Inspected by No. 13
A Bureaucrat is Freed
A/N: I do not own Harry Potter and would not particularly care to… but I suspect you knew that.
The first indication that things had changed was the plain black robes the Headmaster wore to breakfast the first day of classes after the 2nd task.
Harry only noticed when Hermione commented on it, but thought that perhaps the old man had, for some reason, decided to tone down his wardrobe.
The next indication of change came later that day when Harry escorted Eddie to lunch having arranged to meet with her to keep their fledgling relationship as active as possible. Outside the entrance of the Great Hall was a small table staffed by several of the teachers, selling baked goods.
Eddie and Harry exchanged a look before approaching the table to inspect the wares.
"What would you like, Potter?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"That tablet looks good, Professor," Harry said as he fished in his pockets for cash.
"It should," the Professor said, offering the Scottish confectionary. "It's my mother's recipe, after all."
"They had tablet back then?" Ron Weasley asked before turning to his friend, "spot me a few knuts, Harry?"
Harry paid for his own purchase and tossed his change to Ron. He looked questioningly to Hermione who shook her head.
"This is nice," Eddie observed as she munched on a biscuit, "I don't recall anything like this happening before."
"We're trying to support the Headmaster," Professor Sprout explained as she brought out another tray of her 'special' brownies. "He finds himself in financial straits after the paying the fines levied by some people ."
Eddie stiffened, "are you suggesting the fines were wrong, Professor?"
"The pair of you have nearly bankrupted a good man," Pomona Sprout responded.
"Three young women and one small girl were taken in the night without as much as a by your leave and hidden at the bottom of the lake," Harry pointed out, his appetite gone in an instant, "for the crime of having been somewhat close to the 'Champions'. Surely you don't support that do you Professor?"
"They came to no harm," the head of House Hufflepuff pointed out."
"We didn't know that," Harry explained. "The clue from the Golden Egg told us we had an hour to retrieve what, or rather who, was taken from us, and that if we failed we lost it forever."
"Besides, is harm your standard for crime?" Eddie asked. "If someone was to take you in the night, savagely beat you nearly to death, and then heal you and obliviate the experience from your mind, would you then call 'no harm, no foul'?"
"That's hardly the same thing," Sprout protested.
"It's exactly the same thing," Hermione Granger responded. "I couldn't sleep last night out of the fear that they would come for me again.
"It was kidnapping, plain and simple," Harry pointed out. "And the Triwizard Tournament Committee forced attendance of all the students of all three schools in an environment that was unsafe. Some of the Beauxbatons girls got frostbite. The entire event was ill thought out and poorly executed. Besides, while the Aurors refused to treat the kidnappings as the crime it was, the fines were challenged and adjudicated yesterday. The challenge failed. Our rulings were held to be quite legitimate."
Harry and Eddie left the bake sale for lunch, each silently reflecting on how no one outside the department ever truly understood the burden of keeping the world safe from itself.
- 13 -
"And that," Barty Crouch Senior said with a sigh, "is the status of our current funding."
"Well," Albus said, clearly distressed by his drab garb, "this is disheartening news. Are you sure?"
"Quite sure," Barty confirmed. "We are no longer in a position to carry through with our original plans for the third task."
"Surely, it could not cost that much," Madame Olympe Maxime suggested, her usual jewelry noticeable in its absence. "It is only a maze."
"I hadn't thought so either, and then I checked Ludo's books," Crouch sighed. "The sphinx alone was going to cost us more than a thousand Galleons, she is evidently highly sought after. Getting the Ministry of Magic's Landscaping Herbologist Union involved was more than 5000 Galleons just to grow the hedgerows, and don't get me started on what the Acromantula's time is worth."
"Hagrid intended to donate some of his creatures pro bono, but without the maze…" Albus left his thought incomplete.
"None of this would have happened if the Tournament was held at Durmstrang," Karkaroff sneered.
"We wanted to hold it at Durmstrang Igor," Albus pointed out, "but you refused to tell any of us where your school is located."
"Security," the man smirked, his trademark furs exchanged for a blue and white cardigan. "Plus it guaranteed a Drumstrang victory, so also strategy."
"Yes, as diabolically clever as that plot may have been,"Barty Crouch interjected, "we still need to determine what will make up the new, vastly less expensive, third task."
"How about a double elimination, one on one Quidditch Tournament?" Ludo Bagman asked.
"You're proposing a Quidditch tournament between three seekers and someone who plays keeper in the odd pickup game?" Olympe sniffed, not failing to notice that Bagman was the only member of the Committee now showing signs of impending poverty. "I think not."
"Besides," Albus said shaking his head, "That could take weeks, and we don't have that kind of time left to us."
"Well," Bagman temporized, "what about a broom race?"
"Then the race is between Krum and Potter," Albus pointed out. "As they are the only ones with professional level brooms."
"We could supply brooms selected randomly from the Hogwarts flying class, so everyone is on the same level," the Ministry man suggested.
"I have seen those so called brooms in use," Karkaroff snarled. "I will not risk my student on such trash. If we are to do this we will need top of the line racing brooms."
"Which returns us to the original issue," Barty sighed. "We don't have the funds."
"The third task is traditionally a kind of race," Albus noted.
"Usually, but not always," Barty agreed.
