such a fate!"
Daphne had not noticed that her mother had entered the office. She was pained to see her husband and her eldest daughter disagreeing like this. She cleared her throat to make her presence known. "There are always benefits from the uniting of two noble families," she stated simply. "And you know the binding of the marriage contract. The Greengrass and Malfoy families have an outstanding contract for the past two generations. There is now a male heir to the Malfoy line and two potential wives in the Greengrass family. If this does not happen by the time the youngest is age 23, then the consequences would be most unpleasant for the parties involved."
Daphne muttered under her breath, "Why couldn't the little ferret have been killed off during the war like his goon Crabbe."
Isabella Greengrass heard her daughter's whispered comment but she chose to not dwell on it. "I hear that he was changed by the war," she offered to her daughter as a thought to consider.
"Well, losing your family's title and reputation and wealth may have a way of doing that to you," snapped Daphne. "Or is it just that he ended up backing the wrong horse." She looked up at her mother as she continued her reply. "After spending six years at school trying to embarrass, discredit, harass and attack Harry Potter he finally lost. He never once beat Potter in quidditch. He never once beat Potter in anything. And then to have Harry go and defeat his precious Dark Lord, well, I would think that would change a person."
Jonathan looked from Daphne and then to Isabella. He mouthed "Harry?" in a question to his wife. She shrugged her shoulders in response as she had no idea why their daughter had called the Boy-Who-Lived by his first name. It was her custom to refer to almost everyone by their last name. Before he could turn to question his daughter, his wife mouthed back to him the word "Don't" and he knew better than to dare disobey that simple command.
Daphne wiped her eyes, and then stood up and looked at her father and then turned to her mother. "I am sorry for losing control of myself. I will endeavor to not let this happen again." She turned to her father, "I will keep on working on this, our family's business must succeed. I will see to it." She turned back to her mother. "I really must get going, I have plans with a friend tonight. I don't want to keep them waiting." With that she walked up to her mother, gave her a kiss on both cheeks and then she went to the family living room and used the floo to return to her home.
Isabella followed her daughter with her eyes and then after she had left she turned back to her husband. "Did she just call him 'Harry'?" she asked.
Daphne made it to her flat and collapsed in her bedroom in tears. She felt miserable. Her family's business was in trouble. But to make things worse either she or her sister would have to marry Draco Malfoy. She knew that it would probably come to this, which is why she had gone to the muggle pub the other day to drown her sorrows, which led to her meeting Harry Potter. "Harry!" she screamed in her mind. "He'll be here shortly," she thought as she forced herself off of her bed where she had been laying down since arriving home. She quickly stripped off her muggle business suit and grabbed a quick shower. She hoped that the quick change and freshening up would help her be more emotionally stable by the time Harry arrived. As she dressed in a comfortable pair of jeans and a simple blouse she went to her kitchen and grabbed a glass of water. She berated herself for getting so worked up about seeing Harry Potter. Why was she acting like a school girl with a crush? She berated hersef for allowing her Ice Queen persona to weaken in his presence. But he was the first person with whom she had allowed herself to be open with and become friends with since she was young. She missed her best friend, Tracey Davis, and she wished she was able to talk to her. But ever since the war ended and having lost her family to a Death Eater attack she had gone to live with relatives in the United States. Occasionally they would write each other, but with the distance it has been hard for the two young women to keep in close contact. Her thoughts were brought to a stop by the sound of a knock on the door to her apartment.
Daphne opened the door to find Harry looking a little haggard carrying a couple of sacks of groceries. He has his customary grin in place with his hat dipped low to prevent anyone from seeing his scar.
"Uh, can I come in?" asked Harry standing in the hallway.
Daphne realized she had opened the door and just stared at him. "Oh sorry come on in," she beckoned. "I was just surprised to see you at the door, I had figured you would use the floo."
Harry smiled but shook his head. "That's not about to happen when I'm carrying the makings of our meal together. I would have just ended up on the floor in a mess and who knows what would have happened to the bags of food. So, I decided to play it safe, apparated to a point nearby and just walked here the rest of the way."
