|SIYE Time:8:14 on 16th May 2021|
“It’s Kind Of Fun Doing The Impossible”
By Spenser Hemmingway
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Category: Alternate Universe, Deathly Hallows Challenge (2009-1)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Luna Lovegood
Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor
Story is Complete
Summary: ** Winner of Best Security in The Deathly Hallows Challenge **
The difficult Harry and Ginny can do immediately. The impossible will take a few minutes, but it’s a lot more fun. The Royal Academy of Magic has concluded that our favorite couple is in possession of the three Deathly Hallows. Harry and Ginny react to inappropriate steps taken to acquire them, but not in exactly the way you might think. My fiftieth story at Sink Into Your Eyes.
I've posted a companion story to this, Antidisestablishmentarianism!
Hitcount: Story Total: 5958
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
The title of this story is another of the late Wizard Walt Disney’s quotations. The one name I use in Harry’s tale is from the play, Death Takes A Holiday by Alberto Casella. This is my fiftieth story at Sink Into Your Eyes, and yes, I am again utilizing the American Spenser, his perspective, his narration, and his alternative universe. Thank you very much for reading.—Eric B.
“It’s Kind Of Fun Doing The Impossible”
By Spenser Hemmingway
“All Cartoon Characters and fables must be exaggeration…caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.”–Walt Disney
Brandon Llewellyn is one of finest people I’ve ever met, and he’s been a great friend to all of us over the years. After our graduation from Hogwarts, he immersed himself in Muggle science and mathematics in order to attend Heathmill College in his native Wales. The institution is a joint Muggle/Magic program for training Veterinarian-Healers. Brandon is an absolutely incredible one. Anyone who has ever seen him work can’t help but note his compassion for, and skill with, animals. I once saw him attend to a sick fwooper for thirty-six straight hours without taking time for food or sleep. He only paused long enough to chastise me for leaving my pot of three-alarm chili where the poor beastie could get to it.
Part of why Brandon is such a great vet is his gentle nature. Watching him hold a small injured sparrow, you would swear that those hands could cradle a soap bubble without popping it. He was even more incredible the first time I saw him holding Kitty’s and his newborn daughter Brenda. When people meet Brandon, and get to see all this for themselves, their amazement is tenfold because of his size. Our friend is absolutely the largest, most powerful non-giantblood ever to attend Hogwarts.
Okay Spenser, you ask, why are you telling us all this? Brandon seems like a great guy, but where are you going? The point I’m trying to make is that in all the time we’ve known the big fellow, I can think of only two occasions where I’ve heard of him losing his temper. It’s as contrary to his nature as burning textbooks is to Hermione, or safely handling power tools would be to me.
The first case in point was during the final battle when someone hurled a magical bolt at his then-girlfriend Kitty Fletcher. Big mistake–-even temporarily blinded, Brandon’s huge fist sent the Death Eater sailing thirty feet across the Great Hall. Everyone later said he’d pulled his punch. The second time was the day Brandon and his missus called on Harry and Ginny at their Hogsmeade residence, the Broom Farm. The couple wasn’t home; in fact, they were enjoying an especially nice spice cake at our cottage that afternoon. Who Brandon did find there was a troll-faced little man ransacking the Potter house.
“Hmm, now that’s what I call a granny knot,” Harry said before the rest of us could, and holding open our back door for the new arrivals.
“Hey, hey, you big oaf! You’re getting blood all over my nice clean kitchen floor!” Only our cantankerous, yet fiercely loyal, house-elf would speak to the doc that way. We knew though that Seymour’s affection for Brandon was boundless since the time he’d saved a much-loved, ailing pet dormouse.
“Seymour, be polite,” Luna admonished. “Brandon and Kitty are our guests here. I’m not sure about this other fellow. I’ve never seen anyone tied in knots like this before, save in pictures. Does he belong with a circus?”
“The man belongs in Azkaban after what he did to Harry and Ginny’s home. He may not make it that far after she sees the damage.” Brandon has always been a man of very few words, and these now were spoken in a low, fierce tone. That told us how bad it was at the farm.
“His name is Ledford D’Manac, and he’s a professional burglar…a proficient, albeit destructive one from what I understand,” Kitty explained. “Uncle Mundungus no doubt does business with him on occasion. My father, when he was alive, never had a good word for this troll or his professional style.” Everyone had thought it ironic that the daughter of a one-time jewel thief had married the son of a Muggle Presbyterian minister.
“Perhaps we should move our new friend out into the parlor, and ask him a few questions,” Harry suggested. “That is, if you don’t mind Luna. No Brandon, please don’t untie him just yet.” The thief was whimpering again.
“No, no, no…I just had the genuine, authentic, imitation Persian carpets cleaned in there!” Seymour screamed.
