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The Perils of Innocence by puck_nc

The Perils of Innocence


Disclaimer: Anything you recognize, it isn't mine. Just playing in Rowling's sandbox.

News: Hopefully I'll be back to twice a month for the foreseeable future.

A reader has very kindly begun translating this story into Polish. If that's your language for everyday use, please check out "Niebezpieczeństwa niewinności" under the name Shaunee Altman over on

I have begun translating this story into Spanish and will probably do so with other things I've written. I have no schedule for when chapters will be uploaded at this time other than "when I finish one". Feedback on vocabulary use, slang phrases, and sentence structure is welcome. Check my profile page on for "Los peligros de la inocencia".

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3 August 1981

As Harry left, Dean pushed his plate away. "Hermione, would you help me with something?"

She looked up and closed the book. "Of course."

"You're really good at reading stuff and seeing little things and all. Would you help me go through the papers from Gringotts? I didn't want to make my mum and da do it, it seemed like they weren't ready to talk about my first father."

Hermione nodded, remembering how shattered Andrea Thomas had looked as they left the bank. "'Course I will. Your room or mine?"

"Mine. That way we'll know when Harry's done."

Once in Dean's room, Hermione commandeered the desk and opened a notebook to a blank page. Dean flattened the roll of papers carefully to keep from mixing the pieces up, using books and his art case to anchor the corners.

Hermione looked at the first one. "This is the will, with a sealed letter to you. The will is dated 15 March 1981. There's a note on it that looks like it was burned into the paper: 'The will of Alexander Ibrahim Demirci was enacted on 8 April 1981. Heir named in will not yet of an age to manage affairs.' And there's a second note: 'Dean Khamisi Demirci arrived on 3 August 1991 to claim his inheritance; vault reopened.' Well, then." She set the parchment down. "So the goblins knew you existed but were waiting on you to be of age, whatever age it is they wait for." She handed the letter to Dean, who turned it over in his hands.

"I think I'm scared to open it."

She gave him a concerned look. "Why?"

"Maybe it's daft, but I always knew who I was before today. Dean Randall Thomas, son of Geoffrey and Andrea, big brother to a pack of annoying kids, good at drawing. Even learning I could do magic didn't really change all that." Hermione nodded in full understanding as he spoke.

"And now…I don't really know who this Dean Khamisi Demirci is. Would I still draw? Would I still like footie, even if I never became a West Ham supporter? Or would I be learning how to make wands in Africa and playing that broom sport we saw the shop for?"

Hermione reached over and gripped his shoulder. "I understand. But no matter what, you'll always be the Dean that's sitting here. Yes, you'll've learned more about where you came from, but that won't change who you are because you're the one living your life. Harry and I will still be your friends, no matter what."

Drawing a deep breath, Dean broke the seal and opened the letter.

15 March 1981

To Dean Khamisi Demirci:

My dearest son, I hope with all my heart that you never see these words. I hope that I will be able to get you and your mother safely out of Britain and somewhere where we can live in peace and watch you grow. You've just turned a year old, a wonderful year which has filled my life and your mother's life with joy. But the darkness is spreading and I don't know how much longer I can avoid it. I have hidden my marriage from the wizading world and left your mother unaware of magic in the hopes of protecting you both and I only hope she will forgive me when I tell her, after we are out of their reach.

If the worst happens, know this: the wizard known as Voldemort and his so-called Death Eaters are beings of purest evil. Their agenda is to cleanse the earth of every last non-magical human and to turn first-generation magicals and other wizards and witches of mixed breeding into a slave class. Because I am able to cite my lineage back a few hundred years and because I have resources, they have fastened onto me as someone to recruit. And at this point, anyone recruited by him either joins him or dies.

If you are reading this, my beloved child, know that I tried my best. If I have to, I will draw them away from you and Andrea and accept my fate, taking down as many of them with me as I can. Know that I love you both more than anything on this earth.

