Aurors arrived at Hogwarts the next morning at breakfast and made their way to the Great Hall. They approached the Gryffindor table. “Are Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley at this house?”
Hermione and Ron looked up from their breakfast at the Aurors standing in front of them. “We’re Hermione and Ron. Is something wrong?”
“Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley you are both under arrest for accepting payments from Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore from the Potter vaults. Miss Granger you are also charged with stealing books that belong to the Potters.”
Albus Dumbledore stood up and walked over to the Gryffindor table. “What is the meaning of this Alastor Moody?”
“Albus Dumbledore you are under arrest for stealing family artifacts and money from the Potter vaults. The three of you will be taken to Azkaban to be held while awaiting trial for your crimes against Mr. Potter.”
Two Aurors put magic cuffs on Albus and two more each put a pair of magical cuffs on Ron and Hermione before marching the three out of the Great Hall. At Dragon House Harry smirked as he watched his headmaster and his ex-friends be led out of the Great Hall by the Aurors. “I don’t see Dumbledore being sent to Azkaban and he’ll probably try to get Ron and Hermione off as well,” Harry said sadly.
“Don’t worry Harry,” Amber said. “We at Dragon House will support you and hopefully at the very least they’ll be forced to return all the money, books and artifacts they stole from your vaults.”
This sentence was confirmed by the rest of Dragon House. Harry smiled at all his house and they went back to eating breakfast. Talk of the headmaster’s and two lions quickly became the talk of the school that entire day. By the end of the day everyone knew how Ron and Hermione had been accepting money from Dumbledore that came from the Potter vaults in addition to Hermione also taking books that rightfully belonged to the Potter family.
Most of the house was disgusted with the actions of the headmaster, Ron and Hermione. Fred and George had gone over to Dragon House at lunch and apologized to Harry for their family which Harry had waved off saying that they couldn’t have known what the entire family was doing and that it wasn’t their fault. “I hope we can still be friends Fred and George even though we’re in different houses.”
“Of course we can be friends,” Fred said.
“We have your-”
“Back mate,” they finished together.
At lunch Harry walked out to the Dragon Hold to see Eclipse. He sat there for some time before Charlie came over and sat next to him with Duke in his lap. “Hey Harry how is it going?” Charlie had moved into Dragon House with the rest of the riders along with Duke. He had sent in his owl to Romania to inform his boss that he was resigning from his job.
“Hi Charlie and Duke,” Harry said. “I’m okay. I’m still shocked that Ron and Hermione pretended to be my friends just so they could get Potter books and my money and that Dumbledore was helping them. I should have guessed that they only became my friends for the money. Ron always seemed jealous of anything I did and seemed to only want to be my friend for my fame at defeating Voldemort and my money. He doesn’t understand that I didn’t ask to become famous. I wish I could be normal like everyone else but I can’t. And Hermione seemed angry whenever I did better in her in classes.”
“It’s not your fault Harry. You couldn’t have known that the first friends you would make were being paid by the headmaster and weren’t really your friends. You have had a hard life and it’s only natural that you would want to be friends with the first person who showed you any kindness at all in your first ten years of life. I finally went through with the Emancipation Ritual and am no longer a Weasley. Bill also went through it and told me to send you his condolences and tell you how sorry he is that the Weasleys acted the way they did towards you.”
“Thanks Charlie. How are you getting along with Duke?”
“We seem to be doing okay. Elda Kayla and Elda Ember have been teaching me a lot about dragons and what it means to be a rider. I didn’t think it was possible for dragons to talk but I’m glad and happy that I was chosen as Duke’s rider. It’s amazing being bonded to a dragon.”
Harry smiled. “I know. Eclipse is the first true friend I ever had and I realize that more than ever now after discovering Ron and Hermione’s betrayal. I’m thinking of not bothering to help the wizarding world since Voldemort came back last year. Why should I when they have never seen me as anything but their ‘savior’ and expect me to do something that seems impossible? I should just let them all get killed by Voldemort.”
“I can see why you think that way Harry and I don’t blame you for turning your back on the wizarding world. I’m not sure what I would do in your place but I hope you will think it through. If you turn your back on the wizarding world then you will risk our fellow riders. I came by to check on you and ask if you had heard any information on the trial of Albus Dumbledore, Ron and Hermione.”
“Yeah it’s in a couple of days. Why?”
“I was thinking of accompanying you to the trial. You’ll need a friend there I think no matter how the trial turns out.”
“Thanks Charlie. I appreciate that.”
Little one are you alright?
I’m still in shock at what Ron and Hermione did Eclipse. I didn’t think that they would abuse my friendship and steal from me at the same time. I don’t even know how long they have been taking money from my personal and family vaults. Was it just the year before I started school or was it from the time my parents died and I defeated Voldemort when I was a year old? How could they even think to do this to me?