Ginny knelt down, and gave our old servant a quick hug, which seemed to calm him, and even drew a brief, sideways grin. “Kitty, did he go near my grandmother’s china?” she asked. “Oh no…he’s mine!” The moaning intensified with Ginny’s angry words.
“Please don’t Ginny. We don’t need you in jail, in his place, for slow murder,” Harry correctly pointed out to her. “I have a better idea. Spenser, do you have any more of Uncle Theodore’s Please, Please Kill Me Now Chili?”
“I’ve got a cauldron of it right here on the stove Harry,” I told him, trying to hide my amusement as I dished some up. We had been building the batch to help degnome the garden. “Hey, look what it did to the ladle. Now, just a few habaneras peppers for extra zest.”
The burglar’s crying stopped, and, from what we could tell, with that leg wrapped around his head that way, there was sudden terror in the man’s eyes. Ten minutes later we had the whole story out of him.
“Undersecretary Poindexter, this is outrageous! You have reduced the Royal Academy of Magic to the status of sanctioning common street hoodlums!
“Lower your voice Peabody. Would you care for a glass of port? It’s an excellent bottle.” Ignoring any possible response from the Wizarding archaeologist, his host crossed the small, overly-ornate home office to fetch the decanter. “It was a necessary action–-one which you and your colleagues would have approved had I time to consult you.”
“The burglary of Harry Potter’s family home is hardly something the Academy would ever endorse! What if someone had been hurt? No, I don’t want your bloody wine! What if your man had been caught?”
Poindexter downed the port and poured himself another before returning to behind his desk. It was an ancient but ill-preserved piece of furniture, its beauty long-faded. The bureaucrat, an obese man with an ego to match his girth, kept what he believed were the trappings of power about him, at least in his flat. He was completely oblivious to the jokes his fellow staff members made at his expense. Poindexter somehow saw himself as a major cog in the British Wizarding government. He was, in reality, simply a minor clerk in the Magical Artifact Archives as well as a convincing liar at times.
Elbert Poindexter had been smart enough to recognize the significance of a number of official and unofficial reports to come across his much-smaller cubicle desk at work. The Deathly Hallows–-they were real? Apart from any power that the three objects presented in and of themselves, their acquisition for the Ministry would guarantee his advancement. Such might even one day propel him into the Minister of Magic’s chair itself.
Approaching the Academy, Poindexter was skillful enough to convince them that he was in fact the new Undersecretary for Historical Preservation. He had been amazed with how easy the deception progressed initially, and with how his good luck with staving off inquiries to corroborate the claims. The scientists were not fools however, and Poindexter knew that even their academic seclusion was not absolute. Someone would eventually discover who he was. The man had to act quickly.
“Peabody, your board of governors has voiced unbridled enthusiasm for this discovery. You yourself said, and these are your exact words, ‘The Deathly Hallows must be acquired at all costs.’ Minister Shacklebolt is a close personal friend of Mr. and Mrs. Potter. The confiscation process could be very time-consuming and difficult,” Poindexter lied. Incredibly unlikely…impossible…given the government’s relationship with Potter and his wife. “It’s time that could be better spent studying the wand, the stone and the cloak, don’t you agree? My employing Mr. D’Manac to expedite the retrieval was…a reasonable means of accelerating the process.”
The two men locked eyes in a not-unexpected test of wills. Poindexter mistook his ego-driven ambition for strength of resolve. The clerk believed himself superior to the naive archaeologist, or he did until he saw something new in Peabody’s eyes. A chill ran down Poindexter’s back, he blinked, and instantly realized his mistake.
“Undersecretary,” the clerk did not miss how the word had been stressed, “you will have the opportunity to present your case before the governors Thursday afternoon at two o’clock. There will be a number of questions.”
Without another word, without commenting about how Poindexter was now sweating, the Academy representative rose, and walked out. Only the sound of the front door to the flat closing behind him brought the pretender back to the present. He would indeed have to work swiftly. The Hallows would need to be obtained at once, formally presented to the Academy of Magic, and an official report forwarded to the Minister–-naturally crediting the acquisition to himself.
“Perhaps a direct approach would be more effective,” he slowly asked the now-empty room.
“Harry this is the craziest, most far-fetched, impossible idea that Spenser has ever contrived. I hope you realize that.”
“Thank you, Hermione,” Harry told his wife with a mock-serious suggestion to his words.
Ginny gently swatted him, but also smiled at the reference to her sister-in-law. Hermione really would have spent the entire walk lecturing them if she’d been with us. On the other hand, all we’d have to do would be to rattle off the list of other cockamamie impossibilities Harry and Ginny had overcome to give Hermione, or anyone else, pause.