"Given the unfortunate attention of the Department of Magical Inspections, we have to make the third task spectator friendly. What if we were to build an obstacle course," the Hogwarts Headmaster stroked his beard in thought, "one over large pools of water…"
"Or mud," Karkaroff agreed.
"Or mud," Albus nodded. "The obstacle course would have features that rotated, and went up and down, and sprayed slippery liquids to make footing unsure. The Champions would have to scramble to make it through, and then we could, from a safe distance, ridicule their efforts to the audience."
"That would be popular with the audience," Bagman agreed.
"We still fall back onto to the whole how do we pay for it question," Barty pointed out. "Much of your 'obstacle course' could be conjured, of course, but much of it could not, and our budget is nonexistent."
"True," Albus conceded, deflating a bit.
"I have heard good things about Full Contact Tiddlywinks," Karkaroff suggested.
"No, just no," Olympe said, pinching the bridge of her nose. "We hosted one of those tournaments two years ago. Dozens died, and they're still scrubbing the blood off the ceiling of my dining hall. What about Gobstones?"
"The International Gobstones Federation would never allow it," Bagman objected. "Those IGF lads play rough."
"Well," Barty said, "I am hesitant to suggest it, but it seems to me that a similar situation came up in the 1591 Tournament hosted at Beauxbatons."
"They were fined into insolvency as well?" Olympe asked, annoyed that she was unaware of the instance that took place at her own school.
"Well, no," Barty admitted as his fellow committee members paged through their documentation to find the event. "The second task ended in 1591 with an enraged herd of Erumpents stampeded into the viewing stands and killed hundred. The committee's funds were depleted caring for the injured and paying reparations to the families of the killed. Their final solution for the 3rd task is detailed on page 1093."
The Committee members read the passage looked up at each other and smiled as one.
"And once again," Albus laughed. "The Triwizard Tournament is saved."
- 13 -
Six hundred meters beneath the streets of London, torchlight flickered in the Council Chamber of the Goblin nation. Five ancient goblins sat on an ornate dais shaped in a half circle, each with an aide standing directly behind them on guard. A single goblin stood before the assembled Council awaiting his fate.
"And what have you found?" Nagnok demanded from his place at the center of the dais.
The young goblin standing before the Council of Elders tried very hard not to squirm.
"Very little," he admitted. "By all reports, Potter is a lack luster student with no real talents beyond their Defense against the Dark Arts class and flying."
"Then why was he made Inspector 13?" one of the elders thundered.
"We don't know," the investigator responded plaintively, "the wizards claim the boy unknowingly assumed the role himself when he decided to wear the badge and tried to bluff the dragon."
"Absurd," the elder snarled. "No one would allow such an insane manner of assuming such an important position."
"Never question the absurdity of the wizards," one of his fellows responded. "After all, they left the position of Inspector 13, the most important of the Inspectors vacant for most of three decades."
"Wizards," Nagnok spat from his place at the head of the Council. "What was Potter's reaction to the increase of the tribute?"
"He said nothing when the February tribute was delivered," the investigator answered. "He didn't even count it."
"He didn't count it?" Nagnok echoed incredulously.
"He didn't even open the bag to look inside," the investigator responded. "I didn't know how to react to that at all, so I didn't. When I delivered the tribute for March, he asked why the tribute had increased. Again, I didn't know how to react, so I just told him that it was the culmination of the traditional annual increases, factored for twenty seven years. He thanks me and told me it really wasn't necessary, and then… He didn't even open the bag again. Nor did he check upon the delivery of the April or May tributes."
"What does that mean?" the first Elder demanded.
"It either means he trusts us," Nagnok responded, hesitantly, "which would be ridiculous on its face, or it means that it doesn't matter because we don't concern him."
"He knows?" the elder asked, his complexion paling to an unhealthy pink.
"He knows," Nagnok confirmed. "Cancel the plans, cancel them now!"
"If Potter knows, then the Ministry knows. Cancel everything. This is my word, this is my command."
Silence filled the Council Chambers of the Goblin nation and the reality of their situation sank in. Thusly, through the total lack of effort on the part of Harry Potter, the Goblin Rebellion of 1995 was averted.
"This… espionage of our plans cannot go unchallenged," Nagnok thundered. "Potter is tested by the wizards' latest Dark Lord is he not?"
"Yes," the elder responsible for external security responded. "Riddle is even now working toward regaining a body. The presence of Inspector 13 has forced him to file all the applicable documentation."
"It seems we have a mutual enemy," Nagnok noted. "Send a delegation to Riddle upon his rebirth, offer our assistance in the consolidation of his power."
"And the tribute to Potter?" the Investigator before the Council asked. "Should it be stopped?"
"No," Nagnok ordered. "That would draw his suspicion. Continue the deliveries… In fact, double the tribute. If Riddle fails, there will be no harm in playing both sides."
- 13 -
"Well, here we are," Harry said as he paused at the entry to the Quidditch pitch. "Hopefully this one isn't as dangerous as the first two."
"You don't believe that for a second," Eddie laughed and leaned in to kiss him on the cheek. "Good luck."
"Thanks," Harry said as he squared his shoulders and made his way onto the pitch.
