“You’re kidding.” Hermione looked stunned.
“Hermione, after all the things I’ve done, been through, and told you, this is what you call into question?”
“There is no way any twelve year old - even you - is an official UN delegate!”
Harry showed her his ID card. It read, “Harry James Potter, UN/MSU-Monster Island Liaison.”
Interpreting her stunned expression as needing further explanation, Harry elaborated, “As a human adopted by a kaiju who can communicate with both them and ordinary humans, I am considered completely unique in all of human history.” He sighed and continued, “This means that I am the go-to guy for anything that requires a handling a kaiju, and the reason they called me in to get Kumonga to persuade the acromantulas to go to Monster Island.”
“And that worked!?”
“We didn’t tell Hagrid this, but we suspected Kumonga would have to eat Aragog and Mosag to assert dominance, but that isn’t what happened at all. Apparently, size counts for a lot in acromantula hierarchy, so the colony as a whole started spontaneously worshiping Kumonga on sight, and it only intensified after he told them about how he chased off the basilisk. After that there was no way they weren’t leaving with him.”
“None of the acromantulas died though right? Hagrid would be heartbroken if they did.”
Harry glanced at Luna, then left and right, and whispered, “Kumonga got peckish during the flight back to Monster Island, but he got volunteers to be eaten. I know I said they worshiped him, but I really do think it’s approaching religious mania. Hagrid didn’t see that though and I didn’t tell him.”
Neville wasn’t with the group. He was in the next compartment, helping to comfort a near catatonic Ron Weasley. The news that an entire colony of acromantulas had been at Hogwarts did not sit well with the young arachnophobe, even though they were gone now.
In hindsight, it may not have been wise to release a pamphlet full of photographs of the inspection team’s findings, but that hadn’t been Harry’s decision.
Harry wondered what changes had been made to Hogwarts with Dumbledore gone. As a student he hadn’t been briefed about what was to happen.
A woman in plain black robes Harry didn’t recognize appeared to be occupying the central throne of the headmaster - well, headmistress now he supposed. After the first years were sorted she stood up to say a few words.
“Greetings everyone, I am your new Headmistress Regina Arachtocril. I’m sure you all want to eat, so I’ll do my best to keep this list of changes brief. First of all, now that the worlds are reintegrating, muggle studies is now nonmagical studies, a required course with Professor Chatagnier Carrilo, also the new head of Slytherin House.” She indicated a man wearing a formal muggle suit. “Introductory science courses will be taught by Professor Sertel Fins.” She waved her wand to highlight a jovial looking man in a white coat. “Professor Circe Gail Arathorn is your new potions mistress.” She pointed to tanned, slender woman with a look in her eyes Harry could only describe as intense. “With the new staff introduced, let’s move on to some of the bigger changes. The Forbidden Forest remains such; though most of its hazards have been removed, namely the acromantula colony, it remains a wildlife preserve for magical creatures, some of which are dangerous to humans. The Chamber of Secrets is secret no longer, and has been renovated into a science lab that senior years will be able to use on proving themselves responsible. Finally, there is a room not commonly known to students called the Come and Go Room. Due to it’s unique nature, students will only be permitted to enter it with staff supervision, and it has been charmed to turn away those without such. You’ll all find pamphlets with more detailed descriptions of the changes in your dormitories. In the meantime, bon appétit!”
With that the feast began and students began talking and eating in equal measure, and Harry simply enjoyed listening in on the chatter.
“Can you believe the size of that acromantula colony they removed from the Forbidden Forest?”
“Forget that, we might actually be able to enter the Chamber of Secrets! Can you believe it’s a science lab now? Old Slytherin himself must be rolling in his grave!”
“I want to know more about the Come and Go Room; I mean, she made it sound more dangerous than the Chamber, and even if that’s true I want to know why.”
An envelope suddenly appeared and hovered over Harry’s treacle. Seeing that no one else got one, he glanced up at the staff table. The Headmistress saw his confused expression and nodded.
Satisfied that this wasn’t a trap, Harry opened it and read the message.
“After the feast come to the Headmistress’s office. There are things connected to Dumbledore’s plans for you that you need to see. Simply tell the gargoyle that the headmistress is expecting you.”
About an hour later, stuffed to the point of bursting, Harry waddled away from his friends as they approached Gryffindor tower. Thankfully the prefects had the foresight to give him the password to enter since he’d be away from the initial handout.
He gave the gargoyle the message and the door opened. He knocked on the next door he encountered and was greeted by Professor Arachtocril, still in the plain black robes from earlier.