“Of course, it will work Ginny,” I cut in. “Besides, I wasn’t the one who thought it up this time.” The two were maybe ten feet ahead of me there in the early morning darkness of the forest path. They stopped dead, turned, and I could feel more than see them glaring at me. It had been Harry’s idea, but they did leave me to write out the details, and that’s always where the devil is. “Uhm…do you think the elves have the cleanup done?”
Harry and Ginny started forward again without answering, essentially signaling me to shut up, and fall back a little further. Ginny’s reaction to seeing the vandalism to their home the night before had wavered between tears and bursts of rage. Harry wasn’t much better, but he tried to remain calm, at least in front of her. Luna insisted they spend the night in our guest room, while a small army of hastily enlisted elves set about with the repairs. The one little guy with the hardhat had assured everyone that there would be no sign of a break-in once they had completed the work. Only the artisans’ reputation as miracle workers allowed either Potter the excuse to sleep then.
“It will work Harry.” This time Ginny’s voice sounded more confident. “It’s so simple, and it’s the only way, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is.” Harry put his arm around her waist, and pulled her in close to him, ignoring me. It wasn’t as if I’d never seen them cuddle before. We will have our normal life again Ginny, and we will see this resolved the way we want. I promise I’ll make it happen.” Harry stressed every word there at the end.
“Or die trying?” Ginny actually giggled here, and it surprised me. So did Harry’s not reacting to the words. They really did know each other that well. “Do you understand why we will succeed Harry? It’s because we’re a team, and a good one at that.” It was Harry’s turn to laugh.
“We meant everyone–-you as well Spenser,” Harry added.
He turned to look back at me then. We were just emerging into the field adjacent to the farmhouse, and in the daylight now, I knew he could read my face. All I could do was nod. When I had come to Hogwarts as an exchange student, Harry and Ginny, more than anyone except Luna, had taken me in as if I was family. These two were my best friends, and my favorite subjects when I wrote. Oh, and after a very special kiss one day from a certain pretty Ravenclaw… Well, in my universe we arranged to fix up our Rolf Scamander with a pink-haired truck stop waitress named Blanch.
“Guys, you do know what to say when whoever shows up…shows up?” I finally asked. They had better, since we were quickly approaching the house. “Oh, come on! I went to all the trouble of writing you those great scripts. I even had Luni check my spelling. You were going to spend some time going over your lines last night; studying them.”
“I’m sorry Professor. Really, a Burundian kowtowing toady ate our homework.” Harry was biting his cheek to keep from laughing at Ginny’s joke. I was turning red. “I’m sure it will sound better if it isn’t rehearsed Spenser.”
“Besides, that’s why we wanted you along this morning,” Harry added. “No one can make the outlandish sound sensible the way you can.”
“Thanks…I think. I just hope that everyone is…”
I stopped myself just in time. As we came around the corner of the smaller barn, we could see an oversized and overdressed man with a greasy bowler hat standing on the front porch peering in the windows. We stood there quietly, studying the fop, and exchanging understanding glances amongst ourselves. It was time to begin our defense.
“Excuse me,” Ginny called out. She was doing a remarkable job of controlling her anger with someone we strongly suspected of being behind the attempted robbery the afternoon before. The fat man jumped higher than I would have thought possible when he heard her. “May we help you?”
“I beg your pardon, and good morning to you. My name is Elbert Poindexter from the Department of Historical Preservation. It’s very important that I speak with you at once Mr. Potter.” I noticed how he was ignoring Ginny, despite her being the one questioning him. “I’m here on behalf of the Royal Academy of Magic. They have been trying to contact you for some time now. In fact, they’ve sent a number of owls to you recently young man.”
“That’s strange; we haven’t received any of them. Of course, we’ve been away since yesterday morning, visiting our neighbors to celebrate their son’s birthday.” Ginny paused here, clearly grateful that Harry was letting her press the man. She had seen what the burglar had done to her kitchen cabinets, and her expression then had been as ugly as the sight of her broken hutch.
“Your absence Mr. Potter, that must have been it. The Academy clearly doesn’t employ the most reliable of owls. Here, I’ve hand-carried a copy of the letter.” Poindexter was again speaking only to Harry. His words were an obvious lie, and it was amazing how he attempted it. All Wizardry knows owls seek out the addressee not the address. “Here you are. You will note the Academy’s official seal, and…” Poindexter paused as Harry took and opened the letter. “and the signature of the chairman for their board of governors, Mr. Sherman Peabody.”
“You say that you’re from the Department of Historical Preservation? I’m afraid that I’ve never heard of that area of the Ministry. My father has worked for the government for several years. Perhaps you’ve met…Arthur Weasley?”