Being the first to arrive, Harry had the chance to take in his surroundings. The pitch was immaculate. He made a mental note to congratulate the elves responsible for maintaining the pitch. They did not need his thanks, but always seemed to appreciate it.
"You have beautiful stadium."
Harry turned to face Viktor Krum as the older man approached. "Thanks, but I'm guessing it's pretty shabby compared to what you're used to."
"Professional stadium have more…" the Bulgarian paused to think of the proper word, "amenities. For a school stadium, this is first class. Much better than Durmstrang."
"I find that hard to believe," Fleur Delacour said as she approached the pair. This stadium is on par with the one we have at Beauxbatons, Viktor. You will never convince me that the school that taught you and the rest of your national team your skills is lacking in their facilities."
"I'm late," Cedric announced as he jogged up the his fellow champions. "What did I miss?"
"Viktor was being modest about his school's Quidditch Stadium," Fleur laughed. She nodded toward the stands, "All of our friends and family are here and safe."
"Good," the Hufflepuff nodded. "I think our friend Harry almost bankrupted the Committee over the shite they pulled last time. I doubt they even have the prize money any longer."
"They do," Harry said. "The Prize money is in escrow, and it couldn't be touched by the fines."
"Well, we have that to look forward to," Viktor laughed, clearly showing he saw the prize money as a trivial sum.
In all honesty, given the piles of Galleons the goblins insisted on giving him month after month, Harry was not particularly impressed with a 1000 Galleon prize either.
Ludo Bagman approached the quartet in the middle of the pitch and immediately pointed his wand at his throat and said, "Sonorus!" Immediately his voice echoed throughout the stands.
"Well, all our champions are ready for the third task, which will start on my command. Due to certain… unexpected difficulties, the original third task had to be reconsidered. At one point it was going to be a race through a magical maze, but instead, to decide our ultimate Triwizard champion we are going to conduct we are going to conduct that most challenging of tasks… A round of Parchment, Stone, Wand, Dragon, Merlin."
Harry blinked. Seriously? In his time at Hogwarts he had witnessed dozens of games of Parchment, Stone, Wand, Dragon, Merlin, which always took hours because the Purebloods always picked the same thing for several rounds until it occurred them that it wasn't working.
"For the benefit of the Muggle raised in the audience," Bagman continued, "Playing the game is perfectly simple. Wand cuts Parchment," he explained pantomiming the actions. "Parchment covers stone. Stone crushes dragon. Dragon eats Merlin. Merlin snaps Wand. Wand stuns dragon. Dragon burns Parchment. Parchment confuses Merlin. Merlin vanishes stone. And, of course, stone breaks Wand."
"What was that again?" Harry asked, wondering if he could get the fraud to repeat himself.
"Of course, It's very simple. Wand cuts Parchment," he explained, again pantomiming the actions. "Parchment covers stone. Stone crushes dragon. Dragon eats Merlin. Merlin snaps Wand. Wand stuns dragon. Dragon burns Parchment. Parchment confuses Merlin. Merlin vanishes stone. And, of course, stone breaks Wand."
"Ok," Harry nodded. "Got it."
Bagman raised his wand and a white square appeared in the middle of the pitch. Harry took his assigned place as the others took there.
"The Winner of this Third Task wins the Tournament over all. Are all the Champions ready?" Bagman announced.
All four of the champions signaled their readiness. Harry looked at the other three players who had become his friends over the last few months. They were all purebloods, even Fleur after a fashion.
Would they all be as predictable as the purebloods at Hogwarts?
"This is it," Bagman continued. "This is what we've been waiting for, this is the big one. This is the one that…"
"Would you just get on with it?" Barty Crouch demanded from the judges stands.
"Oh, of course. Certainly," Bagman said. "Champions ready? One… Two… Three… Cast!"
As one, four hands shot forward and Harry made his decision.
- 13 -
"Soon, Wormtail, Soon," the baby sized homunculus wheezed.
"Yes Master," Peter agreed absently while going over his paperwork for the tenth time.
"My most faithful follower is springing the trap as we speak," the tiny Dark Lord cackled. "Soon I will have my body and Potter will die!"
"Only if I've got this filled out right," Peter mumbled as he started working on page 42.
- 13 -
"And Viktor Krum of Durmstrang has cast Merlin, Fleur Delacour of Beauxbatons has also cast Merlin, Cedric Diggory of Hogwarts has Cast Merlin," Bagman announced for the crowd. "And Harry Potter of Hogwarts has cast…"
Silence filled the air as Bagman and everyone else gaped at Harry's offering.
"Parchment!" Bagman gasped. "In a totally unorthodox play, Potter did not cast Merlin, rather casting Parchment, which as everyone knows confuses Merlin. Potter wins the Triwizard Tournament!"
Harry looked to the other champions.
"You didn't cast Merlin," Fleur said, obviously stunned.
"No," Harry agreed. "I didn't."
"But… but…" Viktor stuttered. "You didn't cast Merlin."
"Everyone casts Merlin," Cedric insisted.
"I didn't," Harry pointed out.
"But everyone cast Merlin," the trio chorused.
"Congratulations Potter," Professor Moody said as he stepped past the crowd that was surrounding the champions. "Here's your trophy, the Minister will be here in a minute to award you your cash prize."