Daphne's jaw dropped. "Wait, you mean you can't use a floo properly? But everyone knows how to use a floo."
Harry flushed a bit as he started feeling self-conscious about his difficulty with exiting from the floo system. He turned his head slightly to hide his face as he felt the warmth spreading over his face.
Daphne recognized Harry's reaction as on of shame. "Oh, I'm sorry, Harry, I didn't mean for it come across like that. It's just..." She paused in mid sentence as she realized her words were not about to help the matter. "When did you first use the floo network? And who taught you how to use it?" she asked, with a much more tender tone.
Harry grimaced slightly as he answered, "Just before we started second year, I was at the Weasleys and we had to floo to Diagon Alley to do our school shopping. I ended up in Knockturn Alley by mistake." Harry turned and headed to the kitchen with the food.
Daphne followed quickly, and upon arriving in the kitchen she helped him with the food. She wanted to offer some sort of advice or find something to say to ease his embarrassment but nothing would come to mind. Finally she settled for asking about the meal. "So, what are we having tonight?" she asked, hoping the change in topic would improve his spirits.
Harry's eyes beamed as he began to prepare the meal. He turned to wash his hands and spoke over his shoulder, "I call it Chicken Alfredo, Ala Potter."
Daphne scrunched her eyes, "And what, pray tell, would that be?"
Harry laughed slightly, "Fettuccine Alfredo with broiled chicken, some vegetables sautéed with garlic and spices."
Daphne was shocked by the sound of such a meal being prepared by Harry. He looked at her and asked, "Would you like to help?"
Now Daphne blushed slightly. "I wouldn't know where to begin, most of our meals are prepared by our house elves, I only manage simple things here, eat out or eat at home with my parents."
Harry stopped and looked at her with surprise, and then an idea came to him and he shared it with Daphne. "How about we make a deal? I'll help you learn how to cook and you can help me to learn how to use a floo better?"
Daphne smiled at the thought, and quickly answered that she would love to take him up on the arrangement.
Harry soon had her preparing the chicken to be broiled after they had the water heating up to cook the fettuccine. He carefully explained how he would later add the butter and the cream and then the shredded Parmesan and Asiago cheese to the pasta while the vegetables sautéed with the spices in olive oil. As they were making progress with the meal preparations, Harry broached the topic for the evening.
"So, Daphne, the last few times we have been together I have told you all about myself," began Harry.
Daphne interrupted him as she stated, "You most definitely have not told me ALL about yourself, but I will concede the point that you have shared a lot with me." She gave a nervous grin as she was not sure how easy it would be to open about herself, to anyone, let alone the famous Boy-Who-Lived.
"As I was saying," continued Harry, "I have shared a lot about myself with you, but I still know very little about Daphne, the Ice Queen of Slytherin. I don't know your favorite colour..."
"It used to be blue," she interjected.
"Or what your dreams or goals are. What you dreamed about when you were young, or why you were so cold to everyone while we were at Hogwarts."
Daphne sat down on a chair in the kitchen, while Harry tended to the cooking.
"Well, I could say the same thing about you, Harry," quipped Daphne. "I don't know your favorite color, or your dreams or goals, or what you dreamed about when you were young."
"That's not the point, now, is it?" he asked rhetorically.
"So where should I begin?" she asked as she stood up and walked over to a rack that held several bottles of wine. She deftly grabbed two glasses and set them on the table. She pulled a cork screw out of a drawer and stared at it. After a moment, she slid her wand into her hand, waved it at the wine bottle and the cork popped out and on to the counter.
Harry had been watching this and laughed at the site of her using magic to do something he thought would have been easy to do. "I can teach you how to use a cork screw, too," he added.
Daphne scowled at him, "Well, that was a much easier way to open the bottle." She poured them each a glass and handed one to Harry. "It might help me relax if I am about to open up to some boy all about myself. So, where do you want me to start?"
