17th June, 1998
"What time do you get done today?" Astoria asked Daphne as they made their way to the examination hall from the Atrium on the third day of exams.
"Before noon, probably," said Daphne, having finished Herbology and Potions on Monday and then Charms and Transfiguration the day before. "We have the Defence Against Dark Arts theory exam until 10.30, and then practicals immediately afterwards. That's it for me."
"Lucky you," sighed Astoria. "I still have a full day. Why didn't you want NEWTs for Arithmancy and Ancient Runes again?"
"Don't need them. I got the OWLs, that's enough," shrugged Daphne. "Will you be alright getting home by yourself later? I'm going to work after I'm done here."
"Yeah, yeah, I'll be fine," said Astoria.
Daphne gave her a concerned look, despite her reassuring words. "Be on your guard, regardless," she said.
"I will," promised Astoria, and then smiled at someone over Daphne's shoulder. "Hello, Harry."
Daphne turned around and saw Harry walking up to them. "Good morning, Daphne, Astoria," he nodded, with a smile.
"I have to go find my friends, I'll see you both later," said Astoria. "Don't forget to ask Harry about Saturday."
Daphne and Harry waved goodbye as she left. "What's happening on Saturday?" asked Harry, curiously.
"Blaise is throwing a party," she said. "He says it's to celebrate the end of NEWTs, but knowing Blaise it's more of an excuse to get everyone drunk and stupid. He asked me to invite you and Hermione."
"Not sure about Hermione, but I'll go," said Harry. "I could use a break."
"Yeah, you probably could," nodded Daphne.
"So could you," he said.
Daphne rolled her eyes at him, but had a slightly pleased smile on her face. She figured it was useless to pretend that Harry being concerned over her didn't make her just a little bit happy. There weren't many people who fell into that category; her father, Astoria, Tracey and Blaise being some of them, so it was nice to possibly add Harry to that list.
Her smile dimmed when she saw a familiar man stopped in his path in front of them. She nudged Harry, who exchanged a puzzled look with her.
"Elder Shafiq?" asked Harry, as they reached him. "Is everything alright, sir?"
Wael Shafiq jumped a little as if startled and looked at them in surprise. "Ah, Elder Potter, Madam Greengrass, pardon me," he said, and then glanced around. "I must have spaced out."
"Did something happen, Elder Shafiq?" asked Daphne.
He shook his head, though he still looked a little dazed. "I swore I saw…there he is!" He shouted the last part and pointed at someone. "Zane!"
Daphne followed his line of sight and saw that he was pointing at Dean Thomas, who had stopped and was staring over at them in confusion, as were a lot of other people.
She wondered if someone had hit him with a confundus charm, but Dean made his way over to them before she could check. "Were you talking to me, sir?" he asked, politely.
Elder Shafiq blinked when he saw him up close and looked a little embarrassed. "Ah, pardon me, young man," he said. "I think I mistook you for my son."
"Your son?" asked Dean. "His name was Zane?"
"Yes," said Elder Shafiq. "You look extraordinarily like him, though he...well, he…" He shook his head and looked at Harry and Daphne. "I apologise for causing a scene."
"Not at all," said Harry, but Daphne noticed the startled look on Dean Thomas' face.
"Everything alright, Thomas?" she asked.
He jumped when she said his name and nodded. "Yeah, yeah, sorry," he said. "It's just...that was my dad's name."
"I thought you never knew your father," said Harry, and Daphne would have stepped on his foot for being so tactless had she not been watching Elder Shafiq so intently.
"I didn't," said Dean. "But my mum told me his name. He took off before I was born, though."
"By great Merlin," said Elder Shafiq, staring at Dean in a whole new light. "We knew Zane had fathered a child with a Muggle woman, shortly before his death but…"
"He's dead?" asked Dean, looking horrified.
Discreetly, Daphne cast a charm to silence the air around them. Most people had moved on, though a few were still looking on curiously, but she figured this was private enough to not be made a spectacle of in the middle of the Ministry.
Elder Shafiq nodded heavily, his shoulders slumping. "The Death Eaters got him before You-Know-Who's fall the first time around. He...he didn't want to leave you and your mother, but he said they would come for you if they knew," he said, sounding very much like he was holding back tears.
"I never knew," said Dean, looking like he would faint.
"He didn't want you to know," said Elder Shafiq, smiling faintly. "The Shafiq family is ancient and connected, and when we refused to join You-Know-Who, most of the family was hunted down and killed. I am so glad to see that you are alive, oh goodness, I didn't even ask your name, dear boy."
"Dean Thomas," he said, and awkwardly held out his hand. "My name is Dean Thomas."
"It is very nice to meet you, Dean," said Elder Shafiq, shaking his hand.
"Er, I don't mean to be rude," said Dean. "But...are you saying you are really my grandfather? That I'm a half-blood, not a Muggleborn?"
"I am absolutely convinced of it, yes," nodded Elder Shafiq, and then noticed Harry and Daphne were still there. "Ah, Elder Potter, Madam Greengrass, I seem to have rather inconvenienced you both."
"Not at all. We apologise for intruding on a private moment," said Daphne, easily. "If I might impose just a moment further, a visit to Gringotts may not be amiss."
Elder Shafiq nodded vigorously. "I will make an appointment at once," he said. "Dean, I apologise for being pushy, but I would appreciate you accompanying me to Gringotts for an inheritance test."
"I...have the Defence Against the Dark Arts exam in twenty minutes," said Dean, clearly still a little out of sorts and Daphne honestly didn't blame him.
Fortunately, Harry jumped into action and clapped Dean on the shoulder before looking at Elder Shafiq. "We will be done by noon," he said.
"Very well," said Elder Shafiq. "Your exams are very important, of course. I shall return at noon then."
"The examination hall is just down the north corridor," Daphne told him helpfully.
