Unofficial Portkey Archive

The Perils of Innocence by puck_nc

The Perils of Innocence


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

Reminder: I'm on Twitter under "@avidbeader" if you are reading this on a guest account and would prefer to get your notifications of a new chapter that way. I promise I won't be spamming.

Answers: A lot of people rightly said that Justin's question echoed the Caterpillar in "Alice in Wonderland". That was unintentional. I named the trunk salesman Phileas after the traveling main character in "Around the World in 80 Days" and Barty being in Anatolia was a very obscure reference to the Agatha Christie mystery "Cat Among the Pigeons", where a character travels there (modern-day Turkey) on a bus and is therefore hard to get in contact with.

Note: I'm late with this chapter. I will try to be back on track after this as the next chapter is already half-written. However, my life is lived by the academic calendar and I'm about to be extremely busy again. All I can promise is that I will keep writing and trying to update often.


10 August 1991

Hermione had been taken aback by the fair-haired man and boy delivering their cutting remarks, remembering similar derision in school from the popular girls. She was even more surprised at Justin's response. The amiable boy they had begun to know in the last week was acting every inch to the manor born. The look on his face suggested that he had discovered something disagreeable on the sole of his shoe.

His expression was mirrored by the man, who tightened his grip on his cane. The boy stared, open-mouthed, for a moment, before shooting back, "How dare you!"

Justin snorted. "How dare I? I wasn't the one making ignorant remarks in the hearing of those I intended to insult."

"Ignorant? You're one to talk, you mu-"

The man gripped the boy's shoulder to stop him, then looked the entire group over before fastening onto Justin's father. With condescension dripping from his voice, he said, "To answer your son's rather rude question, I am Lucius Malfoy. This is my son, Draco. And yourselves, gentlemen?"

Mr Finch-Fletchley pushed his glasses up his nose after looking them over. "Malfoy? That's an unfamiliar surname. How long have you lived in Britain?"

Hermione exchanged a wide-eyed glance with Harry, sensing the tension building between the adults.

"Our family has been part of wizarding society since the fifteenth century."

"Ah, that explains it twice." Mr. Finch-Fletchley looked down at Justin and laid one hand on his shoulder.


"Yes. First, of course, you're newcomers. Most of the truly notable blood can be traced back to at least the Anarchy, if not before the Norman invasion. And second, you're only important in here." He waved vaguely at the street. "Not where it matters."

The boy had been turning pink as he listened and finally burst out, "What do you mean, where it matters? Wizarding society is the only society that matters!"

Justin laughed. "Truly? Name one wizard in the Queen's court. One wizard in Parliament. One great thing some wizard has done that has benefited the entire population, not just yourselves."

Seeing both the Malfoys groping to answer, Hermione added, "Can you lot speak to anyone, anywhere in the world in an instant? Or are you limited to waiting for an owl to fly to you? Do you have magic that can make thousands of calculations in a second, like our computers?"

Dean joined in. "S'right, we've even sent men to the moon!"

"Impossible! You lie!" Draco, the boy, snarled.

"No, child," Robert stepped up. "We've done quite well for ourselves without this magic we've heard about. And the fact that you are showing such appalling ignorance about the greater world has me agreeing with my daughter that this Hogwarts of yours offers an incomplete education. I think we should stop by the offices for those other schools and see if they do any better. Otherwise we may have to continue our children's education as normal and supplement their magical abilities with some tutoring."

Now Draco laughed. "Go ahead and try it!"

His father jerked him back by the shoulder, instantly silencing him. Hermione's eyes narrowed at that reaction.

Malfoy shrugged his cloak to settle it more comfortably and led Draco away with a cold "Good day, gentlemen." Hermione watched as they went into the bookstore. At that moment, the rest of the group emerged from Eeylops. Mrs Boot brandished a small shopping bag and was exclaiming over the timed shrinking charm that would end in twelve hours, after they had the stand at home.

"Dad, I'll catch up to you. All we need from the bookstore is the Hogwarts book, right?"

"True, but if you go in alone we'll not see you for hours. Go with her, Harry. We'll wait for you at the bank."


As he watched his daughter and Harry dash toward the bookstore, Robert turned to Justin's father, who had lingered with him. "Mr Finch-Fletchley, may I express how glad I am you haven't turned that aristocratic side onto us?"

The other man smiled. "It's Addison. And frankly I find the whole thing a bore most of the time. I can trace my Fletchley side back to Edward the Confessor, if I must, but it's mainly useful for twitting someone like that Malfoy character. Not quite out of the top drawer if they only arrived sometime during the Hundred Years' War."

Robert shrugged. "That's better than I can manage. I don't think I can go back farther than my great-granddad without resorting to research."

Addison laughed. "Robert, what you do have is wit and courage. These days that will take you quite as far as anyone with strawberry leaves hanging over their head. Much more than simply giving in to snobbery like those people." With that they followed the others down Diagon Alley.


Hermione and Harry slipped into a crowded Flourish & Blotts. She scanned the shop and immediately spotted the Malfoys looking over the Hogwarts textbooks. Seizing Harry's hand, she pulled him along until they were on the other side of the shelves. She pretended to browse and pulled a book out to skim.