Poindexter finally looked over to Ginny. I saw something flash in his eyes that was either fear or irritation…no both. He must have been the only person in the British Isles who didn’t know Harry married one Ginevra Molly Weasley. Where were they coming up with these new villains, if that’s what he was? I was starting to tilt my opinion of him in the direction of just plain old fashion incompetence. Our improbable little project might be easier than we first thought, and at least as much fun. For some reason, Harry passed me the letter to examine instead of Ginny. Elbert didn’t seem to appreciate my reading it.
“Well what do you know?” I said, mostly to myself.
“Excuse me. This is a private matter between the government, the Academy of Magic, and Mr. Potter. Who exactly are you–-an American?” he asked before Ginny could continue with him.
“I think you meant to say Mr. and Mrs. Potter. My name is Spenser Hemmingway…no relation. I’m here writing this story for an online fan fiction challenge.”
“I beg your pardon?” No, Poindexter didn’t like me. I was an unexpected glitch.
“Okay, I’m a friend of the Potters. Hmm, hey, this note is definitely interesting Harry. They want the Deathly Hallows? Boy oh boy–-maybe the United States should bid on those…if they exist.” That set Poindexter off, and it was meant to. It was my part of the plan at the moment.
“How dare you? The artifacts are the property of the British Crown! I have full authority to confiscate them immediately!” he shouted.
“If you could find them,” Ginny accurately pointed out. Poindexter tore into me again instead of defending himself to her. He couldn’t.
“I should have you arrested and deported for your suggestion young man. Nothing would be easier!”
“I strongly doubt that you’d succeed.” I smiled at him just to get a reaction. “I’m a legal foreign resident, legally employed teaching Muggle Studies, and legally married to a British citizen. Also, my Great Uncle Smokey is Kingsley Shacklebolt’s counterpart in the American government. They play golf together. Maybe we should contact one or both of them about who you really are.” I had called his bluff, and he knew we knew.
“Whoever you are, and it isn’t a Ministry official, you at least have a genuine piece of correspondence from the Academy of Magic.” Harry stepped into him, and we could see Poindexter about to panic.
“I assure you Mr. Potter, I am…” The wand he went for never left his pocket. The three of ours were pointed at his head before he could blink. We’d had a bit of practice over the years.
“Fastest wands this side of Sight City, Arkansas–-home to Ellie May’s Mystery Rib House.” Harry and Ginny both looked at me, wanting to groan, but fortunately, I knew they wouldn’t.
“As I was saying, we know who you are. We had a nice chat with your Mr. D’Manac yesterday.” Poindexter seemed to shrink under Harry’s stare.
At exactly the right moment, the door opened behind Poindexter and seven-foot-tall Brandon stepped out to take his place behind the bureaucrat. Fortunately, the doors and ceilings of the Broom Farm had been constructed with Hagrid’s visits in mind. The Welshman was apparently still angry with what had been done to his friends’ home, and Poindexter couldn’t miss this. Our dramatic exhibition was working quite well, thank you.
“Mr. Poindexter, if you have any desire to avoid incarceration for what you’ve done, you had best listen carefully and act appropriately,” Harry began again in a low voice. “I intend to present the Deathly Hallows to the Royal Academy of Magic as a gift…under strict conditions.” Poindexter’s head jerked back as if Brandon had hit him–-not that he would now that the farmhouse had undoubtedly been restored.
Ginny stepped over to the door, opened it again and motioned for us to come inside. “Shall we have some tea?” she asked. Poindexter still ignored her.
“Why…why…? How can I trust you to…?” he stammered.
“Maybe we will turn you over to legitimate Ministry officers,” Harry calmly replied. “Maybe I’ll just introduce you to Molly Weasley. Maybe I’ll just let you tell her what you did to her favorite daughter…not to mention to the blue porcelain vase she gave us for our anniversary. Now, let’s have that tea and discuss those conditions, the first of which is that you assist me in retrieving the three artifacts.”
The man slowly nodded. There wasn’t anything else he could do, except to follow Brandon inside to the parlor with me close behind, wand still out.
“You would really turn him over to my mum? You are a mean, cruel man Harry.”
I looked back at Harry’s laughing, but then continued in to allow them their private kiss.
“Good morning, Mr. Poindexter. We appreciate your being on time,” Ginny said, flashing a bright, wonderful smile in his direction. As we expected, he continued on past her, Luna, and me to the only person he seemed to feel had any importance–-Harry.
“Why are they here?” the clerk asked in lieu of a real greeting and gesturing back toward us.
“My wife goes where I do, and vice versa–-always. My friends Luna and Spenser have been enlisted to act as witnesses,” Harry told the man. He didn’t mention how we were also writing this story to place one more nail in Poindexter’s casket…figuratively speaking.