Harry thought for a moment and then he said, "How about telling me all about growing up in a magical family, and then you can tell me why you ended up in the pub the other evening."
"What is so special about growing up in a magical family?" she asked, and then she put her hand to her mouth. "I am so sorry Harry, I forgot that you were raised by your muggle relatives. Or at least that is what I had heard. You really haven't spoken about them at all."
Harry's smile left his face. "No, I haven't," he said simply, and his tone made it clear that there would be no more information about his muggle relatives tonight.
Daphne looked at him with a sadness in her eye. "Do you have any memories of when you were young, with your parents, before You-Know-Who..." she let the end of her question die as the words came out of her mouth. She saw the discomfort on Harry's face and she was worried she had offended him by her question.
Harry looked away for a moment and then turned back to face her. "Now, we already agreed, tonight is not about me, but it is about you, so no more questions about my past tonight." Harry seemed to have calmed himself down.
Daphne took another sip of her wine and then she began to tell him stories of learning about magic at an early age. How she was amazed when any accidental magic would happen. How her father would magically animate her toys and stuffed animals. He brought her a broom when she was five but she had no interest in flying. She always wanted a pony. Or a unicorn. But she made it clear that she was willing to settle for a simple pony. She never got one though. She talked about meeting Tracey Davis when she was three. How they always spent time together on the holidays. She mentioned that Tracey had moved to the States after the war as she had no family left in England.
Harry asked if she knew any of the other students from Hogwarts before they started school.
Daphne told stories of garden parties that would happen in the summer that the pure-blood families would have and how she met many of their classmates when she was young. She knew Neville Longbottom and Susan Bones, and Hannah Abbott from when they were all children. Many of her housemates from Slytherin would show up occasionally to the parties, especially Draco and his parents. Harry noted that she seemed to shiver when she mentioned the Malfoys, and he made a mental note to ask about that later.
Harry finally interrupted her and he asked, "So, what was Neville like as a young boy? He really did do a lot of growing up at school."
Daphne sighed, and then she told Harry how Neville was always quiet and shy. She remembered that he was always with his grandmother, who was a very intimidating person, and how she had never met his parents. She had tried to ask her parents about it once after one of the summer garden parties but they politely refused to discuss it with her.
Harry wondered how much Daphne's parents knew of the Longbottoms, and then he began to wonder if her family was friendly with his family at all. But he had no one he could really ask about that now, with the loss of his parents and then Sirius and then finally Moony.
"You okay there, Potter?" she asked as she noted that Harry seemed distracted.
Harry then turned as he was surprised by the loud piercing beeping noise. The smoke detector had been set off as he forgot to check on the broiling chicken.
"Bloody hell," he muttered as he pulled the damaged entrée out of the oven. Harry then concentrated on finishing cooking the meal as Daphne tried to figure out how much of the chicken could be saved.
Harry finished preparing the pasta dish and the vegetables when he looked at how little chicken was left. He gave a wry smile, and then he diced the remaining pieces and tossed it in with the fettuccine and Alfredo sauce.
"Well, I am sorry for nearly ruining our meal by getting caught up with listening to your stories, but I think we have rescued the dinner from the jaws of defeat. We should eat it while it is warm."
Daphne poured them each another glass of wine as they sat down at the table to eat. As she took the first bite of her food, she chewed ans swallowed and then exclaimed, "This is fantastic! How did you ever learn to cook like this?"
Harry paused before responding. He looked away as he tried to keep his emotions in check. "I had to cook from when I was five until I went off to school, and then I still had to cook for my relatives whenever I was at their house."
Daphne was about to say something about how it was wonderful that they taught him how to cook when his reaction and the manner in which he answered sunk in. She stopped herself from saying something. She realized that what he implied was that he had to cook, not that he wanted to cook for them.
"I am so sorry, Harry," said Daphne as she reached out a hand and rested it gently on his arm. "I had no idea, but you must have learned to hate cooking." She had tears forming in her eyes as she wondered what his childhood must have been like having been forced to cook from such a young age. She stopped trying to wonder for it was making no sense to her.