"Thank you," said Elder Shafiq, to both her and Harry before smiling at Dean. "I'll see you in a few hours, Dean. Good luck on your exam."
"Yeah, I mean, thank you," said Dean.
Elder Shafiq hurried away, and Harry shot a look at Daphne to go on, which she was all too happy to do. It wasn't like she knew Dean Thomas that well, so this was best left to Harry. It was entirely possible for him to be Zane Shafiq's illegitimate son, and if true, Dean could very well become the heir to the family, considering Zane had been the oldest son, and Elder Shafiq's other son had died childless. The family was still extensive, despite being hunted by the Death Eaters, but none would have a claim as strong as Dean if he really were to be Zane's.
It stayed on her mind throughout the exam, though she did see that both Harry and Dean returned in time. Once the written exam was done, they were all waiting in the hallway to be called in a few at a time for their practicals, and the entire time, she saw Harry and Dean talking quietly together with Neville Longbottom. After her practical exams were done, Daphne returned to the Verdant offices.
A copy of the Daily Prophet from the day before was still sitting on her desk, and she briefly smiled at the headline of 'Chief Warlock Abercrombie: Ignorant or Incompetent?' Ben had pulled no punches in the article, reporting in detail how the Chief Warlock had called a session out of time for no reason. Augusta Longbottom had been heralded as a champion of justice for ensuring that he didn't get away with it. Abercrombie hadn't lost his position but Daphne knew he was on thin ice and once they had the next official session, it was likely he would lose it.
Daphne was all for making sure he was removed from the position of Chief Warlock. It had been on her advice that Harry had voted to keep him in, but it seemed like Abercrombie would be more trouble than he was worth, so it was time to kick him out. They could win over his faction some other way.
Tossing away the Prophet into the rubbish bin, she saw a letter waiting for her and tore it open.
Thank you for your letter. I spoke to my grandfather and he is happy to meet you and Harry at his house here in Dorset tomorrow around six. My grandmother insisted that you both join us for dinner before we talk about the matter, so I hope you will agree to it.
I am not sure what you think my grandfather will be able to do for you, since he has never been one for politics, but somehow I get the feeling that you have something else to discuss with him. I look forward to your reply confirming your attendance, because I admit that even my curiosity is piqued.
I will come by the Verdant offices around quarter to six tomorrow to lead you and Harry past the wards, if that is alright.
Awaiting your reply.
Daphne smiled in satisfaction. Rolf's intuition was on point, and surprisingly, it had been Harry's suggestion to ask Newt Scamander and Daphne had been extremely impressed by it. Ever since Harry had told her about Anthony Goldstein and how many magical researchers had had their funding cut by the Ministry, she had been racking her brains over the issue. They needed someone at the helm of the research institute project and Daphne had said it would be better to speak to someone well-versed in the field of research, to which Harry had suggested Newt.
It was a novel suggestion, certainly, but Daphne had agreed. Even if Newt didn't wish to join, he could point them in the right direction at the very least. She began writing a reply to confirm their attendance, and Harry walked in just as she was getting done.
"How did it go?" she asked.
"The exam? It was a breeze," he shrugged. "If you mean how did it go with Dean, then I just went with him to Gringotts with Elder Shafiq. I didn't stay, of course, but we're meeting later with the others for a drink."
"Alright," she said. "I hope it works out."
"I do, too," he agreed, with a nod. "What are you doing?"
"Replying to Rolf," she said. "He has invited us to dinner tomorrow."
"Oh, is this about what we talked?" he asked, and smiled when Daphne gave nod. "Good, and what time does Healer Lim get here?"
"I'd say about half an hour," she said, with a quick glance at her watch.
"Alright, I'll be upstairs with Teddy until he does," he said.
"Oh, hold on, there is something else," she said.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Fleur sent this over," she said, holding up a scroll of parchment. "Vikram Kale signed the contract, and he gave us the names of some of his publishers. I wanted to ask you about the books at Arc."
"Yeah, you mentioned that, but can we just publish those books?" he asked.
"Well, we would check the copyright and things," she said, trying not to laugh.
"No, I know that," he said. "I meant, who knows what's in there."
"True," she nodded. "We need someone to comb through it and quickly."
"I could ask Hermione," he said.
"Okay," nodded Daphne. "I know she's returning to Hogwarts but there's still time over summer."
"It's likely she'll do it even after she goes to Hogwarts," smiled Harry. "Or when she starts working at the Ministry. You give Hermione a book and there's no chance she wouldn't read it."
"Good to know," said Daphne. "I'll go over to the Arc once we're done meeting with Healer Lim and get Mirin to help me shortlist some of the books, if that is alright with you."
"Of course," he said, easily. "You're already keyed into the wards, so feel free to come and go as you like."
Daphne opened and closed her mouth, before sighing. "You should be more careful when saying something like that," she said, knowing it was an exercise in futility.
He grinned at her. "I mean it," he said. "Of course, you could rob me blind, but I should warn you that I have a very good lawyer so you won't get away with it."
Daphne felt her lips twitch in amusement. "Go see your godson," she ordered, trying to sound stern.
Harry laughed and went upstairs, and Daphne finished writing the letter to Rolf. She was getting comfortable around Harry, she realised. From the time she had taken him on as a client, she had been the dependable one, leading him using her skills and the information she had. But lately, she had begun depending on him in small ways here and there, especially since she found that he could get through to her with his words quite well. Even her friends and Astoria sometimes had trouble with that, because Daphne could admit that she was stubborn as a mule.
It was nice, nonetheless, to have someone who could call her out like Harry. Almost involuntarily, she touched the pin in her hair.
It would be better, she thought with a sigh, if she could grow comfortable enough to not wear it anymore.
Harry cooed to an alert Teddy, trying to coax him to sleep. He had already been fed and changed, so he should have been sleepy, but he kept getting distracted by everything.
"C'mon, Teddy," murmured Harry. "Time to sleep."