The discussion the morning before hadn’t been so much that as it was a lecture from Harry concerning the conditions he demanded. After turning each object over to Poindexter, he was to ensure the heaviest of security around the Hallows at all times. Harry actually told the clerk how he trusted him to at least be able to provide that. The artifacts could not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Surely the scientific community would understand the danger in this happening. Finally, Harry and Ginny were to be present for the formal transfer at the Academy’s private complex near London.
“Mr. Poindexter, you are to listen carefully and closely. The Elder Wand is housed in the catacombs below these ruins. You will need to work your way through its passageways, to a large cistern you’ll find at its lowest point. There you will toss a stone down into its depths and begin to chant this simple spell: Privy Lichty Formitay! Immediately vacate the castle as fast as your feet will carry you. Do you understand?”
“Yes, yes…Privy Lichty Formitay. I understand. We must go immediately. The Academy guards and couriers will be here soon,” Poindexter almost shouted. He seemed understandably nervous.
“Oh, we’re not going with you,” Ginny explained. “If you want the artifacts, and to remain out of jail, you need to earn both. I’ve packed us a nice roast chicken lunch, and if you hurry we’ll save you a drumstick and a slice of moonberry pie.”
The fat man just stared at her at first, for perhaps a full minute, but then grumbled something I won’t reproduce in this family story and moved off at an unexpectedly rapid gait. We waited until he was out of sight before we started laughing…except for Luna, who wasn’t in on this part of the plan.
“I’m sorry Luni. Harry and Ginny found out about this nice nest of saber-toothed fizzgigs at the bottom of the catacombs. The spell we gave him conjures hot, sticky pine sap. The little guys love the taste of it.”
“That’s cruel Spenser.” Luna was smiling though. She’d seen the condition of the farmhouse after D’Manic was interrupted looking for the Hallows himself. “Where is the Elder Wand Harry?”
He pulled Dumbledore’s, or rather his, beautiful wand from the pocket of his robe and held it up for us. “I’ll give him an hour, and then I claim his drumstick. Poindexter is better off with a celery stick, and he’ll benefit from the exercise he’s enjoying this week. Our guest didn’t agree with us for some reason.
The next morning, he got to enjoy a game of tag in a large cavern with a mountain troll we’d met. The Cloak of Invisibility had somehow safely been looped about his throat. We decided that introducing Poindexter to him, considering their comparative sizes, was rather poetic. Oh, did I mention how Mr. Troll was in desperate need of Hermione’s parents’ dental skills. That tooth must have really been bothering him, abscessed as it was. Poindexter was in a foul mood when he crawled out of the cave. It was, in all probability, because we had given his share of the roast beast lunch to the Academy’s second group of couriers. We did have peanut butter for the celery this time.
By the third morning our chubby friend was becoming a bit wiser. No, he didn’t…couldn’t refuse his risky little quest–-not if he wanted to see daylight again. The man did, however, think to bring his own lunchbox that day. Poindexter walked into the Forest of Mists of his own free will, enduring the wraths, rabid pixies, and storm hawks that tried to keep him away from a wooden hut located deep within its boundaries. The harpies guarding the Stone demanded of him the answer to an ancient riddle, which, naturally, the fool clerk could never hope to answer. It took three perilous trips back to us for hints before we finally gave up, and Harry wrote out the answer on the remains of the man’s shirt sleeve. We claimed his lunch for our efforts.
Poindexter either didn’t notice or didn’t care. He was battered, bloody, bruised, and bothered with what we had put him through. Perhaps he had also lost a few pounds as well. One thing was certain. His ego had now been significantly deflated. He would never forget the experience, which meant he probably learned a lesson or two. The man was also clearly relieved once he had sent off the Resurrection Stone. All we had left was the ceremony the next afternoon.
“Really Mum…I did see someone just eaten by that large postal box. Six or seven people have been.”
“Hush Bartholomew! That’s absolutely the last straw! No more late-night science fiction for you or reading those stories on the internet. Your imagination is completely out of control!”
“Hush I said! You’re just like your father–-believing in dragons and flying brooms and such. We’re taking you home this instant to enroll you in mathematics camp for the summer.”
I really felt bad for the poor kid. The entrance to the Royal Academy was just as he described, but a few of its visitors had been careless in front of the Muggles. Like the Ministry, the Academy was located deep underground, but with only the one secure access point. Not an actual teaching establishment, more a forum and think-tank of sorts, the members seemed to feel a great need for privacy, cutting themselves off from everyday life to concentrate on their studies and the exchange of mundane knowledge. It was this isolation, Poindexter believed, which allowed him to initiate his less-than-reputable operation.
Once Muggle mother and son had gone, Ginny, Brandon, and I followed the others through the hungry mailbox. We seemed to travel down a form of transparent tube, zigging and zagging along, much as an actual letter chute might transport its charges. We emerged, gently enough, into a large, crowded room with cream-colored marble walls, golden lamp fixtures, and floor-to-high-ceiling bookshelves. These were packed with countless rare volumes, and we immediately regretted not inviting Hermione along. The height of the antechamber again also provided Brandon with a short, bump-free wait.