Harry turned and placed his other hand on hers, where it still lay on his arm. "No, it's alright. Really. You had no idea. I enjoy cooking. When I want to cook, not when I am forced to cook. I did learn a great deal by working in the kitchen. I learned to change recipes so that I liked them better. Although, that usually got my relatives upset with me. They didn't like things to change or to be different."
Daphne was torn between asking him more about what his childhood was like and letting it go. The more she thought about it, and how he had made it clear tonight was not to be about him, she decided to let him know. "Tonight is not about your past Harry, it is about mine. But I would like to know more about what things were like for you when you were younger. Really, I would." She tried to convey her concern to him with her words.
Harry looked at her closely, then he said quietly, "No, you really don't want to know those things. Trust me on this." He then slid his arm out from under her hand as he placed his other hand at his side. There was a chilling silence in the room for a moment and then Harry picked up his glass of wine and finished it in one big sip. Harry tried to lighten the mood and he turned back to Daphne, "I am sorry about that, but I do enjoy cooking, and I really enjoyed making this meal for you. So let's enjoy the food and get back to enjoying the company."
Daphne sighed internally as she knew it was best to move on with their conversation tonight.
They began to eat, quietly at first, and then Daphne got the nerve to speak up. "So, you wanted o know why I walked into that pub the other day," she said as she was finishing her meal.
Harry nodded, "I told you why I was there feeling sorry for myself..."
"Not exactly, Mr. Potter," corrected Daphne, "But it did become clear. But as to why I was there, well I was there for similar reasons as you." She let her words hang in the room for a minute as she reached for the courage to open up more. She then pleaded, "I don't want you to think of me as pathetic, or weak, or foolish."
Harry's eyes softened as he saw her vulnerable, a rare sight indeed for the Ice Queen. He spoke some words to comfort her, "Before these last few days I would have never guessed that you could be worried about what anyone thought about you, but I have learned of your friendship and you compassion for others, so no, I am pretty sure I won't think of you as weak or pathetic, or foolish. After all, who was the one involved in a public scene in Diagon Alley earlier today?"
Daphne laughed at the thought of being in such a public scene, and then she added, "And you will probably be on the cover of the Daily Prophet tomorrow because of it."
"Well then it is a good thing I won't be showing my face in the magical world for a few days now then won't it?" he added.
Daphne raised a quizzical eyebrow, but before she could ask, he cut her off. "No, tonight is about you, not me, but I will explain a little later. So back to where you were, entering the pub, and why."
She then began to tell of her frustrations with her family's business. She spoke about how she felt alone and isolated after her years at Hogwarts. How that was made worse by losing her best friend who had moved across the ocean.
Harry studied her face, which had the stoic expressionless mask he knew so well from their days in school. Then he asked her "Why?"
She was broken from her somber concentration. "Why what" she countered.
"Why the Ice Queen? Why keep people so far away?" Harry was clearly puzzled. "You're fun, you're intelligent, you're beautiful, so why keep everyone so far away? And for that matter, why did you even let me in the other day?"
Daphne finished her glass of wine and turned to face Harry as she began to answer. "The second pat is easier to answer. Why you? Because you were there. At the pub. And I was alone and feeling lonely. And there you were." She let her words sink in for a moment and then she continued. "I'm glad it was you and I am glad you let me sit. You're magical barriers almost made me turn away."
"They were designed to keep the muggles from bothering me," he said with a laugh, "I never expected a witch or a wizard to enter that pub that night. But I am glad you did." He then turned his face away slightly as he started to blush. Then he turned back to her, "and the first part? Why the Ice Queen persona?"