Teddy just blew a bubble at him, finding the ceiling to be much more interesting than sleeping. Harry sighed and began rocking him, hoping the motion would put him to sleep.
The door to the nursery opened just a little and Daphne poked her head in. "Healer Lim will be here in less than five minutes," she said.
"Ah," said Harry. He'd been hoping Teddy would be asleep before the meeting, but no such luck.
"Is he still awake?" asked Daphne, walking into the room. Teddy turned his head towards the noise, and as was common as soon as he saw someone new, he began changing his hair from black to gold. "It's impressive he can control it so well this young."
"Apparently, his mother was the same way," said Harry.
"Still, I guess it's true what they say about hereditary abilities," murmured Daphne.
"What do they say?" asked Harry, as Teddy's eyes began to droop.
Daphne glanced at him in surprise. "The Black family has had metamorphmagus quite consistently, well, it would be more accurate to say that they used to," she said. "When they started intermarrying, the ability began growing less and less frequent until it became a rarity."
"Andromeda's husband was a Muggleborn," said Harry, even though he was sure Daphne already knew that. "So you think because Andromeda married new blood, Tonks was a metamorphmagus?"
"I have no proof, but it's possible, of course," said Daphne. "More than that though, the ability passed down immediately to the next generation instead of skipping a few which was more common. It might have grown stronger."
Harry took a deep breath. "Teddy's father was a werewolf," he said. She didn't look surprised. "You knew?" he asked.
"His name is Edward Lupin," said Daphne. "Not many Lupins left, so it wasn't a reach that Professor Lupin was his father, especially with you being his godfather."
"Right," said Harry. "Do you think the lycanthrope gene has something to do with it?"
"Honestly, I have no idea," said Daphne. "It may be that, or it's simply diversity in blood that made the ability stronger. I never really understood why my family married foreign blood so much, until I saw how other pureblood families grew weaker the more they intermarried. My mother was French, my father's mother was from Russia, his grandmother was Swedish, and on and on it goes. All those marriages were arranged carefully, keeping in mind that the bloodlines shouldn't cross."
Harry listened to her, nodding along until he heard the last part. "Arranged?" he asked, getting a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"Yeah," she said, like it was obvious. "It's a common practice to arrange marriages, especially when it comes to the heads of families."
"Does that mean you-?" he began, when they heard a knock.
"Hey, Healer Lim is here," said Parvati. "What are you two doing?"
"Just waiting for- oh, he's asleep," said Daphne, and Harry glanced down to see that Teddy had fallen asleep, his hair still a golden blonde.
Harry set him down the crib and after telling Kreacher to look after him, the three of them headed towards the conference room. Healer Lim was waiting inside and he stood up to shake their hands when they walked in.
"Thank you for coming, Healer Lim," said Harry.
"Not at all, I promised to assist, after all," he said. "It is nice to see you both again, Mr. Potter, Ms. Greengrass."
"And you as well, Healer Lim," said Daphne. "This is Parvati Patil, an employee of the Potter Foundation."
"How do you do, Ms. Patil?" said Healer Lim, shaking her hand as well.
"Very well, thank you, Healer Lim," said Parvati.
The door opened and Andromeda walked in. "I apologise for being late- Thierry?" she asked, stopping when she saw Healer Lim.
"Mrs. Tonks?" asked Healer Lim, looking surprised.
Andromeda smiled. "I think you are old enough to call me Andromeda, Thierry," she said. "You're not at Hogwarts anymore."
He went slightly red and laughed. "Of course, Andromeda," he said.
"You know each other?" asked Harry.
"Thierry went to Hogwarts with Nymphadora," said Andromeda, her smile dimming slightly. "The two were thick as thieves."
Healer Lim lowered his gaze. "I heard about Dora," he said. "I am so very sorry, Andromeda."
"Thank you," said Andromeda, her voice wobbling slightly.
Healer Lim cleared his throat. "A-are you working for the Potter Foundation as well?" he asked.
"In a manner of speaking," she said, indicating for everyone to sit. "Harry brought me on board for the orphanage project."
"I didn't know you two knew each other," Healer Lim, looking between Harry and Andromeda.
"Harry's the godfather to my grandson," said Andromeda.
Healer Lim's eyes went wide. "Dora has a child?" he asked.
"He was born in the middle of the war," said Andromeda. "I will introduce you to him if you want."
"I would like that very much," said Healer Lim, gratefully. "Er, so what can I do for you?"
"Right, I asked Daphne to invite you," said Andromeda. "I am just about done with the preliminary planning for the orphanage project, and I wanted to consult with you on some details, if that's alright."
"Of course," nodded Healer Lim.
Andromeda glanced at Daphne and gave a nod. "Healer Lim," said Daphne. "Would you consider terminating your employment with St. Mungo's to work at the orphanage full time?"
Healer Lim's eyebrows shot up. "You're offering me a job?" he asked.
"Yes," said Andromeda, bluntly. "We need an onsite Healer, considering so many of the children have ongoing treatments, and since you're the one who knows them best, we would very much like to hire you as the first employee of the new orphanage."
Healer Lim blinked at them in shock. "I don't know what to say," he said.
"I know it's a bit abrupt," said Harry. "But I spoke to Zinnia and she told me that the children are very attached to you, and making the transition from the Orphan Wing to the orphanage would be smoother if you were to be a part of the process."
"I-That makes sense," he said, still looking a little taken aback.
"Please take all the time you need to consider it," said Daphne. "We have a formal offer for you." He took the document she handed him. "Even if you choose not to accept it, we would be grateful if you continued to act as a consultant."
"I will think about it," he said, and took a deep breath. "I am not opposed to the idea, you see. I am attached to those children as well, and I want to make sure they will be looked after properly. It's just...I know virtually nothing about the project and how you plan on running the orphanage."
"I can help with that," said Andromeda. "I'll take you through what I have so far and I'd like your help to finetune it before we present it tomorrow."