Your father,

Alexander Demirci

Dean let the letter fall into his lap, unable to force words past the lump in his throat. Hermione had a handkerchief ready and pressed it into his hands as the tears began to fall.


Harry entered the room and took in the sight of the doctors and Pippa, seated behind plates of half-eaten food and a small pile of books. His eyes widened, unaccustomed to seeing such a mess in either of the doctors' offices. Then he registered the worried looks on their faces. Instinctively he went to Pippa, who put her arm around him and tucked him in close.

"It's bad, isn't it?"

"Yes, but probably not in the way you think." Dr Aymler opened one of the books. "The short version is that there was a criminal, something like a cross between a serial killer and a mob boss. He was known as Lord Voldemort. He had a pack of followers known as 'Death Eaters' and, by the time you were born, they had the rest of the wizards living in fear.

"The books aren't clear why, but he targeted your parents. They went into hiding, staying in some tiny village, and set up a lot of magic barriers to try and stay hidden. But one of the barriers failed and he found you and your parents on Halloween of 1981. The books all agree that he killed your dad first, that your dad tried to protect you and your mum. Then he followed your mum upstairs to your room and killed her. But when he tried to kill you, too, something went wrong with the spell. He died, or at least vanished, and you survived with only that lightning-bolt scar on your forehead."

Feeling him tremble, Pippa began rubbing Harry's back, trying to soothe him as Aymler continued.

"Because the magic he used to try and kill you was thought to be unstoppable, you were hailed as an instant hero, called the Boy Who Lived. Some stuffed shirt with a lot of titles is credited with sending you off to live with your Muggle family." He slammed the book shut as he spit out the last sarcastic words. "And besides the fact you were sent to live with people who were obviously ill-equipped and unprepared to raise you, the fact that all of these books stop right there makes the whole thing stink like the Victorian Thames. There's not a whisper of what happened to the rest of these 'Death Eaters'. Not a word about trying to figure out how this Voldemort found your parents. Nothing. It's the perfect setup for a legend. And I really don't like the thought that these people need a legend to hold them together."

Harry shrank even further into Pippa's arms, afraid of the doctor's display of temper as much as the thought he was about to voice. "Should I not go to the school?"

Patrick realized what he had done and was instantly down on his knees beside Harry. "Now hold on, it's much too soon to say that. But these books raise a lot more questions than answers. I think when we go back to get your trunks we should also visit the bookstore again and ask for more information. Or we can try sending your owl to the professor. Tell her we've read a few things about you and need more information." He reached over to pull Harry into a hug and, reassured, Harry let him.

Emily reached for one of the books that had a mailer from a pharmaceutical company stuck in it to mark a page. "Hey, want to see something?" She opened the book and turned it around for Harry. His mouth dropped open.

There was a picture in an old-fashioned sepia tone. In the back of his mind Harry noticed that the people in the picture were moving, but that took second place to his recognition of them. The man looked almost exactly like a grown-up Harry, from his messy black hair to a pair of glasses on his nose to a little sideways grin that looked very familiar to the doctors. The woman had long hair and light eyes that were probably the same brilliant green as Harry's. They were holding a baby who smiled and laughed as they cuddled and kissed him.

"Is that…is that them? My mum and dad?" He looked at the caption below.

James and Lily Potter with the Boy Who Lived, about 9 months old - April 1981

Harry touched the photo and whether it was something in the magic making the photo move or coincidence, the woman raised her had to wave right where Harry's fingers grazed it. The adults looked on as it appeared that Harry and his mother were reaching to each other through the page. Then the baby in the photograph suddenly waved both arms like windmills and knocked his father's glasses askew. The people gazing at the page laughed along with the subjects in the photograph.

"I doubt they'll keep moving, but we can photocopy that picture for you to keep," Patrick offered. "We should also ask those goblins about any family pictures in the vault they mentioned, or records of friends who might have photographs. We're also going to alert the social workers on Monday and ask her to try tracing your parents and see if there's a will or burial site, anything accessible on this side. That's something else to include in your note to Ms McGonagall, asking for more information about what happened to your parents."