"Thank you," Harry said as he took the cup from the old man's hands, wondering why Moody was wearing gloves.
- 13 -
Albus Dumbledore rushed forward when he saw Harry Potter disappear. The only explanation for the boy seemingly evaporating from the scene would be a portkey.
Albus held his wand out aiming squarely between the eyes of Alastor Moody, one of his oldest friends.
His shock only grew as Moody began to laugh.
"You've lost Dumbledore!" the man said through his laughter. "The Dark Lord is reborn! He needed Potter for the ritual to bring him back, and now the boy has been delivered to my Lord."
"Who are you?" the Headmaster demanded.
As if on cue, the man's features rippled and his hands ripped the magical eye from his face while kicking the famous peg leg free. "My resources were limited," he said as a new man looked up from where Alastor Moody had stood before. "I barely had enough polyjuice to last this long. I was worried that the final task would take too long."
"Junior?" Barty Crouch asked having just arrived at Dumbledore's side.
"Hello Father," Barty Jr. responded.
The crowd parted as Edwina Macmillan made her way forward, her badge of office on open display and her clipboard in her hand. She clicked her retractable quill. "I'm sure the explanation for this will be quite entertaining."
- 13 -
“B-blood of the enemy… forcibly taken… you will… resurrect your foe.”
Those words woke Harry, his attention caught by a sudden pain in his left forearm, preventing him from returning to oblivion.
That was when the realization hit him. The Triwizard Cup had been a portkey.
He forced his eyes open and saw Peter Pettigrew slicing into his inner arm and gathering the blood that issued from the wound in a crystal vial, before shambling away toward a boiling cauldron and adding the blood to the roiling mass.
Pettigrew, dropped to his knees beside the cauldron, slumping sideways and laying on the ground, cradling his arm, a bleeding stump, gasped and began sobbing.
The cauldron was boiling wildly, sending crystalline sparks in all directions, so bright that it turned all else to velvety blackness. What happened? How did he get here? Harry wondered before deciding that just hanging where he was tied was probably not the best idea.
He struggled against the ropes that tied him to what appeared to be a tombstone when, suddenly, the sparks emanating from the cauldron were extinguished. A surge of white steam billowed thickly from the cauldron instead, obliterating everything in front of Harry, so that he could not see Pettigrew or anything other than the vapor hanging in the air.
This was probably not good.
- 13 -
The mist in front of him thinned. Harry watched, with a growing feeling of terror, as the dark outline of a man, tall and skeletally thin, rose slowly from the cauldron.
"Robe me," a high, cold voice said, and Pettigrew, still sobbing and moaning, cradling his mutilated arm, scrambled to pick up some black robes from the ground, got to his feet, reached up, and pulled them one handed over his master’s head.
The man stepped out of the cauldron, staring at Harry… and Harry stared back into the face that had haunted his nightmares for three years. His exposed skin, whiter a skull, with wide, red eyes and a nose that was flat as a snake's with slits for nostrils.
Lord Voldemort had risen again.
Harry realized that he was not likely to escape from the ropes that bound him, and he struggled to rein in his panic. Listening to the instincts that had come to him from the first instant he pinned the badge to his chest had kept him alive so far. Why not go with what worked before?
He quit fighting the ropes and instead pulled inward, forcing his right hand into his pocket. His hand closed upon his clipboard. As he did so, the ropes fell away from him, and he fell soundlessly to the ground. Harry carefully straightened his robes and cleared his throat.
- 13 -
Voldemort laughed, he was reborn! The sensation of once again having a fully functional body was a heady one. He knew that he needed to complete his victory by destroying the boy who lived and his newfound power.
First, he wanted, no he needed, to rejoice in being alive after so long.
Voldemort spun to face the source of the voice. Where, only moments before, had been Harry Potter, his prisoner, stood Harry Potter, Inspector 13, his clipboard at the ready, a retractable quill in his hand.
"Good evening, Mr. Pettigrew," the boy said clicking his quill, "Ministry inspection. This appears to be a standard Necromantic reanimation ritual, class 2. Shall we begin? Your documentation, please?"
"You're doomed, Potter," Voldemort snarled. "We have countered your power, we've taken every precaution, we've done everything by the book, and you don't stand a…"
Potter held up his right hand, his index finger extended upward in the universal signal for quiet.
"If you please," the boy said, "I was addressing Mr. Pettigrew, not his necromantic abomination. This is human talk, Sir."
Necromantic abomination? Voldemort blinked. That was surprisingly hurtful.
Peter rushed forward to offer his permits to the Inspector.
"These seem to be in order," the boy mused as he looked over the documentation, "The standard Department of Magical Inspections Form 7198-H; Necromantic Ritual, Class 2 Human Reanimation, this shouldn't be too involved. Could I see your ingredient prep area?"
"Uh… well, you see…" Pettigrew said, clearly stalling.
"You did prepare the ingredients didn't you?" Inspector 13 asked suspiciously.
"I was never all that good at potions, so I bought the kit," Peter explained. "There wasn't really much to prepare."
"A kit?" Potter asked incredulously as he made several notes. You performed a class 2 ritual with a kit?"
"Ikea Potions are very reputable," Peter responded defensively, offering up the instruction sheet for the kit he had used.