"Harry and I are yet to hear about it," explained Daphne. "Andromeda and Parvati have been working with our finance and business advisors, and with your input, the plan will be ready for us to consider."
"What do you say, Thierry?" asked Andromeda. "Would you like to help?"
Healer Lim met her gaze and gave a firm nod. "Very much so," he said.
Leaving Healer Lim with Andromeda and Parvati, Harry and Daphne took their leave, as Daphne departed for the Arc and Harry headed out towards Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes. He had time before meeting his friends at the Leaky Cauldron, and he was hoping that Ron could join them as well. As he passed the 'Opening Soon' sign on the new Fortescue Cafe, a small smile appeared on his face. He noticed the slightly interested looks that people were casting towards it, and the smile widened.
The shop front of Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes was closed up, but when Harry knocked on the door, it was opened by a surprised Ron.
"Harry, what are you doing here?" he asked.
"Is it a bad time?" asked Harry. "I was hoping we could talk."
Ron shrugged and stepped aside to let him in. "George is in the lab and I was about to take a break, anyway," he said.
As Harry walked inside, he noticed that the shop was empty of products but the interior was partially fixed up in many places and the whole place would need a thorough cleaning before it could open. "Have you been doing all this yourself?" asked Harry, sitting down on an upturned crate that Ron offered him.
"Yeah," said Ron, sitting down on another crate and summoning two bottles of butterbeer. "The whole place was vandalised and torn apart. I'm fixing it up and cleaning the whole thing."
Harry opened the bottle of butterbeer that he offered and took a long sip. "How's George?" he asked.
"Better, actually," said Ron. "He does best when he's working." He drank his own butterbeer and glanced away uncomfortably. "I heard you and Ginny broke up."
"Yeah," said Harry, looking away too. "Sorry."
"Dunno why you're apologising to me," said Ron. "Ginny said it was mutual, so not like you dumped her or anything this time."
"Still, I should have told you," said Harry. "Honestly, I didn't know...y'know, if it was alright…"
"I'll stop you right there," said Ron, making his voice firm. "No matter whether you and Ginny are together are not, you are still important to the Weasley family. That won't change, alright?" Harry looked at him in shock, and Ron's ears went red with embarrassment. "And just for making me say something sappy like that, I have half a mind to hex you."
"You can try," grinned Harry, and Ron chuckled.
"So, what brings you here?" asked Ron, slightly more relaxed.
"I'm meeting Neville and the others for a drink later and I was wondering if you wanted to come," he said.
Ron blinked at him. "Yeah, sure," he said. "Was that it? You could have just sent a letter instead of coming all the way over. Didn't you just finish your NEWTs?"
"Yeah," he said, sheepishly. "Well, I guess I wanted to see...well, after Ginny and I broke up, if you and I would still be alright."
"Didn't I already say not to worry about that," said Ron. "But I see your point about wanting to see me in person. It feels like you, me and Hermione were together all the time and now we barely know what each of us are doing. I mean, I mostly read about what you're up to in the Prophet."
Harry flushed uncomfortably. "Right," he mumbled.
"It's fine, mostly, but I would be lying if I said I'm not concerned," said Ron.
"Concerned?" asked Harry, confused.
"There had been rumours but then Ginny confirmed it," said Ron. "Is Daphne Greengrass the one who's been helping you?"
"Yes," answered Harry, warily. "Daphne's my lawyer."
"And you trust her?" asked Ron.
"Yes, I do," he replied.
"That's exactly what concerns me," said Ron, leaning forward. "We don't know anything about her. At Hogwarts, she barely even talked to anyone, even in Slytherin. And that's the other thing. Since when are you onboard with trusting a Slytherin?"
Harry felt a stab of annoyance at his words, but knew Ron was telling the truth when he said he was concerned. For someone looking at him and Daphne from the outside, it would be an odd relationship, certainly. He was more surprised that Hermione had accepted it as easily as she had.
"Ron," said Harry, carefully. "You are my best friend, and you and your family have gone above and beyond for my sake. But I won't tolerate you badmouthing Daphne. What you said is true, but you don't know how much she has done and is still doing for me. I consider Daphne a friend, Slytherin or not."
"Yeah, but how do you know she isn't just lying to you or trying to get at your money or something?" asked Ron. "Harry, you can't really believe she's helping you out of the goodness of her heart."
"She is doing her job, which I hired her to do," he said, at once. "And she doesn't need to get at my money or whatever you might think."
"Is she the reason you broke up with Ginny?" demanded Ron.
"I didn't break up with Ginny, we both agreed we weren't working out," said Harry, frustrated. "Daphne had nothing to do with it. What, you think she slipped me a love potion or something?"
"Did she?" asked Ron.
"I'll pretend you were joking when you said that," said Harry, narrowing his eyes at him.
Ron clicked his tongue but nodded. "Yeah, whatever, just be careful, alright?"
"Sure," said Harry, knowing Ron would only get defensive if he pushed the issue. "Er, we're meeting at the Leaky Cauldron around 7."
"Are you leaving already?" asked Ron, looking surprised.
"I have something to do," he said.
"Like what?" asked Ron. "No, I am asking seriously. Is it just running the charity or are you doing something else too?"
Harry paused and contemplated how to answer that. "There are other things I am doing as well," he said, finally.
Ron looked at him questioningly. "Are you going to tell me what those are?" he asked.
"Do you want to know?" asked Harry.
Ron stood up, glaring at him indignantly. "What kind of a question is that?" he demanded. "Of course I do. We're best friends."
Harry got to his feet slowly and met his gaze. "Alright, but first-"
He turned around as the shop's door opened, interrupting him before he could bring up anything. Charlie Weasley walked in, looking exhausted down to his bones. As soon as he was inside, he collapsed and fainted to the ground.
Harry blinked in shock, but Ron just sighed impatiently. "Can you get him up? I'll go fetch a pepperup," he said, walking up the stairs.