Harry looked puzzled, but followed her lead. Comprehension dawned when he heard the snivelling tone of the Malfoy boy. "Father, why didn't you let me tell those mudbloods what would happen if they didn't go to one of our schools?"

"Information is power, Draco. Always better to spend it carefully. If those people don't know that they'd be Obliviated of all knowledge of magic, let them find out after they've committed to that course of action. A few less mudbloods for us to deal with."

Hermione frowned, trying to place the unfamiliar term. She shelved her book and moved to an area with some general spell indexes and pulled down The A-Z Guide to Spells. She flipped to the Os and immediately found the entry.

Harry had followed her and paused when she looked up, white-faced. "What is it, Hermione?"

"If we don't go to a magic school, they…" She paused and swallowed. "They wipe our memories."


Harry stuck close to Hermione as she rapidly bought a copy of Hogwarts, A History and The A-Z Guide to Spells. They entered Gringotts, nodded politely to Trobnor at his station, and found the rest waiting in a group while Dean spoke with Griphook. As they approached, the goblin was shaking his head. Dean spotted them and brightened. "Well, as Harry's here now, you can tell him after all."

Griphook turned to Harry. "I do apologize, but I was explaining to Mr Demirci-Thomas, we Goblins keep to a strict code of confidentiality. I can only talk about details of your accounts and vaults to you."

"We understand. That's very sensible of you," Harry replied.

"Thank you for your understanding. Do you wish to move to a private location?"

"Er, would that be better?"

"It would ensure confidentiality, which is never a bad thing."

"All right, but…" Harry looked around at the group. "Could Dr Greene, Mr Granger and Mr Finch-Fletchley come? I trust them to know about this stuff."

The goblin nodded and gestured toward a door. "That is acceptable. This way." He led the three to a sitting room, tastefully appointed with chairs to accommodate a wide variety of heights. Griphook sat in a small chair next to a low table and gestured for Harry to sit across from him. The adults sat to either side of Harry, Dr Greene choosing the one farthest away from Griphook. The goblin waved a hand and a sheaf of papers appeared on the table.

"These are copies of the papers we gave you on your last visit. After you sent the owl asking about your parents' will, we investigated. It should have been with the rest of the papers. We have prepared a piece of magic that we rarely use, as it could be seen as an invasion of privacy by some wizards. What it will do is summon and duplicate a copy of the will from someone who has it in their records. In this case it will likely be one of the three witnesses. There should be a copy filed at the Ministry, but the spell is disrupted by wards of a certain strength."

Mr Finch-Fletchley asked, "Can you tell us who the witnesses were?"

"I expect that two were Mr Potter's godparents, Sirius Black and Alice Longbottom."

Grasping desperately for something normal she could do, Dr Greene whipped out a notebook and pen and began taking notes. "We know the story of Sirius Black. Do you know why Harry's godmother never came forward after his parents were killed?"

Griphook turned to her. "Unfortunately, I do. Just a few weeks after the deaths of the Potters, Death Eaters attacked the Longbottom family."

The adults grimaced and Emily replied, "So they were killed as well?"

"Worse by some reckoning, actually. They were tortured until they went insane. They currently reside in St Mungo's Hospital, completely unresponsive. They don't recognize their own son, a child about Mr Potter's age."

Robert reached over to squeeze Harry's shoulder, seeing how upset the story made him, while Emily frowned and scribbled more notes.

Mr Finch-Fletchley cleared his throat. "Be that as it may, we do need to see the Potter will if we can."

"Of course," Griphook stood and moved the papers away from the table. He stared at the empty expanse in fierce concentration for a moment, then raised his hands and moved them in a pattern. When nothing happened, he frowned and repeated the action.

"What's wrong?" Harry asked.

"It would seem that all copies of the will are under strong wards. Of course the copy at the Ministry would not be retrievable in this fashion. I suspect the copy with Mrs Longbottom may be at her mother-in-law's manor, also a heavily warded location. I cannot explain the other two at the moment. We will send requests to the Black and Longbottom estates and to the Ministry. If we hear nothing within six months or receive answers in the negative, we will change the status of the will to 'missing'. This ensures that, per Gringotts policy, you will come into your full inheritance as the only remaining blood relative of the Potters on your fifteenth birthday. This is the age that we consider beings to be legal adults. Should a copy of the will be found before then, we will honour any legacies not discharged after your parents' deaths, but you will still receive your inheritance at fifteen. Until then, you will have full access to your school vault to cover your expenses, as before."

"Er…thank you, Griphook." Harry's head was spinning from the speed with which things were moving.

"Now that things are as settled as we can make them, shall we return to the rest of your group?"


They trooped out of the office for the Cliodna Conservatory clutching copies of the same brochure that Professor McGonagall had given them. The expressions ranged from dazed to incredulous. The presentation in the brochure had seemed straightforward enough, showing the emphasis on nature that might be expected from a school named after a Druid. But the representative had lost them the moment she'd come from behind her desk to press her hand to each of theirs and sprinkle them with water and flower petals conjured from her wand. The group was patient as the witch described the classes and school routine, even as Viola Granger's question about postgraduate opportunities drew a blank stare.