I do not know the ways of mortals little one but perhaps you should give them a chance to explain themselves and why they stole your money and why the beaver stole books from the Potter family. It may be that they have an explanation for their actions or perhaps they were controlled by the headmaster. Your true family is now Dragon House but try not to give up on the friends that you made and had during your first four years at Hogwarts.
Do you think I should really give them a chance Eclipse?
Even if they prove that they are deceivers then you have nothing to lose by confirming the truth for yourself. But you shouldn’t take something at face value and believe it just because someone else says something to be true. Trust in your heart little one and listen to it. It will guide you in what you have to do.
The trial finally came and Charlie took Harry and they apparated in the Ministry of Magic. “So what’s your new name now Charlie?” Harry asked after their wands had been weighed at the visitor’s entrance.
“Oh I figured it’d be Charlie Horntail or some type of last name to do with dragons since you love them so much and have worked with them ever since you graduated Hogwarts.”
Charlie laughed and slapped Harry on the back in a friendly manner. “I can’t imagine being well received by society at all if I had the last name of Horntail. Bill did the Emancipation Ritual as well. Well he’s now Frost Shadow.”
“Frost Shadow huh? That’s certainly not a magical name.”
“No it isn’t. His hair changed to white when he completed the Emancipation Ritual. I’ve never seen someone’s hair change color after that ritual is complete.”
“Well at least his first name now fits,” Harry said laughing.
They made their way down to Courtroom Ten and took their seats. Harry watched as Ron, Hermione and Albus were led in and put into three chairs in front of the Wizengamont where they were bound by chains so they couldn’t move. Amos Diggory was acting as temporary head of the Wizengamont for the trial.
“Albus Dumbledore, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger you are hereby in this court for taking money, artifacts and books from the Potter Vaults that do not belong to you. I speak for everyone in this court room when I have to say that stealing from the Boy-Who-Lived is something we frown upon, even the pureblood heads in this court find such actions reprehensible. You will each be called up to the witness stand to testify but first how do you plead to these charges?”
“Not guilty,” Ron said.
“Not guilty,” Albus said.
Hermione was silent. “Miss Granger how do you plead?”
Ever since Hermione’s arrest and being held in Azkaban waiting for the trial she had been thinking about what she had done to Harry since her first year. She realized only now with the threat of Azkaban looming over her head that she had been wrong in accepting money and books from the headmaster. “Guilty,” Hermione finally said.
“Hermione you fool!” Ron shouted before shutting his mouth.
The Wizengamont looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Ron had pretty much just confessed his guilt by his slip of the tongue. “Ronald Weasley is called to testify.”
Ron was unchained and prodded in the back by two Aurors as he made his way up to the witness stand. Harry and Charlie looked at the Weasley with contempt. “Administer the Veritaserum to the witness.”
“Ronald Bilius Weasley.”
“March 1, 1980.”
“Prosecution your witness.”
“Did you knowingly accept money from the Potter vaults?”
“How long have you received these payments?”
“Since Harry started Hogwarts four years ago.”
“Why did you receive these payments and who sent you these payments?”
“Albus Dumbledore paid me a monthly salary of 50,000 galleons a month if I befriended Harry Potter and then spied on him while reporting all his actions back to the headmaster.”
There was a collective gasp before the courtroom burst into shouting. “Order!” Amos shouted firing fireworks from his wand. “Prosecutor continue with your questioning.”
“What did you do with this money you accepted from the headmaster?”
“It’s in my personal vault at Gringotts.”
“Has anyone else in your family accepted money from Albus Dumbledore?”
“Yes. Molly and Arthur Weasley, Percival Weasley and Ginny Weasley. Dumbledore also made a marriage contract between Harry and Ginny when Ginny was born and has been slipping love potions in Harry’s food while at the Burrow to make him fall in love with my sister so when he dies my family can get all his money.”
“Why did you betray the Boy-Who-Lives trust and take his money?”
“Because my family has always been poor. I get secondhand robes and secondhand equipment because my parents can’t afford anything nice for me when they already have five older sons. Everyone expects me to do a lot of stuff but it doesn’t matter because my brothers have done it all. Then when Ginny was born mom and dad doted on her and ignored me. When the headmaster offered me the money to befriend and spy on Harry for him I took the deal because I knew I’d finally get my own money that I could save up to become rich and better than Saint Potter. Harry thinks he is so smart and special because he survived You-Know-Who’s attack when he was a baby but he’s selfish and reckless. Why should he get everything handed to him and allowed to go unpunished at school just because he beat You-Know-Who when he was a baby? I’d have to say that he’s probably a dark wizard in the making. I deserve the money Dumbledore gives me every month.”