Still in shock, Harry levitated him over and cast an Ennervate on him. Charlie stirred and woke up, looking surprised to see him. "Harry?" he asked, voice slightly hoarse.
"Yeah, it's me, just take it easy. Ron's gone to fetch the pepperup," said Harry. "What happened? Were you attacked?"
"No, nothing like that," he said, closing his eyes. "I've just been going too long without sleep, that's all."
"And I told you to quit doing that," said Ron, as he returned with a vial of the potion. Charlie tried to hold up his hand to take the potion, but Ron none too gently barked at him to open his mouth and poured the potion directly into it.
Steam escaped from Charlie's ears as he swallowed the potion, and he sat up quickly, looking refreshed, though the dark circles under his eyes did not disappear. "It's a lifesaver," he mumbled.
"It's bad for your health is what it is," snapped Ron, and then sighed. "Harry, do you mind looking after this idiot for a while? The other one needs attention upstairs."
"What's wrong with George?" asked Charlie at once, looking ready to rush right to him.
"You just sit down and catch your breath," said Ron firmly, sounding remarkably like Molly.
"Go on, I'll keep an eye on him," said Harry, and Ron nodded gratefully.
Charlie sighed as Ron went upstairs. "It's embarrassing being scolded by your younger brother," he muttered, almost as if he were saying it to himself.
"Ron means well," defended Harry. When Charlie looked at him in surprise, he smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, I know it's none of my business."
Charlie laughed a little, and shook his head. "No, you're right," he said. "Ron's heart has always been in the right place, even if he doesn't always know how to think before acting. Mind you, I'm no better."
"I think it's the Gryffindor in all of us," said Harry.
"You might be right about that," grinned Charlie.
"Is it really so busy at the Ministry?" asked Harry.
"Well, not quite," confessed Charlie. "We're short-handed, but it's in order. All department heads were elected by Kingsley and the people he put in charge are making sure to run their departments properly. Most funds and manpower are heading to the DMLE and Department of International Magical Cooperation. Those of us over at the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes have nothing more than the occasional splinching to deal with."
"You're not with the Department of Magical Games and Sports?" asked Harry, surprised.
"No, they really did not need any new manpower. The new department head just hired back all the staff that had been let go under the Death Eater regime," he said. "It would be more fun, I guess, even if it's still working in an office." He sighed. "It sounds selfish to complain but I hate being confined in a damn cubicle day in and day out." Quickly, he looked at Harry. "Not that I don't know it's important work. I have just never been good with the indoors."
"Isn't there anything else you want to do if you don't like it?" asked Harry. "What about the dragon reserve in Wales?"
Charlie shook his head. "They don't need any handlers, I already checked," he said. "The job at the Ministry is fine, but I guess it's just the stress of everything making me unable to sleep."
"Sounds like you need to get a new job," said Harry.
"You might be right, so if you find something that would let me be outside in the fresh air, tell me," laughed Charlie.
"I might, you never know," smiled Harry.
Ron came back downstairs. "Don't worry," he said, before Charlie could ask. "He just went into a panic because he couldn't find Fred's old notes about one of their products. He's fine, he found them." He let out a tired sigh and looked at Charlie with narrowed eyes. "Go take a bath or something. I'll make dinner before going out."
"It's alright," said Charlie, getting up and placing a hand on Ron's shoulder. "You should go. You and Harry look like you've got plans. I'll make dinner for me and George."
"Are you sure?" asked Ron.
"Yeah, 'course," said Charlie. "Sorry about earlier. I'll be more careful from now on."
Ron rubbed his eyes tiredly. "Fine," he said.
Charlie clapped him on the shoulder and grinned at Harry. "See you, Harry," he said.
"Yeah, bye," said Harry.
Charlie went upstairs, and Ron sighed before turning to Harry. "Sorry about that, what were you saying before?" he asked.
Harry shook his head, with a small smile. "Don't worry about it," he said, knowing there was already a lot Ron was dealing with. He didn't want to burden him any further. "Come on, we can get started a bit earlier. I'm buying."
"Won't refuse that," said Ron. "Let me just grab my cloak."
18th June, 1998
Harry opened the door of Daphne's office and was surprised to find her standing in front of a long mirror. Two dresses were hovering next to her, and she was holding them up over her normal work robes, clearly trying to decide between them.
He cleared his throat and she turned around. "Oh, good morning, Harry," she said, waving her wand. The two dresses folded up neatly and went back into an open case on her desk.
"Got plans?" he asked, hoping he kept his tone light.
"Yeah," she said. "We're going out tonight, remember?"
Harry blinked and then wanted to hex himself for forgetting about the dinner with Newt Scamander. "Right," he said.
It had been a few days since he'd first realised he was attracted to Daphne, but the fact remained that he'd only just ended a relationship and he had no idea about Daphne's personal life at all. She had mentioned that marriages in her family were arranged, so he wouldn't have been surprised if she were already betrothed or something. His relationship with Ginny had taught him that he had a bit of a jealous streak, so it was no wonder his rationality fled when he thought Daphne might have had plans with someone else. He wondered if it would be alright if he were to ask her outright if she had someone like that in her life. If she did, he could end the little crush he had on her which would otherwise ruin their very good professional relationship.
"Are you alright?" asked Daphne, walking up to him.
He jumped slightly. "Yeah, I'm fine," he said.
She gave him a critical look. "Are you hungover?" she asked.
"No, I didn't drink much," he said, honestly.
Ron and Seamus had been the two who'd had the most to drink and Harry didn't envy the morning they must be having. Dean had been too preoccupied with the confirmation that he was Zane Shafiq's son, proven and made legitimate by Gringotts as of the evening before. Harry and Neville had mostly just gone between trying to keep everyone's spirits up and making sure none of the depressing topics came up.
"So, what happened with Thomas?" she asked.