After maybe five minutes, one attendant announced that the members present should move off into the auditorium, while another approached our party to ask us to remain outside just a bit longer while their preliminary ceremonies took place. This was fair enough, but, for some reason, Brandon suddenly had a far-off, almost embarrassed expression on his face. I was at a loss, but Ginny approached him, and she seemed aware of something the rest of us weren’t–-no Harry understood as well.
“It’s all right. Harry and I know. You’re a member of the Academy.” Brandon nodded almost immediately, acknowledging Ginny’s words. “You haven’t been up to Hogsmeade since the night Hagrid lost Fang, but you came to the Broom Farm just as the break-in was occurring. Did you know?”
“Yes, but not until it was too late–-from rumors…hushed rumors. I wasn’t helping them.” Anyone who had ever met Brandon would never doubt his words. “I was asked to join the Royal Academy after I published my paper on toenail fungus in barn owls. It…it was well-received. Ginny…Harry, please don’t think badly of our society. They are good, intelligent, hardworking people. The leadership simply believed Poindexter at the worst possible time. I hope we can make it up to you.” Brandon had just broken his own record for most words spoken in an eight-hour period.
“You already have Brandon,” Ginny told him. Harry joined her, and his smile with hers made Brandon relax a bit finally.
“Mr. Potter, will you and your guests please come with me,” the attendant requested from across the room, interrupting the mood before we were ready. Brandon was now smiling a little however.
The older gentleman turned, approached the large double doors to the auditorium, and these opened without a word or signal. Harry and Ginny were several paces ahead of the rest of us–-it was their party–-and it was just as well. Harry wasn’t three steps into the room before he exploded in anger and frustration. All at once he was running forward to a large oaken table, set up just in front of the governors’ chairs.
“You didn’t! You were told not to! Do you have any idea what you’ve done?” Harry shouted to the assembled masses. The room was enormous, as ornate as the outer chamber, and filled to capacity with Wizarding scientists–all of whom were struck silent at his words. “You’ve destroyed the Deathly Hallows!”
If there actually exists something a notch or two below dead quiet, we now had it. Harry just stared at the three objects lying there before him, his face awash with horror. After perhaps three minutes, the centermost official stood and stepped forward to speak. I later learned this was the famous archaeologist Mr. Peabody. His own expression easily matched Harry’s, but with strong embarrassment there as well.
“Mr. Potter, what’s wrong? What have we done that could harm the three artifacts?” he asked. His voice was soft and wispy, but it still seemed to carry through the chamber. The place must have been enchanted in lieu of a public- address system.
“The Deathly Hallows are never to be together again in the same place and at the same time! I’m certain that I explained this! Didn’t I?” Peabody shook his head, and Harry’s eyes went wide. “I was certain that I…” Harry picked up the Elder Wand and held it aloft. “Lumos.”
A sliver of smoke rose from its tip, but not so much as a faint glow with it. The wand was dead. Harry next picked up the Cloak of Invisibility, and then draped it over his shoulders. It shimmered for just a moment, did nothing to conceal its wearer, and was evidently just as worthless now. Understandably, we weren’t going to sacrifice someone to demonstrate the Resurrection Stone’s failure as well. Hmm…no, I don’t plan to die in one of my stories until I’m much, much older.
Harry set the Cloak down again, stepped back, and took another moment to scan the still-quiet crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have a personal experience to relate to all of you. It’s regarding the day I first possessed all three Deathly Hallows–-something which happened to me, something unbelievable. No one has known about it, except for my wife Ginny, who was with me. It concerns all of you now, and I hope with all my heart that it does not come to pass.”
The final battle had ended, but the celebration in the Great Hall continued even at that late hour. The assembled warriors had dined that night on roasted serpent, wild boar, and a surprising number of white rabbits. Surviving members of the Hogwarts orchestra (an impromptu replacement for the missing polka band) played lively reels, and scantily-clad maidens danced to the music atop the long tables. The wine and rum flowed freely. Voldemort was dead! The war was over! Unbeknownst to them, Harry Potter also possessed the three ancient objects that had brought it about–the Deathly Hallows.
Finally, bored with the Asgardian reveling, Harry snuck away, along with his lady love, the fair Ginny. Outside they went, walking together, hand-in-hand, past the smoldering ruins and already rusting armor of their fallen foes. Along the forest’s edge they wandered, and then down by the dark lake. Time meant nothing to them.
Eventually, they found they had come to some place unrecognizable to either–-not that they cared while in their blissful mood. There stood an ancient, black, stone gazebo of some kind. The faint light from the moon and stars refused to penetrate it. Its privacy beckoned them to conceal a long-awaited embrace and kiss. As they stepped under the cover however, the couple realized that they were not alone. Unnerving fear crept through them.