Harry’s fists clenched in anger. “Mr. Weasley step down. Miss Granger step forward.” Ron stepped out of the witness stand and was taken back to the chair he had been held in and chained once more as Hermione was removed and forced up to the witness stand. Harry looked around and saw Molly and Arthur sitting in the row behind them. “Looks like Molly and Arthur are with us listening as their son blabs about how they stole money from my vaults,” Harry said scornfully to Charlie. Charlie looked behind him and glared at his former parents with hate and anger before turning back to the trial.
The trial continued for another two hours as Hermione Granger and then Albus Dumbledore were questioned by the Wizengamont. Harry shook his head as Dumbledore tried that “for the greater good” nonsense he had been spouting since before Harry’s birth. After an hour of deliberations Harry was disappointed to see that none of them would be going to Azkaban like he hoped but that all the money they had seized would be going back into his vaults along with all his books that Hermione had willingly accepted and their vaults would be frozen and seized by Gringotts. “Well at least I get my books and money back from the traitors,” Harry said sighing. “Let’s leave Charlie. I don’t want to be anywhere near them anymore.”
Charlie and Harry got up to leave when Hermione rushed forward and grabbed onto Harry’s sleeve. “Harry wait! I can explain!”
“Save your excuses Hermione! I don’t want to hear it. You pretended to be my friend just so you could steal books that belong to me and my family and also accepted money from my vaults. I can see why nobody wants to be your friend at Hogwarts.” Harry jerked his arm away from Hermione and left Courtroom Ten. Harry was furious and when he spotted Ron walking smugly with his parents he lost it.
“Jierda thierra kalfis!”
Ron screamed in pain as his legs were broken. Harry smirked and the two dragon riders made their way past the Weasleys and apparated back to Hogwarts. “Thanks for going with me to the trial Charlie. I’m going to go see Eclipse and fly around for a while.”
“Want me to come with you Harry?”
“No I just need to be alone right now to sort out my thoughts.”
“Okay. I’ll inform Master Kayla and the others to leave you alone for the time being.”
Harry nodded and made his way to the Dragon Hold where he found Eclipse. He saddled her and Eclipse beat her wings twice before they soared into the sky. Harry how did the trial go?
The traitors aren’t going to Azkaban like I hoped. The Wizengamont decided that having them pay back all the money and books they stole was enough payment. I suspect friends of the Weasleys on the Wizengamont didn’t want to see a member of a prominent light family go to Azkaban for betraying the ‘Boy-Who-Lived’. I broke the bastard’s legs when the trial was over though which gave me a small bit of satisfaction.
Eclipse snorted in amusement at the thought of the red furred two legs being taken down a notch by Harry. A shame they didn’t go to this wizard prison that so many of you two legs fear. Are you going to forgive them young one?
I will never forgive Ron or Dumbledore. I’m not sure if I will be able to forgive Hermione or not. She seemed like she wanted to apologize for what she did but how can I trust her when she betrayed my trust and lied to me for four years? If she was really my friend she would never have accepted books and money from my vaults in the first place.
That is true. What of your opinion on the wizarding world little one?
They can all rot in hell for all I care. They have expected great things of me, ridiculed me, and made me out to be a liar ever since I entered the magical world at eleven. They don’t see that this burden they place on me is too much for me to handle and that I don’t want this burden. I just wish I was a normal kid. Voldemort can have them. I will help protect you and my fellow dragon riders but that’s it. I won’t be a pawn for Dumbledore or the light anymore. They can find another savior to lead them and save them from Voldemort.
Harry and Eclipse flew in silence for a while as Harry felt a weight lift off him at his proclamation to his dragon and partner-of-his-mind-and-soul that he would no longer be a pawn of Dumbledore or the light. After all why should I help that manipulative old fool when he purposely endangered his students just to ‘test’ me to see if I was worthy of facing Voldemort. I never asked for this burden to be placed on my shoulders or to lose my parents. I never asked to suffer abuse at the hands of Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and Dudley. If my parents had lived and Voldemort had never been born then would I have had a normal life and been able to be a normal kid? Though there is one good thing that came of this. I got to be bonded to Eclipse and join an ancient and noble order. Harry laid his head on Eclipse’s neck and they flew in silence until it was time for dinner. On the ground a few members of Dragon House watched Harry and Eclipse as they flew around the castle grounds. Regret was on the former Slytherins faces for treating Harry like scum for the past four years and the former lions, badgers and ravens realized they hadn’t been all that nice or considerate of Harry’s feelings since he had come into the wizarding world and saw they were stupid for accepting what Dumbledore said at face value. The former ravens were especially appalled because their house had prided themselves on logic, knowledge and thinking for oneself and they had blindly followed the headmaster like sheep. Dragon House and the Riders of Hogwarts had to stick together in these desperate times because they were all that was standing against Voldemort, his followers and supporters and the school’s safety.