"He's been named the heir to the Shafiq family," said Harry.
"Already?" asked Daphne, raising her eyebrows.
"Apparently, Elder Shafiq wanted to make it official as soon as possible," he said. "Sounded like he really was stumped about a successor. Dean is visiting his mother and stepfather today to explain everything, before he moves into the Shafiq family home by the end of the week. Elder Shafiq is going to start preparing him to take over."
"How did he take it?" asked Daphne. "It can't have been easy to ask him to give up his life and come play heir of a Sacred Twenty Eight family."
"No, but Dean wants to do it," shrugged Harry. "He feels like he's honour bound to keep his father's legacy."
Daphne muttered something that sounded distinctly like 'Gryffindors' but smiled nonetheless. "Either way, sounds like it will work out," she said. "Should we head upstairs? Andromeda said she's ready to present the plan."
"Yeah, let's go," he said.
Sure enough, Andromeda and Parvati were setting up a magical projector in the conference room when they walked in together.
"Good morning," said Parvati, when she saw them. "The others will be over any moment. Fleur just sent a patronus and said Maribeth's watching the HQ."
"Alright," said Harry, taking a seat at the table. "Do you need any help?"
"No, we're done," smiled Andromeda, gathering the documents in front of her and stacking them in a pile.
They were only waiting for a short time before Fleur, Draco and Tracey arrived, and once they were all seated, Andromeda stood up.
"Before we begin, bear in mind that this is the only the first outline for the orphanage project," she said. "I am hoping we will be able to refine it properly over the course of our discussions, so feel free to speak up at any point."
There were murmurs of agreement and Andromeda smiled before nodding at Parvati, who flicked her wand. The projector whirred to life and displayed the first slide onto the wall behind Andromeda.
"After much deliberation, I decided that Black Castle will make the best location for the orphanage," she said. "It's bigger than both Godric's Pride and the Sea Maiden Cottage, and once you've seen the way I've decided the layout, I think you will agree."
Parvati flicked over to the next slide, and it showed the blueprints of the Black Castle.
"For children who are at Hogwarts, we will use the rooms in the towers. They are used to living in dormitories at Hogwarts, so it will be easier for them to have a bit of their own space when they come home for the holidays," explained Andromeda. "For now, we will only open up the first tower, considering there aren't that many older children. We have three more towers for when we have others. It's one of the reasons why I picked Black Castle, because it gives us room to expand."
"How many children to a room?" asked Fleur.
"The older children will get their own rooms," said Andromeda. "The rooms in the tower have ensuites, and I suggest turning the large dayroom into something of a common room for their sake. Of course, they can come and go into the main house as they please, since the tower is connected with an entrance on the inside as well."
"And the younger children will share rooms?" asked Tracey.
"Yes, I was thinking two to a room," said Andromeda, and with a flick of her wand, some little squares on the blueprint lit up. "These are the rooms on the first and second floor we will be using for the younger children. As you can see, there is an unlit square between every three rooms."
"Yes, what is that for?" asked Draco, curiously.
"That is the room that will be occupied by their caretaker," said Andromeda, and smiled a little. "Harry, you said you didn't just want a staff taking care of their basic needs, didn't you? Hence, this unorthodox method."
Harry leaned forward with interest.
"Instead of a regular staff, we will have a caretaker assigned to a group of 5-6 children," said Andromeda. "This caretaker will look after their basic needs, but also provide them with support in any way they need."
"I don't mean to be rude," said Tracey, raising her hand sheepishly. "But isn't that saying we are hiring someone to fulfil the role of a parent? Are there people who will be willing to do it?"
"I will be quite honest, I anticipate it to be quite difficult to find people who would be willing to go so far for the sake of orphans they barely know," said Andromeda. "Difficult, mind you, not impossible."
"One caretaker for a group of 5-6 children, certainly sounds difficult," said Daphne. "What about the older children?"
"We will have one caretaker for all of them, mostly because they are capable of looking after themselves and they will only be around for the holidays," said Andromeda. "All caretakers will report to a matron-in-charge, who in turn will keep an eye on the day to day workings of the orphanage. We will have a separate Healer on-site, as well as a groundskeeper and any house elves we can spare to lend a hand with the chores."
"It helps if you think of it like Hogwarts," said Parvati, helpfully. "The matron-in-charge will be like the headmistress. The caretakers are teachers but instead of teaching, they will be looking after them. Unlike Hogwarts where they are responsible for seven years worth of students, each caretaker will be looking after their own little group that they are responsible for." She flicked her wand quickly and changed the slide, showing a long list of names divided into groups. "These groups were designed specifically, keeping them balanced so that no caretaker will be given more responsibility than they can handle."
"Thierry helped me with those," said Andromeda. "We took into account children who are already close to one another in the Orphan Wing, those who need more attention because of their treatment, and we tried to keep it balanced. You'll see some groups are a lot smaller, that's because those are the children who would need a lot of long-time care and attention, and we didn't want to burden the caretaker with additional responsibility."
"House elves will be doing the cooking, cleaning and maintaining the place, so the caretaker will mostly be responsible for, as my mother called it, cat wrangling," said Parvati.
Tracey giggled but then sobered up. "It's still a lot to ask for, but I see what you mean," she said, and turned to Harry. "What did you have in mind when you said you wanted the caretakers to be their support?"
Harry fidgeted uncomfortably, especially when everyone else in the room looked at him curiously as well.
"I assume, it's because of the high number of children that the orphanage will have," said Daphne, and Harry could have kissed her. "A single matron could not keep track of all of them, even if she had staff assisting. The caretakers will be able to give closer attention to the children, especially since most of them have lived through a horrific ordeal and lost any family they had. It would be arrogant of Harry to assume he can take on the responsibility of over fifty children and provide them with the proper care and support they need."