“Good evening Harry. I’ve been awaiting you.”
Ginny did not recognize him, although Harry did. Earlier in the day, without coming face-to-face, they had welcomed each other as if old friends. A special magic had permitted Harry to forestall their time together, and the visitor may have felt cheated, or at least disappointed. It was Prince Sirki–Death.
“I’ve come for the three gifts I gave the brothers so long ago Harry, and for a payment for their use.”
“You claimed Tom Riddle’s life. Wasn’t he sufficient compensation?” Harry asked. He took Ginny’s hand, noted its trembling, and he gently pulled her behind him.
“Lord Voldemort has paid for his diverting my attentions. The Elder wand, however, was never his. You have become its master, and, as you now carry all three Hallows together, you would try to become mine as well.” Death was surprised then when Harry laughed. “You don’t believe I am serious Harry?”
“Do you believe I am when I say I have no interest in the power the artifacts bring? I have seen how a corrupted soul can destroy a world. I have lost friends and family to you because of it. Why would I want to emulate that?”
Death paused here and gave great consideration to Harry’s words. Their wisdom astounded him, coming from someone so young. No, no one emerged from the war young anymore. Death had participated too freely and been witness to all of it.
“Would you keep the Hallows from me Harry?” Death asked.
“Would you, in turn, vow never to pass them on to other travelers as you supposedly did in Beedle’s fable?” Harry countered. “Death is proud, I’m told. To use the Hallows may delay some from passing to you when you come, or it may summon you, in other cases, before their time. Which is worse?” Harry stopped for a moment, and he saw that Death was listening. “I will make a bargain with you. In lieu of the payment you require of me, I will safeguard the artifacts for you…and from you. Each may be of use to Wizardry–-never all three together.”
“Never all three together…” Death slowly, quietly repeated. “Very well, I will trust you to safeguard the Hallows. You may use them as you see fit, provided they never cheat me of my due. However, if they are brought together at any time, even for a moment, I will render them inert forever. I would see them destroyed before they could be used against me. Also, the gravest of curses will be laid upon those responsible for our betrayal. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley, have a long, happy life together. I hope not to see you again for many years to come.”
Death stepped back then, and faded into the dark, as did the black gazebo. Harry and Ginny stood there alone, still holding hands, and shivering as an unnatural breeze passed over them. They had a great deal to discuss before the sun rose again.
When Harry had finished, the silence in the room remained for only a half-dozen heartbeats before the murmuring began. It slowly grew in intensity to a fevered pitch. Had the Academy brought Death’s curse upon it for what they had done? Was Harry’s story even true? If one believed in the Deathly Hallows’ origin, one would also have to give serious consideration to what Harry had said. The governors alone were the ones responsible for this! No, that obnoxious Poindexter must be–-for first initiating the acquisition, and then for not passing on Potter’s warning to the Academy! They couldn’t have known that the former Undersecretary for Historical Preservation had sailed for Central America on the first banana boat out of England that morning.
Harry stepped away from the now-worthless objects, going to accept a long hug from Ginny. It took several seconds before I noticed Brandon staring at me in a curious manner. His brows were scrunched together, and he had the most perplexed look. Finally, he moved over to where Harry had been during his speech, and Mr. Peabody was somehow able to reestablish order for the time being.
“The chair recognizes Doctor Brandon Llewellyn.”
“Mr. Peabody, my respect for this fine institution is sincere and profound, but its recent association with Elbert Poindexter has caused me to reconsider my membership.”
Brandon turned back to me before the governors could reply. The other members of the audience were shouting their disapproval of his potential resignation, and I wondered if they wouldn’t have new leadership before the end of the day. I waited until Brandon was close enough to hear me over the din.
“Doctor huh?” The honor of being called a doctor was a great tribute in Wizardry, where even Healers are rarely referred to as such. “I’ll tell you what–-there’s a turkey in the oven back at the Broom Farm. Kitty and you are expected for supper at five o’clock. Luna saved both of you a piece of Nicholas’ birthday cake. We’ll talk then.”
The prospect of a good…no a great meal, dessert, and good conversation didn’t seem to affect the Welshman. I had rarely seen anyone so glum.
You know Harry and Ginny are the finest of hosts. They would never wait until after a meal to ease Brandon’s dour mood. He had done absolutely nothing wrong, and, if truth be told, had contributed to the resolution of a very complicated matter. Such a person as our friend could not accept that he had no guilt-by-association with the Academy, or that, apart from a few now ex-governors, no members-at-large were culpable in the loss of the Hallows. Would Death’s curse fall upon Brandon and his family as well?