Now they filed into the office for the Wenlock Academy. This time the representative was a man in neat brown robes, happily scribbling calculations on parchment and consulting an abacus. Justin's father cleared his throat, startling the man.

"I say, I do apologize. Euclid Pascal, at your service."

"These children are of an age to enter magical schools and we wanted to know more about our opportunities." Mr Finch-Fletchley waved at the group.

Pascal stood, grasping a stack of copies of a familiar-looking brochure. Hermione held up a hand. "We have that information already, sir, thank you. We wanted to know if your school incorporates non-magical subjects into your curriculum."

"Non-magical? Why on earth would we do that?"

"To keep up with innovations in mathematics that might affect Arithmancy, of course!" Hermione's tone was sharp with impatience. "Have you considered discoveries like fractal geometry and the four-colour theorem?"

"The what geometry? Four colours?" Pascal looked completely lost.

Harry whipped off his cap and wiped his brow in frustration. "Even I've heard of fractal geometry and I'm a dunce compared to Hermione! Are you really saying that your school completely ignores the rest of the world?"

The man looked at Harry to reply, but fell silent a moment as he stared at the boy's face. He reached out to shake Harry's hand. Harry resisted the urge to wipe his hand on his trousers to get rid of the sudden impression of sliminess.

"Harry Potter, we will be glad to accommodate the Boy Who Lived if you wish to make a special study of some area of Arithmancy. I think we have one Muggleborn on our staff who could assist if you insisted on working with such information. But sit, sit, let me get you and your companions some tea…"

"That's all right, we have a lot of errands to run," Harry lied frantically. Dean and Hermione immediately headed toward the door and the others began to follow.

"Are you sure? Madame Archimedes says that my tea is ambrosial!"

Everyone had escaped back into the street and Emily turned to Harry. "Did you have this kind of toadying going on last time?"

"No, doctor, not like that. That was horrid!" Harry shuddered, remembering the sudden eagerness in the wizard's eyes.

Justin nodded in agreement. "Now I completely understand when dad complains about anyone sucking up to him."

Dean looked toward the Leaky Cauldron passageway. "Let's get out of here before it happens again!"


17 August 1991

After a careful perusal of Hogwarts, A History, some phone calls between the Muggleborn families, and a flurry of exchanges by owl, Minerva McGonagall agreed to meet with everyone one more time. This time she decided against dressing like a Muggle. Whether or not the children decided to attend Hogwarts or one of the other schools, they needed to start getting used to how the wizarding world did things.

She Apparated directly into the conference room to be met by Dr Aymler. He greeted her cordially enough and opened the door. "There's enough of us that we've set up in what was a parlour back in the day. All the families are here."

"Do I need to alter my robes?"

"No, this floor is locked against the other residents and most of the staff. You'll be fine." He led her down the hall and through a foyer separating one wing of the manor from another.

The parlour was full of people sitting on a hodgepodge of chairs and couches brought in from other areas of the institute. Minerva saw all of the children and parents she had met except for the Entwhistles, who had opted for Wenlock Academy. She took an empty chair and greeted the room. "Good afternoon." After the various replies died down, she turned to Aymler. "What more do you wish to know?"

"We have a few concerns that we'd like to share. One is the fact that none of your magical schools seem to teach any kind of material for students who plan on living the majority of their lives in our world. You say you provide records for students who want to attend university, but if they haven't had courses in maths or sciences, our history or literature, how can they possibly succeed?"

Minerva thought about that for a moment. She knew it was possible to alter records and carefully charm an admissions officer or two-Albus had explained the process to her once. But the doctor's question suggested that they expected students to actually learn Muggle subjects alongside magical ones, and that was a thing that had never been done at Hogwarts.

She weighed her answer, debating whether to temporize or not. She looked around and her gaze stopped at Harry, his green eyes focused on her. Lily's eyes looking out from her son's face.

That decided her. Lily Evans Potter had prized honesty above almost all else.

"I do not know if they can. We have never made provisions for Muggleborn students to learn such material. All we offer is Muggle Studies, which is designed for wizards and witches. Unfortunately I cannot remember the last time we had a student request help in applying to a university. Neither am I aware of any Muggleborn student who has gone back to this world permanently, although there may be a few." She paused to look around and saw the frowns and thinned lips of the parents.

Dr Aymler asked, "Would you support us if we arranged for our students to have access to some of these courses?"

"I would, though I think it would be extremely difficult for them to essentially double their course loads, especially in the O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. years."

"What if they did some of those studies during holidays?"

"That would be better for them. We do assign summer homework, but a diligent student can complete such work within several days."

Several of the parents seemed to relax as they listened. Then Harry Potter traded glances with the little Granger girl and she raised a hand. Minerva looked at her. "Yes, dear?"

"How long must one attend a wizarding school before they may leave without having their memories taken away?"

The room erupted.


Author's Note: As always, thank you for reading! For the eager ones, I promise that a certain red steam engine will appear next chapter.