"Yes," said Harry, grateful that she had summed it up so well. He hadn't explicitly said any of it to her, but he supposed his clumsy hopes had gotten through to Daphne somehow. "I told Andromeda as well, but it's not like I'm going to be their real family because there is no replacing a real family. But I want them to have adults in their lives whom they can depend on, and feel happy about writing to when something happens, good or bad."
He received dazzling smiles from Fleur and Andromeda at that, while Parvati and Tracey grinned approvingly. Daphne just had a quiet smile on her face as she wrote something down, but Draco frowned thoughtfully.
"That brings up a good point," said Draco. "Who is actually going to be their legal guardian?"
Daphne looked up from what she was writing. "An orphanage is counted as its own entity, meaning the orphanage is their guardian. Obviously, that means whoever leads the orphanage is their legal guardian. In this case, it would be the matron-in-charge," she explained.
"It wouldn't be Harry?" asked Parvati, surprised.
"Well, when we do hire the matron we can make the stipulation in her contract that Harry has the final say on all matters," said Daphne, before turning to Andromeda. "With the number of children we presently have, how many caretakers will we be hiring?"
"Ten, for now," said Andromeda, changing the slide. "One for the older children, eight for the younger ones, and one more because I anticipate we will be getting a lot more older children who were turned away by St. Mungo's. I think it'd be better to say we'd have two caretakers to look after the older children and eight for the younger ones."
"Ten caretakers, one matron, one Healer, and one groundskeeper," said Draco. "It's quite a robust staff."
"We were also thinking of tutors for the younger children, for when the older ones go to Hogwarts," said Andromeda. "But that isn't an immediate hire, so we can hold off until things settle down past the initial phase."
"Makes sense," said Harry. "How does it look in terms of the budget?"
"Well, less than if we didn't have a lot of your other resources, Harry," said Andromeda, as the slide changed. "Fleur?"
"Of course," said Fleur, taking over. "With the house elves doing most of the labour work, the biggest expenditure we are getting are things like food and clothes."
"We can reduce those significantly," said Daphne.
"Yeah, food can come from Godric's Pride," said Harry.
"That's what I was thinking too," said Andromeda.
"Even clothes can be made and we would only be paying for the materials," said Daphne.
"How many house elves do you have?" asked Parvati, looking at Harry with wide eyes.
"A lot, and they are very eager to work," said Harry, honestly. "What about other expenses like their Hogwarts stuff?" he asked.
"Students of Hogwarts who live in any authorised orphanage in Britain, wizarding or otherwise, receive an automatic scholarship to cover their Hogwarts fees," said Daphne.
"I know that," said Harry, remembering Dumbledore telling a young Tom Riddle about it. "Does it also cover their schooling expenses?"
"It covers the most basic expenses," said Andromeda. "An average student will spend just a little bit more than what the scholarship covers, and we can make up the difference. That was the other thing. A lot of these children have money left to them by their families but they do not have access to that money until they are of age."
"Hang on, I could access my vaults when I started at Hogwarts," said Harry.
"Some families made an exception but most didn't," said Fleur. "Once we have the children officially under our care, we can help them access their vaults, so they may have their own money to spend. Those that don't, we can give them an allowance of sorts, depending on how old they are."
"Sounds reasonable," said Tracey. "We can't just take over their vault though, can we?"
"No, but we will oversee the spending," said Andromeda. "It will be one of the responsibilities of the matron."
"So, apart from the children, the other big expense would be the staff, correct?" asked Daphne.
"Yes, although we will be giving them free room and board, they will still need to be paid a salary for doing their job," said Andromeda. "We'll be getting a grant from the Ministry as well, and though it's not massive, it will alleviate the costs a bit too."
"There's a Ministry grant?" asked Draco, surprised.
"Yes, I found one, back when Harry first brought up the idea," said Daphne. "It hasn't been used in a long time, but there will be no issue with us getting it."
"The Ministry has been cutting down grants left and right," said Draco.
"They won't cut this one down, not unless they want to make themselves unpopular right off the bat," said Tracey, shrewdly. "It's good for their image to have that grant in place, and if they cancel it just as we become eligible, the uproar would be...well, as big as I make it, I guess."
Harry bit back a chuckle and nodded. "Is there a timeline on how things will happen?" he asked.
"Yes, I think we should aim to open before the end of July," said Andromeda, changing the slide. "Most of the furniture in the bigger rooms of Black Castle is well and intact, but the individual bedrooms will need the basics. You know, beds, dressers, desks, those sorts of things. I was thinking you could assign house elves to start building the furniture. As I understand, most furniture at Black Castle was built with the trees in Alioth Copse, so the materials shouldn't be a problem."
"Yeah, I'll speak to Annie about that," said Harry. "And clear the place out to make sure no dark artefacts are lying around. And sweep the library for any books that shouldn't be in the hands of children."
"Good call," said Draco, as Andromeda gave a nod.
"The most time consuming thing will be hiring the staff," said Andromeda. "But as long as you are happy with the plan, I will turn my attention to that. Oh, that reminds me. Thierry signed on." She handed a document back to Daphne, who took it with a smile.
"That's wonderful," said Daphne. "He's the first employee then."
"Yes," said Andromeda. "He has also agreed to help me recruit."
"Excellent," grinned Harry, happy that Healer Lim was onboard officially.
"I have put together the details for the rest of it in this prospectus of sorts," said Andromeda, passing them all a thick file. "Read them through and if there is something you think needs discussing, bring it to me and we will sort it out."
"Thank you, Andromeda," said Daphne, and looked at Harry. "Well?"
Harry took a deep breath and smiled gratefully at Andromeda. "Thank you for all the work you did, Andromeda," he said. "Let's get started on this plan."
Andromeda beamed at him. "Just one more thing," she said. "The orphanage needs a name."
Harry's heart thudded in his chest. He'd decided on the name the moment he'd told Daphne he wanted to open an orphanage while standing before the graves of his parents.
"Lily Potter Home," he said, quietly. "That's what we'll name it."