"Fine," Inspector 13 said, accepting the kit instructions with a sigh, while noting the official Motto of the Ikea Potions division at the top of each page: 'Only the very smart, or the very lucky, get it right the first time '. "I do find it disturbing that the bulk of these instructions consist of cartoonish drawings rather than words. This indicates that several of the ingredients required a bit of preparation. The Chinese Chomping Cabbage for example required dicing with a silver knife. May I see the knife?"
"I didn't actually use a knife, I couldn't find one," Peter admitted. "I used a cutting charm."
"Of course you did," Potter said, "You're aware, of course, that the use of cutting charms in the preparation of ingredients for necromantic rituals is prohibited unless you have been issued an Exemption under the Uniform Procedures Act of 1870 . Have you submitted a Form 16257-A to get approval? And, if so where is the Permit of Variation signed by the Commissioner of Resurrections?"
"Umm…" Peter hedged, "I didn't know about any of that…" Pettigrew looked down at the ground. He just knew this was going to look bad on his permanent record.
"I'm going to have to give you a down-check on that one," Harry said as he wrote some notes, "and don't be surprised if you get a full Audit as a follow up to this inspection."
Voldemort cringed. Even Dark Lords feared the Auditors.
Potter completed his notes before consulting the kit's illustrated instructions again. "And the Fluxweed? Did you grind it into a powder?"
"Well, yeah," Peter affirmed.
"Excellent, could I see the mortar and pestle, please?" Potter asked hopefully.
"Mortar and pestle?" Peter asked confusedly, "you mean that you can't just stomp on it and grind it under your heel?"
The boy held his parents' betrayer with a stare for several seconds before making some more notes while Voldemort resisted face palming with all of his might.
"And the knotgrass?" the Inspector asked, "The instructions called for it to be charred before being added to the brew. Dare I ask how you charred it?"
Peter proudly produced a Zippo lighter.
Voldemort gave in to his overwhelming urge to face palm.
- 13 -
"Reviewing the ingredients not part of the… kit," Potter said, contempt for the shortcut evident in his voice, let's go over them, shall we? Your source for 'bone of the father'?
Pettigrew pointed to the grave marked 'Tom Riddle'.
"I see," Potter nodded. "And this Tom Riddle was both the… Abomination's original birth father and unaware that his bone would be used in a resurrection ritual?"
"Utterly," Voldemort interjected while Peter nodded energetically.
Potter nodded again "That checks out, and I know about the 'blood of the enemy, forcibly taken', well done on that by the way."
"Thank you," Peter said.
"Now then, flesh of the Servant willingly offered, can I assume you were willing?"
"Oh, yes," Peter agreed, holding up his bloody stump.
"Good, good," Potter said, examining the directions. "Did you notice that the 'flesh of the servant' didn't need to be anything more than nail clippings?"
"What?" Peter asked in a strangled voice.
"Oh, yes, or hair clipping would have worked as well. Your whole hand wasn't required. I applaud your dedication. Now then, as for this cauldron," Potter said with a tone of distaste as he examined the brewing vessel, "You're very, very, lucky."
"What do you mean?" Voldemort asked while Peter was still focused on his bloody stump.
"There is a move afoot to standardize cauldron bottoms, as yet, there has been no standard approved, if there was one, using this pitted and warped monstrosity would have meant an automatic failure."
Peter hung his head in shame as Voldemort delivered a dope slap to the back of his minion's head. Everyone knew of the dangers of faulty cauldron bottoms.
"Well, it is apparent that despite your flagrant disregard for proper procedure, ingredient preparation, and general safety, you have somehow finished the ritual; even though you should have waited for an inspection of your preparation prior to proceeding with the actual procedure," Harry intoned as Pettigrew cringed again, "so let's have a look at what you achieved."
"I hardly think that…" Voldemort said, before he was silenced by Pettigrew's panicked whisper.
"My Lord, please, you're going to get me into trouble !"
The Dark Lord bit his tongue and waited.
Potter walked around Voldemort slowly, inspecting the Dark Lord from all angles, taking measurements and making notes. Finally, he raised his wand and cast a low level Lumos that he directed into Voldemort's eyes, one at a time.
Finally, the boy lowered his wand and made some more notes. He then lowered the clipboard and looked up.
"It is reasonably obvious that you've botched this entire ritual, as the end result falls far below acceptable standards," Potter said in the manner of long suffering Inspectors everywhere. "For a necromantic raising ritual, type 2, to be deemed acceptable the raised person must meet several criteria."
Potter consulted his documentation and started through the listing, "First of all, the Risen must be fully human, have an appearance that does not pose a risk to the Statute of Secrecy, and finally be of reasonable health."
The boy pointed his wand at several parts of the Dark Lord's body.
"This specimen is questionable on all three requirements. The inexplicable inclusion of snake ingredients has left you with a snake-human hybrid, the appearance alone would constitute a breach of the Statute of Secrecy should a Muggle see this… abomination and the poor ingredient preparation standards and resultant contamination has resulted in a body that will certainly have a major organ failure within the next three years. Most likely, a heart attack from what I can see here."
"So, I failed my Master?" Pettigrew whined pitifully.
"I have yet to tally your score, Mr. Pettigrew," Potter chastised the animagus. "I shall do so now."