“Hello Mr. Potter, I’m sure you have questions so I’ll cut to the chase. Dumbledore left a heavily charmed cache of parchment detailing his plans for your and how he came to them. No doubt he believed he’d be able to come back for them or that his charms would hold us out indefinitely, but he’s not as talented as he believes… nor as moral as you will discover.”
She handed him the parchments and a stress ball.
And there it was, written in the old man’s own handwriting, the real reason for all the lies and manipulation.
A prophecy. Hand delivered to Voldemort by Snape at that. And Snape had done it in the hope of shagging Harry’s mother. Harry wanted to laugh, but the fact that this had stolen his parents’ lives just made him feel sick.
His emotions must have showed on his face, because he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Professor Arachtocril with a conciliatory expression on her face.
“A group of us worked to break apart his enchantments and read the papers. They are sickening. If you’d rather I give you a summary that’s fine, but a majority of us believed that you deserved the chance to see the truth with your own eyes.”
Harry wanted to be strong, to fight his own battle… but in that moment he was still just a child, and he nodded.
“Dumbledore could have obliviated Snape on the night he heard the prophecy, delivered by a former professor of this school, one Sybil Trelawney. But he chose not to because he saw a way to end the war with Voldemort. The prophecy could have applied to two children: yourself and your friend Neville Longbottom. Dumbledore believed - correctly damn him - that your parents or his would invoke sacrificial magic to protect you and that that would destroy Voldemort’s physical form. But he also knew that Voldemort would return - he had several theories about how and we’re investigating all of them, but that is beside the point. He believed that no amount of training could prepare you to best Voldemort, and so decided to mold you into a martyr that would sacrifice himself for the entire wizarding world, and thus apply the same protection your mother gave you to the world. Then, bolstered by your sacrifice, he would step in and defeat a second Dark Lord, an accomplishment not even Merlin could claim, cementing his legend forever. He didn’t want to fight pureblood bigotry, he didn’t want to address corruption in the ministry or ICW, he just wanted to be remembered as a hero.”
By the end the Headmistress was nearly trembling from rage, and was looking away from him. Perhaps she didn’t want to see what she believed would be a tearful reaction, but that wasn’t what Harry felt.
He felt angry.
No, anger was not an accurate descriptor. He was apoplectic.
His entire family had died because the “greatest” wizard since Merlin couldn’t be bothered to cast a simple memory charm on a terrorist who’d lusted after his mother.
“Is this information secret?”
Professor Arachtocril looked back at him hearing his tone of voice.
“We’re investigating the various methods of immortality that Dumbledore postulated, so we’d advise you not to publicize those, but other than that? We are not Dumbledore, and we will not try to control you. If you want to tell the world about this you have my blessing - and that of my friends and companions - but I do want to ask: what do you plan to do?”
Harry smiled malevolently and replied, “I’m going to tell the truth.”
Bellatrix Lestrange stood guard over Nagini, her master’s prized pet and current body, as it rested in their current domicile; a muggle yacht with a crew shackled by her master’s power. Other Death Eaters, those who’d claimed to be under the very same spell, had come when her master had touched her Dark Mark with the tip of a fang. They had brought grim tidings, that the Potter scion was destroying their way of life by exposing their world to the muggles.
Her master had seethed - oh, his rage had been a thing to behold even restrained by his lack of a wand - but he had shown why he was their leader even under such dire circumstances. The muggles would never think to look for wizards of their caliber on a muggle vessel, and so they had quietly appeared and cast the Imperius curse upon this ship’s captain and crew.
Now they were sailing to a hidden island. Ancient sorcerers had concealed it to lock its hazards away, but no sorcerer was greater than the Dark Lord.
Bellatrix whirled on the intruder - Rowle, it seemed - and prepared to curse him, but her master rolled like a thick fog out of Nagini’s mouth and descended on him.
“Why do you interrupt my rest Rowle? Tell me - and do not lie - do you think to question my commands?”
Choking on the black mist, Rowle gasped, “N-not I my Lord, but the others…”
“Which others Rowle? And do you think it wise to have obeyed them over me?”
Bellatrix barely restrained her fury as she learned from Rowle’s whimpering that Avery, MacNair, and Gibbon were questioning their master’s state of mind due to his use of a muggle vessel.
“Calm yourself Bella. They shall be punished very soon. After all, we require more bait to lure the Quintapeds once we reach the Island of Drear.”