Harry nodded. "Can I take the book for now?" Emily closed it with the flyer bookmarking the photo and handed it to him. He left the room, clutching it to his chest.


After Dean had got hold of himself, he and Hermione began working their way through the stack of papers. Each one had another revelation and Hermione paused frequently to allow Dean to take it all in. There were lists of cash assets in galleons, sickles, and knuts. There were lists of jewellery, art pieces, magical artefacts, and books. The final list detailed three properties: a house in Northants, a second house in Morocco, and a property deep in central Africa that seemed to be a plantation for magical herbs and a continuing source of income for the estate.

The final page was a family tree. As his father had written, it dated back through several centuries. But Hermione noticed that, starting between the two world wars, the number of branches began diminishing as families died off. When she began seeing whole groups with the same year of death, she bit her lip. The last three generations were conclusive, with Dean's magical grandfather, father and himself being only children. Dean was the only living member of the Demirci family according to the record.

She thought of Harry. Orphaned Harry, whose only known relatives were an aunt and uncle who weren't magical. Another child who might be the last person in his family. She was suddenly desperate for Harry's meeting to be over since that would mean that the history books were available. Something huge had happened in recent history that was killing off wizards. She needed to know what it was. She needed to know if it would be safer to stay out of this world of wonders.

As if she had called him, Harry appeared in the door. He had a book clasped to him as if it were a life preserver. Hermione shot to her feet and ran to hug him. "Is everything all right?"

"Sort of. We found out what happened to my parents. They were killed by an evil wizard who was trying to wipe us all out." Harry opened the book to a marked page and showed them the photograph.

"Wicked! The pictures move!" Dean stared, entranced, as the family in the photo waved.

Hermione cooed, "Oh, Harry, you look just like your dad!" She also stared at the page, appreciating the rakishly handsome man. After a moment of indulging herself with a mental image of Harry as an adult, she refocused. "What did the books say?"

"As I said, some evil wizard lord was after my family. He killed my dad when he tried to hold him off, then my mum who had tried to run with me. But when he tried to kill me, too, something happened and he died or disappeared. That's where my scar came from." Harry gestured vaguely to his forehead.

That prompted Hermione to hug him again and Dean gave him a sympathetic punch to the shoulder. "Sounds familiar. We found a letter from my father to me. The only difference is that he kept magic a secret from my mum managed to draw the Volde-wart guy away from us."

Hermione staggered as Harry whipped around in her arms to face Dean. "Voldemort?"

"Yeah, that was the name." Dean plucked the letter from the pile of records and held it out.

Harry scanned the letter, then sat on the bed and began flipping frantically through the book. Hermione stopped him. "Here, use the back." She opened to the index and ran a finger down the list of names until she found Harry Potter. "Start on page three hundred fifty-eight."

The three of them crowded around, reading the first few paragraphs of a chapter that described a being so terrible that only a few of the bravest wizards around dared defy him. As the prose grew more and more lurid, Hermione frowned. "This reads like a novel, not a history book. Are the other history books just as bad?"

"I don't know. They're in Dr Aymler's office still, I think."

Hermione shot out the door. "Be right back!"

Dean looked at Harry and managed a chuckle. "That's our girl."


Hermione found the doctors still in Aymler's office, clearing the table they had used. Aymler smiled as the girl rushed to the door, then managed to stop herself and tap on the jamb. Her tone was breathless from sprinting. "May I come in?"

"Of course. What has you running through the halls?" His hint of her breaking a rule made her cheeks turn slightly pink, but Hermione stood her ground.

"May I have the other history books? We need to see if they have better information."


"That name, that Voldemort, there was a letter from Dean's father, his birth father. He wrote it when Dean was a year old. He was trying to get Dean and his mum out of Britain because the evil wizard was after him. We wanted to look at the other books and see if they had a better description; the one Harry had seemed awfully…"

"Hysterical?" Dr Greene suggested dryly.