The Dark Lord and his minion spent several terror filled minutes as Potter calculated the scoring of their ritual.
"Well, by my calculations, based upon the standard 100 point scale, this ritual, guaranteed as it is by the deposit of several 'soul fragments', currently held in escrow, scores a rather disappointing 71," Potter said.
"71?" Pettigrew asked in disappointment. "It's 4th year Potions all over again. Another score of Troll."
"Wait," Voldemort interjected. "71 points is passing isn't it? I've won!"
"You would think so, yes," Potter agreed. "Unfortunately, Mr. Pettigrew submitted a Form 7198-H; Necromantic Ritual, Class 2 Human Reanimation. I'm sure you would agree that you, his end result, are hardly human, are you? The form he should have submitted is the Form 7199-Hy; Necromantic Ritual, Class 2 Human Hybrid Reanimation. As such, for failure to follow proper procedures I'm afraid that the 'soul fragments' currently in escrow and any others you may have secreted around are subject to forfeit, and that I'm going to have to issue you a Form 3019-C Order to Condemn ."
With that, Potter flipped through the parchment on his clipboard and pulled out a pre-printed form. He quickly filled it out, signed it, stamped it five times to verify his signature and then initialed each stamp to verify the stamp's authenticity. He then slapped the completed form onto a horrified Voldemort's chest.
"There. I hope you've learned your lesson from this to not take short-cuts next time." Harry said to Pettigrew as the Dark Lord dissolved into a puddle of grey goo.
Potter then gulped and his hand went to the scar on his forehead as the boy fell to his knees, leaving him gasping for several seconds.
"Well, that was unpleasant," the boy rasped as he regained his feet and secured his clipboard in his pocket. "I believe that concludes our business for today, Mr. Pettigrew, but the two of us must return to Hogwarts, as your violation of the Uniform Procedures Act of 1870 is far too egregious to ignore."
With that, Harry placed his hand on the downcast Peter Pettigrew's arm. "I suppose we're going to have to find and punish those who would have offered you aid," Potter said as he summoned the Triwizard Cup.
Hidden in the forest that surround the graveyard a trio of goblin stood in stark terror at what they had observed. Inspector 13 had dealt with a reborn Dark Lord so very casually, and then threatened the Goblin Nation is such an offhand manner.
The Bank Manager had to be informed.
- 13 -
"Well," Sirius said, "this is the old dump."
"Nice," Harry lied as he looked about the old seat of the Black family. It had taken three weeks, but Sirius had been cleared of the crimes he had been accused of, courtesy of a living breathing Peter Pettigrew. A consequence of this meant that Harry was free of the Dursleys.
"Your room is up here," Sirius said as he guided Harry up the stairs. "This was my brother's room, we'll need to fix it up for you, but…"
"This is great Sirius, really."
"Kreacher!" Sirius called.
"Bad Master called?" responded a surly elf at Sirius's side.
"Kreacher, this is Harry, my Godson," Sirius said.
"Bad master bringing filthy halfbloods into Kreacher's Mistress' home," the elf muttered.
"You will obey him as you obey me," Sirius said, ignoring Kreacher's complaints. "He'll be taking Regulus' room, so get it cleaned up, fresh linens, like that."
"Kreacher will despoil good Master's room for filthy halfblood as bad Master commands," the elf snarled.
"Good. Harry… I need to get out of here, this was Regulus' room and…"
"I understand, Sirius, really I do," Harry said as his godfather left the room. Harry returned his attention to the elf.
Kreacher winked at him, and stood tall instead of slouching. "Morning Harry," he said, his surliness gone, "I've been looking forward to your getting here since Sirius told me you were coming."
Harry did not even show surprise. Elves had been dropping their slave personae's around him for months now, and he had gotten rather used to it.
"So," Harry asked, "what's with the 'bad master' stuff?"
"Sirius expects it," the elf said with a shrug. "You know how it is; always give the bosses what they expect."
"This house," Harry gestured around in confusion, "Is an utter disaster, how did it get this way?"
"When old Walburga died, the only aspect of the Blacks still in the house was Walburga's portrait, and that horrible thing's only concern was the state of its frame and canvas. It forbade me to clean or maintain anything else in the house," the elf shrugged again. "When Sirius came back, all he wanted was to argue with me and rail against his mother in her portrait. The only thing he's asked me to clean is this room just now."
"And now?" Harry asked.
"Well, now you're here, so Sirius doesn't have to ask, does he? Until you tell me otherwise, I'll be assuming you'd like the house in a fit state to live in," the elf smirked before looking about the room and becoming a bit somber. "All of these things that belonged to Regulus, do you mind if I keep some of them? I know that we're not supposed to play favorites, but he was always mine."
Harry looked around at the Quidditch posters and photos of semi-clad women he did not recognize and shrugged. "If you want them, they're yours."
"Thanks Harry," the elf said. "You're the best."
There was a knock on Harry's door, giving Kreacher a chance to resume his stoop, Harry opened the door to find Eddie.
"Well, this is a surprise," Harry said, his smile widening.
"You said you were moving here once school was out, so I thought I might drop by," she responded, returning his smile.
"I've not really moved in yet," Harry explained. "I was just discussing how to get the place organized with Kreacher. Would you like to help?"