Yes, Harry is an excellent host, but he does occasionally have a mischievous streak, no doubt acquired from Ginny’s brothers and me. As soon as Brandon and Kitty had stepped inside the farmhouse, Harry surprised them by removing the Invisibility Cloak, and appearing to them. Brandon almost accidentally swatted him at the sight.
“Harry, what did you do? You have the Cloak again?” he somehow managed to ask.
“Not again Brandon…still,” Ginny clarified. “Kitty, could you help Luna and me in the kitchen. I swear that no one can reproduce your cauliflower cheese dish. Oh, you brought some wine–-thank you! I’ll explain everything to you, I promise.” Harry and I were left to do that for Brandon.
“It was Harry’s plan,” I had to reluctantly admit, “but I did get to write that ridiculous story he told the Academy. You were in the infirmary that night, but you know we didn’t have any big, musical feast.”
“No one has a curse on them either, innocent or guilty, and, after some fumbling around, they’ll probably come to realize it. We hope they learn something.” Harry reached up as best he could, patted Brandon on the shoulder, and led the way into the parlor and some comfortable chairs. “Ginny and I talked all evening after we returned from seeing the damage here. We knew they wouldn’t just leave us alone if all we did was ask them. You’ll remember the problems she and I had with the thousands of Galleons in reward they forced on us, and how we had to actually leave the country for a time to avoid the unwanted hero-worship. The only way to regain our privacy here and now was to give them what they wanted–--the Deathly Hallows.”
“At least what they thought were the Deathly Hallows,” I added. Harry and I both were holding back our laughter at Brandon’s wide-open mouth. “Yeah, we fooled the experts, as unlikely as it seems.”
“The trick was in the presentation, and we’re sorry we didn’t let you in on our secret,” Harry continued. “We knew if your fellow members of the Academy–-incidentally, don’t you dare resign–-saw you believed it, they could as well. If it helps, we didn’t bring in Ron or Hermione either. They’re both terrible liars.”
“It was a lot easier once we saw what a dunce Poindexter was. Harry and Ginny had Mr. Ollivander find them a non-functioning duplicate wand–-there are a lot of them out there on the souvenir market. Luni and I found an old worn-out invisibility cloak to swap for The Cloak. The Stone came from our flowerbed. The three secure locations we sent Poindexter into were the most fun.”
“Ginny’s dad helped a bit with that, and Spenser here called in some favors from the movie studio that wants to film my biography.”
“Uhm…I had to promise them I wouldn’t send in any more screenplays for the next three years.”
Ginny came into the parlor then, and took her place curled up with Harry on the aptly-named loveseat. We could smell both the turkey and cauliflower dish as the scents followed her. She was smiling like a schoolgirl at the expression Brandon now displayed.
“Where are the real Deathly Hallows?” he asked then.
“Well, you’ve seen how I kept my father’s cloak. Normal versions are rare, but not unheard of, and I won’t reveal its existence too often. The Elder Wand is exactly where the world expects it to be. It’s resting inside Dumbledore’s tomb, with magical protections so powerful even he couldn’t bypass them were he alive.”
“The Stone?” Brandon was grinning now, finally enjoying the impossible stunt we had pulled, and looking as if the entire world was off his shoulders.
“That was Ginny’s idea,” Harry began.
“I suggested we hide it in plain sight–-inside the Queen’s saltwater fish aquarium at Buckingham Palace.” The girl really was brilliant. “The Hallows are safe and secure, and they will never be brought together in the same place. I doubt anyone will ever hear of them again.”
One month later in Mexico City…
“No…no, you can’t arrest me! I’m a British subject! I’m a very important official in our Ministry of Magic! They really are the three Deathly Hallows! I didn’t cheat your government out of the money!”
“Señor Poindexter, we have very severe penalties for magical fraud in this country. You are in very serious trouble.”
“I told you, they are the artifacts of legend! I substituted the Elder Wand for a non-functioning souvenir I bought in London’s Diagon Alley. I substituted an old, worthless cloak for the second Hallow as well, and the Resurrection Stone I sent them was from a streambed in the Forest of Mists. I was gone before the fools in the Royal Academy could learn they were fakes.”
“Entiendo…I see señor. Why though, if you are such an important Ministry official, would you do such a thing to your government and to your scientists; taking these objects? I wonder…no. Our Mexicano prisons are very accommodating, but then perhaps your countrymen would be interested in speaking with you if…I mean when you are released.”
Elbert Poindexter’s eyes went wide at the sight of the Wizard Fedérale’s toothy grin. He swallowed hard, and it wasn’t the early summer heat that was causing him to sweat so profusely. At least he’d be able to lose a few pounds.
A/N: Thank you very much for reading, and those of you kind enough to leave a review, please don’t include any spoilers.
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