Now she looked down towards her feet. "To keep myself safe. To protect my heart, because I have known since I was young that there is a marriage contract out there, waiting to be fulfilled by either myself or my sister, Astoria. Either one of us could meet the requirements. If I am forced to marry someone because of a contract drawn up by my ancestors, then I never wanted to fall in love with someone who I could never be with." She looked up at Harry. "I have seen the way my parents care for each other. They have been in love since before I was born and they are still in love today. That is all I ever wanted in a relationship, a relationship which I may not get to choose, or if I do choose to marry someone I allow myself to fall in love with, then I condemn my sister to a loveless marriage. I could not do that to her. Or at least, I didn't think I could."
Harry was shocked at her pronouncement. "A marriage contract?" he asked, not sure what it all meant. "You mean one of your ancestors decided to sell you off without even knowing anything about you? Is this common in the magical world? Can you void the contract? What happens if you don't go through with it?"
Daphne turned and stood up and walked out of the dining area and sat on her large cushioned chair. She let out a long slow sigh. "I keep forgetting that you weren't raised in our world Harry and that there is still so much that you do not know." She turned to see that he had followed her, but he was standing in the entryway between the dining area and the lounge. "Yes it is, or was, common for pure-blood families to establish marriage contracts. It would help build strength and power by forcing alliances. And no, the contract can not be voided, unless there are specific clauses that give an out for either family. And if the contract is not fulfilled, then the party or parties who are unwilling to fulfill the contract will lose their magic. So, if I marry someone who is not the person indicated by the marriage contract, then either Astoria will have to marry him, or we will both lose our magic. And the Greengrass family will die out."
Harry was surprised again. "But you have no brothers, so won't the family die out anyways?"
"Not necessarily," answered Daphne. "If either my sister or I were to marry, and our husband was to agree before the wedding that a second son would be able to carry on the Greengrass family name, then we could continue our family and our long heritage as a Noble and Ancient House. Maybe I wanted to see what life as a muggle would be like, maybe that is why I rented this flat and went to the pub. Maybe I want to see if I could survive without my magic." Daphne looked away from Harry, picked up her glass of wine which she had brought with her and spoke quietly into her glass, "And then I met you there."
Harry had slowly made his way to the sofa, and then when he heard the last words she muttered into her glass, he slumped down into the comfortable piece of furniture with a heavy thud.
Daphne looked up at the young man who appeared defeated on her couch. "You probably hate me now, don't you? You think I've been leading you on, being nice to you, and now you know there is nothing more between us than being friends and that won't last either."
Her words stung, and he looked up at her, his eyes wide from the pain she had just inflicted. "I've only really known you for a few days, and you dismiss me so readily?"
"What would you have me do?" she pleaded. "If I have to marry someone, someone who I do not want to be with, then what am I supposed to say to him? Oh, by the way, I'd like you to meet my good friend, you might have heard of him, Harry bloody Potter, the bloody Boy-Who-Lived, you know, the one who ended the last war by destroying the most powerful dark lord in a century? You won't mind my being friends with him? You won't mind my comparing every little thing you will ever do to him?" She looked at him with a sadness in her eyes that Harry did not think was possible. "This is not the muggle world, I can't walk away from it. I can't subject Tori to this."
Harry felt numb. He was growing to care for Daphne, he was hoping that maybe they could have more than a friendship, but he definitely valued the friendship as that was something which had been running in short supply. He wondered if he could ever end up dating her, or being with her, but now these thoughts seemed to be dashed. Finally he spoke up, "When does this contract have to be fulfilled?"
She brushed the tears from her eyes, as she looked up at him. "What was that?" she asked.
"When does this have to happen?" he repeated. "When do you lose your magic if neither you nor your sister marry this person? And who do you have to marry?"
Daphne's eyes continued to water as she answered, "By Astoria's 23rd birthday. That is when the wedding has to happen." She chose not to answer the final question.
"You do know who it is that one of you has to marry," Harry said, clearly a statement and not a question this time.
"Yes," she said in a whisper.
"And I know this person?" Harry asked, tentatively.
"Yes," she whispered again.
"And there is no other way to void the contract? You must marry whoever it is?"
"I have not found any loopholes, or any way out. Either Tori or I will have to be married within the next 5 years."