"Of course I would," Eddie nodded as she entered the room.
Harry was closing the door when the sound of a man clearing his throat stopped him.
Pulled from his new room and into the hallway, Harry found himself confronted by his Godfather. "As your guardian," Sirius said sternly, "I expect you to conduct yourself properly."
"Sirius, we're just trying to get the room cleaned up," Harry protested.
"I know what you're trying to do, Harry. Don't forget I was a 14 year old once upon a time."
"A long, long, time ago," Harry snarked. "When dinosaurs roamed the Earth."
"Watch it, my lad, don't make me break out the baby pictures to show your friend," Sirius scolded.
"Okay, okay," Harry grinned.
"As I said, as your guardian, I expect you to be on your best behavior," Sirius repeated. "However, as your Godfather, I have to say, go for it, stud."
"I never had the balls to talk a girl into visiting me here," the man said offering Harry thumbs up with both hands. "My mother would have shat herself. Go for it."
Harry watched as a laughing Sirius descended the stairs, before reentering his room and closing the door behind him.
"All of the adults in my life," he said, leaning against the door, "are so very weird."
"What now?" Eddie asked from the window, where she and Kreacher appeared to have been discussing drapes.
"Sirius thinks you're here to have your way with me," Harry admitted. "And he told me to 'go for it'."
"That was somewhat presumptive of him," Eddie said quietly. "By my estimation, assuming our relationship continues, we shouldn't be at that point for another 13 months."
"13 months?" Harry asked. "That's rather specific. What happens in 13 months?"
"Your 16th birthday," she laughed, "I'm not a child molester, Harry."
"Oh, I see," Harry sighed. "Save the Wizarding world from a Dark Lord twice before I'm 15, and I'm still a kid."
"Your inspection of Riddle's resurrection has been slated for an audit next week, Harry," Eddie pointed out. "Hold on to being a kid as long as you can. It might help."
"Has it ever helped before?" Harry wondered. Since becoming Inspector 13, he had heard multiple horror stories of the Auditors from various classmates, so he was understandably nervous.
"No, not in the slightest."
"Great," Harry sighed.
"Of course," Kreacher interjected, "the Head Auditor might just want to welcome you to the department and tell you what a good job you've done. He probably also wants to talk about the fines the two of you have been doling out…"
The elf then noticed that the two inspectors were staring at him. "What? Elves talk to each other you know."
Eddie laughed and Harry pulled her into a hug.
"13 months huh?" He asked.
"Yes," she agreed.
Harry sighed. It was going to be a long year. Still, it could be worse. "I'm busy today with cleaning and organizing and all that, but would you like to go out and do something tomorrow?"
"That might be fun, what did you have in mind?" Eddie asked.
"Something I've only done once, and you've likely never done at all."
"Ohh, secretive, I like that," Eddie's eyes lit up with anticipation. "It's a date."
- 13 -
"I'd read about these places, Eddie said as they strolled arm in arm, "but I never thought I'd actually see one."
"I've only been once," Harry admitted. "It was for my cousin's 11th birthday."
"From the way you talk about them, I wouldn't have thought that your relatives would have taken you to a zoo," Eddie noted.
"Normally, they wouldn't have," Harry agreed. "But my normal minder was ill, and they didn't trust me in the house alone… I might have eaten a full meal or something, so I got to come along and carry things."
"Oh my goodness," Eddie said as she stopped dead in her tracks. "That fellow is huge!"
Harry looked into the enclosure and could not help but agree. A huge polar bear heaved himself from his pool and thumped down into a sitting position, and began waving at the onlookers.
True to form, many in the crowd ignored the DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS signs and began throwing treats to the huge bear.
"Can you imagine turning around and finding that looking at you without a moat and a bloody huge wall between you?" Eddie asked.
Harry was trying to ignore the lunatic in the overcoat and fedora standing just a little too close in the summer heat. "No thank you," he said. "I've had enough of animals trying to eat me to last a lifetime. Speaking of eating, ready for lunch?"
Eddie took one last look at the bear before nodding. Harry took her hand and turned to leave, accidently bumping into the trench coat man.
"Excuse me," He said as the pair walked toward the concessions.
A young couple out on their first real date could be excused for only paying attention on each other and not noticing the commotion that sprang up behind them.
- 13 -
"I thought you were supposed to be able to fly," Sirius teased. "You're just like you father, all show and no go."
Harry pulled his broom up into a hover next to his godfather high above the deserted craggy ravine below. "You know, I could have gone all day without hearing you imitate Snape."
"The difference is, I'm observing the time honored tradition of trash talk, while Snivilous is nothing but a vindictive little bitch," Sirius explained. "That and I'm going to beat your arse in a race."
"Big talk from a man whose best days are far behind him," Harry snarked.
"Behind?" Sirius sputtered. "I'll have you know I'm in my prime you mouthy little punk. Ok, it's go time. From here to the far end of the island. We go on three. Ready? One, Two," Sirius accelerated away at high speed. For all of Harry's razing the man could fly. "Three!" the man called from a distance away. He could also cheat.
Harry leaned into his broom and gave it its head. There was a series of five pops behind him in rapid succession, but whatever cheat Sirius had rigged to distract him was not going to work. He poured on the speed and began to overtake his favorite godfather.