Daphne smiled and shook her head. Rolf approached Harry with the same question, and she took a moment to think back on their evening.
Newt and Porpentina Scamander were not quite what she had expected, considering he was a genius with magizoology and she was supposed to be an infamous Auror who had tangled with the likes of Grindelwald back in the day. A legendary couple in all the deeds, but in reality, they were quite a sweet, loving pair who had welcomed her and Harry into their home like they were old friends. For someone like Daphne who was used to stiff, boring parties with sharp words disguised underneath a sweet tone, the Scamander family was a welcome surprise.
She glanced down at the simple dark purple dress she was wearing and was glad she'd decided not to dress up too much. It was still a little too fancy, considering how casual the atmosphere of this dinner ended up being, but Daphne knew if she wore something like this at a party in pureblood circles, she would be labelled as dowdy and there would be rumours of the Greengrass fortune dwindling. Thankfully, she'd had the foresight to keep her jewellery even simpler than her clothes.
Dinner had concluded some time ago, and Newt was currently reading the proposal that Daphne had put together with help from Fleur. It was still tentative, but their aim had been to get Newt to helm the research institute, and she was hoping their rough proposal would help make that happen.
She looked up when Newt finished reading and removed his glasses, casting a significant glance toward his wife. The two didn't speak but Tina chuckled. He just tilted his head at her and her chuckling turned into full-blown laughter.
"Alright, alright," she said.
Newt just gave her a soft smile, before turning to the rest of them. "Were you the one who put this together, Daphne?" he asked.
"Yes," said Daphne. "I apologise if it wasn't quite up to par."
He shook his head. "I have never been too fond of reading long paperwork," he admitted. "This was much simpler and got to the point quickly. So, you want to open a magical research institute?"
"Yes," said Harry.
"I should say it is about time we had a proper institution like this in Britain," said Newt.
"We realise you are retired, but we would like it if you were to join us in making it happen," said Harry, but Daphne was certain that the reason for Tina's amusement was because she'd already known her husband was going to agree.
"Oh, I am absolutely joining," said Newt, bluntly. "I still get plagued with owls from people asking for my recommendation for the Ministry's grants that they hoard worse than nifflers hoard trinkets." He glanced down at the rough proposal and gave a firm nod. "There are some things I would like to clarify, though."
"Of course," said Daphne, already ready with her quill and parchment to take notes.
"The Ministry grant amounts are confidential so this is understandable, but you are severely overselling," said Newt.
Rolf glanced at the proposal over his grandfather's shoulder and his eyebrows shot up. "Yeah," he said. "That is quite a bit higher than normal grants."
"We want to help any way we can," said Harry.
"That is admirable," said Tina. "But I think the point here is that there is a standard that is followed in these circles."
"We could tailor the grant amount based on the researcher and their research," said Daphne.
"That is certainly novel and is an acceptable compromise between standardised grants and just throwing gold," said Rolf. "It will be a lot more work, though."
"No matter, I will do it," said Newt.
"Do you already have a researcher in mind, Pops?" asked Rolf.
"I have several," said Newt. "It says here you already have a facility picked out."
"Yes, it is an extensive estate, but it can be converted based on the needs of the researchers," said Daphne. She and Harry had agreed that a wing of Iola Castle could become the new institute. Eustace Mansion was also available as a secondary location, but that could be saved for researchers focusing on Herbology and Potions.
"Do private grants in Britain follow the same process afterwards like the Ministry ones do?" asked Rolf, curiously.
"Yes, for the most part," nodded Newt.
Daphne tried to remember the brief information about Ministry grants that she had been reading frantically over the last few days. "As I understand it, if there is successful research or invention, it is filed and patented with the Ministry with the researchers getting the royalties," she said.
"The Ministry gets a cut as well, but that is only if they sponsored the research," said Rolf. "That's why I was wondering if it would be different if it's a private grant."
"There have been plenty of researchers who patented their research without ever receiving a grant, myself among them," said Newt. "The Ministry still gets a cut, though it is significantly smaller. I am no attorney, but I doubt they will be able to claim anything more than the usual patenting fees. I assume the institute will be receiving a share of the royalties."
"You will have to, unless you want to go out of business," said Rolf, sensibly.
"Yes, quite right," said Daphne. "We will do what we can to enable commercial distribution as well, though that is something for the future."
"You have the means to do that?" asked Rolf, while both Newt and Tina looked surprised.
"I'm sure we will work it out," said Daphne.
"I would believe her when she says that," said Harry, with a small smile.
Rolf and Tina laughed as Newt gave a slow nod. "The rest of it is fine," he said, looking back down at the proposal.
"Then I will add in the alterations you mentioned and put together a more official proposal for you to consider," said Daphne. "I also have a contract for you to sign, if that is alright."
"Yes, thank you," said Newt, as Rolf took the contract from Daphne and handed it to him. "I'll have Rolf look it over later. I do have a request, though."
"Sure," said Harry. "What is it?"
"I would like Rolf to join me," said Newt.
"Really?" asked Rolf.
"It's not a problem, but is there a particular reason?" asked Daphne.
"Two, actually," said Newt. "I am still his mentor and it is my responsibility to see his Mastery through."
"Of course," said Harry. "What's the other?"
"I am an old man, Harry," said Newt. "Recruiting researchers is not difficult but it will be significantly faster if I had Rolf helping me."
"We understand," said Daphne. "We were going to recruit an assistant for you regardless, but this is something we can do for now. I'll have another contract ready for Rolf by tomorrow."
"Thank you," nodded Rolf. "I am actually getting kind of excited about this now."
"That's good, dear," said Tina, beaming at Rolf. "I hope that means you will be staying in Britain longer."
"Gran, I already said I would," laughed Rolf. "This is just the cherry on top, you might say."
"Well, whatever it is, I am happy for it," said Tina, as she stood up. "Enough about business now. Time for some dessert."