Harry was agitated as he knew there was something more she hadn't told him. He didn't dare ask that question though, for it was clear how upset she was. The two sat in the room without speaking, without looking at each other for nearly fifteen minutes, until Daphne spoke one word.
Harry shook his head upon hearing that name. He looked at her as though she was inflicted with a deadly disease.
She looked at Harry unable to hide the sadness in her eyes. His face was without emotion. Finally she spoke, "I heard that the war changed him. I haven't seen him or spoken to him since the end of the war."
Harry stood up and walked over to Daphne ans gently placed his hand on her shoulder. When she looked up at him, he cupped the side of her face. "I know that this is hard on you, but I never abandon my friends and I am not about to do that now."
She reached up and took his hand with both of hers. "Thank you, I needed to hear that," she said in reply. "Now what do we do?"
Harry sighed, as he gently removed his hand from hers. "Well, I have a long day tomorrow, in follow-up from what I had to do earlier today. So I need to be going. But I am looking forward to lessons on how to floo correctly. Perhaps you can come over tomorrow evening, and we can have a meal prepared for us by someone else."
Her eyes began to light up at this invitation. Then she squinted as she looked at him, "Prepared by who?"
Harry just gave her a grin, and then he kissed her on her forehead before turning to leave. As he approached her fireplace, he looked back at her and said, how about six tomorrow evening?"
"Sounds good," answered Daphne, then she asked, "But where?"
Harry grabbed some floo powder, tossed it into the fire-place as he stated very clearly, "Potter Manor," and then he stepped into the green flames.
Harry arrived at Pembroke College early the next morning. He greeted Professor Smith and the two made their way to the library. They began pouring over various texts in the section that was restricted to faculty only and after several hours, they both sat there, frustrated that they had yet to learn anything about any of the magical creatures that was not readily available in textbooks through out the magical world.
Professor Smith found an old text in a book that had clearly not been used for many decades at best. He thumbed through the pages and he came upon a passage that intrigued him. There was a discussion about charms used to control animals and magical creatures, and then there was a reference to Merlin and his work with Arthur Pendragon. Professor Smith excitedly pointed out this passage to Harry, who only responded by scratching his head in confusion.
Harry spoke quietly as he asked the professor, "So how exactly does this help us?"
Rawling Smith's eyes began to twinkle. Harry hated that look, but pushed the emotional response aside.
"We need a source to help us find what exactly Merlin was able to do to control animals. I have heard rumours that Merlin had a dragon he spoke to, and if he had a dragon, then he might know how to solve your dilemma." The professor seemed giddy with excitement now.
Harry was still confused. "And just how will we find out about Merlin?"
"How do muggles know about dragons and elves and magic?" he asked.
Harry wondered, and he then answered too quickly, "But they don't know about it. We have the statutes of secrecy. The DMLE sends out obliviators to remove any memory of magic from the minds of muggles who might witness magic."
"But they know about magic. Oh, they may not believe in it, but they write stories about dragons and magic and elves..." Professor Smith let the last statement hang. Harry nodded his understanding. "And who is perhaps the most noted authority on dragons and magic and elves?"
"That would be you sir, but you are not a muggle," added Harry.
"No, no, no," scolded Rawling. "What muggle author has the most detailed stories in the past one hundred years?"
"Well, the muggles all seem to enjoy the Lord of The Rings. That has elves," Harry said, and then he remembered, "And the Hobbit had a dragon. But how does that help us?"
"You really need to think on your own more, you do know that, Harry," stated the professor. "Tolkien was the author of those stories and he was a professor here at this college."
"But didn't he die, years ago, even before I was born?" asked Harry, still puzzling over this information.
"Yes he did, but he was the professor for Olde English, and he was quite the linguist," confided Rawling, who started to get a gleam in his eye.
"But how does this help us sir?" Harry asked again.
"Well, if we can't speak with Tolkien himself, maybe we need to have a little chat with his successor, the current professor for Olde English Studies here."