Hermione nodded, relieved that an adult shared her criticism. "May we see the others?"

"Of course." Dr Aymler handed them to her. "I'll walk back with you. It'll be time for lights-out soon and I'd like to see that letter."

They arrived to find Harry and Dean next to Dean's window, looking through the glass at the two owls perched on the nearest tree. The windows on the ground floor of the building were designed for security and only a small top pane opened to allow fresh air through a screen.

Harry turned to Dr Aymler. "How are we going to use our owls? We're not supposed to be out after dinner and during the day the other kids might start noticing the owls around the tree fort."

As Dr Aymler considered that issue, Hermione brightened. "What about upstairs? The windows on the first floor open, you let the owls out when we got back!"

He looked at the three excited faces, considering the pros and cons of moving the three of them to the emptier upstairs wing. The pros included the fact that these three children weren't the kind of security risk that required locked windows and that the Grangers and Thomases would almost certainly not object. The three of them might be leaving in a few weeks and gone for months at a time. It would free up three rooms for new residents. On the con side, it might cause some jealousy among other residents, especially the older ones, but the practicalities of the situation would speak for themselves. The doctors had already planned a cover story of a scholarship to a boarding school for Harry and if they did leave for the school Hermione and Dean could simply "go home".

"The biggest problem I see is the fact that we usually keep the door between the floors locked and I don't feel comfortable about you three having keys."

Dean looked over at Hermione. "Didn't you find something that locks and unlocks in the book of spells?"

"Yes! I'll be right back!"

"Walk!" Aymler called after her. He turned his attention to the boys. "Well, while we're waiting, Harry, you could write your note. Ask Ms McGonagall if she can come talk to us some more about your parents, about what happened to them, and if we can find any information about a will, that sort of thing."

Dean waved at the pile of parchment on his desk. "The bank had my dad's will. Harry might have one in his papers."

"All right, then the backstory on your parents and our concerns about this legend that seems to have built up around you. Tell her we're concerned that you won't be able to concentrate on studying if people are constantly paying attention to you over something you don't even remember. Ask if she can come tomorrow or one evening this week. Then the two of you might as well start packing up what you can. One way or another I expect we'll put you upstairs at least for a few weeks and see what happens. If nothing else, we can touch up these rooms, do something with the windows, and move you back."

Further commentary was halted as Hermione trotted back into the room, breathless once more.


4 August 1991

Following a successful demonstration of locking and unlocking the door with a hand by each of the children, the staff swung into action on Sunday. Pippa and Mary helped air out empty rooms in the wing used for conference rooms and berths for any staff needed to spend the night. Dr Greene recruited from a local voluntary organization and got the furniture shifted. By tea time, the three were mostly settled. Harry and Dean were on one side, sharing an en suite between them. Hermione was across the hall from Harry.

Dr Aymler had taken over the conference room on the other side of Hermione's bath with the plans for the security cameras, adding the need for one more hall camera on the newly-inhabited wing. It would be cheap enough to add it with the rest even if it were never needed, but if the kids were still here a few years from now or they used the rooms for other residents in special circumstances, it would be in place. The company they had hired was due to begin work on Tuesday.

After dinner, as Harry was taking out his collection of motorcycles and replacing them on their shelves, his snowy owl flew in through the open window, a parchment scroll tied to her leg. She landed on the back of a chair and held still while Harry untied the scroll. "Thank you, girl. I guess you need a name. I saw one when I was looking through my book for History of Magic. What do you think of 'Hedwig'?"

The owl bobbed her head and Harry laughed. "So, Hedwig it is. Glad you like it."

Dean, hearing Harry's voice, came through the en suite. "Naming yours after a magic person?"

"Yeah. What about you?"

"I'm naming mine Picasso. He's got that sort of mad artist look in his eye." Dean waved at the parchment. "What does she say?"

Harry unfurled the scroll and read it over. "She can be here tomorrow evening at eight o'clock."


Author's Note: Thanks as always for reading!