- 13 -
"He said that?" The Councilor demanded.
"He did," the younger goblin confirmed. "His exact words were 'we're going to have to find and punish those who would have offered you aid'. Somehow, Inspector 13 knew what we were planning. I have no explanation for this failure of our security."
Silence filled the Council Chamber of the Goblin nation. The five ancient goblins on the dais shared a feeling of dread. Who was this human boy? How was he penetrating their security so easily?
"Is assassination an option?" The elder to Nagnok's left asked.
"We've tried," the bank manager sighed. "Twice."
"Twice?" the elder gasped. While a goblin hit team occasionally missed their targets, the professional pride of the assassination unit had never allowed them to fail twice.
"The first attempt had a single assassin make the attempt while Potter was at a Muggle zoo attempting a human mating ritual with Inspector 84," Nagnok explained. "From what we were able to determine from his remains and his spotter's report, the assassin, disguised as a human, Potter 'accidently' bumped into him and the assassin fell into the enclosure of a Great Northern White Bear. It was horrible. The Spotter is still in counseling."
"No," the elder breathed in disbelief.
Nagnok was not finished. "Just yesterday a follow up five goblin team was sent to deal with Potter after the failure of the first. They portkeyed to his location, keyed to Potter's blood so as to ensure that they would appear close enough to kill before the boy knew they were there. There were no survivors. We ultimately found their bodies, but they were so mangled together, it was impossible to tell where one started and another began."
"And Potter's reaction?" another of the Elders asked.
"None," Nagnok admitted. "He hasn't even acknowledged that the attempts happened."
"That is terrifying," the Elder to Nagnok's right, noted.
"Agreed," the Bank Manager said. "Our spies in the Ministry report that Potter is to meet with his department head in the morning. When dealing with a being such as Potter, who destroys Dark Lords, and who turns aside our assassins with no apparent effort there is but one answer."
Around him, the Council agreed.
- 13 -
Harry stopped in front of the desk and waited. The young witch behind the desk looked up and smiled.
"You must be Harry Potter."
"I have to be," Harry grinned. "No one else is willing to do it. I have an appointment to see Head Auditor Peasgood."
"And he's waiting for you," she said. "End of the hall, turn left, third door on your right."
"Thank you," Harry said as he set off to follow the directions. Like most parts of the Ministry of Magic, the hallway was expanded to an absurd degree, so the trip was longer than it should be. Finally reaching the door, he knocked.
"Get your sorry self in here Potter." Was the answer his knocking inspired.
Opening the door, Harry looked inside hesitantly.
"Potter," a quite harried man sitting behind a large ornate desk said, "what the hell have you been up to?"
"What?" Harry asked intelligently.
"This morning," the man Harry assumed to be Arnold Peasgood, the Head Auditor said, "We received an unscheduled deliver from Gringotts. A pallet of gold. Not Galleons, mind you, gold bars. So much that we haven't managed to weigh it to determine its value yet. Accompanying the gold was an unconditional surrender, not to the Ministry, but to you, specifically. What have you done to the Goblins?"
"I have no idea," Harry confessed. "The goblins just keep giving me money, more all the time. I've been careful to keep records of how much and I've sent the Department of Inspections their third, but I don't know what a 'surrender' would be about."
"This was supposed to be my standard introductions and frightening the new Inspector meeting, but this…" Peasgood said in an exasperated tone while waving a sheaf of ornate engraved parchment, "I don't know what to say about this. I've never had the Goblin Nation surrender to a rookie Inspector before."
Harry shrugged. "Sorry," he said. "This sort of thing just kind of happens around me."
"Well, the Department of Inspections is a sub-department under the Department of Audits, so I'm guessing we'll have a hell of a Christmas Party this year. Maybe in Bali," Peasgood grumbled good naturedly. "Your immediate supervisor, David Philpot would have been here for your interview, but he's still dealing with the fallout from the Barty Crouch Junior affair. Your friend 84 was rather vicious in her fines."
"I think she was upset that I'd been kidnapped," Harry suggested.
"I'm not saying she did anything wrong, Potter," Peasgood said with a shake of his head. "Crouch helped his son escape Azkaban, and Dumbledore allowed an unrepentant escaped convicted murderer to teach at Hogwarts. Between that, and what Crouch Junior managed to do to you, well, those fines and charges were well justified. I'm just saying that dealing with it is a pain."
Peasgood rose from his desk, walked around it to where Harry was standing, and shook the young man's hand. "Welcome to the Department Potter. As long as you're in school, we'll keep your work load light. Just keep an eye on Hogwarts and keep up your dealings with the goblins. Find out why they surrendered to you if you can. Now, get out of here, some of us have real work to do."
- 13 -
AN: So, that's it, the Triwizard is over, and so is the story. My track record on sequels is pretty bad, what with the new ideas that are always bubbling up in my head, but maybe I'll come back to it.
Dark King of the Caer Azkaban group provided the kernal of the Confrontation in the Graveyard scene. A lot better than what I originally had planned so I filed off the serial numbers and padded it out a bit. And as always, thanks to everyone else on the Caer Azkaban and Deluded Muse groups who corrected my grammar, tightened up my sentence structure and just plain offered ideas that I stole for this work.
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